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Date: 2006/02/03 15:58:57, Link
Author: avocationist[/URL][/quote]
... If IDers deny that religion has anything to do with it, how is it they say that ID is morally superior to evolution?  I mean, in the referenced post it is claimed that:
Darwinian metaphysics is doing real moral and political mischief in our society

Supposedly ID doesn't identify a designer, so can they claim moral superiority when they can't know the motivations of an unknown designer?
 I mean, in the referenced post it is claimed that:
Darwinian metaphysics is doing real moral and political mischief in our society.

Supposedly ID doesn't identify a designer, so can they claim moral superiority when they can't know the motivations of an unknown designer?

Goodness I had no idea we were so popular here.
This is actually a good question. I guess the answer is that the design inference is just that and nothing more. People have a real hard time getting that.
So a lot of ID people are motivated morally, philosophically, religously, just as are atheists. For example, you guys think if ID gets a foothold, we'll be having stonings of adulteresses just like they did in Afghanistan. But those opinions about what is good for society (no religion) isn't part of evolutionary theory, is it?

Devon kindly gave two links to show time is nonlinear. I just can't read through all that. I guess I know time is nonlinear, but isn't it linear here? I don't find MJ's idea at all reasonable.

Date: 2006/02/03 17:04:26, Link
Author: avocationist
Puck, I wasn't so much concerned as trying to give a real answer to the question. I think that ID does the best job of keeping in mind the difference between science and personal motivation. But the personal motivation is there.

Why are we discussing creation science?

I fear theocracy, but I fear any totalitarianism. The past few have not been religious. Well, they were atheistic...

I don't have any disagreement with anything you said, except the implications. You imply that ID is creation science which it isn't, and you speak of fundamentalism, but I don't find ID fundamentalist. You imply that any other conclusion than a materialistic one is a de facto encroachment of religion getting out of bounds.

The whole point of our constitution is to prevent a theocracy. Of course we need to be vigilant, although personally, right now, I worry about a corporate driven totalitarianism.

The problem is, biological systems might be designed by an intelligence. There is the possibility that this is true. If it is true, it will probably be discoverable. Yet you speak of religion overstepping its bounds. Like I said to Anteater to no effect: this is one reality. If that one reality includes God, then that might be discoverable, if not directly then indirectly. You just can't legislate it out of science.
Now, humanity is in a state of semi-ignorance. We used to be in greater ignorance. But if there is a God who set up life forms, and if that is ultimately discoverable by scientific investigation, then we will have a situation in which science and spirituality are not utterly separated.

This is the only possible place we will end up if:
1) There is a God
2) Our knowledge continues to increase

This seems irrefutable but I'm sure you will surprise me.

Date: 2006/02/04 15:39:09, Link
Author: avocationist

OK, I've spent 30 minutes trying to figure out how to enclose in quotes, or even using bold instead. I'll just have to preface my quotes with "You said"

And what's up with not being able to print a four letter word that starts with h and designates and extremely hot place?

When I said ID is the design inference and nothing more, you continue to state that Dembski's professed goal of overthrowing the materialist oppression is somehow disingenuous. But it isn't. Everyone has a worldview. ID itself is rather limited.

You said: I assume you meant to say "evolutionists" and not "atheists" since they are hardly synonymous.

Well, I meant atheists have philosophical motives as well as IDists. Really, tho, it applies to anyone. Now, you say an atheist and an evolutionist are not the same but I disagree. This is my opinion--evolution that teaches random unguided processes is only compatible with atheism, and no form of deistic or theistic belief is compatible with it. I consider Ken Miller a very confused IDist.

You said:  I do believe that if ID ever becomes the primary theory taught in our schools, the most likely reason is that the Reconstructionalists or the Dominionists will have somehow managed to take over the government.

You know, I think ID is true. But if I thought those guys had a chance I'd fight them. But I don't think that's the reason it will be taught. It will be taught when people see it's true. Look, lots of those people are mad at ID because they won't support 6-day creationism. And I'll bet a lot of new age spiritualists will accept ID. How can you paint everyone with the same brush?

You say I have assumed God is discoverable. But I prefaced it with the word 'probably.' I don't think a separate God is a possibility, but that is because I lead a contemplative life. I could be wrong. The idea that God does not want us to know him/her is getting too far into fantasy. Attributing all sorts of petty emotions to the infinite? Yes, I heard one or two Christians express the idea that God does not want to be proved because he wants us to have faith. Frankly, I was shocked. That is a dismal view. It shows that they do not understand what faith is, and it shows that Christianity neither assists nor encourages people to come to know God. But what's worst is that these people believe in an eternal #### scenario, with an egotistical God who sends people there for the absurd reason that they don't know if he's real. Yet he doesn't want to spoil this rigged game by letting us discover his existence for sure? With a guy like that on our side, who needs a devil? I guess it won't be very inspiring in heaven, what with nothing but knowledge of God and no need of faith.

If God can be "proved" rationally, then that should mean that we can expect or hope that science will find the way to catch up. I am sorry but the following didn't click:

God---> Absolute Supreme Being
Science--->  Does not deal in absolute certainty
Intelligent Designer--> If an entity, most likely a superior entity, yet not Supreme

The parts aren't coming together for me. But I agree the designer could be a less than supreme being. The gnostics thought so, but they thought this world was evil and that the designer was bad, maybe even Satan. I do not agree, being monistic.

You also said that the entity, if created by God, would therefore by default mean that evolution is a creation of God. That is true. Do you agree with that?

You said: So ID is not an attempt to make a scientific case for God.

Not sure what you're saying. Although, they would agree that ID is not a case for God, but for intelligent design. But I think that until we get to God, we will have the regress of who designed the designer.

It doesn't matter if ID is a rework, oldies are goodies, but now there is much fresh data.

Please explain why ID is cheating from a theological standpoint. I didn't quite get that whole line of thought.

Most IDists aren't pushing for the classroom, and Darwin's time moved slower than ours but they pushed soon enough. I do think that you're right ID needs more time to cook, but there's no need for hostility and it gets a bit tired to call it bad science.

When people like Flint say that there is no evidence for ID and that all the ID people know this perfectly well--
I am simply speechless.

Yes, I do think they have enough evidence. And I suppose you may have read and critiqued their papers, although many have not. The problem, then, must lie elsewhere.

Date: 2006/02/04 18:21:40, Link
Author: avocationist
[quote=tacitus,Feb. 04 2006,23:06][/quote]

OK, I'm trying the quotes manually--

avocationist, I'm not sure it's going to be useful to continue our discussion since we appear to be completely incompatible  worldviews.

People with differing world views cannot communicate? Are you a Christian? Have I offended you?

When I read your comments about ID, evolution, faith, and even Christianity, I can only even begin to find them consistent if I look at them from your highly specific system of beliefs.

I'd like to think that's because I think for myself.  It looks like you're saying I'm inconsistent. How so?

My comment was that Dembski himself keeps undermining that argument by republishing quotes from collegues, friends, and others which directly contradicts that argument.

You asked how IDists can claim moral superiority when they do not identify a designer or his/her motivations.  But I answered that while ID itself is just a design inference that does not identify a designer, that many or most IDists do believe in God and take the position that materialist philosophy is not good for society.

As for your argument that theistic evolutionists are simply confused IDists, well, that can only be true *if* your own personal idea of what God is, is true.

Perhaps, but if there is a God, that God is the source of all existence. One might suppose that God, being the source of all existence, is some guy who sat separately and did nothing, and that the evolution of life was no more likely to happen than not. Perhaps he was bemused or surprised. But essentially, this is nonsense. The existence of God, as different from just particles and chemicals, changes everything. One simply cannot speak of life or the universe being an accident. I mean, look, Ken Miller is Catholic. He believes, presumably, in a God who has interefered in this accidental place and even plans to judge people and send most of them to ####. How can a God who took no part in an accidentally evolving humanity judge them as deserving punishment or reward? The notion seems absurd.

In the broader sense, since evolution does not address "life from non-life" there is plenty of leeway for a Christian to believe in a God who kicked everything off according to a plan and let evolution happen. Who are you to define someone else's faith?
You say it doesn't address abiogenesis, but so many are pinning their hopes on it. But as to God kicking everything off according to plan, in what way is that not ID?

Who are you to define someone else's faith?

What I was defining is evolution as defined by many well-known spokepersons. Such as Ken Millers textbooks, which he has revised but used to say that evolution is a random and unguided process, as well as what someone over at uncommon descent calls the Weisel 38 document.

Date: 2006/02/04 19:00:32, Link
Author: avocationist
[quote=PuckSR,Feb. 04 2006,23:08][/quote]

Most IDists believe the designer is God. It could be someone else. My understanding of what theistic evolutionists believe is either that God guided the process throughout in various unknown ways, or perhaps they think he was a bit more hands-off, but obviously gave rise to a system capable of evolving life.  But I just am missing who is cheating about what and where. Do you mean ID versus theistic evolution? I do not see a real difference.

You say the new data is in the same category as the old. Pehaps, but we have data that is so much more detailed and compelling than we had even acouple of decades or so ago. You might say, that Paley's watch argument has been strengthened.

I think there's data besides the watchmaker. Do you think the complex specified infomation stuff is more Paley's? I think Meyer made some good points in his paper about the difficulty in creating new body plans and we seem to be on the edge right now of even realizing how little we do know about epigenetic factors in embryo development. I recently read Denton's first book. I was surprised that it isn't out of date and he had some things in there I could perhaps look up. I thought his book was excellent and brought out several cateogories of argument. And he is an agnostic so far as I know. I read Wells book a couple of years ago, specifically because he presented himself as nonreligous or agnostic, but it looks like he kinda lied. I'm perturbed about that.

I tend not to like determinism, but there are certainly good arguments in its favor. I'm not sure the dice are a good example. I suppose that there are physical reasons why each die does exactly what it does. The question is whether our consciousness can make choices and of course thereby alter future events.

But I perceive you find the idea of guided evolution too much like determinism. I don't think it needs to be. If it makes you feel better, I find the idea of a God who subverts the laws of nature to accomplish his ends boring, uninspiring, silly, and illogical. And any other bad thing I can think of.

Of course if something does not involve God that leaves atheism! Or are you arguing for a God who exists somewhere but has nothing to do with the universe!? I tell you man, that's impossible.

If you remove the term "God" from ID...and suggest that a form of intelligence is responsible for all creation....then you basically just advocated natural selection.

It just won't work. Random mutation isn't capable. Find more mechanisms. That one won't do.

The Discovery Institute does not advocate for ID to be taught in classrooms. They say it isn't mature enough for that. They would like the persecution to stop at least at the university level.

Date: 2006/02/04 19:05:13, Link
Author: avocationist
avocationist time to leave too good is what they mean to say in "further discussion not profitable"...not profitable for /them/

Well, I'm not welcome at UD any more. Who will talk to me?

Date: 2006/02/05 05:47:17, Link
Author: avocationist
However, the important point is that it doesn't matter what you and I believe. Ken Miller and millions of other Christians quite happily reconcile their faith with evolution.

People quite happily do but why shouldn't I examine their systems for the many logical flaws and inconsistencies, especially when there is so much mischief abroad?

You seem to have a much better handle on where I'm coming from than vice versa. Other than I'm an IDist but you expected that. And I am not politically correct toward human nonsense including my own.

It seems to me Buddhism in its purest forms does not speak of a personal God at all and is highly intellectual and abstract. Very useful. Taoism is similar.

Date: 2006/02/05 06:54:48, Link
Author: avocationist
Is this something new? Since when do religious people object to the BB?

Date: 2006/02/05 06:58:21, Link
Author: avocationist
I never said I was banned, but it was clear I had become unwelcome. My posts were being deleted.

Date: 2006/02/05 08:14:03, Link
Author: avocationist
It depends on what we mean by evolution. The main argument is between the big idea that this whole universe is material only, so that all aggregations into star systems and life systems are unplanned and unguided verus the possibility that there is a God-like being. Once there is a God, all else below that can never be unplanned and unguided in the same sense.

Only the 6-day people believe in no kind of evolution at all.

Therefore, whether we believe that this entire shebang was frontloaded at the big bang, whether we believe every particle was predetermined at the start, whether we believe that there was relative freedom in how things turn out, whether the front-loader inserted one or several common ancestors, whether we think evolution is ongoing or has in fact finished -- all these are subarguments.

So if Puck is right that evolution is agnostic, or that evolution takes no position upon the genesis of first life or the universe for that matter, then the arguments here between Panda's Thumb and Uncommon Descent amount to arguments over process and mechanism.

Date: 2006/02/06 11:04:42, Link
Author: avocationist

 Avocationist, in response to a suggestion that he had tacitly accepted "natural selection":It just won't work. Random mutation isn't capable. Find more mechanisms. That one won't do.It's important to keep your terms straight. "natural selection" and "random mutation" are two completely separate things. When you say "random mutation isn't capable": capable of what? Incapable of supplying the raw material for natural selection to act on? What evidence do you rely on, other than your personal incredulity? And when you say "random mutation", are you talking just about point mutations, or are you including chromosomal rearrangements, transpositions, duplications, etc.?

You are right I wasn't  being clear. Puck said that if we admit that an intelligence that is less than the Supreme created life forms, that I have admitted natural selection. But natural selection is a completely passive form of intelligence. And random mutation is not even a passive form of intelligence. I think both are inadequate to their tasks. Of course things get more interesting as we learn about more mechanisms. Many things that go on during meiosis appear very active and intelligent. I read a little about transpositions, rearrangements, etc., but I had a hard time differentiating what we actually know about them versus the conjecture that has been added. So, I just don't know enough about those other mechanisms, except that they appear to be candidates for ID.

I value my personal incredulity a lot, don't you? I can't imagine doing without it.
Stephen Elliott,

It simply says, that all species on the planet have a common ancester (or words to that effect).

Well later evidence shows this isn't quite true, but I'm not sure how important a point this is.

Geographical seperation of creatures of the same species can accelerate differentiation between offspring of the divided species.

But it's conjecture that this can lead to new species.

I did answer a previous post which you may not have seen. It's in about the middle of the now page 14.

If i tell you that water has suddenly started flowing out of a would you explain it?

Would you attribute it to the same phenomenon that is reported in the bible....or would you attempt to find a natural source for the water?

You would most likely try and find a natural source for the water.

You may not find one...and at that point you may attribute it to a supernatural cause.

Science, however, always attempts to find the natural solution.  They may never find one....and that would validate your belief in a supernatural cause.....but because they learn nothing from a supernatural cause....they will always strive to learn more.

You cannot fault science for taking this approach.  If you do fault science for assuming a naturalistic world...then you are faulting them for being skeptical.

My approach is a little different. And this speaks also to the remarks of GCT. Of course there are no supernatural scientific methods and of course I cannot fault science for taking the approach that they use. The thing is I see no need for the word 'natural' because there is so little meaning to the word supernatural.
Let us say I cannot find a natural explanation for the water. Does that mean it was supernatural? Well, it might mean that some other being caused it, or that sometimes human beings (Moses for example) tap into some forces in nature that we had hitherto not known about. Should our dogs regard our actions as supernatural because they cannot fathom how we did them? By this type of definition of supernatural, we have already entered the realm of supernatural beinghood as compared to ourselves millenia ago, or even hundreds of years ago.

The only question about any phenomenon is how did it occur. That it occured by some utterly coherent process is without doubt. The only question for science is whether our tools will come to understand it. I tend to be very optimistic that it will. When the word supernatural is used, in most minds it means magic. I think there is resistance on the part of many scientists to accepting a spiritual reality because they think it means: acceptance of incoherent goings-on in the universe; submitting to an unlikeable God.

I don't care if your fairy godmother waves her wand and a coach and six appear. If she did it, it was within the laws of nature. We must figure out how it was done.

It isn't that I fault science for being skeptical, it's that I fault people for thinking that the alternative to methodical investigation is to assign magic. This is equally so for religionists and atheists. I fault them for thinking that the existence of God is in any way opposed to nature and how nature works. In other words, there's no "either-or"
No one phenomenon is more natural or supernatural than another. Our reality has much depth to it, and we are investigating its depths and parameters. Reality is all of a piece and ultimately there cannot be separations into different realms called natural and supernatural - there can only be ignorance that creates what appear to be gaps.

But, I thought this was about science, and not religion?
Yeah, I'm new here and I do not want to be annoying. Problem is the topic comes up all the time. I think its unavoidable because the core of this whole debate is about whether we live in a purely material universe or not. There's no way really to discuss ID or evolution as understood by many of its most famous proponents without taking atheism/theism into account.

My biggest interest is more philosophical, about the nature of reality itself, conscousness, and what human beings are doing with themselves. I see that it is very hard for most people to approach truth objectively because their emotions  color their motives.

To me it appears that there is a blockage in ability to communicate because for many on the 'scientific' side religion is repugnant to them. I find good reasons for that.
In my opinion, Christianity is stuck in the dark ages, and is only beginning to think about moving out. On the other hand, many in the scientific community, reacting to that primitiveness, are in a state of suspended animation in their ability to find more useful ways to think about reality.

Time for the deer to move out of the headlights.

Date: 2006/02/06 12:53:19, Link
Author: avocationist
Wow. This critique by Behe is scathing. Paragraph after paragraph, not once does Behe miss.

How sad people are reduced to calling it whining, and to missing the simple point he made that the claim IC was "refuted" amounted to no more than saying it was controversial but not that it had been proven wrong.

This man, Judge Jones, is utterly out of his league. He has made a shameful episode in history, and he is no friend of Darwinism. I would love to see him try to answer Behe's points, but of course he cannot.

Date: 2006/02/06 20:48:36, Link
Author: avocationist

Can you tell us what a purely material universe is?  

Can you tell us what a universe that is a mixture of material and non-material stuff is?

Fine questions. A purely material universe means the  universe as understood by the philosophy of materialism; in which matter is understood in its commonest sense as "just stuff" eternally existing and without any needed component of mind or consciousness or God.

As to material and non-material I have wondered this same question. Although the spiritual has been traditionally spoken of as nonmaterial, I am unable to understand how something can exist and not be in any way material and how it can interact with matter. But I do not know physics and I don't even understand the expression "massless particle." Anyway, I strongly consider that what has been called non-material simply means an ultrafine level of materiality and the innermost dimensions. So it could be a smooth continuum. On the other hand, the Existence-Principle (God) must be fundamentally existent and therefore invulnerable, which matter by definition is vulnerable.

What I'm saying is I don't believe random mutation can account for much and isn't able to provide enough good raw material for natural selection to work on.

I think it is a bit of a red herring to accuse those who believe in the supernatural of pleading ignorance of a type that would hinder science. Did belief in a divine author stop Newton from discovering laws of planetary motion?

My reading of scripture is exactly thus. Stuff happened. Nobody understood it. Nobody admitted igorance. Instead, they made up gods and magical forces.
Yeah, but I do not automatically disbelieve in all miracles. What I'm saying is that people are overawed and come to wrong conclusions about them. For example, I am very sure I have seen ESP in action. I do not call it a miracle or supernatural. I know there is a way it works, we just don't know how yet.

Yes, I guess the more one doesn't know about a given phenomenon, the better a candidate for ID it appears. From my perspective, these all look like pretty random phenomena.
 Well then in that case I can't discuss it intelligently at this time. I'll keep it in mind.

What argument of Hume's did I present? I'm not very familiar with him.
You speak of distantly designed watches. Haven't you been to Telic Thoughts? Don't you know Mike Gene and others are intersted in front-loading? I know you guys have some unfriendly history with JAD, but he believes in frontloading also, only he doesn't allow for much freedom in what turns up. Denton's last book, Nature's destiny, is all about front-loading and also speaks to your other comment, about not requiring a particular end product. Now, I would tend to prefer that interpretation, but I think Denton does a good job of showing that freedom does operate within quite a few constraints. There are probably laws about what sorts of body plans can actually come forth, with gaps between them. And he also talks a lot about how most features we humans possess would be required for us to have the powers we do. Things like our approximate size, bipedal locomotion, free hands with opposable thumbs, forward looking vision - that's what I remember. Without those, we would not have had the strength to create big enough fires to bring on the iron age and smelt metals, for one example.

An IDist would claim that ...something caused the water to flow from the rock... He would then seek to prove that the water could not flow out of the rock suddenly without a catalyst.  He would ask the "who"

Sure, but don't you see that the important difference has already occurred, whether he can answer the who or not. The IDist knows it took an intent to make water come out of a rock because nature won't do that unaided. And the Darwinist is arguing that it must have come out unaided, because that's what it looks like to him and if he considers an intentional being did it that isn't science.
Again, I think it's a red herring to claim that because we might consider God did it we will stop investigating nature. Nothing will stop the engine of science now except global totalitarianism, fundamentalism or catastrophe.

Now, here is the problem with ID.  
Evolutionary Theory claims things evolve over time.  It suggests the method and the means for evolution.  Scientists constantly strive to refine our understanding of the methods of evolution...i.e. natural selection

So basically, ID finds mutation and selection inadequate, and also does not find evidence for gradualism, in fact on the contrary sees evidence for relatively sudden appearances. It does not look mathematically probable that randomness can produce what Darwinists say it does.

All of ID theory is based around detecting the "Designer".
Well, it is really based around detecting signs of intelligence as opposed to random processes.
It doesnt further our understanding at all to claim that "something" caused something else.  It furthers our understanding when we try to figure out "how" "something" caused something else.
I disagree. If we cannot even come to a strong conclusion that we are dealing with a designed or undesigned phenomenon then our world is more confusing than I'd like to think it is. But while it helps to know that, it is of course only the beginning of inquiry.
Nothing like getting off on the right foot.
You state that ID doesn't bother to ask how. Strictly speaking, ID is a design inference and nothing more. ID is not a full-fledged theory of life. Perhaps it can be, or perhaps it will become a piece of one. ID is simply a different conclusion from the same data, and may help evolution theory go off in some new directions. Because it is a different conclusion based upon the same data, the complaints that it isn't science or doesn't do research are actually empty. All it needs is qualified people who can be involved with/understand current research and come to the design inference.

If evidence, not sheer probability pointed towards an entity controlling would have problem theorizing one.
 I presume you meant to say science would have NO problem theorizing one? If that is the case, I can only say you might be naive. Many scientists precisely find this repugnant. Also, I'm confused - from your posts I am gathering that you accept theistic evolution. And you think there are no visible clues?

Let me explain...if we kept finding organisms that were not well-suited to their environment(if polar animals froze to death all of the time)...that would indicate natural selection had flaws.
Puck, no one disputes that natural selection is at work. Like the ability to feel pain, life could not exist as we know it without it.

If we kept finding that organisms were perfectly designed...such as a complete lack of vestigial organs....or more efficient design...we would suggest some interference.
I don't know that I could locate but Dembski and others have made some good arguments against the tendency to decide what a perfect designer would do. Some of these thoughts, in my opinion, come from the same childish tendency to ascribe to a God, even a God one doesn't believe in, magical powers. I have a much more organic conception of how God and nature fit together. I think of it as an ongoing project.

Your final question:
They seem to accept most of the science of evolution.  They only take issue with the finer details of mutation and adaptation.  

I would like to know why they support ID as a scientific endeavor.  I fully understand their support for the philosophical side of ID....but why ID(besides the fact that it refutes Evolutionary Theory)?

I don't know that I do accept most of the science of evolution. I don't think there's much evidence that small changes lead to new species. I thought Meyer's paper was good and brought out how much we don't know about body plans, epigenetic factors in embryonic development and how difficult it is to bring about large changes because many simultaneous steps would be needed in order to not destroy the organism. Parts all work together and would need to be modified together.

I've been interested in this topic for about 7 or 8 years, and yet I never heard the phrase 'intelligent design' until maybe a year ago.  Intelligent design just gives a name to the obvious. I don't think of it as a discrete scientific endeavor, really, but as a working assumption it could lead to better discoveries. Mainly, I find it a problem when people have the working assumption that design is ruled out. That's hubris.
And why would I separate philosophy from science? If I think something is philosophically true (God exists) I would expect to find clues to that in science, in nature, in reality. And if I can't, then the science is yet primitive or my philosophy is wrong.

Date: 2006/02/07 11:47:28, Link
Author: avocationist
Okay, so I'm moving everything here.

Dear Innoculated Mind, I hope you haven't innoculated it against anything good, like new information.

But contrary to what they say, you can indeed infer about the nature of the designer from the design.
No, you really can't. You can infer that it was capable of design, not much else. Check out Lloyd Pye, a fringe guy who is sure all life has been steadily seeded here by other beings in the universe and he has lots of interesting data about it. He thinks both evolutionists and creationists have their heads in the sand.

I think the exercise in separating the design inference from the religious dogma is a good one for the Christians, because it is such a good thing for people to do, and they won't do it unless forced, which is to say, the exercise of really asking themselves, "what do I know for sure?"

I did not say 'there is a God'. I said that IF I had made that assumption, others would follow.

The assertion that there is no evidence for God doesn't interest me. First, not all scientists come to that conclusion. It is far more prevalent in biology, where Darwinist materialism holds sway. Some physicists believe they have found evidence of nonlocal consciousness. I don't know the percentages, but atheism is far smaller among physicists than biologists.
Second, it is a matter of perception. God is the subtle aspect of reality, not the gross.
I didn't read much of that very long insertion because I just couldn't see that it had much relevance to my own views. Do you know why I am here? I'm here because I was about to be banned for "gratuitious religion bashing."

Yeah, about Hume, I think that rarity is a major factor in deciding an event is supernatural. In fact, we calmly accept  the every day things which we also can't explain, just because we see them more often.

There are no flaws with my Newton comparison because you assumed I thought the Bible or Christian dogma had anything vital to do with his basic reverence for God. Let's begin by clarifying the difference between religion and spirituality. There is a whole world of spirituality as well as nonChristian religions out there. Yet down here in these Darwinian-creationist dungeons we get only a steady diet of fundamentalist understanding to work off of. Religions have names. I have no particular religion and find faith of little worth.
I'm thrilled to find out Newton was a free thinker. He failed at alchemy, of course, as most alchemists do. It takes some very, very unusual thinking to comprehend alchemy.

BTW...I am a Deist....and my religious beliefs have no bearing on my scientific ones.

What religious beliefs can a deist have?

I do not think you have understood the complex specified information argument. The coin toss answer I've seen before as well. Look, every moment of your day and every item within it is unique and unrepeatable. So the chances of it occuring in just this way if predicted beforehand would be vanishingly small. The solutions we see in biology may not be the only possible ones, but they are extremely unlikely in comparison to the vast search space of random possible connections.

Hubris is also responsible for "the meaning of life".  Life doesnt require could be accidental.
I don't think it's hubris. Seeking the meaning of life is a very sane response to the situation we find ourselves in. There are many profound and important meanings to life, but there is not one overriding one. That is because existence itself is the most profound aspect of reality, and any and all explanations are therefore lower than it, derivative from it. It is not because life might be accidental that it 'lacks inherent meaning.' It lacks inherent meaning because life itself is the most inherent thing.

It may be that I missed the point of the rock. I thought I gave good answers. You say it doesn't matter who struck the rock. But we are talking about a 'miracle' situation, and last I checked, most people can't perform miracles. So in this case, we would need to definitely study why one particular person could do it. This would be part of finding out how it occurred. What I'm trying to say about miracles is that if they occur, they are within the laws of nature, even if they are not within our current abilities to reproduce ourselves. Imagine a primitive person, faced with a pile of sand and metal shavings. If you waved a magnet over it and separated out the metal, he might find it magical. In the same way, if there is a God who does anything (I'm not sure yours does) then s/he has done things within the laws of nature, utilizing knowledge of nature we don't currently possess. Someone said to me that the resurrection was a supernatural event. But I answered that if Jesus would be so cooperative as to die for us and resurrect himself every morning at 9 o'clock, and allow teams of scientists to study the event, we would find out a lot about how it occurs.

.They still need to tell us how the rock is producing water.

With evolution, you don't need to talk about atheism vs. theism, but with ID you do?

No, I think it comes up with all of them. Darwinist evolution from the beginning was an attempt to get away from superstition and unexamined a priori acceptance of revealed scripture, yes, but it was also an attempt to do away with a need for God altogether, and the repugnance of the Christian God was a major emotional motivation. So from the beginning this was an attempt to explore the viability of a materialist worldview.

ID is dependent on having some sort of supernatural being  (defined as such, since this being is responsible for "designing" the features of the universe and only the "supernatural" could be the designer of the natural.)
Well, the argument that we must ultimately rest upon a cause of nature I agree with, but ID itself needn't go that far.  The point of ID is that if the evidence points to a designer, we can't exclude it because we don't want it to be true.

And if there is a supernatural being who caused nature then we are all dependent upon it, and if that is the case there are only two positions for the sentient being to take: awareness of it or unawareness of it.

Since it is dependent on that supernatural entity, it is inherently in the region of religion.
Region of the spiritual.
You know what I like about this whole big drama? In which the scientists have wiped the slate clean in one fell swoop and said "Okay, let's start with what we know is true and work from there."
It's a beautiful thing to do. It was time to clean house. Now the physicists are getting more and more serious about consciousness. The God we end up with will not be the one we left behind. And thank God for that.

Also, you try to argue from personal incredulity, but what is more probable, the process called evolution that has multitudes of evidence, or the undefined process called ID that posits an entity that science can not provide any evidence for, by the own definition of the entity?

Well, I am pretty satisfied based on the books and articles I have read that there isn't much evidence for Darwinism, and that the IDists are more scientific than the Darwinists because the IDists are into detail. It's all about Reality with a capital R and reality is all about detail.  What's more, I see no possibility of a universe without God. None at all.

and there is no evidence that can point to god since all evidence simultaneously points to god and not god all at once.
In my opinion that is a clue about the immanence of God - that God is part of everything.

About the branches of science - Yes, as I mentioned above, evolution tends to be more atheistic in that they have had from the beginning prominent proponents who have made this almost part of the platform. I believe the Cornell president said something about this, and someone else said that those who think evolution is compatible with religion have not understood evolution and so forth. But as I also answered, science itself is not a being with whom I can find fault. ID is simply against the tendency to refuse admittance to and to ridicule any but a materialist interpretation of evidence. This has nothing to do with the scientific method.

Date: 2006/02/08 06:07:09, Link
Author: avocationist
About the massless particle - can someone explain what it means to be massless - in what way can it have properties and it what way does it exist, is it material, does massless perhaps mean it is unaffected by gravity?

Flint said:

Arrant nonsense, totally wrongheaded. Darwin attempted to *explain evidence*. ...This is an error probably everyone here is quite thorougly sick of -- that people who respect evidence are somehow "deliberately rejecting god", pure projection on the part of the godballs. Aren't you going to pray for us now?

Well now, you tell me. Are you saying that centuries of witch burning and the inquisition and the St. Bartholomew's day massacre, and the uncounted sermons about how the saved will revel in the sufferings of the damned, even when those damned are their wives and children - that this really has had no major psychic effect upon the development of enlightenment thought? And why do you suppose that Darwin called Chrstianity a "damnable doctrine" that he could not understand why anyone would want to be true? And by this, I am not at all implying that there was anything illegitimate in seeking a way out of that morass.

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories.

Interesting quote. I'd say he is probably leaving open the degree to which we will ever discover the methods of the designer. Nonetheless, in my readings, the arguments of ID  are pretty consistent in finding Darwinism inadequate due to increasing understanding of detail. That is the thrust of Black Box, and the flagellum argument, and the Berlinski fish eyes critique and even the Meyer paper.
I note that Dembski used the words 'pathetic level of detail.' So it does not appear he is impressed by what's being offered.

Perhaps if you imagine a tiny ID ant standing next to the evolutionary elephant you will begin to understand the difference in scale.

I understand that there are mounds of data.


HHmm, two questions again.
I'm still confused about what you make of spirituality and religion.  Is it religion if it has a particular deity as a focus, or is it spirituality if there is no focus?
I'd say its religion if it has a name and some sort of system. I do look into the thought systems of various religions and find merit in a lot of it, I just don't have the need to subscribe to or follow any one of them.

Also, alchemy does take some very unusual thinking to comprehend.  But which bit of alchemy are you talking about?  Alchemy has clearly changed somewhat over the centuries, and the modern variety is nothing more than a magical movement.  (with all that that implies in terms of changing of outlook and reliance upon "spirituality")
Alchemy is a little side interest of mine. By magic are you referring to spiritual alchemy? Mostly, I'm interested in the old-fashioned kind. But spiritual alchemy is interesting, too. In my opinion, the whole Christian story is an alchemical allegory. And a beautiful one.

Date: 2006/02/08 09:40:53, Link
Author: avocationist

It is possible to imagine things which have no physical existence, but in order to see if they do or not, you need to do science.
That's just what I hope for.

What makes you think that
1) God is the existence principle?
2) and invulnerable?

Because there is nothing more fundamental than existence itself, and because the existence of anything at all is perplexing in the extreme. Because something which has the power or property of self-existence is needed in order for anything to exist. Invulnerable for the same reasons.

The Greek gods were so different from anything that I would consider a real conception of God that I suspect alien visitation to have caused the whole mythology.

You say Darwin believed God caused life, but others have differed. It doesn't look like he left a clear set of beliefs, perhaps because he didn't have one. It seems to have been an evolving question in his life. He certainly at least dabbled in the problem of origin of life, and because he did not know that single-celled organisms are complex, abiogenesis probably didn't seem like a huge problem to him.
Obviously, others disagree that there is no evidence of design, and about who is doing the deceiving of children in schools. The arguments given by ID are not philosophical.

If it is not a miracle unless it goes against the laws of nature then there are no miracles, and that is more or less what I think. But if there is a God and he parted the Red Sea, is that a miracle? I say no, but it would indicate that this other being has means and knowledge about what can be done to nature that we do not have. Big deal. We can do similar things which animals cannot do.

I am gnashing my teeth not to insult you, after you made the above statement. I cannot for the life of me consider this statement to come from an honest person. Am I missing something? What detail does ID have? You don't read science journals, do you?

No, certainly not the kind that would require a biology degree to read. What I have read are things like the Meyer paper and the critique of it and the answers to the critique. I've read Miller's paper about the Flagellum and Dembski's answers to that. From these (and more) I get the impression the ID is way out in the lead. So, although I am unfortunately relying on second-hand information, I am reading what leading proponents have to say in trying to answe the Behe challenge, and it looks to me like they aren't even close to meeting it.
Some of the anti-evolution books I've read have critiquied quite a lot of the literature.


I think I see what this all about. You need a designer to be there. You want science to confirm this.

I can see why you'd suppose that but it isn't so. I wouldn't care if neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory was true or not, although I consider it fundamentally impossible for there to be both a God and for everything about this universe to be "unplanned, unguided, accidental, and without purpose." This is why I say Ken Miller is a confused IDist. There appears to be more of a range here than I expected about evolution theory's compatibility with deism and theism. Since someone said I should define Darwinism, I use that term so as not to contaminate the word evolution, which most IDists believe in to a greater to lesser extent. Darwinism or neoDarwinism, (which is not actually dependent upon whether or not Darwin himself believed in God) is the idea that all processes were random, life is an accident, and no God is needed to explain anything anywhere.
Actually, Ken Miller seems utterly schizophrenic. The Catholic God, the one who has authorized the pope to give people 500 days off of purgatory at his discretion, was just hands off while things like flagella got themselves together. Except that he intervened on the quantum level sometimes. In fairness, I haven't read his book. How can a guy who believes that the pope is Christ's vicar use the same terminology to describe the unfolding of the universe that a staunch atheist like Gould uses? To state that life unnfolded without plan or purpose is an atheistic metaphysical position.
So again, I could perhaps be some sort of theistic evolutionist, although I don't see a big difference between that and ID.

Do you think raping science with pseudo-science is the honourable thing to do? Behe does.
This level of hostility is a red flag to me. Behe accepts more of regular evolutionary science than most IDists, and he does not have a fundamental problem with his religion. He mentions that he always did suppose that God must have started life itself but it doesn't sound as if he pondered it extensively at the time. It is rather odd, when considering  the complexity of certain biological apparatuses and coming to a design inference, to be accused of rape and  pseudoscience. Behe may be wrong, but to say his position is foolish is...well foolish. None of this has anything to do with the evidence that evolution occured, because Behe thinks it did. Look at it this way - either there is a God or there isn't. And if there is a God, s/he either had something to do with how things turned out, or s/he didn't. I mean really, that is all this amounts to.

Just think about defending ID. What is it you are really defending?
I will admit that I am not completely without fear of Christianity at its worst. And for some, ID is just a convenient corroboration to bolster their real agenda, which is scripture. But I defend ID because I think it is true. The wedge document came from Johnson, whom I would agree is a fundamentalist. But it is not clear to me that he MUST have ID, or that he happens to think it is true.

Maybe this Intelligent Designer you are seeking is really nothing else but Evolution.
I'm not sure in what sense you mean that, but I do tend to think that way simply because I am a monist.

One can be spiritual without being dishonest, or stupid, or fundie.
Ah, we agree.

I can't believe IDists are rebranding themselves as anti-evolution when it is one of their main tenets that evolution occurred. In fact, that's why I use the term Darwinist, by which I mean neoDarwinism in its generally understood sense of random mutation + natural selection adequately accounting for life forms, and that the process was unguided and accidental.

I think it's odd you say ID ideas will be worth reading when they get into the literature. That's like a medieval Catholic saying the beliefs of the Cathars and Waldenses (who were massacred) will be worth considering when they get validated at a church council. It's all about the prevailing group in power. We are talking about psychological patterns of human behaviors. There's a good essay about the corruption of the peer-review process by Frank J. Tipler called Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?
About Darwin, I answered above but his daughter was not the only consideration. He specifically mentioned that Christian doctrine would send his father and grandfather to ####.
I wasn't saying ID is predicated on a cause of nature. Nature is predicated on a cause of nature. Id itself doesn't go that far.
I didn't say we must assume God exists, I said if God exists, we can either be aware of that or unaware.
Once again, how does one scientifically test for god?  Besides, spiritual or religious realm (really they are the same) either one is outside of science.
Some people are saying that quantum mechanics has proved nonlocal consciousnesss, and that material reality cannot function without consciousness. If so, that would come quite close to a proof of God. One can say religion and spirituality are the same, but there's a big difference in assuming a coherent, unified universe held together by some sort of Universal Mind versus fundamentalist Christian dogma.
you support ID because you see "no possibility of a universe without God" yet you want to claim that it is completely scientific.
I did not say I support ID because I believe in God. It may be that I am able to see the ID arguments because I am not prejudiced against them. I don't really care how evolution occurred, except that I don't see how I could ever agree with the metaphysical position of Dawkins or Gould. I find the kind of intervention that IC systems may require disturbing and hard to reconcile with my ideas of how God would work organically as a kind of Self-evolution via nature. I prefer front-loading, but maybe not. It maybe that the intelligence of the cell is just a reflection of the ongoing omnipresence of God in everything. If there is a life force (which I think there is) then why not a mind force?

God is part of everything .. is both evidence for and evidence against god all at the same time.
In an odd kind of way, yes.  Do you see the humor in that?

Can you cite one thing, just one that is strictly evidence for god that does not rely on the a priori assumption of god's existence?
The one I gave earlier. The existence principle.

The ID movement is not scientific, it is a religio-political movement centered on combatting atheism.  Their insistence on creating straw-man definitions of evolution that equate it to atheism speak to this.  You are even making the mistake of equating philosophical materialism with methodological naturalism.
 Despite that it is dedicated to the overthrow of the materialist worldview, it is also scientific. They are not mutually exclusive. And it is a little disingenuous for people here to insist that it does not teach atheism. I have spoken to many young people including my own and they have been taught a nihilistic worldview in school, one that they find depressing. Everyone needs to clean up their act. The Christians need reformation, and the evolutionists need to stop peddling atheism.

Date: 2006/02/08 11:00:55, Link
Author: avocationist
Go over to UD and see what type of people you are siding with. They cannot even tolerate their own, let alone people with different views. Their own supporters gets banned for asking questions, for stating religious conviction or just for disagreeing with them.
Apparently you are right. It appears I have been banned, but without any explanation, and so far as I can find, without any notice.

Date: 2006/02/08 12:55:55, Link
Author: avocationist
Have the works of Dembski, Behe, or Denton been convincingly trounced by scientists somewhere that is readable by reasonably intelligent laypersons such as myself? Because when I read the critiques of their papers by said scientists, I was not impressed. So do you know where I can continue to find more info on the trouncing of their works and the refutation of books like Evolution, a theory in crisis?

Date: 2006/02/08 14:53:58, Link
Author: avocationist
Dembski's output has been treated by Mark Perakh, and by Shallitt and Elsberry. Those are well-known, so I'll assume you've seen them and were "not impressed." They're the best I've seen, so why don't you pick a point on which you feel Dembski comes out ahead and we can discuss it.
No, I'd be interested in where to find them.


Because they largely tilt at straw-man versions of evolution, they mostly do not even attain "clash" with the actual claims of neo-Darwinian theory.
What straw man versions did Denton argue against?

For the trouncing of Denton's "Evolution: a theory in crisis", all you have to do is pick up Denton's more recent book "Nature's Destiny", where he simply abandons the whole premise of the earlier book - that common descent is increasingly challenged by the evidence - and jumps on the "cosmological ID". I.e. evolution (the very process the earlier book claimed to debunk) happened after all, but it was somehow predestined by the physical constants of the universe.
Well, I've fairly recently read both, and I must be missing something. He seems to take an agnostic position, and speaks very little to any personal conclusions are to causation in either book. The first book outlines why he finds serious shortcomings in the inferences that Darwinism draws about the evolution of life. The second book speaks to cosmic fine tuning, and implies front-loading of some sort leading to species via unknown laws that dictate that there may be a limited number of possible animal types, and in which it appears that the arrival of man be the the ultimate purpose of evolution. In this sense, I find his second book a lot closer to a rather deep teleological outlook. But what I am not seeing is that the two books contradict each other. The first left completely open how the nongradual evolution might have occurred, and so, really, does the second.
If he at any time backtracked on his points in the first book, I'm unaware of it.

Date: 2006/02/08 18:10:31, Link
Author: avocationist
And conversely, photons ALWAYS go the speed of light.  You are correct that the speed of light is different in different media, but photons never go faster or slower than that.
 This seems like a contradiction, doesn't it?

Date: 2006/02/08 18:39:29, Link
Author: avocationist
Hi Puck,

Well there seems to be a disconnect between what I understand is taught by major proponents of evolution and what you say about it. The idea that evolution, and indeed this whole universe, could be seriously attributed to  matter particles that exist without cause arranging themselves to the present day is indeed my understanding of the underlying philosophy, perhaps slightly hidden but for the most part open. Gould believed it and taught it, Dawkins insists on it, the president of Cornell insists on it, the 38 Nobel Prize winners signed their names to it, and so forth. The bit about random and unguided, and even unplanned is almost a catchphrase. As I already mentioned, Miller used to put it in his textbooks until perhaps he got called on it.

I mentioned it again today because someone said I needed to specify what I mean when I say Darwinism. Anyway, this seems to me the crux of the issue between ID and regular evolutionists.

I think I agree with you that we don't need to look to God to explain the how - at least not directly. You read too much into my remark. The main thing God needs to account for is existence itself, life itself. But remember, I don't believe in a separate God and so the question of whether or not God was involved in something doesn't compute.I don't see anything that occurs as being in some separate sphere.  

Lets consider the last 15 you need God to explain anything that has occured?
Again, to me God is not a distant creator who set up a wind-up toy. I think reality is maintained by God at the core at all times, that physical reality is a continuous manifestation of some aspect of God and there is nothing nonmiraculous about the past 15 minutes (except that it remains within the laws of nature). For example, perhaps you think the Big Bang was a miracle. I think that the past 15 minutes was a miracle in exactly the same way and for the same reason.

BTW, I'd like to know what you think are the logical proofs of God.


I'll have a look tomorrow.

Date: 2006/02/09 07:45:15, Link
Author: avocationist

Not only the Copenhagen interpretation, but later experiments are supposed to have supported this. One was Alain Aspect and then Bell's theorem. But I make no secret of the fact I cannot understand this stuff. I have read through maybe 3 such books and end up bogging down when my lack of comprehension piles up. So I take what they say as provisional - there's some bright and informed people who are reaching such and such conclusion. That's all. And while I like it, I'm quite skeptical because I see the pattern of human beings to jump to unwarranted conclusions long before they have ammassed enough facts or understood them.
I think you might need to update your ideas on God believers. You say creationists are into this stuff. Maybe they are, but it doesn't really seem up their alley to me. More new age or eastern.

What is the CC?

Yeah, I'm real fond of string theory, too.

And the sad thing, even nonlocal is not proof of any God, not at all, it just raises a question over "nothing can travel faster than the speed of light".
 Well, now, that's true, or at least not God as commonly thought of as a personal and separate being. But it sure does open up some interesting vistas.

what is life?  how do you define it?
For you, this is apparently an easy question. I don't think we have the answer, though.
Guthrie it appears you forgot to include the link to why IC is junk. But as I mentioned, I have already read Miller's The Flagellum Unspun.
It's not me "continuing with this line." I have no argument with what you say and I will agree that all science is guilty of atheism if all branches' major proponents publicly insist that their branches prove that we do not need a God to explain our existence. You say science has no ability to comment or ability to discern god or purpose. Great. No problem. If your interpretation is correct then I have no beef with it. But tell it to Dawkins, and Dennett, and Mr. Cornell, and the Weisel 38. You can tell Gould too, but he's dead. Oh, and the guy who said that evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever devised.  Forgot his name.

No, you didn't say that, but you can't support ID unless you believe in god.
This is perhaps true. Although as I mentioned, there is Lloyd Pye and his interesting website. He believes all life here was instilled pruposefully by aliens, and I wrote and asked him what he thought of the origin of said aliens, and he replied that he works on what he can know and not on what he can't. ID is not a theory of life, or origins or mechanism. Yes, perhaps it needs to become that, for example by finding laws that govern the unfolding of life, but all ID says is we can detect design.
Now, you insist that science cannot ever possibly address whether there is a God. But if there is no evidence that will ever satisfy you about something so humanly possible as design detection, then I guess you're right. I don't agree science will never address it. I don't say it will, I say it might. Because it might turn up in the next few decades that design in living systems becomes so obvious that no one can deny it, and it might turn up that we find out things on the nature of physical matter that require an origin, or something else I haven't thought of. That would be what I'd call an indirect evidence for the existence of some sort of godlike being.

Behe says that something that is IC is impossible to occur by chance, but he can't know that.  In order to know that, he would have to know all the chance occurances we know about, plus all the ones that we don't know about, which he can not do.
Well I disagree and I think they are well along the way to examing these issues. But you think we should give up because we just can't and that's that.

(Existence principle) "It is not evidence for god."
But of course no one has an answer to it, either.

You also can't distinguish between evolution and any other science as to why it is more atheistic, except to say Dawkins and Gould, which is rubbish reasoning since there are atheists in all scientific disciplines.
We are on the verge of calling one another dishonest. I said a lot more than D and G. I said that it is pervasive in our academic culture and taught in school texts. I am pretty glad that you and Puck insist that this problem is overblown, but you've got your head in the sand and seem to be simply pretending that it isn't going on.

Date: 2006/02/09 09:02:22, Link
Author: avocationist

I'm sorry to say that there has got to be something better than this. Also, while I have read a number of Dembski's essays, I cannot critique his mathematical ideas because that is way out of my league. But just in the first couple of paragraphs, I find some pretty tiresome stuff. This is an exceedingly long article in which he starts out by saying that if Dembski considers something highly improbable, it amounts to an argument from ignorance and god-of-the-gaps. Then he calls specified complexity, which is a perfectly valid informational concept a "middleman" that Dembski is using to cover up the fact that his actual argument amounts to the argument from ignorance.

Well, well, well. I'm tired to death of hearing about arguments from ignorance. If we don't know, we don't know, and fantasizing ain't the answer. There is nothing invalid about telling someone that their proposal is utterly unrealistic. And we can't very well get started finding out what is realistic if we cling to said fantasy.

If someone in 1402 comes up with a green cheese theory of the moon, someone might have very good reason for disputing while admitting that they have no way with the tools of 1402 to get a handle on what it is made of. And the green cheese guy says, well you are making a negative argument, and what's your theory?

Being already annoyed, I clicked on some links at the sidebar and read what Dembski had to say about this guy. We don't have time for this.

This lays it out pretty clearly.

Well, I made it through 3 pages, out of 5 which is quite doable. I failed to understand many of his points. He also uses a gratuitious amount of name calling with vague assertions to show that Denton is "naive" and "fails to undertand" this or that aspect of evolution theory. His thinking is "outmoded." Yet there is surprisingly little meat in this critique.

I didn't get why he thinks Denton's thought in Crisis involved outmoded typological thinking. But notice that he said his style was typical of 80's era creationism. What filler. He has only 5 pages, and he fills it with filler.

He calls Denton's perhaps most interesting (to me) chapter about equidistance "spurious." Now, I'd love to know why.

This reviewer seems to think that putting scare quotes around something equals an adequate refutation of it.

Also he says Denton abounds in "uncritical adaptationism" which he says is inappropriate to modern biology. Unfortunately, he didn't go into enough detail for me to get a handle on what he was getting at.

This is as far as I've gotten with the various links presented. I am not trying to be difficult. I have read the critique of the Meyer paper, I have read the critique by Miller of IC. Those were readable and accessible. But these two papers are just shite. We need critics that get to the heart of the arguments and don't waste our time.

Date: 2006/02/09 09:13:19, Link
Author: avocationist
And here's another thing. This is not exactly the first time that I have seen neoDarwinian evolution defenders dismiss someone of Denton or Behe's calibre of misunderstanding fairly basic, undergrad level stuff about evolution theory.

It would appear, in fact, that this is a pervasive problem and a frequent one.

So, if a person with a Ph.D. in, say, molecular biology, someone with a presumably and apparently high IQ and who is not a fundamentalist with some pre-existing serious impediment to understanding evolution still so often fails to understand it, then evolution theory must be very, very hard to really grasp. And this tells me that perhaps it is a big mistake to try to get the public to understand it. It just isn't suitable for general consumption. No wonder it is having all this political fallout. 9th graders are not subjected to theoretical physics.

It may be that the teaching of evolution theory should be reserved to the graduate level, and then only in those with the appropriate majors. At the very least, it should not be taught until at least the junior year of college.

Date: 2006/02/09 17:02:38, Link
Author: avocationist
What does it mean when a moderator takes the vowels out of your post? Just to delete it is one thing, but to make hash out of it seems pretty rude. I find this upsetting. I've been on forums for about 3 or 4 years, and never before had a problem.


Well, I do not consider the current state of sciene intrusive of my belief system. I just for some reason have an interest in the debate over the veracity of evolutionary theory, but I am not personally threatened.

You say we should make science more agnostic. I think that as far as people here are concerned, it is perfectly alright with them so long as they maintain the stance that science and spirit are and always will be separate spheres, so one does not touch the other. And that may or may not be the case. I would like to point out, however, that so long as that is true it means we are in ignorance. For either spirit is not true and we should come to know that of a certainty, or it is true and science will come to know of it.

Of course I do think that current evolutionary theory is inadequate and I think it must get new ideas. I have thought so since I read Wells chapter on homology. That was about two years ago. I think that for lack of greater knowledge, evolutionary theory has placed all its eggs in the mutation basket.

There's no sense being impatient and rude (not you, the whole community) about what ID has not accomplished. People are working on it and knowledge is increasing. You want predictions. I predict that our knowledge will, hopefully soon, show more clearly what makes an organism what it is, and that it will be proof that a species cannot become another species, in other words, limits to change. Actually, species isn't right, probably genus. Species have a bit of flexibility.
The problem with other mechanisms, like frontloading, is that they tend to look planned and intelligent.

ID theory does not claim all phenomena are due to a designer. Many believe in common descent and even mutations, but they think some systems show design.

You know, the bit about ID not identifying the personal attributes of the designer - it just has been said so many times. ID is a design inference, and while it may leave some unanswered questions or lead to new routes of inquiry, that is as far as ID goes. It looks designed, it doesn't look like Darwinian pathways made this. Why is it reasonable to ask for everything at once?

I agree with you that it would be somewhat unsatisfying to be left with no mechanism. Some ID people accept that.

I do not think we have to know everything about everything to prove Behe correct. There seems to be a huge idea here to accept that just anything at all can happen and so why not just accept that it is therefore probable enough.
Perhaps we should just go with Puck's advice and let the idea percolate out that science should be agnostic. I don't care if Hawking is an atheist. Kids are being taught in school nihilistic philosophy in their evolution class, and perhaps they need not be.

What good is ID? It is design detection.

Which gets us where? It gets us back into reality, if indeed the IDists are right that Darwinists are chasing a flawed theory.

How will we ever figure out through science if we were designed? Well, I think we still have along way to go before we should give up. There's so much unknown now about life forms. It's perhaps one reason people should invest a little less emotion. We are in a growing pains stage now. We can chill out and watch things unfold.

You say that if we discovered we were designed, it wouldnt prove god but that's what I've been saying. I believe in God but I don't necessarily think the designer is God. And BTW, neither did the gnostic Christians, who were numerous at one time.

Science is not about finding evidence for God - yes, very right, but neither can it insist that evidence for god is an impossibility.

You don't know that God is unknowable. And if God herself is undetectable, that doesn't mean there will be no evidence of her existence/works.

To say that nature and existence require an ultimate source of a radically different kind is not to say that "anything we don't know means there is a god."

Oh no, I did not ever say that my religious sensibilities were hurt because science does not recognize God, I merely have said that I am one of the very few people I've run across who holds out at least the hope that science will find said evidence. Most religious people also think God is forever out of the purview of science.

Now, now, I don't think scientists were trying to find out how many angels could dance on a pin. That may have been a theological discussion.

And if they were then let the utter foolishness that men are capable of be a lesson to you, and don't imagine that because it is 2006 and we have laser surgery that you and all of us here are automatically immune.
BTW, whoever recommended Feynman's book on the theory of light and matter - I just ordered it from Amazon.
OK, this post is long enough. What does it take to get banned here? Do you ban people much? Are they warned first? I have always heard that PT is pretty intolerant. You guys seem alright. I thought this was PT but I guess it is related.

Date: 2006/02/09 18:07:41, Link
Author: avocationist
This is indeed baffling.
No, what I meant is that Behe and Dembski and no doubt others are looking into how to realistically detect design and how. It seems a couple of people here said it can't be done at all or we would have to be omniscient. I don't agree.
It's Behe's thesis - that these "IC" systems couldn't have arisen by evolution - that says there's no point in trying to figure out how they evolved.
Well, I can see where this is deflating. But I don't think anyone, including Behe, thinks we should stop trying to understand these systems, and even if we think they were designed, does not mean we will not try to figure out how.
Read Ernst Mayr's "What Evolution Is" if you haven't already
Is it a book? Isn't he ancient?
As to Denton Then vs. Denton Now: it's really quite simple. His first book (with its "equidistance" argument you find so appealing, but that no educated biologist has ever found any merit in) was all about denying common descent. His second book accepts it. Pretty fundamental, no?
I'd like to see a good critique of his equidistance argument. Now, you say his first book was about denying common descent and now he accepts it. Here, I think, is what may have happened. Common descent is not a question I had examined in great detail in my own mind, because I am convinced gradualism didn't happen, and while I had heard of saltation theories, they seemed pretty absurd to me because I could not really envision how they could occur. Special creation seems silly but I cannot really say what I would have answered about how the various species got here. I remember being less than pleased to read that Behe believes in common descent, because to me that means gradualism. Yet now, on Uncommon Descent, Dave Scot has been pushing the issue, and I thought more concretely about it. I realized that common descent indeed makes more sense because I always envision my natural God doing things slowly, organically and from within. Of course there are now some saltation ideas getting thrown around, and Dr. Davison's semi-meiotic idea of frontloading. So now I would say that the best ideas going are either of a natural unfolding of inputted genetic potential according to law or possibly that there is an intelligence that resides in the DNA of organisms and reconfigures them. That would be a form of special creation, but all new types would be born from physical parents.
By arguing 20 years ago against gradualism, while actually remaining agnostic on what did happen, and now having his  thoughts evolve in the direction of a finely tuned universe, he is obviously thinking of a form of common descent as I am and probably with some form of saltation. I see no real going backward closer to Dawinism in this thought process.
while evolution has tons of evidence.

It has a lot of data, and a fair amount of knowledge, but how that is put together as a theory has many problems and so not everyone is convinced that the data amounts to coherent evidence for the theory as thus far proposed. And remember, only the YECers deny evolution occured, so there is agreement on the meaning of some of the data. And among IDists, many believe in common descent. But there's plenty of problems with gradualism.

Also, it's not wrong to ask what someone's competing theory is, if they say they have one like IDists say they do.
They don't have one, and I don't think they say they do. What they have is a competing mental approach, one that doubts gradualism and randomness.
 Sir Toejam,

I do attempt to address the question of what is life. I have for some time now. I consider it a deep question, and I don't think chemistry is the sum total of life.
Puck again,

Yeah, I'm glad it turned out so well for the phlogiston. But remember what happened to Semmelweis. He actually did studies before presenting to his colleagues how they were killing new mothers but they didn't want to hear it and hounded him to his sad grave.

Date: 2006/02/09 18:16:53, Link
Author: avocationist
Dear Tired,

Are you at least telling yourself that you write to us with honesty?  
I'll bite, since I have endless hope in the power and beauty and horror that is existence, and imagine you do.

If you actually read - meaning think about - any decent amount of the material (layperson's stuff, even) with the merest grain of honest intention, you will end up following one of two paths: you will believe in theistic, currently (and likely forever) unproveable, evolutionary theory, or else atheistic evolutionary theory - if you actually ever cared about the questions that biology raises, and offers approximate answers for, that is.
If all you care about is proving to yourself how important you are, and how immortal, and how loved by all, you have been very, very impolite to waste other people's time here.

Well, I was off to bed but I can't resist. What  are you talking about? I find your assertions astonishing. do I understand you right?

Atheism is the only honest response to reading about evolution? Theism amounts to egotism?

Date: 2006/02/10 04:40:30, Link
Author: avocationist
For heaven's sake you silly people next time you have the flu go buy some oscillococcinum. It works.

What's with all these arguments from personal incredulity doing here?

Artist is a sweet old grandpa that is brand new. He's working on opening his mind, so he's doing all that can be expected.

Date: 2006/02/10 06:56:54, Link
Author: avocationist
Flint, et al,


Is there such a person? I think there was an ARN thread some while back where the ID proponents were asked to name ANYONE who was familiar with evolutionary theory, had no religious convictions against it, but still denied the basic principles. I don't think anyone could come up with a single person.

Ultimately, this is because the ONLY reason anyone rejects ANY explanation of anything, is because they find some other explanation more appealing. Since evolution is based on evidence, and has been thoroughly vetted by tens of thousands of professionals for 150 years, rejection implies some other explanation whose appeal is beyond question. Only religion qualifies.

The problem is, this argument can easily be turned around. And it certainly seems to me that people who insist Darawinism is so obvious are glossing over the very good arguments against, which to my knowledge have never been answered because there exist no answers, and is every bit as blind as you think the other side is. You make the very good point that personal preference is a very strong, if not the strongest, cause for people to believe what they do. But if you think only the other side has that problem but not your own, then you may not have looked honestly.  

It strikes me as just as true that those who cannot see any problem with Darwinism, or who are scandalized at the thought of intelligent design, are "unable to overcome" their bias.

Let me repeat: to simply insist there are no really good causes for a rational person to doubt Darwinism seems like a form of fundamentalist thinking, which is to say, completely unable to see another point of view.

And as I've mentioned and as so many other ID people have mentioned, we could, and often did, accept Darwinian evolution. Many people did, many authors including agnostics like Richard Milton. Behe himself always did, and when he read Denton's book it opened his eyes. But he and Ken Miller believe in the same God and go to the same pope to relieve their time in purgatory.

Since plenty of devout people accept Darwinian evolution, perhaps religion isn't the sole problem. Perhaps we are actually swayed by what appears to our no doubt deluded and low mental faculties as counterevidence.

I'd like to actually ask the people here a question. I guess it is a somewhat personal question. It seems to me that we have a pretty simple logical algorithm before us. At least two people here have admitted they think there is a God and presumably some others are agnostic. If there isn't one, we are done with the line of questioning. We can assign a 50/50 probability just for fun. But if there is a God, then presumably this God has something to do with causation of this universe, probably s/he would have something to do with the Big Bang, for example. So if our reality includes a God, then it is naturally possible that there are clues or evidence of that.

It seems very hard to find fault with that logic. So the ID position is that we can legitimately search for, and indeed feel we are hot on the trail of, evidence of the fundamental intelligence that underlies this universe.

If I understand the position taken here, it is that if there is a God, the universe will nonetheless look indistinguishable in every way from one without a God. Now, that may be true, but it hardly seems the most likely. Why then, such strong feelings about those who have taken a different leg of the algorithm?

My personal question is this: What does it mean to you if there is not only a God, but one who took some hand in evolution? If that is disappointing, why?

Your post is, as usual, logical. I'm not going to argue. You ask about proof of God, but I don't think you mean it. I have said that existence itself needs explaining. Something fundamentally different is required. If science does find some indirect proof, such as finding out something surprising about material reality, it would strengthen that thing called faith. That would be a bare outline. The only interesting way to know about God is subjectively, which only a few people are interested in.

If you wish to not be taken as a laughing stock, please explain why you still think that Behe et al are correct, i.e. explain how Miller etc were wrong in their critique of Behe.

Sure, that seems useful. I'll probably have to print up the Miller paper and the critiques and go through it. I'm also interested in finding out if there are good answers to Denton's book, by which I mean the first one.

Personally, I don't see how any cosmic purpose (if there is one) could depend on the biological details of how our bodies are constructed. (Or for that matter, at what location in the universe we appeared.)

It appears from the vantage of biology that the purpose is to get different working bodies. I don't suppose the exact details are vital. Look at our cars, we just like variety and  find it aesthetically pleasing to design new ones. The bit about our location in the universe bugs me. I haven't seen the movie or book, but I smell a rat. They might be right our location satisfies certain requirements, but it seems pretty horrifying if we are the only living planet out of billions of galaxies and I suspect some people want to think that way.

Date: 2006/02/10 07:44:36, Link
Author: avocationist
It is very difficult for me to believe that someone could say that smear tactics have been from the ID side. I have been reading around on the net for many months now, and it appears to me that the false representation and outright nastiness toward ID is far ahead of any tendency to rational argument. I hardly ever see it going in the opposite direction. I read a lot of the links to articles posted in the media. In my own hometown newspaper, someone did a writeup of ID that not only was false, but he insinuated that if ID were to prevail, modern medicine would go out the window and we would rely on faith healers. This is a high level of hysteria and paranoia.

Of course, I have tried to discuss with ID or religious folks a little bit about why they might need to own up to how christianity has caused a certain amount of fear, but no one answers.

Go to the Discovery Institute and read what they have to say about the wedge document. They disown the wedge document and that should be good enough.There are dishonest and fundamentalist people out there aplenty. I don't think the document is actually from those reconstructionist types and some of the points from the wedge DI agrees with. You might want to have a look.

Date: 2006/02/10 09:55:40, Link
Author: avocationist
I'm getting behind, Puck, I'll just go thru yours

(Thank you, Sanctum)

No one is claiming that they are totally seperate spheres....they only seem that way.
That is a wise statement.

This isnt what kind of prediction we are asking for, and I hope this was more of a joke than an honest answer.
It was not a joke. I don't think animals can evolve into different genii by small mutational steps. And if I'm right, then no doubt that will be discovered as our knowledge of evo devo improves. What kind of predictions do you want? That one's mine by the way.

.ID is in no way in competition with 'Darwinism'?  If your statement is true...then ID has absolutely no opposition to current Evolutionary Theory.  'Darwinists' already attribute design to "natural selection"....therefore ID is simply reinforcing the current theory.
Yes, it is. ID thinks an active, intentional form of intelligence was involved. ID is unlikely to accept gradualism. What I can't see, tho, is that there is any real difference between ID and theism or deism or even agnosticism. It's just an argument over where and when and how.
You, I think favor the initial conditions idea. The only way it conflicts is that an ID person would think that it might have been frontloaded, but not randomly assembled, that is, DNA or the original life form.
I think the feeling of resistance to ID is about freedom and also consistency. If God interferes at certain points, it really takes the fun out because consistency is lost. We would be in pursuit of an incoherent reality with chunks missing. I think that would make scientists feel trifled with. It is all making sense to me now and I think I have answered my earlier question.


Im sorry, but what arguments are you referring to?

Well, this is a long project, and probably the right one. I have printed up the Miller-Dembski flagellum exchange, and someone back on pg 2 gave out some links, which I haven't forgotten. I have a list of books, Wells, Milton, Bird, Spetner, Johnson. I also liked the Meyer paper. Of the books, I'd probably like to delve into perhaps the arguments of Spetner if I'm remembering correctly that he goes into the informational aspect, and Denton.

If God exists, and he wants to leave evidence of his existence that is irrefutable, then why doesn't he simply appear?  Do you believe that the people who do discover the proof of God are more entitled than the people who previously had to work off of blind faith?  I cannot say that I would completely disagree with the idea of God making the knowledge of his existence absolute; but to date, I don't believe he has done that and I dont really know why he would suddenly change his mind.

I hardly know how to respond except to say that the nature of your questions reflect a way of looking at reality that I used to share but no longer do. I can't prove that my way is better but it certainly seems that way. The sensation is one of deeper understanding of the sort that, once seen, cannot be undone.
I do not attribute to God that he "wants" to hide or "wants to appear." I don't think God is filled with guile or engages in any shenanigans to fool people. It would be more accurate to say that God hides in plain sight. Faith is merely a weak form of knowledge. It isn't an end but a means. Faith leads to knowledge, for those who want it to. The reason I think society would be benefited by knowledge of God or spirit is that it would strengthen faith. Entitlement doesn't enter the picture at all. I don't think there is a god who finds people wanting and banishes them. I don't think there is a god who is offended by atheism. I don't think there are people leading spiritual lives and people who do not. Song, dance, and happiness are the highest form of praise to the creator. No one can possibly be guilty for their perception. Anger or impatience are the marks of limited perception, and does not describe infinite being.

You may be suggesting, however, that God had no choice but to leave his 'signature' upon reality.  If this is the case, then your conception of God is fairly limited.  You believe in a God that could create all reality, but who couldn't hide his fingerprints from his creation?

No, I don't think God can hide from the creation any more than I think God can cease to exist. God is the only reality. There isn't anything else. That is why God hides in plain sight. It is all a matter of perception. Always there, always was, invisible to many, obvious once seen. No one is forced to be aware of God, who is infinitely gentle.

Of course, I might be completely bonkers, barely holding my reality together with strong meds. :0

Date: 2006/02/10 10:51:51, Link
Author: avocationist
For example:  You think that their are massive unaddressed flaws with 'Darwinism'...yet you cant tell us what they are...

I haven't had time to do it yet. It's definitely the right way to go.

If, however, someone claims that dropping Evolution and replacing it with ID will push medicine into the dark ages...they actually have a reason.  It may be hyperbole, but since many, many modern medical advances are based on the Theory of would not be false to claim that if Evolution was false...then many medical discoveries would be invalidated.

I believe that is a fallacious assumption. Name me one medical advance that would be invalidated, name me one medical discovery that depended upon the arrival of species having come about through gradualism rather than some other mechanism.


No one is saying that Darwinists are engaged in massive fraud. What they say is that Darwinian evolution will turn out to be one of the biggest false leads in science. The word fraud might be used, but not personally against anyone or the group. That is absurd.

Are you familiar with this for instance?
Alright, I'm sitting here reading it and first of all, Wesley called someone named Goode to ask what Dembski meant. In my opinion, Goode was wrong. I don't think Dembski was referring to the collapse of the Soviet Union, but just to a hegemony in science, and I cannot disagree with that. The actions taken against Richard Sternberg, for example, show exactly what Dembski mentions, and while Wesley is right that he was not sent to exile or taken out and shot, we don't have that kind of society. Again, Wesley says Dembski failed to note the unproductive nature of ideologically sanctioned science, but right now it seem it is Wesley who should be thinking about that. No the parallels are not exact - we don't exist in an idea-driven totalitarian regime but it is still a monopoly of ideas to a large extent. Anyway, that's as far as I got.

but I will tell you I honestly worry about the anti-science, anti-intellectual religious right mindset that seems to be inseparable from ID.
Yes, even Grandad notices that the far end of the fundamentalist spectrum is the situation we have in the middle east. But then, too, let us not forget that it is not only religion which is capable of this - after all, we have the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany which were, if anything, worse than living under the Ayatollah of Iran.

Okay, I went back to look at the wedge document, and I misunderstood the first time. Apparently it is theirs. Nonetheless, I don't know what about it you find objectionable. I've read through about half your link.

Date: 2006/02/10 11:27:11, Link
Author: avocationist
What do you mean gradualism is not part of current theory. I just used that word - does it means something I'm not aware of? By gradualism, I mean current Darwinian theory of descent by small, slight modifications.

Yes, let someone explain why evolution theory matters in explaining how a drug works on living tissue.

Do you realize that the first vaccines were invented before evolution theory? Please tell me if all scientists agreed right now that the 6-day creation story is correct, why they could not create a flu vaccine?

Date: 2006/02/10 11:46:22, Link
Author: avocationist
Well, basically, I just don't think that would happen. I don't think science would be affected. I think people would continue to study and reverse engineer.

Date: 2006/02/10 14:23:52, Link
Author: avocationist
ID claims to want to revolutionize --and redefine-- science,
They want to take philosophical materialism out of science as a given. Note the word philosophical.

Your scenario was funny, but I just don't think that would happen.

Avocationist: how many papers did you say you've published?
Careful there. If a reasonably intelligent and interested layperson cannot come to an opinion, then like I said yesterday, get this out of high school, get this out of undergrad studies and put it in grad school where it belongs and leave the public out of it.

As for whether I'm ignoring evidence, surely you realize this is one of the biggest complaints of the ID against Darwinists.  Anyway, I just ordered the Mayr book, if that helps. At least, I'm sure I'll never again forget the plural of genus.

Also, last but not least, I have spent a heluva lot of time reading, and while it has mostly been from the anti-darwinian point of view, I have actively sought out actual responses to actual ID claims and that is why I have read the Meyer paper and its critique and the answers to the critique, and the Flagellum papers and the answers to the critique, and the whole fish eyes debate, and a few more I can't remember. I think a book like The Origin of Species Revisited by Bird, while he seems to be a creationist, is one very long list of what appears to be in-context quotes from a huge number of well known and published proponents of the theory of evolution. About half the book is quotes and it is surely the most documented book ever written.

As for Dembski, I listened to his recent talk, (which was not interesting in that it was an intro to ID) but he quotes James Shapiro saying that there are no good Darawinian pathways to compleax biological systems, just wishful speculations. And James Shapiro knows that Dembski uses that quote, and he wrote to Dembski and said, don't you know I support evolution? And Dembski said, I always tell them that.


But a lot of vaccine candidates don't work, or worse, actually exacerbate the disease they're supposed to prevent. Why they do that is the subject of intense research, involving all the tools of modern biology, to which evolutionary theory is integral. You can't pick up a journal, or go to a meeting, concerning vaccine development where evolution, whether of pathogens or of the immune system, is not explicitly or implicitly central to most of the articles or talks.
 Yes, the critters are very complex, all critters are complex and their interactions even more so. But please be more specific as to how it matters in what manner said critters arrived on the scene? Wouldn't everything work the same way even if God designed them all last week down to the last atom?

AND... do you suppose the current concern over avian flu is predicated on the possibility of that nonexistent random mutation converting a barely competent human pathogen into a highly contagious agent, under the influence of the highly controversial natural selection? Or do you think scientists are just waiting to see if the Intelligent Designer is in a capricious mood?
Obviously little critters mutate as ABX resistance shows, and in fact they seem to have some input about it. Nobody in ID or even the creationsists dispute that the flu could mutate to jump species.

Although Wells does site inappropriate usages which are retained for convenience long after they ought to be jettisoned, I still don't think that IDists consider Darwinists to be generally engaging in conscious fraudulency. Certainly, I don't. Go over to UD and check out the Darawin's birthday thread. Someone there has quoted Niles Eldridge condemnating the promotion of the horse series long after it was known to be outdated. And good ole JAD defended Haeckel.

Date: 2006/02/11 16:54:10, Link
Author: avocationist

A reasonably intelligent and interested layperson - even a ninth grader - can quite easily understand,

Well, now, that could be the problem right there. I only completed the 8th grade. Never set foot in high school. I just couldn't take it anymore. The main, but not the only reason I hated school was that they prevented me from reading.

Unfortunately and I'm ashamed to admit it, but purely for economic reasons I ruined my pristine state of nonschooling in my 30's and got an AA degree. It even included a few basic courses in cell biology, microbiology and what was probably high school level chemistry. I got straight A's course. If I had had any idea that school could ever become more exciting than solitary confinement, I'd have done what my niece just did - raised literally in a barn without electricity by her hippie parents, she has a totally free ride to Amherst. (Where she will no doubt become a Darwinist.)

and even accept (if they haven't already acquired a mental block which prevents them from doing so), the fundamentals of the Theory of Evolution, as I hope you'll discover when you read Mayr.

But you only assume I have a mental block. few people really know what it means to worship the goddess of truth. One must be willing to chop off one's very limbs and cast them into the flames. At Darwinism I wouldn't even flinch if I thought it were true. And maybe you'll convince me yet!

The point I was trying to make with that comment was that it is invariably non-biologists (like you) who are trying to tell us biologists what is and isn't an accepted theory in biology. The Theory of Evolution is accepted by biologists, whether you like it or not (clearly you don't).
If I implied that I don't think it is accepted by biologists, then I apologize. I believe I loved cell biology best of all; nerve conduction is sublime.

I sincerely hope you get something out of Mayr's book. But given that you've already made up your mind that mutations aren't necessary or sufficient to explain evolution, before you've bothered to learn what mutations even are, I suspect my hope is in vain.
I have to admit that random mutations seem very unlikely to be responsible for much good, but I certainly want to learn more about it. Perhaps if I learn more, I'll understand your mistakes!  :)


Are you intentionally being obtuse? Do you really think our understanding of biology, our ability to use it and predict it, is independent of our understanding of how organisms evolve?
I promise I'm not. I know that you are studying single-celled organisms, and that they do mutate a bit. But in what way is your research affected by descent with modification? Do you know what previous species of bacteria your bacteria evolved from? How would that matter as compared to how your bacteria behave right now?
Your predictions may be based on learning more about how organisms mutate, but I don't see how your research is affected by the grand scheme of evoluton.

You just finished suggesting that the mechanisms by which organisms came to be what they are, are irrelevant to how we understand biology. We "Darwinists" (read: actual working scientists) think that mutation and selection are central to those mechanisms.  IDers seem to think mutation and selection are secondary at best. I'm telling you mutation and selection are all we have to understand how and why influenza changes.
 I know that you consider mutations the driving force of evolution, and that I don't. As for being all you have, I really think that if it is bacteria you are studying, and their effects upon us, then mutation and selection are all you need.

If you're interested in biology or science, why oh why are you  reading what some lawyer has to say about it? There really is no shortage of biology books written by actual biologists.
Oh, but that isn't to learn about biology. His book is kind of an eye-opener. It just gives a window into the thoughts and problems as expressed by category by the many experts in their fields. Really, the book is pretty dry.
And don't think I have forgotten Denton. I'm quite interested in what you said. I'll get back to it on the other thread.
I'm also interested in where you said some vaccines just make it worse. Are those vaccines the public never hears about?



Why, then, is it that they also take out any mention of a need to test ideas against the empirical evidence?
Who says that? The conclusion I'm coming to today, while reading The Flagellum Unspun, is that everyone ought to stop pretending that we have a clue. But mostly the Darwinists of course.
Talk about biting off more than one can chew! Talk about a pandora's box! Talk about making a molehill out of a mountain! Oh, Charles, what have you wrought?

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday dear Darwin
Happy Birthday to You

Date: 2006/02/11 18:46:18, Link
Author: avocationist
What about where the Bible says the sun goes around the earth?

Date: 2006/02/11 20:58:15, Link
Author: avocationist

But that's the problem with Behe's thesis. It rests on there being no way for these systems to have come about naturally. So what kind of research program has any IDer proposed to figure out a mechanism by which something happened supernaturally?
 Yes, this is a real problem. It reminds me of some things Miller said at the end of his paper. I have tremendous faith in...Reality, though. The Designer is not a cheater, not a hider, and won't ruin the fun.

Also, I find it telling that you seem uninterested in the abundant evidence presented that progress is being made - plausible, researchable evolutionary hypotheses are being offered - toward each and every system Behe has held up as "irreducibly complex".
SFAIK, that is mostly overblown. We'll see.

I even paid $5 more for a used copy of the more recent paperback when I could've gotten a new hardback from 1998, just in case their was some new dope.

Re: Denton Then vs. Denton Now.  All of your dancing around the issue fails to change the stark fact. His first book - widely cited as inspiration by IDists Johnson, Behe, and others - was all about evidence against common descent. There is nothing left of that argument that he has not tacitly admitted to be refuted. You'll notice he is no longer among the Discovery Institute's "Fellows".  I think that, in their creepily Soviet style of information management,they have largely purged the record of their falling out with him.
I guess I am just not convinced and you don't seem to have read or understood my post. The arguments he made were against Darwinist gradualism because there seems to be  arguments that sway such minds as mine and his. It does not really speak to how the life forms did get here, and I really never envisioned the kind of special creation that involves each species being made in God's laboratory and carefully kept alive in an intensive care unit until safely transported out of God's mobile lab (I think he would need a mobile lab so he could go to each continent). I always thought that the genes were modified wholesale from living creatures in some way. It may very well be that a fundamentalist like Johnson has a different hope in mind when they read a Denton-type book, so he might have gotten disappointed. As to others, we all have tons of left over baggage from Biblical and Christian worldview. I think Denton's thought has progressed nicely and I would really like to find out what he has to say himself (I did a search but I'm crappy at it) about how his thinking has altered. But anyway, he now thinks life unfolded according to laws, and why not, and he thinks in terms of an entire universe of laws that support life. With this I am in total agreement.
I had no idea that he used to be a fellow and isn't anymore and I would like to find out more about that. But I would like to know where he admits that all his arguments have been refuted. Perhaps I'll see if he can be contacted.

Post-modernist anti-intellectualism. Somehow the mere posing of an alternate point of view makes both views equally valid, so you can never know anything, just have opinions. I reject that completely.
So do I. Down with postmodernism!

Well, no. "if I'm right, then one day I'll be proved right" doesn't really count as a prediction, in the scientific sense.
C'mon, now. What I said was that I believe based on the nonsense I've been reading that there are limits to genetic change in a species, and that as we are delving deeper into genetics and evo devo, we'll find those locked gates. And I wait faithfully to be vindicated. Leaving the work to others, of course.


The movie is The Priveleged Planet, I think. I thought you were referring to it re our position in the cosmos (they say we've got a great view).


If there is a God, and he/she has the power to create a universe, and yet he/she chooses to make the evidence of his/her abilities so vague that it is, for all intents and purposes, unrecognisable ... well ... why?
It has to do with perception. In a way, I'm the ultimate evolutionist. From my viewpoint, people generally have childish, which is to say simple, unexamined and rather cartoonish notions of God and self. The ideas lack depth and therefore are of little worth to the problem of how to live. God is what God is and it is the human being who must grow in awareness, not demand that God enter our world as a "toon." I think that the whole purpose of existence is evolution, not merely of life forms, but of consciousness, awareness, understanding. You say God is hiding, but I see God in everything. But I wasn't always like this - it took years of deep, penetrating logical thought.

Taking it one step further, if this God controlled evolution, and Homo sapiens as it exists today was the intended end point of this process, would you then suggest that this God cared about us?If so, then I would conclude that either this God is powerless to do anything about the multitude of atrocities that occur every day on this planet, or that he/she is actively refraining from doing anything about them.

You see, such questions are petulant. They blame God when it is we ourselves who cause the majority of the misery. It elevates God to some distant, imaginary parental figure. It would do no good for God to interfere and MAKE us be good, or blow his whistle like a teacher on the playground - stopping the meanies before they hurt anyone.
This would be an eternity of policework of primitive and undeveloped beings - us. Instead, we will evolve until by learning from our mistakes we have finally internalized the good and have a true conscience.

God is wild, far from tame, but never uses force. He will not force us to be good.  
I'd suggest that maybe this God wasn't really worthy of the respect some people show him/her.

Yeah, that's why I preach too much. I'm kinda tired of the way God gets slandered by (some) religion and made into a petty and egotistical tyrant. It's all lies.

Near as I can tell, usng just the basic notion that life was in some way deliberately engineered, I don't see that it necessarily contradicts the conclusions of the current theory
 I'm thinking that is pretty much right. But as to the current theory, if things were deliberately engineered then we would rely a little less on random oportunism and seek out more the underlying laws or processes that brought that engineering to fruition.


Think this through carefully. Can there be evidence for something, if, in principle, there can be none against?
But you slightly altered the topic. I wasn't arguing for the existence of God, I said that if there is one, there should be clues lying around.


Science should always try to find out how "the world works".
 Of course. God isn't separate from the world, though.


If ID isn't religious in nature, why do these discussions invariably delve into ontology?.
It's all my fault and I admit it.


ID could predict that totally artificial organisms can not be created.
Eh? What's that about?

It is a completely different thing to say.."I dont think that your idea works...I have no just doesnt sound feasible."
 Yes, I do need to get to that. Right now, I'm worried about my hero, Denton. I was planning on submitting his name to the queen for knighthood.

If God interferes all the time...then empirical science is completely unreliable.
I sympathize and it cannot work that way -- at the same time remember Grego's post above and he is mad that God doesn't interfere?

Quote the last couple of centuries...we havent really seen God interfere...maybe he is on vacation?
I hope Jehovah is on a permanent vacation. I'm convinced he's an imposter. I think he was some kind of channeled guy.

Basically you're a pantheist?  If this is the case...have you ever studied hinduism?  It supposedly is more spirtually fulfilling than Christianity, and it has your favorite flavors....only bad news is that the Earth is very, very, very old.
Basically, I'm a religion of one. I thought I was a pantheist for a while, until someone informed me I was a panentheist.(God is immanent and transcendent) I struggle between the two...Someone used the word monist on a forum and I looked it up and sure enough, that's me. So, yeah, I've looked into Advaita, which is the real heart of Hinduism. I have tremendous respect for Hinduism, but I don't know why you think the age of the earth is a problem. They like to throw around really big numbers. 15 billion years is just one breath of Brahma. And they said there are 8 million life forms, and I respect them for that. They're in the ballpark a couple of thousand years ago.

Did you notice said that Faith leads to knowledge.  If I learn something only after believing in it, then am I not forcing myself to know something?  Isnt it entirely more likely that I have tricked myself into believing something if I must have faith in it first?
I'm afraid I didn't follow this. Ah, you mistrust faith - very good. Emotions are highly suspect and we should rid ourselves of most of them. Everything you say makes perfect sense from your perspective.

Of course your rationalism doesn't offend me, and I am surprised you say you believe without faith. But then, you never answered my querry about your logical proofs of God.

Your summaton stinks. Hope you weren't too serious.

Quote would destroy faith.  If we "know" God exists...then we do not have "faith" in God.
And a glorious destruction it would be. Think of how the word faith and trust overlap, even being used interchangeably in Russian. If you have faith in your buddy in a dangerous situation it's because you know you can count on him because you've observed his character before. I don't mean book knowledge, theoretical knowledge - I'm talking about the personal. Faith is an intuition of God based on the truth within, which is where such things are sensed.

Date: 2006/02/11 21:03:16, Link
Author: avocationist
Now sexual  selection I have some respect for.

Yes, I'm aware of the role of natural selction.

Date: 2006/02/13 19:39:45, Link
Author: avocationist
I have been busy but I finished going through the Flagellum Unspun and Spinning Just Fine.

I don't have time tonight to pick up where I left off, but
the remarks here have gotten rather out of hand. Someone has said that I have been presented with all sorts of evidence. That is odd, as I don't think we have even started that part of the discussion yet. We have been discussing ID as it relates to philosophy, mostly.

When we discuss Denton's book, we might go through evidence. I have not gotten a clear idea why evolution theory is necessary to medical research. Nothing convincing.

What evidence, Renier, have I ignored? Books, links and so forth have been mentioned, and as Russell said a few days ago, "take a month, we'll be here."

I am not engaging in postmodernist thought. Someone made a remark about the behavior of IDists, and I pointed out that it cuts both ways. IDists consistently find the Darwinists impervious to evidence and rational argument, and to be motivated by dogmatic loyalty. Meanwhile Darwinists are saying more or less the same or similar things about ID. The postmodernist idea that there is no objective truth has nothing to do with these remarks, which were observations of human psychology. Furthermore, please be aware that I consider most of them to fall under the category of projection. In other words, when accusations are thrown around, they are either true, (which is often) or they are projections of one's own inner state, which is also very often. To see that two sides at an impasse are both engaging in the same human foibles has nothing to do with postmodernism.

I do not consider that "science is spreading atheism." Science itself is pure of intent. I consider that some scientists, and the field of evolutionary biology is overrepresented, are infusing their observations with a lot of materialist philosophy.

I may be too harsh, but I want to point out the fact that Avo is ultimately rejecting not just biology, but other fields of science as well, that all independently confirm evolution.
What other fields?

Avo gives us his personal incredulity and his religious sensibilities.
Now here is something for you folks to see. Your approach is one of skepticism, proudly so. And yet in this one area, the one which naturally and in most people gives rise to a healthy skepticism - that random chance has produced breathtaking complexity, consistently bringing about higher order without  any purpose or intent - in this one area you repeatedly attempt to shame nonbelievers and one another by this vacuous appeal to a discordant, hypnotizing notion thought up by Dawkins. That of personal incredulity. Of course I have personal incredulity, and lots of it. And the whole approach of modern science generally is to be skeptical and nonsuperstitious. I tell you, if the evidence is so damned good, why the need to remind people not to descend into personal incredulity? This is a group-powered shaming device and nothing more. Is this not a roundabout way of scorning those who lack faith? What does it mean to have blind faith in ancient, Biblical miracles of long ago and isn't it personal incredulity that makes many modern people doubt them? Don't you know this sort of thing is what causes the ID people to say Darwinism is in many ways similar to faith? And what makes you so sure you can escape human nature? What makes you so sure that having jettisoned religion that whatever it is in human nature that gives rise to the religious impulse won't find other avenues for its expression? And if you aren't capable of this level of self-inquiry and humans-in-groups inquiry, then you aren't sophisticated enough for philosophical endeavor, and are indeed naive. And if you think this is postmodernism, think again.

He wants to claim that ID is all about science, yet can't separate the discussion from god.
It can be separated from God but very often the topic comes up and I like to address it.
Miller believes God set up the initial conditions and knew the end result; he thinks God didn't have to interfere to get IC systems but that he does intervene on the quantum level or in some other very subtle ways, and he thinks that God has intervened miraculously in human affairs. For Miller, then, there can be no evolution without God.

Science is not the search for absolute truth, science is the search for what is so.

Date: 2006/02/15 09:06:42, Link
Author: avocationist
I've only just read the last two pages of this thread, but if you go through Genesis you will see that most of the pre-flood patriarchs lived in the 900-year range, and that the life span began a steady generational decline after it. Noah's immediate descendents lived 4-600 years, then dropped to 200+. Abraham lived something like 140, his father lived about 160, and his grandfather lived about 200. It would appear that there was a great change in conditions due to the flood.  The atmosphere, the weather, maybe radiation...

Futher, the studies suggest the JAHWE is a form of ENKI.
 Wouldn't surprise me in the least. Both were misanthropists.

Date: 2006/02/15 10:30:01, Link
Author: avocationist
Hello all,

No, I wasn't scared off. I thought I'd be back last night but Valentine's Day intervened...cannot neglect my valentine.

ID simpy claims that we are designed.  The "Designer" could be completely mundane and natural....such as natural selection...or the Designer could be a heavily involved Theistic God.  ID does *not* make any claim about the Designer.  ID could easily co-exist with Evolution....but...that is not what you are referring to most of the time.

The designer could be natural like an alien. But ID is pretty specific that it is a designing INTELLIGENCE, and by that they do mean a conscious and purposeful one.  So that is why ID cannot coexist with evolution as commonly presented. But as I pointed out, evolution defenders like Miller do not really believe that random natural forces can account for life. Not only did God initiate the universe, and not only is there no good abiogenesis theory going (I do not know Miller's opinion on this) but Miller also thinks God influences mutations by acting in a subtle way. I keep harping on this but it's important.

Puck, you mentioned that you think a very intelligent God could have designed this whole shebang and yet left no trace. Please correct me if I'm wrong because another guy said something very similar, and it turns out he was Catholic and I even thought for a while that you were him, until I saw that you are far less caustic.

I think that idea is not logical. If this whole setup here were designed by an incredible intelligence, then how can it possibly mimick something that wasn't? That is like saying that he set it up, but it doesn't really matter if he did, because from what we observe about the functioning of nature, nature could have done it on her own.

Now, if God set up the initial conditions, then how likely is it that we are right and nature could have done it on her own, and how likely is it that we have not yet understood the setup?

Also, if this whole setup was indeed designed, even if only by frontloading of some sort (initial conditions) then there is no other type of reality with which to compare it, and we cannot know what random and undirected natural processes are capable of - THERE BEING NONE.

We are left then where we started - trying to decipher this reality we find ourselves in. And if we cannot see the designing clues, why assume that we never will? We have so recently begun to delve into the quantum world, and determinism or nondeterminism is not a settled question. We still don't know what really makes reality tick. Plus, there is so much we still don't know about how DNA and protein coding got going, embryonic development, and so forth.

But the new line of thought development, which Denton is in on, makes this whole shebang look like a seamless whole - with the material aspect of reality a huge supporting structure that allows the next level, which is life forms, to evolve and exist.

If God is responsible for the Big Bang, and God is responsible for the laws of nature and matter, and God is responsible for setting up the initial conditions, then where is the dividing line after which he "stops interfering."?

I'm not saying I have an opinion on the above - I'm saying the question of God's actions is becoming less applicable to just one aspect of reality, i.e., the assumption that God might be responsible for matter but not for life.

It is worth noting, however, that it might be incongruous for God to set up initial conditions for the less complex part and let the more complex part take care of itself.  

Avo, you firmly place yourself in the belief that natural selection is not a sufficient enough mechanism for design.  You also claim that mutation is not sufficient enough to cause massive changes over long periods of time.
If those are not your beliefs...then please be more specific...since everyone including you knows that ID is incredibly vague.

Yes, I'd say that is my belief. As to vague, ID in a nutshell is saying that evidence of design exists which is compelling enough to go with that as the supposition, as opposed to not seeing evidence of said design.

Mutation is incredibly significant to several fields of science.  If you would like examples of fields that require the concept of random genetic mutation....we can compile a list.
 Sure, I'd like the list. But I'm not arguing against mutations or natural selection. Mutations are indeed important to study of infectious organisms. Natural selection is obvious, necessary, and of course sexual selection, too. Nor is there any reason natural selection would prove inadequate if mutations gave it good choices to work upon. (It may be there is an argument against this which I'm not aware of.) So really, what I doubt is that mutations are the main factor driving evolution. Now mutations have been augmented by things like co-option and gene duplication and so on, but I do believe we should lump them together.

(next post) If you are just now reading the literature on ID....should you not be an ID supporter?  I dont mind the skepticism about Evolution....but shouldnt you grant an equal amount of skepticism to ID and its proponents?
Well, what do you mean, just now? And why a short list of books. I suppose I've read maybe 9 or 10. I also have spent a pretty large amount of time on the internet. As I said, I've read antievolution things when I could find them, but it is only about a year ago, I think, when I found Disvoery Institute on the net and began reading up on the more current debates going on with the actual names we are now familiar with. I never read creationist stuff because of the obvious bias, and basically I just am kinda allergic to smug christianity.

Its just seems to me that you threw your support behind ID in some form of a Pascal wager.  You believe that if ID is correct...then you will be keeping your God happy.

Oh, Puck! This is dismaying! I have written to this board the most sublime insights into the real nature of God, and you have utterly misunderstood it. How can you even write the above? Pascal's wager is repulsive and not even logical. The person who can come up with such an idea shows himself completely spiritually bereft and it isn't logical either.

Sir Toejam,

I have duly noted your comments, but I don't find them to be ones I can reason with.

Hmmm. I can see I wasted quite a bit of effort on my replies yesterday. Oh well. Have a nice life, Avo.
How so? Because my answer was stupid, or because I didn't answer yet? If it was the former, I need to get better definition from you, because I understand viruses and bacteria mutate in imporant ways, but isn't it also true that many of these pathogens have kept their identity as a species for millions of years? So let me put it another way, perhaps mutation theory is vital to parts of medical research, but not vital to much else. All I'm saying is that in my opinion the power of mutation is limited. And in medicine and biology, what we need to know is how animals are related to each other, and how drugs act on tissue, and how one animal may tolerate a drug whereas another one won't.  So mutating viruses and bacteris are certainly pertinent to vaccine and drug research. What I was getting at was slightly different. I'm saying that we have plenty to do with real-time study of living species, regardless of whether RM + NS is an adequate explanation of how they got here.

Some people think if you don't accept Darwinian evolution, it should mean animals aren't related to each other. This is a special-creation holdover; it's obsolete thinking based on inadequate knowledge.

I really think that frontloading and/or other methods of natural unfolding of life forms in a relational way, and taking the cosmos into account as a whole package, is the wave of the future.

I think I'll cut off this one here for now. I have read through and marked up the Miller-Demski debate, altho I should probably also go thru the later "Irreducible Colmplexity Revisited."  So I'm now prepared to answer Russels' question as to why I didn't think Miller did much to put the flagellum to rest.

Date: 2006/02/15 10:33:16, Link
Author: avocationist

What are the implications of the Big Bang being a singularity? What really, is the definition of a singularity?

Date: 2006/02/15 10:58:03, Link
Author: avocationist

The front page of Uncommon Descent is therefore a micromutated creationist argument from 30 years ago.

Nobody should suppose that creation scientists have no good arguments on their side, or that their every argument against evolution theory, (which I believe have been proposed since about 1860 and were not necessarily strongly religious in nature) must be different from ones an IDist might accept.

What matters is, can such questions be answered, and if they have not been answered in 30 years, does that somehow make the question irrelevant?

So no, this does not mean that ID = creationism.

Date: 2006/02/15 20:43:36, Link
Author: avocationist

I'm going through looking for missed questions.
No, what I meant is that Behe and Dembski and no doubt others are looking into how to realistically detect design and how.
What leads you to think that?

They are examining the question of how do we reasonably infer design. Incidentally, over at UD there is a surprising essay by John Stuart Mill in support of design.

But that's the problem with Behe's thesis. It rests on there being no way for these systems to have come about naturally. So what kind of research program has any IDer proposed to figure out a mechanism by which something happened supernaturally?
Well, I have a problem with questions of this sort because the idea that God causes supernatural events just doesn't compute. It is not a refutation of ID if ID does not know how the designer did it. I know of no research programs capable of detecting supernatural events. But NDE (neodarwinian evolution) doesn't know a lot of things also. One person who has at least taken a stab at proposing how things might have unfolded, albeit designed to do so, is Davison.

What are these alleged very good arguments against "Darawinism"?
 This is what we are spiraling towards. I will have to give it some serious effort, hopefully tomorrow.

Well, now. "SFAIK" is pretty much the key question. How much effort have you put into finding out? And how well equipped are you to judge what you read? You display some very fundamental misunderstandings of basic biology (e.g. the difference between a virus and a bacterium, but I'll get to that in another post).
This was in reference to the question about IC systems having been refuted. I just read today that Behe is planning an afterword in a 10th anniversary addition to DBB which will address said lack of any forthcoming refutation in the intervening ten years. He'd better have his ducks in a row or he'll get fried. I am not quite sure what you consider effort. I have read criticisms and answers to criticisms, in which literature is sometimes cited. It seems that the ID side usually goes through the literature with a fine comb and finds it wanting, having been promised far more than delivered. I don't actually go through the articles myself.

The bit about slappig down 59 or whatever it was articles during the courtroom trial was just as Behe said - bad courtroom theatrics. It is not to be taken seriously. All evidence used in trial is 'discoverable' which means it must be presented in adequate time to the lawyers of both sides.
When did I misunderstand the difference between a virus and a bacteria?
When I am not equipped to judge what I read, I think I usually know. I can't judge Demski's math, but I can certainly read and evaluate the logic of most of his essays. I can't read biology papers that are beyond my level, which is low, but if it is written for the nonexpert, one would hope that I have at least a fair ability. I was intrigued by, but not able to verify or come to a firm opinion on Davison's Evolutionary Manifesto. That I think would require a pretty deep knowledge of biology.

I had some trouble during the Dover trial getting good links. I read mostly Behe's testimony. It is pretty lengthy but I would be willing to look into it more. There are links back on page 2 that I have not had time to go back to. Are those what you are referring to?

Have you read Matt Inlay's summary of evolution of immunity?
Is that from the trial?

No, you don't. When you say such and such nonsense is good enough to convince Denton and yourself (and, let's face it, you're taking Denton's word for it), that elevates that nonsense to the same status of credibility as millions of person-hours of intensive research - call it what you want, but that's just postmodernist anti-intellectualism.
What about the thousands of man hours that Denton has put into his career and his book? I'm just not that moved by majority versus minority opinions. Your argument is that the majority must be right, and my argument that I can make up my own mind - postmodernism says that if it's true for me then it's true for me - a completely different ballgame.

Denton's first book was all about "debunking" common descent. His "equidistance" genetic argument is posed in direct opposition to it. Not just to "gradualism" - a term I think you're a little fuzzy on - but to common descent. Genetic distance does not speak to the rate or pace of change, it speaks to the number of steps between organism A and organism B. Now, I have to admit I've only scanned his second book, because from my scan and the reviews I read, it looked like a thorough waste of time. But I gathered that he dropped that argument altogether. Perhaps you can set me straight: does "equidistance", or any other quibble with common descent -  play any role at all in his second book? You call that "Denton's thought progressing nicely". I call it a crackpot abandoning a 150 year old idea that he championed 15 years ago, but attempting to retain his iconoclast hero status with less obviously wrong - because less substantial - mumbo-jumbo.

I think we are a little fuzzy on common descent, yes. Perhaps the only way to answer your question is to look through the second book. I did look at the index for common descent in the first book, and I didn't turn up any direct statements against it. So I guess it is more implied. Your interpretation of him is different from mine and again, I think the best thing would be to search for any recent statements from him on this. If he didn't make any mention of his prior arguments in his second book it doesn't mean he disavows the evidence he presented. I think he moved on to a more cosmic teleology and he speaks of frontloading. What if that frontloading includes sudden leaps? Does that frontloading corroborate common descent as understood by NDE? I think not.  

Our working theory is that both the virus and its host evolve. Do you doubt that?
I don't think we can extrapolate macroevolution from microevolution. Assuming the host is humans, I don't think we are having an apprecable amount of evolution in your lifetime for it to matter much one way or the other. As I already answered, the virus may indeed mutate in pernicious ways.

Do you think the fundamental mechanisms by which the two evolve are different?
Probably not but I don't think we know how either one evolved, and one is multicellular and the other one - is hard to even define. It is questionable how we get from single celled to multi. So I don't know. But the thing about viruses is that they are purely parasitic - isn't that so? Therefore, they must have evolved after hosts, despite their simplicity.

Do you think that "random mutation and natural selection" accounts for viral evolution, but that some fundamentally different mechanism is required for host evolution?
No, rather I think that the role of RM and NS are not adequate to produce the life forms. Certainly, the simpler the life form, the more likely that a random or other small mutation could be incorporated successfully into it's structure.

Or do you think there's some intelligence we can't detect driving the changes that sure look like they're due to random mutation and natural selection in the virus?
Well, as has been recently discovered, bacteria at least turn on mutations and turn them off as well. I find that pretty intelligent. The cell itself is very intelligent and hard to come to terms with. All those thousands of processes utilizing millions of molecules and billions of atoms in every cell, which seems to know how to manage it all. Perhaps there is some sort of cosmic mind permeating all living things. But no, I don't think God helps viruses mutate. Random mutations are just that - errors.  On the other hand, when pathogens happen to control their own mutations, I would consider that an interesting possibility for design theorists to add to their list.
Am I the only one who finds it odd that evolution proceeds against and despite the incredible array of error prevention, detection, and repair mechanisms of the replication process? That the mechanism of bringing forth endless millions of varied life forms is errors that slip past the sentinels? That DNA has devised some of the cleverest mechanisms to prevent that which is its greatest salvation? That a process which is usually deadly is also the one that leads to life?

Does that fit in with Occam?

There is nothing surprising in there being general families of viruses or bacteria. You seem to suppose that if I don't believe in NDE, that life forms are quite unrelated to each other and don't even operate upon the same principles.

But please, pray tell, what do you consider the driving force of evolution? Disembodied intelligence? Fascinating! Tell us how that works. Or, more to the point, tell us what evidence you have.
I have wondered this, and I don't have the answer. Look, here is my understanding of the human situation - we are intelligent but easily confused, we have no idea of the answers to any important question - who are we, what are we, why are we, where are we, what is our future, do we have a future - and we have little or no idea how to find the answers. Our perceptions are filled with fantasy and unreliable. For all intents and purposes, a human being is floating in the endless black without a compass or coordinate.

And there are two kinds of people in this world. A tiny minority who have noticed this, and the rest who haven't thought about it.

Pretending to have answers, or taking the nearest half-decent answer, doesn't satisfy me.

Yes, I think there is disembodied intelligence. My personal take on how it might work is that this intelligence, which may or may not be personal, is acting from within, guiding itself so to speak. This may answer the questions about why the creation isn't perfect or appears willy nilly at times. It very likely is.

So you think there are fundamentally different forces at work?
What I meant to say was that in your field, mutations are indeed important, but that I doubt mutations are the reason that organisms at a higher level than species or subspecies have evolved. About two years ago when I read Icons of Evolution, about problems with homology, or wait, maybe it was Milton's book, the idea came to me that there is at least one missing mechanism. Sort of like when Darwin proposed variation but had no idea of genetics. I think Darwinists have put all their hopes in the mutation basket because there are more mechanisms they don't know about and they lack the patience to wait it out.

You read a creationist lawyer, with an obvious religious axe to grind,
His axe wasn't obvious at all. He never mentions it. He doesn't speak for himself much in the book, just presents topics one by one, held together as necessary but largely consisting of quotes. The reason I came to suspect he is a creationist is because several times he uses the term 'abrupt appearance.'

Yes, of course I am familiar with quote mining, and it is a very valid thing to watch for. But creationists were called on it and I think they make good efforts now to place their quotes in the proper context. There is absolutely nothing wrong with presenting a lot of quotes, so long as you have read and understood them as the author meant them, and present it in the same way to your readers. The majority of his quotes are from evolution scientists, and he never pretends otherwise.

I didn't say unsuccsessful vaccines were secret, but there is probably no reason I'd hear of them. I was just curious which diseases this has occured with.

There now, I think I'm caught up.

Date: 2006/02/16 08:33:01, Link
Author: avocationist
The ancient Hewbrews were Henotheists.

Lots of Egyptian influence.

Abraham was from the area close to the Sumerian civilization. His mythology was probably from them. His father was a priest.

Date: 2006/02/16 12:25:38, Link
Author: avocationist
I want to reply to all the kindly interest, but it certainly does tend to put off getting down to brass tacks - what have I read that makes me doubt random mutation as an adequate explanation, and why did I reject the Miller paper, for starters.
No, it does NOT cut both ways.  When the IDists actually present evidence (any evidence) then there might be a discussion.  Until then it will remain one sided, because ideas without evidence get no play.

Perhaps you ought to start looking for it. I am going to try to some extent, but I can't bring everybody up to speed.

Who cares what the personal philosophies of scientists are, so long as those philosophies don't interfere with their work?  So Dawkins is atheist, so what?  Does it interfere with his work?  No.  So, Dembski is Christian, does that interfere with his work?  Yes, it does, and that's why we have a problem.
Oh my, your objectivity is showing.

Paleontology, geology, medicine...
Paleontoogy is not considered Darwinism's strong suit, the field of geology would exist no matter what set of facts it turned up, and medicine is debatable.

First and foremost, most people are theists of one stripe or another.
But lots of evolutionists are theists. Some are even Catholic. Miller gets down on his knees before a man in a dress and funny hat, and lets him put a little white disc on his tongue, because he believes the prayers of the man in a dress has miraculously changed it into the body of Jesus. So that can't be the whole problem.
The human mind, while capable of the most subtle and sublime contemplations, evolved because it helped our ancestors survive.
Well, if you start with a supposition you can create a logical structure to support it.

Somebody has to be in charge, end of story.
I certainly do agree that most people are spiritual children, and religion often perpetuates that infantilism.

So you have to take multiple lines of evidence from different fields and see the agreement between them to really begin to see the overwhelming weight of the facts pointing to what is still an inherently unobserveable series of ancient events.
Sure, but books like Denton's and Milton's go through them one by one and examine them on that little deeper level.

Oh, wait, but that sounds like I don't accept evolution. What I think is happening, is that much of the data which supports an organic and coherent unfolding of life over time is overlayed with suppositions to augment it which may not be correct.

Finally, we're simply not equipped to appreciate "deep time."
Ah, yes. Another Dawkins favorite. Let's see what Spetner has to say in Not By Chance. Dawkins is discussing improbable events occurring to bring about origin of life. This is in chapter 6 of Blind Watchmaker. He says that Dawkins asks us to drop our intuitive feeling for chance. I guess he doesn't think it evolved very well, probably because his didn't. Dawkins likens the probability of certain admittedely very unlikely events to a long-lived alien playing bridge for millions of years, waiting for that perfect hand of bridge. He said a being who lived millions of years, would have a very different feeling about chance and time. If the being lived 100 million years, it would not be unusual for him to see a perfect hand of bridge from time to time and he would scarcely write home about it.

But Dawkins didn't do the calculation. And I have to ask myself - is it because he has no feel for probability, or is he dishonest? According to Spetner, if the being played 100 hands of bridge every day for 100 million years, the chance of seeing a perfect hand of bridge just once in his life is one in a quadrillion. Definitely something to write home about.

Now, I can understand a bumpkin like myself making this mistake. But Dawkins has a PhD, a science degree, is a chair at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, has written books that specifically deal with the problems of evolution, and he is the Grand Poobah of the public understanding of science.

It seems preposterous to most people that, for instance, a 1% improvement in wing efficiency could act as a "force" leading to differential survival among a lineage of proto-birds.
No, it doesn't seem preposterous at all. What seems preposterous is that a creature could have 7% of a wing, or 22% of a wing. Berlinski dealt with this in his answer to the Fish Eyes paper, but you folks don't read him, do you? Meyer deals with this problem also - but I don't suppose anyone has read his scandalous paper either. There are other authors and I am sure I have some at hand who find the problem of random mutations leading slowly to novel features and managing to incorporate them into existing structure all the while problematic. Now, maybe it occurred, but it is definitely problematic.


Deism is not claiming that God "made it look" like he was not involved.
I thought you said that I had underestimated God if I didn't think he could do that.
They are claiming that God=nature.
I could agree except it all depends on how you define nature. I, for instance, don't really believe in a material world. I think there is only the spiritual world.

You seem to think that either "God is making things fall to the ground" or "God is not involved with things falling to the ground".  You ignore the 3rd option....God invented a mechanism to do it.
but everyone knows that - it apparently upset some people in Newton's day.

If the 'Designer' is a sentient being....then why would he directly do everything?
In my opinion he would only do directly what needed doing directly. I find the origin of life to be a strong candidate. But again, I don't really see God as a separate being living outside the universe. I don't think, for example, that there is life apart from God. God is life and is the life in all things. Now, is that any different than saying God is Nature?

Unless the 'Designer' is a severly limited intelligent being.
You seem to be saying that if God had to interfere his intelligence is limited. I find that an unnecessary judgement. I'm all for admiring the cosmic mind, but I have trouble seeing how frontloading initial conditions for the 'material' universe could lead to a cell.

but to Science it doesnt matter....they just say..."Things fall to the ground...they always fall at the same rate...we are going to name this force gravity and describe it to the best of our ability."
Well, that sort of objectivity has not been part of evolution theory. Also, you are comparing fundamental laws to something contrived from those laws but which is much more complex. A cell is many orders of magnitude more complex than dropping balls off a tower. It would be better to compare a cell to the entire working of the cosmos. If you landed on an empty planet, and found structures like the pyramids but no people (perhaps life got wiped out) you might study many things about their composition and structure, but wouldn't the question of whether they were placed there intentionally be of interest?

Your saying that we can compare our current reality to one that is either devoid or full of God.  We cannot, therefore this reality doesnt mimick an ID reality...this reality doesnt mimick a naturalism one....this reality is our only point of comparison.
Well, yes, that's what I was saying. And therefore, how can we assume that there is no evidence that a God was needed to set things up?
IF there is a God, then a God-set-up world is the only possible one.

can you build something that looks undesigned? now you might decide to build a perfect pile of rocks.
Do you mean a perfect pile of rocks like, say, the pyramids? And it wouldn't look designed? And why attribute to the creator such tactics? It's almost like Christian dogma, in which the creator has set up a rigged game so that the highest possible proportion of people go to ####.

Ummm....we dont really have a lot of samples of microscopic organims from millions of years your question is kind of ummmm... pointless?
Alright, I was going on memory. I am pretty sure that TB and other pathogens have been identified from bodies that are thousands of years old. But somehow I am not sure you are right.

No, the continued existence of simple organisms doesn't bother me. The only reason they would become extinct is if conditions changed and they couldn't adapt. But if they fill a good niche, and other forms evolved from them, there is no reason for the original to disapper.

We still get sick...the 'Designer' apparently didnt do a very good job with immune systems, therefore there are still germs.
That isn't how it works. Everything is food. The system would crash if the balance were unbalanced.

Macroevolution says that big changes add up to bigger changes....fins develop into limbs.
The logic is pretty sound.
Almost anything can appear sound if it is unexamined. It is a quick and simple deduction and the arguments against it are growing. I guess I am beginning to wonder if you guys have actually read many of these arguments? But at some point I am supposed to get something together to explain:
My take on the IC arguments
Why I think there are good arguments against NDE,
which includes: mutation theory and incremental change theory
Your question about counting to a billion tells me you haven't read what IDists have to say on the topic of probability. Time is not a miracle worker.

What is a species...and how do you tell the difference between two different species and two subspecies?
I like to go with if they can breed and make fertile offspring.

Oh, and BTW, I have read Aquinas' arguments for the existence of God. Can't remember them, but I recall at least two were quite good  (the ones I had thought of myself) but he is on my sh## list. He taught that the saved will enjoy viewing the sufferings of the damned. A very pernicious influence in this world, he was.

Avo refuses to look at evidence that doesn't coincide with his preconceptions, or simply discards it.
It looks like projection to me...

Actually, you are also maligning the evolutionary scientists that you speak about.  To you they are a bunch of impatient atheists that are so inept at their jobs that they can't see what you find obvious.
Oh, it was kindly meant. I wasnt singling them out in particular. It is human nature. There are two motives. One is ego: the desire to be right. And the second is what I mentioned above, the desire to quell the inner void, to convince oneself that one knows anything at all.

Date: 2006/02/16 14:58:16, Link
Author: avocationist
"Speaking of dogs, would someone here who is still allowed to post at “After The Bar Closes” please inform those sons of bitches that I am responding to their comments about me at the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis thread on the side bar."

Date: 2006/02/16 18:51:40, Link
Author: avocationist
No Russ, I don't know how to calculate probabilities. But it should be easy enough to do. It's pretty simple. You have 52 cards and a perfect hand of bridge is when each of the four players gets an entire suit. Do you want Spetner's calc's?

you DID notice that no one even bothers to get upset with you now, or did you?
Oh. I thought some people were getting a little bit too upset. So I guess it could be worse.

If he was a grad student, using ID for his thesis topic,he would have washed out of grad school
He did use an ID topic for his thesis. I read it recently. I can't remember just what it was.


well, then, proceeding from there, you have a lot of work to do inventing an entirely new way to test hypothesis and predictions, as there is no way to utilize the scientific method to answer any questions arising in your world.
I assure you, it is the very same world, and everything still works. Don't fret.

Rilke's Granddaughter:

Eric Rilke was my childhood sweetheart. Are you his sister?

The point is that folks such as Avo (and indeed, people like Dembski and Behe, etc.) honestly believe that the difference between, say man and chimp isn't a quantitative difference ('2' vs. '3x10^113' ), but a qualitative difference ('2' vs. 'B' ).

Well, if that is the sort of argument (and I am referring to Puck's argument of 1+1=2) given to overcome the obstacles to NDE, then I must say I am ......shocked. Simply shocked. No wonder Jon says they've been looking but haven't found it.

Anyway, I have to give this idea some thought. What is a qualitative difference in a world made of strings?

Do you not find a qualitative difference between the intelligence of humans and chimps? What about humans and frogs? If it is just a matter of increased quantity, then what would constitute a qualitative difference? How about motility? Does that count?

It's not that there is a qualitative difference between people and chimps, there are qualitative differnces between all major divisions. Isn't a shell a qualitative difference from a backbone?

Date: 2006/02/17 14:06:07, Link
Author: avocationist
I think I have to see if I can keep this short.

Jon and others seem to say that in all the ID writings, they have not found a good argument. Sure, I find this strange. Anyway, I will go through the Miller-Demski flagellum papers and comment. Hopefully today.

Unfortunately, the perfect hand of bridge involves all four players getting a full suit. I specified that! I took Spetner's word for it in the sense that I would be very suprised if he would be stupid enough to make such an error when correcting someone else's. And I have you folks to help me out. If he is way off, I will personally write to him.

Puck, although you called me cheap and dishonest, I'll go thru and answer the most pertinent points.
I don't suppose that dinosaurs indicate a mistake.

Miller gets down on his knees before a man in a dress and funny hat, and lets him put a little white disc on his tongue, because he believes the prayers of the man in a dress has miraculously changed it into the body of Jesus. So that can't be the whole problem.

Wow....that just sounded incredibly spiteful.  I thought you liked Jesus.  Did he give you the idea that being a jerk was ok?
 Not too spiteful, mostly just matter of fact. The point was, his faith does not prevent him accepting evolution theory. I do like Jesus. Altho his existence cannot be proven.

I don't know what LMAO stands for.

I'm not sure how the fact that the probability is the same each time you deal relates...I don't know the law of large numbers.
Of course he didnt....only an idiot would assume that he could quantify the probability of all random occurences that have ever occured.  He can guess...but unless he was there...he cant really give you odds.
Yes, no one knows the real odds of the real events he was speaking about, but his point was to show that people don't have an appreciation of deep time. What he showed was that he, who is NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE, also has no feel for when a calculation is necessary.

I've seen it written, re god of the gaps or just history, that Newton's theories bothered people because they thought God or his angels moved the planets. His mechanistic universe supposedly unemployed God.
Pyramids, from our point of reference do not occur naturally.  We have never seen giant complex structures arise from nature....however, you have no point of reference for the cell
Yes, this is the problem exactly. We are discussing living systems that reproduce. If not for that, there wouldn't be confusion.

Im sure mathematicians will hate me for saying that, but in biology all that matters is that it can be proved to work,
Much in NDE is also unproved.

Even if they had an actual comparitive method, they'd still have to assume the existence of "non-design".  We must be able to observe things that are not the result of intelligent design.  In other words, there must be some things that God did not create.  This necessary assumption seems antithetical to fundamentalist doctrine.
Not sure why you say it is a necessary assumtion. God created everything - you must mean things like wind blowing over sand and leaving patterns. Yes, this is just the sort of thing that IDists do use.


As I already said above, the point that people need to understand large numbers is valid, but my point was that Dawkins doesn't understand, and he uses deep time like magic. It isn't magic.

I have a good argument against the flying squirrels idea. Completely different construction  - gliding apparatuses don't lead to wings. It is in one of my silly books here somewhere. Perhaps I should learn to use th scanner.

I haven't read the original of the fish eyes paper; I suspect I won't learn from it. But I'm willing to. I know where to find the Berlinski critique, but I don't remember if the paper is linked. It seems odd you call Berlinski's points bombast. I rather thought the 4 or 5 defenders engaged in bombast - although I did not think so until I read Berlinski's replies to them. I read their points first, and I decided that they demolished whoever they were arguing against and decided not to bother reading further. But my eyes strayed down and I read the first paragraph or two of Berlinski's answers. Yes, I thought he demolished them.

"I don't see how" (X) occured is just not a convincing argument
Sure, but they say a lot more than that.

when someone is telling you that they DO see a plausible progression.
But Miller, for example, said no such thing. More later.

The problem you have with "managing to incorporate them into existing structure" might be ignoring that the original function of a 'co-opted' structure may have been an entirely different one in the ancestral lineage.
But that IS the problem. In biology, everything has to interface perfectly. Co-option - I don't understand how it is supposed to work. It sounds to me like parts lying around in the garage. My husband does this sort of thing all the time - he invents things from parts lying around to get a job done - such as placing drywall on the basement ceiling with only a weakling to help. How does the cell co-opt a part or several parts that were used for different things and make them fit, and how does it decide that hey, I've got this handy piece here, now let me code it into a different spot in the genome to go with this other thingie... I mean how does it get into the blueprint? do you see what I'm asking? You've got a widget out in the cell, and you've got a need or some evolving system - but how does the 'idea' occur to get them together in the genome that that the building of the new structure is coordinated?

If something can move a millimeter in a year, then in a few billion years it could cross a middle sized continent.
But it isn't that simple and that is what the argument is about.

It's when we start specifying scientifically - indeed, epistemologically - meaningless candidates (e.g. a "disembodied intelligence", "supernatural agency", "The Designer") that you lose me.
 I'm sorry about that and I sympathize. But look closely at what Jeannot said on the pissant thread:

She says ID is unscientific because-
"First, it requires a programmer that could be supernatural, which is not falsifiable,"

And so this is a kind of circle that is going on. If the scientist decides that evidence simply cannot point to the supernatural, even indirectly, then what are we to do if our universe was indeed caused by an intelligence or self-existing entity? Science would forever bar itself from discovering truth.

The point is, ID doesn't provide anything substantial to refute.
It is falsifiable, and since it is a direct refutation of Darwinism, it had better be, or else they are both unfalsifiable. The falsification would be finding out how complex biochemical systems could self-originate.

I cannot validate or invalidate Davison's quackery, I merely pointed out that I am glad to see someone thinking outside the box (others are as well) because I think evolutin theory needs new ideas.

The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow

Ha, ha! Good one. It reminds me of one of my favorite parts of Through The Looking Glass, when Alice is being hired by the Red Queen. The queen tells her that at teatime she will get jam on her toast every other day. Oh, good, says Alice, Is it jam today?
No, says the queen, it is always jam yesterday, and jam tomorrow. It is never jam today.

No. I am not putting procedural rules ahead of evidence. I'm saying you can't suddenly slap down 59 articles and demand a real and true opinion on the spot. If  even a few of those articles were really good, why didn't they use them properly?  Behe did his search of the literature and he testified that there were no good pathways in the literature. He cannot be expected to give an opinion on articles slapped down in front of him. Some of those articles might have been the very ones he rejected in his search. some of them may have had only the barest passing reference to the subject. If indeed any of them truly refuted Behe's points, it would mean that the article was unknown to him at the time of his testimony. It is his responsibility to peruse them now, but not during his testimony. You keep saying that everyone is lying. Behe, Spetner. I think the dialogue is not on that low a level.

I'll of course try to give the immunity thing a go, but that is just one more thing to pile on. But you seem to have high hopes for it...

When I say I have read Dembski's articles, I mean I have not read any of them which rely on his math principles. I have a familiarity with his probability bound, but that's all. Not all his writings depend upon his math.

What if the creationists purporting to critique the biologists
But some of them ARE biologists, and some of them are agnostics - really! They could accept evolution easily. They could certainly be deists.

If you are going to say (and you did) that personal motive drives their conclusions, then I can only point out as I already have done that no one is immune and

The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living!

No matter who you are!

The garbage at the disco inst - that was an article about how most people in Ohio want ID covered in school - it was not saying that because most people want it they are correct in an objective sense about evolution.

Forgive me, but the two ballgames look pretty similar to me.
Oh,yeah? Well then our problems are solved. NDE is true for you, and young earth creation is true for scordova, and a new-age pantheistic consciousness god for me - and we're all correct.

(Avo: ) I have wondered this, and I don't have the answer. Look, ...a human being is floating in the endless black without a compass or coordinate.
And there are two kinds of people in this world. A tiny minority who have noticed this, and the rest who haven't thought about it.
Now, don't tell me; let me guess: which category does Avocreationist fall into? And is one's opinion of ID, or creationism in general, correlated with which group one falls into?
 No. Not at all. You asked me an ultimate truth-type question, and I gave you the straight dope. We're in dire straights here. Actually, belonging to a religion would be a hindrance to seeing this.

Influenza bacteria was just not thinking. Bird - I bought his book 'cause I heard of it. I wasn't aware of his connections but while reading I suspected he might be connected with them due to using the same notation to show that a quote is not from a creationist.

Evidence for a disembodied intelligence or a 'spiritual' aspect to reality - there's more than you might think but there's just no time.

Date: 2006/02/17 16:01:55, Link
Author: avocationist
Russ, how could he have done the calculation and then said it would happen from time to time and be nothing to write home about?

Date: 2006/02/17 16:04:57, Link
Author: avocationist
OK, I'm most of the way throgh with the Miller side of the argument and I will be back tomorrow night.

Date: 2006/02/19 08:10:38, Link
Author: avocationist

I'm finding your reaction to the bridge hand question pretty unsupportable, way over the top.

We did not miss the point. Dawkins made a simple statement  of chance and probability that was false, and he made it precisely to illustrate the point that it failed to illustrate. It illustrated indeed the opposite. His example if anything strengthens the argument he was trying to refute. Since the calculation is not one of very advanced math, and since Dawkins should certainly have spent a fair amount of time pondering exactly what chance can and cannot do, I find it pretty odd.

I cannot understand your calling it a ridiculous technicality. Dawkins gave the scenario and it doesn't work. Someone does the calculations and that is a ridiculous technicality? So it is fine to talk in terms of big numbers, and in terms of people not having a good instinct for really big numbers, and to use the really big number (time) to prove that improbable events, given enough time, will occur - but to actually calculate the probability is a ridiculous technicality?

I don't see a 3rd possibility to the two I mentioned.


I see your point. But what are we to do if evidence does point to design. We can leave it at that without delving into what you call the supernatural (which does not exist in my book).
If design = supernatural, and supernatural= nonscientific then we have a problem if evidence points toward design.

If the supernatural can be neither proved nor disproved, does that mean physical things cannot demonstrate design?


You cannot point to complexity and say...."this is designed".
May we can. Maybe we live in a coherent and comprehensible universe after all.


Yes, everyone knows a watch is designed, but that is not the only reason we can infer it. We could find strange objects and know they were designed. If Mt. Rushmore in the future loses its discernable features then of course it no longer functions as an example of design, any more than a dead and decaying cell would be.

Date: 2006/02/21 07:53:18, Link
Author: avocationist
I am the same person. I wrote that not so long ago, shortly after reading about it.

It appears from my own reading on the net, in which I found a similar conversation to ours, that Dawkins on about two pages (160 and 161if I remember) mentioned both a perfect hand and a perfect deal. It is unclear then, what he meant. I don't have Dawkins book myself. So I would say that Spetner took it to mean a perfect deal. was Dawkins discussing two different points using an almost identical analogy?

Anyway, I now have the answer to a question I was asked at least a week ago - why was I unsatisfed with Miller's answer to the IC of the flagellum. It's about 2-3 pages so I hope that is OK.

Date: 2006/02/21 08:58:39, Link
Author: avocationist
This is a sort of run-on commentary:
Miller – The Flagellum Unspun
*Uses personal incredulity argument. Calls it sentiment. One demerit.
*Elevates imagination. Says that when a person cannot imagine something, it is a personal statement about their limitations. So lack of imagination is a personal failing. I’m going to agree that imagination can be important – for example Einstein’s theories of relativity – but imagination needs to lead to hard evidence. And there is more than one kind of imagination. Yes, imagination is a wonderful thing, but why does this branch of science seem so dependent upon it?

*States that the ID designer must act outside the laws of nature.  This is not necessarily true and in fact I consider such notions absurd. Yet Miller’s God does do so occasionally.
*Miller states the flagellum is not IC because the Type III secretory system, which exists in other bacteria, contains similar proteins to those found in the base of the flagellum, and was probably co-opted to form the flagellum.
This really is the sum of his argument right here. The flagellum has 30-40 proteins, of which 10 are homologous with the type III system. (Unfortunately, that argument is now obsolete, being largely abandoned in favor of the idea that the Type III system is actually devolved from the flagellum instead. Mike Gene’s reasons why the Type III is not a precursor was removed for brevity but is available) However, the real problem with Miller’s argument is that he thought the Type III system was ever much of a refutation in the first place.

*Next, Miller states evolution is opportunistic and able to mix and match proteins. This is something I don’t understand and I invite enlightenment. My question basically revolves around: how does the information get into the genome to code at the right time and place for some sort of widget that is in use elsewhere. As Behe shows, in the cell everything is tightly controlled. Things aren’t out of place and hanging out looking for work. Just because various pieces are lying around in the garage, to make a functional system out of them requires insight, especially if 3 or more are to be put together at once. But even if we add only one new piece to an existing structure, how does this occur? Sure, the piece itself is available, and somewhere in the genome is the code to create it, but that still leaves the question of rearranging it to a new place. And it must fit exactly or be modified to do so. From Dembski’s response, quoting Bracht, “Old interfaces and binding sites must be removed and new ones must be created.”

*Then he says that because the Type 3 exists, and since that involved use of 10 proteins, and since it is itself functional, this disproves Behe’s contention that no parts of the flagellum can be removed without loss of function. Say what? Is he mixing up arguments here? The type 3 system is functional as a type 3 system and is also similar to the base of the flagellum, but if you remove that base, the flagellum is indeed nonfunctional. But Miller argues that if you remove a component – the Type 3 – and since it has a function of its own (which is arguably not true since the two are only homologous) that this disproves the IC of the flagellum.  

I.e., the existence of the Type 3 disproves that the flagellum must be fully assembled before any part can be functional. To me, this completely misses the point and is a hollow victory. If this is important to Behe’s thesis, I am unaware of it. The main point of IC is that the parts all are necessary to the flagellum.
He thinks he has accounted for a subset of the flagellum (the type 3 unit) but that tells us exactly nothing about how the entire flagellar system got together with its 30-40 proteins. So Miller has 10 accounted for and that apparently works for him.
*He says for one IC system to contain another is contra the IC argument. He says if the flagellum contains smaller functional units it is by definition not IC.
It seems to me that it doesn’t matter, although IC is meant to meet Darwin’s challenge that if a system could be found which could not be built upon “numerous, slight, successive” modifications then Darwinism is refuted. However, I see no reason why one of those slight modifications couldn’t be a functional set from another system. And if it can’t, this is not against ID, but against Darwinism.
So right here we have 3 problems:
1.The Type 3 system probably is not a prior component that got co-opted.
2.Even if it was, Miller makes not even an effort to account for the other 20 or more proteins, and does not worry about it, apparently being satisfied with a semantic victory.
3.It certainly doesn’t strengthen Darwin’s argument for slight and successive modifications to insist that IC systems can have been cobbled together from units that originally served other purposes. In any case, it is improbable for them to get together whether by direct or indirect routes.

Behe and Dembski both argue that it is unlikely for evolution to cobble together an IC system, whether each protein component is added one by one, or if some additions consist of an entire group of proteins which are co-opted, such as the Type 3 system.

Of course, since we have no picture at all of the history of the flagellum, we cannot really know what sort of steps might have led to it, and whether it started out with its first components doing something else entirely, and at what point in the step-by-step process motility became the function. Were there 30 steps? 12? Did it become a motility device after 5 reincarnations? 10? The final step only?

If it was a step by step process toward motility, as per fish eyes paper ideal, and if at one point the Type 3 was taken in as a whole, I see no problem with that. On the other hand, if there were, say, 10 steps, and in each step a novel use was made by adding a widget and each time the growing-toward-flagellum had a completely different function until finally it became a flagellum – well! Wouldn’t that be something. And what I want to know is if a part gets co-opted, does that part also continue to function in the old way? I mean, it would still be needed for whatever it used to do right? So does production of that widget get doubled in the genome and built at two different places?

*Next, Miller states that Dembski has exaggerated the difficulties of the components coming together by dividing the process up into origination, localization (getting them together in the cell) and configuration (assembly). He points out that once you have a protein sequence, it self-assembles. There is some truth to this, but the problems of matching interfaces and incorporating the co-options into the blueprints are real. I am not sure if all proteins self-assemble, but at any rate the putting together of some systems require much chaperoning, and the assembly of the flagellum is one such. According to Mike Gene (and I'll look this up if anyone is intersted) the assembly of the flagellum may itself be an IC process.  

*Now, Miller states that Dembski’s probability calculations regarding the likelihood of 30 or more proteins spontaneiously assembling themselves is too low because no one really thinks a flagellum has to be gotten together that way. He says that Dembski has ignored that the type 3 system contains nearly one third of the needed proteins.

It is surprising, however, that Miller finds this to be of more than small help. And keep in mind that the Type 3 system is now largely abandoned as a hopeful precursor. He has no other argument for how the entire thing would get together other than to say that Demski has followed a faulty reasoning by assuming that he can analyze the likelihood of the flagellum assembling itself since he has not taken into account that there might be unthought-of ways for it to do so. Actually, Dembski does acknowledge that very thing, but certainly this is an argument from ignorance! Also, it is an appeal for patience.

Miller is saying that although we indeed have absolutely no idea how it could get together, we should still assume that it could do so somehow, because if we are skeptical of that, then we are operating from a priori assumptions (that it can't). This argument, to me, goes both ways. It is great to keep in mind how surprising new knowledge can be, but at the same time, it is an appeal not to use the tols we now have to make coherent sense of the world. It is to say we really have no tools to evaluate how nature works, how natural law works, how chance and probability work, how intelligence interacts with reality.

*Next he mentions the complex Krebs cycle, which apparently is made up of proteins that also exist elsewhere in the cell. He quotes a paper which states it is a clear case of opportunism. In fact, in support of opportunism he quotes someone named Jacob as saying that evolution does not produce novelties from scratch but works with what already exists. Now here we have a problem. For somewhere, sometime, novelty must occur. And we really don’t know how it does. And Jacob also assures us that the Krebs cycle is the best chemically possible design.

*Miller now cites Dolittle’s refutation of the blood clotting cascade, but I have read the response to it and I am convinced that Dolittle has done little.

The take home lesson here is that there is way too much that we don't know about how life really works.

Date: 2006/02/21 09:02:30, Link
Author: avocationist
Did Dawkins give the calculations for the perfect deal? What was it?

If what you say is true, I think Spetner misunderstood him.

I never indicated I had read it. I gave an accurate description of what Spetner wrote.

Date: 2006/02/21 16:00:15, Link
Author: avocationist
Message from John Davison:

Now I see someone named jeannot claims that evolution involves populations not individuals. I ask jeannot, whoever that really is, to provide a single example of any kind of evolutionary (genetic) change that can be demonstrated not to have originated in a germinal cell of an individual. Any example will do and he may present that evidence here if he feels up to it. The substitution of populations for the individual was the brainstorm of Mernst Ayr and was proposed because it was impossible to show that any contemporary individual organism was capable of progressive evolutionary change. The proper conclusion was that contemporay species are immutable, something that both Linnaeus and Cuvier knew by instinct.

I think his blog is called Prescribed Evolution.

Date: 2006/02/22 19:03:13, Link
Author: avocationist
. Having identified the TTSS as a possible precursor is all that need be done to put the supposed example of  an IC system to bed. Because the IC argument demands that there be no such identifiable possible precursor. It's the logic of this argument that leads to Behe's goalpost shifting around the whole issue of the flagellum.
As your response and the rest here indicate, I wasted my time. This is actually beyond astonishing. I am at a mad tea party here. Behe has not moved the goalposts - he has no need to. No one can account even in a plausible way for how a system like the flagellum can have evolved. I mean, did you even read what I wrote? In what way does coming up with 10 out of 40 proteins help? In what way does it put the sytem to bed if the Type 3 system devolved from the flagellum?


I checked my library and unfortunately, they don't have the book. But I can probably go to the bookstore and have a look. If Spetner screwed up as you say he did, then I will write to him as I said I would.

Oh, you asked so hard for reasons why I am an IDer, but now you haven't the time.


I failed to see how any of your points had anything to do with anything that I wrote about the flagellum papers.


I know nothing of what Dembski may or may not say about his religious  beliefs. If I see it in context, I might have an opinion. I think science may prove to be consonent with God, but not with particular dogma or religion. If he privately thinks so and says so to a religious group, then that's his business. But as with all people, it is very hard to allow truth to be what it will be, if one has inner desires.

It [evidence for evolution] looks like projection to me...

Only because you have a priori commitments to your god.
You have twisted this. The projection had nothing to do with evidence, it was about your assessment of the behaviors of the ID crowd that I called projection. Such as being impervious to evidence.

Which is why evidence is required.  The fact that you and your side can produce none vs. the fact that evolution has over a hundred years of accumulated evidence and peer-reviewed journal articles is a telling point here.  
Well, you must realize that the evidence you speak of is the same evidence that IDists are aware of, and it is no doubt why most of them accept evolution as a slow unfolding of life and one or a few common ancestors (some of them?) but they do not agree with all the interpretations of said evidence.

Do you think that one person's ego (or even a group of people) is what makes our genetic makeup so similar to that of apes?
I don't get what you're saying here.

I do not agree that paleontology verifies gradualism. But as for geology, I can only say that I never have thought all animals arrived at once or quickly. As Davison said over at his blog, it is the mechanism I have doubted.

Date: 2006/02/24 08:18:56, Link
Author: avocationist

The funny thing Avo, is that in this case we all know what cards we have and what hands we are trying to achieve.  You cannot provide either of those details when trying to calculate the complexity of life.  I suppose you could specify the current state of all life, but why deny alternate paths?  That would be like artificially increasing your odds by requiring that the hands are dealt in numerical order.

Well, essentially, you are saying that life could have evolved successfullyi n myriad ways. That may or may not be true. According to books like Nature's Destiny, that is not really true. Also, it is not simply a matter of finding a working combo. Life as it is, the cell, when we try to figure out how it could have occurred against the difficulties that it must have surmounted, is difficult to account for. Your argument is better if we speak of some specific protein with its hundreds of amino acids - there might be several other ways it could have been put together to solve its task.


Yesterday I went to the bookstore and read through the pages 160-162. Dawkins point was indeed clear enough to me, since he did the calculation and even called it a dealion. So, as I said I would, I have written to Spetner's publisher, who will forward my letter. I do note, however, that you have called Spetner malicious, and I find this a recurring theme in your assessments of various ID authors. I do not see it that way. It is difficult for me to understand how Spetner could have missed what Dawkins wrote, and it sure looks like he skimmed the important part, but it hardly seems safe to make so obvious a blunder when criticizing a well-known work just bcause you feel malicious. Incidentally, Spetner cut Dawkins more slack than I did. He simply said Dawkins made a common mistake.

At the same time, as I watch the two factions speak ill of one another on UD and ATBC, it still seems to me that the level of paranoia is higher here. Then again, the new thread over there about Roe vs Wade is pretty disheartening and I think I am about to just crawl into a cave somewhere and take a break from human nature.


The corollary for ID is that our ignorance is total and irremediable. A call for the non-explanation that is IDCreationism. Goddidit.
Well if you take it that way of course it is annoying. I think that the desire to know and to analyze is far too strong in humans for them to give up trying to figure out how it was done, regardless of whether there is a God or not. And then too, there could be just as many or even more forever unanswerable questions about how evolution happened via the NDE scenario.


Ah, RM + NS is your ONLY problem then?

I think so. I think the fossil record is inadequate, evidence points away from gradualism. Life forms are absolutely connected in some fundamental way, yet I am unconvinced as to how.

I didn't get the bit about garter snakes should have venom genes.

I realize limited time is a problem to show useful mutations that lead to new species, but I find merit in the arguments against mutation as a serious organizational force. And I find it ironic that the mechanism of evolution should be the same one that calls forth some of the greatest intelligence of the cell to avoid.

I see now.  What Dembski says about ID to a religious group doesn't matter, but if Dawkins professes a philosophical statement, then evolution is atheistic.  Nice double standard you've got going there.
If Dawkins made a separate case of his atheism and spoke openly of his worldview only to atheist club meetings, it would be the same as what Dembski does. Dembski sees the difference between what is a scientifically viable statement to make versus one that is his inner worldview. That he hopes they do indeed coincide is only rational. Dawkins makes no secret that his atheist worldview is part of his evolution outlook. I cannot be sure but I think he has made statements to the effect that if (his) evolution theory is truly understood, it leaves no room for God and I happen to agree.
The thing is, the antievolution arguments have not been discarded, and it doesn't matter how old they are. But if they put the Bible first, that's a problem.

I would expect them (at the bare minimum) to come up with some hypotheses and some tests of those hypotheses.  Care to enlighten us as to what any of those are?  What you are doing is making an a priori assumption that god exists and has designed us, and then you magically see the design that god did.
Well, I certainly think that they have done so. Again, you are assuming that the belief in God obligates seeing design, but that is not true for everyone so I don't think it is a strong argument.

I was asking you if their egos are to blame for the fact that humans and chimps (and all mammals for that matter) share such genetic similarities.
Is the problem with our egos a result of animal nature? Probably. Not every one who doubts Darwinism thinks every life form was independently created. You know, there are certain body languages used by chimps that are used by humans, and the Catholic church comes to mind. The alpha males gets his hand kissed by the subservient males (not sure about females). The beta males show subservience by adopting a bottom-up posture - again a frequent one in religious as well as reverence-for-king postures required in civilized societies.  So far as I know, and this is very interesting, hunter-gather and other noncivilized societies never engage in that throwback behavior. It is highly undignified to grovel and tribal type peoples would be disgusted to engage in it. And I have a theory about this: civilization represents a psychic trauma from which we have not recovered (and I hope we are going to recover). Because of this psychic trauma, we are confused and are engaging in behaviors that are really very primitive.

Date: 2006/02/27 12:54:29, Link
Author: avocationist
Hello again,

You know I worked a lot this weekend and it is hard to keep up. Puck, you ask if I could tell something is designed if I was unfamiliar with it. We are familiar with what sorts of things we design, so even when we dredge up some unexpected artifact from the sea, we realize an ancient civilizaiton was repsonsible. But I think even on a strange planet we would be able to recognize the hallmarks of design.

The idea behind IC is that there is not a gradual pathway which can lead to it. The gradual pathway is what Darsinists have generally expected will lead to complex organs. The Nelson-Pilger (sp?) paper was about just that, a slow and gradual improvement of light sensitive tissue into an eye. The whole time, it was a seeing organ. But people have brought up the possibility of co-option, at least of some of the components of the flagellum, and Behe (I think I am right here) has accepted this as another explanation but he refutes it is also being extremely unlikely. I think perhaps I can find the relevant part of his book, or if it is not in the book perhaps it is in the Dembski paper. Also, there is a later Dembski paper called IC revisited.

I don't think anyone expects an actual pathway to be proved, but rather for one to be proposed that looks workable. I am not understanding why the existence of the Type 3 system makes the flagellum non-IC.


You say we have observed random mutation and natural selection. What random mutations have we observed that were useful? How does a random mutation series turn itself into a well-coordinated redesign of a body plan? How do small mutations leading to better sight also manage to randomly mutate the needed nerve pathways and brain and skull reformations?

Natural selection isn't a positive but a negative. Nothing is selected, but some don't make the grade. Natural selection is another way of saying that only what works will work. We could no more live without natural selection than we could live without the pain response.

The problems with assuming micromutations lead to wholesale redesign into new species is that it is simply difficult to envision that level of coordination to a random process fraught with mostly failure. And I still find it odd that while as Mayr says, mutation is the ultimate source of all genetic variation, life forms exert their utmost efforts to prevent exactly that. Evolution scientists have noted that the norm for a species is stasis.


Did I miss an earlier post about co-option? I am interested in understanding how people think this works.


Buying into the arguments for design does not mean one has an a priori assumption of God. Some people simply see a problem with the whole NDE ball of wax, or perhaps they just have too much personal incredulity, but the God part doesn't come first, and they may remain agnostic.

I never said science should search for God. I said that science should acknowledge that there is the possibility that God exists, and if so, it changes all equations.

Date: 2006/02/27 17:38:36, Link
Author: avocationist
I just spent way too much time seeking the spot where the word malicious was used.

JAD asks a couple of questions and I have seen him mention this elsewhere as well, and since he often asks to have his posts transmitted here, I'll throw it out because I wonder what sort of answer would be approptiate.


You don't have to convince me. I believe the whole business was planned from the very beginning or beginnings and that man is the terminal product of a planned and now terminally executed scenario. The best evidence for this resides in the silence with which my following challenge has been met, the several times I have presented it.

Name a single mammalian genus younger than the genus Homo and a single member of that genus more recent than ourselves.

A second challenge has also not been met.

Pick any two species, living or dead, and provide the proof that one is ancestral to the other.

We do not see "evolution in action" as the Darwinians continue blindly to maintain. We see only the immutable products of a long past evolution, just as Linnaeus and Cuvier both understood long before Darwin. That evolution had nothing to do with chance, nothing to do with allelic mutation, nothing to do with sexual reproduction and nothing to do with the environment generally. It unfolded from within those relatively few organisms which linked one step in the ascending scenario to the next. There is no evidence that such organisms are still extant.

By gradualism, I mean that many small steps slowly lead to diversification of species and creation of novel structures.

If I was to present William Dembski with two 1,000,000,000 digit long binary numbers could he determine which one had randomly occured and which one had been "designed"?
How would he determine which one was designed?

Well what do you mean by designed. If you simply made up a number and called it designed but it didn't do anything, then of course he couldn't. If your number, however, was a specific set of information that accomplished something complex, and if Dembski were able to discern the relation of the number to some sort of task or other form of meaningful information (there being the possibility that he could not decode it and therefore it would continue to appear random to him) then yes, he could.

The thrust of the Nature's Destiny book is to look at, for example, the table of elements, and consider what certain of them do, such as water or carbon, and see if any other candidates can fill the roles and they can't. We live in the best of all possible worlds.  :)

Oh, I'm previewing my post and I see you'll fry me for calling water an element. You get the idea.


What sort of fundie were you, and how did you change? If you think those guys are fundies, then do you think there are Christians who are not fundie? 'Cause they don't seem fundie to me. Well, some of them are.


And you have this thing bass ackwards.  Dawkins says that evolution "allows" one to be an atheist.  You can not make the same claim of ID.  Now, which one is able to make a scientifically viable statement?
If that were the only statement Dawkins made, you'd be right. I think he says more than that. There is nothing nonvalid about the statement that a system was most likely designed and not random.

You have a good point that it is hard to separate one's science from religious or worldview. But you think Dawkins science is unchanged by it whereas Dembski's is. I don't agree. What seems to be going on here is that there is a great acceptance within the evo community (and indeed far more than I had expected) of theistic or deistic beliefs, so long as they are kept within a certain perspective. What I am saying is that ultimately either Dawkins is right and there is nothing but self-organizing matter, or the deck was stacked. Because if there is a supreme being of any sort then this alters reality at its very outset. Renier and Miller prefer a remote God who is separate from a system that he set up. I would have no argument with that as a possibility except it doesn't appear to be quite true - I don't see the system as being capable of evolving life all by itself, and from a mystical standpoint, a personal and limited God who resides in some particular spot but not in other spots isn't philosophically valid. In other words, I am arguing that all the cosmos is of an underlying unity.

So, you believe that there are good arguments that the Earth is only 6000-10000 yrs. old?
What??? I have not looked into the age of earth arguments whatsoever and have no opinion. I am pretty sure that it isn't 10,ooo years old because the only persuasion which would think so is Biblical (dont know about koran, but I consider Islam a conflation of several local traditions extant at the time) and the possibility of the Bible being literally accurate is surely less than zero.

It seems to me you argued I believe in ID because I believe in God. I pointed out that people can believe in God and accept evolution. Therefore it is not so that I must be accepting ID due to my belief in God.

As to why Miller is a confused IDist, that is simply because while he definitely accepts a system similar to the one Renier described for us, nonetheless we are in a very different ballgame if there is a God than if there isn't one. Dawkins' reality is not Miller's. It is bizarre to be confused on that.

You made the statement to the effect that people cling to evolution because their egos get in the way.  Is it our egos that account for the genetic similarities we see between us and apes, or other mammals.  In other words, it is not ego that caused these things to be fact.  It is fact that we have significant genetic similarities to apes, other mammals, even further down the line.  Ego has nothing to do with it.
I meant to say that ego gets in the way in human relations in many ways, including clinging to ideas with more than just facts for motivation. The genetic similarity between us and chimps is exxagerated I am sure, but whatever it takes to alter us from chimps to human is what it takes, nothing less and nothing more. Just the fact that we don't even have the same number of chromosomes would seem to refute the 99% estimate. I think the estimate in the end will be more like 95 or 96%. The whole chimp thing has little meaning to me. It's a code made up of the same stuff, arranged differently. You mght as well get upset that the same alphabet was used to produce Lolita as the Nancy Drew mysteries. We are made of the same stuff and the same code as squid. The whole planet is made of star stuff. We aren't chimps, we are the gods of this planet and it's time we started acting like it.

Date: 2006/03/01 07:29:10, Link
Author: avocationist

Since a deck of cards could randomly exist in any order at all, then there is no way to determine that the deck is "stacked".  It could have been shuffled properly, and still wound up in that order.  You might assume that I am cheating, because I got 4 Aces on the first draw....but you couldnt actually know that I was cheating.
Sure, with four aces you couldn't tell. But with sufficent levels of unlikelihood, one comes to the conclusion a thing was not random. And the ID proponents, in their arguments, always acknowledge that you cannot prove in any absolute sense that something or other could never have occurred. But when evolution as a whole relies on a large number of very fortuitious events, but insists on retaining the random and unplanned explanation, it does raise the incredulity quotient.


Hmmm, thats not what Dembski says, he simply says that if the pattern of numbers is complex enough, that it proves design.  I do not believe that Dembski has any new relationship with respect to biological organisms.  He simply calculated that their chance of existence was too rare to be random.
You answer indicates there is some history to this question that I am unaware of. I simply answered as best I could within CSI framework. I do not know what Dembski means by a pattern being complex enough, but his thing is complex and specified information; therefore the information must be tied to some kind of meaning such as DNA code.

I will not be writing Dembski for math explanations! Algebra is all I have gotten to. And don't be supposing I remember it.


The reason you think that Miller is a confused IDist is because you confuse ID(philosophy) with ID(science).  Miller actually believes in ID(philosophy).
Supposing one day we have a real theory of everything. Now, if it is just a physics theory, and it might be, perhaps it won't really explain what underlies this universe we find ourselves in. But a true theory of everything should include any fundamental knowledge such as the cause of nature. So if that fine day comes, we will not have philosophy and science in separate realms. It is only our ignorance that causes them to appear separate.

Dawkins believes there is only matter and it organized itself into this universe and these life forms without any outside agency or cause. Miller believes in a transcendent God of great intelligence who is the cause of nature and who intervenes on the quantum level, and even appoints a vicar to oversee his salvation project. The only argument between Miller and Behe is the amount or placement of interference. Behe does not see how the forces of chemical reactions can account for certain complex systems, and Miller does. Behe does not believe that every roll of the dice is predetermined. He believes in a certain amount of chance, even in evolution. So Behe and Miller draw the line in a different place. It is an important argument, but not a fundamental one.

I guess I am not a Buddhist. I find much in buddhist literature extremely useful, but ultimately enigmatic and vague. Perhaps that is good in a way, from a spiritual point of view, since a great impediment to knowing God would be the false notions that people carry. Buddhism is a great cleansing approach.

There is no reason to suppose that God goes against the laws of nature at any time. Unless by going against them, one simply means that God might act in the same way that we act - to bring about a result that would not occur if he had not acted. Cars do not construct themselves, houses do not build themselves but neither does it go against the laws of nature when we do build them.


Why do you people think that it is so obscene that chimps and humans are related?
What people!?
You have completely misread what I said. I clearly stated that the whole chimp problem hardly interests me. When did I say it was obscene? Yes, I think that for argument purposes, the similarities are exaggerated, and when the fray settles, I don't believe the similarity will be 99%. It think the truth is closer to 95%. I am going to say more about this when I get the chance to answer Russell, perhaps tomorrow.
I can't speak of a rottweiler and pomeranian evolving because they didn't. They are a domesticated species and we have exploited that to the max. This is a good illustration of the variety that some species are capable of without even beginning to violate the species barrier. Some genomes are apparently more capable of variety than others. Yes, of course those two dogs are far more similar than we are to chimps! Their general dogginess is not in dispute. Of course we are close to chimps - but nonetheless we are very, very different. It doesn't matter if it was ten genes that made the difference - the difference is both profound on the one hand, and less than for all other species on the other.  I believe I recently read it is estimated to be 35 million base pairs. whatever percent that comes to, so be it.

Zheano (Jeannot) I think your post you should take to Davison's blog because while he made some insult according to his custom, he should actually answer it.

Aren't there places in the world where shorelines have been altered and "designed" in order to protect natural habitats as well as human habitats?  Do you think that you or Dembski could walk along those shorelines and tell us what parts were designed, or pick out the "hallmarks of design" in those shorelines?
No one is arguing that such subtle forms of design are detectable. ID focuses on very complex systems, nothing like shorelines.


Contrary to what you said, how could one accept design and not accept god?
I agree but my argument was that belief in god does not automatically mean one accepts ID. But belief in ID is difficult to reconcile with no God, you are right about that.


The fact is that equations are what they are.
Yes, I didn't mean to imply that in a mathematical sense. I simply meant that a universe with God is a very different one than without.

In order to know that we live in the best of all possible worlds, one has to know what all possible worlds there are and then have some quantitative measure of determining that this one is the best.
Yes, but the arguments of a book like Nature's Destiny is that there is not another possible world, not one that can work anything like as well as this one.  
If you think that "random" automatically means "no god" then you are wrong.
Well, that is pretty much the way I take it. Now, if you take it that there was an initial setup so that the laws of nature would tend to lead to life, but that the process was random like a roll of the dice or perhaps like our weather, then I would not really consider that random. And even if a lot was left to chance, it is hard to imagine a highly intelligent God who can have made such a setup and yet not had a pretty good idea of what sort of life forms, and ultimately human-like intelligence would result. Was Miller's God totally surprised at the emergence of man? Did he say, Oh My, look at this!


If Dawkins is right or you are right, how will you figure that out with science?
It seems Alan Fox on another thread said that there is no developmental plan. I may have misunderstood him. He was saying that DNA codes for protein and that is all it does. Now, this was one of the main points in the infamous Meyer paper. We don't know a lot about how the body plans get realized in embryonic devlopment. He calls them epigenetic factors. I find it odd to simply state that there is no plan. I do think that science will ultimately prove whether species are capable of mutating into new species, and whether they are capable of generating new body plans in the ways described by Darwinian evolution.
Also, I'd really like to know how if we all came to some realization that god exists that reality would somehow be altered.
It would mean everything and nothing at all.

Now, I might start to get a little offended.  I'm offended that you think you can twist the arguments around and not have me notice.
It was YOU who said that evolution is atheistic.  Now, you say that people can believe in god and accept evolution?
Of course they can. We have Puck, we have Miller, and a couple of others here who confessed to belief in God. But ultimately, it can never, really, really be the same evolution that Dawkins thinks of.


What is also bizarre is the fact that you somehow think reality is different depending on whether one believes in god or not.  Do objects fall at different speeds depending on god belief?  Are the similarities between chimps and humans at different percentages based on one's god belief?  Does light travel at different speeds based on god belief?
Well, belief doesn't change reality. But reality itself is different if there is a God. The only difference belief in God would make to one's reality is that perception would be somewhat deepened, depending upon how much intent you focus upon it.

I have not maligned evolutionary biologists as hopeless egomaniacs simply because I have pointed out that ego is an impediment to objective argument and slows down the progress of truth. I am not picking on any particular persuasion of humanity.

but I'm also not upset by the thought that we share a common ancestor with apes.  But, your explanation seems to say that since we are all made up of "star stuff" that Sol is also one of our cousins.
I couldn't possibly care less that we/if we have a common ancestor with apes. I think all life is one life, and all beings have consciousness. Their bodies do not disgust me, nor even their lack of human intelligence, although I do not want to trade mine in. I admire animal intelligence.

The inanimate realm provides the substructure upon which the animate realm depends, and everything, animate and inanimate, is built up of the same elements, and the elements are of the same particles - the bible says we are made of dust and somehow that is better than being made of chimp? As I said to Artist in Training, we are all made of light, this whole cosmos, so who cares about chimps?


I'm not sure what you mean by "We are the gods of this planet and it's time we start acting like it."  What in the world does that have to do with science?
No matter how you want to interpret it, we are in charge here and we are head and shoulders above the other life forms, because of our intelligence. It is a quantitative difference, but not a qualitative difference.

Date: 2006/03/02 15:46:47, Link
Author: avocationist
Chris, going back over some posts I found your co-option one, and I just want to say that I have reread it and take note.


Surely, when you say such and such model has been "largely abandoned" - you can cite at least one review of the relevant literature by a relevant scholar of the field to substantiate that claim.

I really can't evaluate a paper of the length that you have given. If you could summarize it, or bring out its main points...
Why dismiss Mike Gene so easily? His 5-part essay on the flagellum is pretty readable and has references at the bottom of each section. I didn't see a date. I wanted to see if it was later than the paper you cited.

2. Is there any reason to think the type III export system, complete with the ancestors of flhA, flhB, fliR, fliQ, fliP, fliI and others, existed as a "cooptable part." Thus far, the answer is no, as there are good reasons to think the type III system evolved from pre-existing flagella.

a. The bacterial flagellum is found in both mesophilic and thermophilic bacteria, gram-positive and gram-negative, high GC and low GC content bacteria, and spirochetes. Type III systems seem to be restricted to a few gram-negative bacteria. That is, if we look at the sequenced genomes from the various groups cited above, we can find the genes for the bacterial flagellum but not the type III system genes.

b. Independent evidence suggests the type III system is recent. It is not only restricted to gram-negative bacteria, but to animal and plant pathogens. In fact, the function of the system depends on intimate contact with these multicellular organisms. This all indicates this system arose after plants and animals appeared. In fact, the type III genes of plant pathogens are more similar to their own flagellar genes than the type III genes of animal pathogens. This has led some to propose that the type III system arose in plant pathogens and then spread to animal pathogens by horizontal transfer.

c. When we look at the type III system its genes are commonly clustered and found on large virulence plasmids. When they are in the chromosome, their GC content is typically lower than the GC content of the surrounding genome. In other words, there is good reason to invoke horizontal transfer to explain type III distribution. In contrast, flagellar genes are usually split into three or more operons, they are not found on plasmids, and their GC content is the same as the surrounding genome. There is no evidence that the flagellum has been spread about by horizontal transfer.

d. It's much easier to envision the evolution of the type III system from flagella than vice versa. For starters, evidence has surfaced that the basal body of the flagellum already works to secrete proteins other than the flagellar proteins, including virulence factors. Thus, the basal body is already poised to evolve into a type III system from the start. Evolution apparently would only have to duplicate and tweak the type III virulence protein secretion activity already existing in flagella. . In my opinion, this view is far more parsimonious than to propose that something like the type III system evolved long ago, was lost by all bacteria but gram-negative animal/plant pathogens and then was used to evolve the flagellum so that horizontal transfer could spread flagella far and wide (despite the lack of evidence for such transfer).

Thus, it should not be surprising that the scientific opinion has been converging on the notion that the export machinery evolved from the flagellar machinery [5-7].

There is yet another interesting aspect to all this. Since evolving from some flagellum, the type III transport system appears to have lost its ability to engage in rotary transport. The flagellar motor is composed of five proteins: MotA, MotB, FliG, FliN, and FliM. We'll discuss this more below, but right now it is worth pointing out that the type III systems have no homologs for MotA, MotB, or FliM. The Mot proteins are essential components of the motor, as they are membrane proteins that fulfill two functions: they transport ions to provide the energy for rotation and serve as the stator against which the rotor (FliG, FliN, FliM) moves. What's more, the type III rotor components have significantly changed. The type III homolog of FliN shares sequence similarity only with in its C-terminal 80 amino acids. And the sequence similarity between the FliG homologs are almost non-existent. Furthermore, there have been significant changes in FliF. FliF forms the MS ring (the "mounting plate"), which is associated with and above the C-ring composed of FliG, M, and N. FliF in flagella is composed of 500+ amino acids, but in the type III homolog, both the C- and N-terminal domains thought to be involved in forming the MS ring are missing. All that is left in common between them is a central region of about 90 amino acids.

Here we find another reason to recognize the significance of the flagellum-to-type III system evolution. Type III systems have apparently lost their ability to rotate. Thus, we can't think of type III systems as something pre-adapted to rotate, as all the rotary information has been lost. To argue that the type III system could reacquire the ability to rotate, as the flagellum does, is to essentially violate Dollo's Law, which states: "evolutionary change manifested at any level higher than the genetic is irreversible, and that anatomical structures or functions once lost cannot be regained." [8] Yet by proposing that the flagellum once existed as a type III system and later acquired the ability to rotate is not hardly any different that proposing type III systems could reacquire the ability to rotate and violate Dollo's Law.
Saying, "I think it's extremely unlikely" does not amount to "refuting".
OK, maybe refuting isn't the word, but Behe has made good arguments to show that the compiling of the flagellum from disparate parts is not likely. I spent a bit of time and didn't find them. We are not talking about absolute proof, but rather establishing that intelligent design is a reasonable supposition.

Are you being quite serious here? Evolution is an iterative process. Mutations build on one another. If one mutation leads to better vision, that presumably is beneficial in and of itself. Subsequent mutations leading to more brain development capable of using the better vision then become favorable, etc. Also, did you know that skull formation is responsive to brain formation?
OK, there may be some systems in which this can work to a degree, but I think that my objection still stands. There is an awful lot of very exacting interface and construction in the different systems. Are we just assuming they can cobble themselves together? We not only get a fortuitous mutation, but it includes the construction kit also?

It demonstrates the one system is almost certainly related to the other by the process of "co-option" that Behe has "refuted" by declaring it unlikely.
Well, unfortunately, we really don't know that, and it is hardly certain when there is good reason to think the type 3 was not a precursor. I'm not sure Behe is against all co-option, just doesn't think it can work to put together an IC system.

But the point stands: an evolving system can have a series of  selectable functions without the "final" function being selected from the very beginning.

So it could get a couple of proteins to do something, and then get a few more, cobbled together which will now do something entirely different, and somehow the genome has decided to code for putting them together, and then along comes another protein or set of proteins, which do yet something else again, and this is now added to the first two, which now has a completely new function, and all the old functions for these three systems are still also being covered (presumably they are still needed) while each time this two and now three and now four and now five-part set assumes a completely new role, while somehow not abandoning the old role, and all fitting together perfectly. Not only each new added part but also each set of two-parts, and three-parts, and four-parts - presumably all things the cell still needs?

apparently in vain. Is that your version of an apology?
No my dear, when I feel the need to apologize it will be much sweeter. If you didn't say it, I won't insist. I am pretty sure I saw it. Maybe it was someone else. As for Spetner, I got an answer from him, but it appears he still didn't understand what he did. He corrected me to say that yes, Dawkins did the calculation, but did not calculate the likelihood of the event happening in the lifetime of the alien. However, I sent him another letter pointing out that where Dawkins said that he also used a different phrase, i.e., perfect hand, not perfect deal.  

Oh really? What would you estimate is the similarity between yourself and a human with Down syndrome?
Gosh, I don't begin to know how to answer this. there are a lot of genes on a chromosome, and I don't really know what happens or why when you have that extra chromosome, but I don't think the situation is comparable.


The genetic similarity between us and chimps is exxagerated I am sure,

and I'm sure that you are sure, and that your certainty is based on... nothing at all.

How can we be 99.4 the same as a species with 1/3 our brain size? a species with a different form of locomotion? a species which cannot speak?

Here's what a guy who calls himself an 'interventionist' (humans and domesticated plants and animals were deliberately genetically altered by human-like aliens) has to say:

We are taught that by every scientific measure humans are primates very closely related to all other primates, especially to chimpanzees and gorillas. This is so ingrained in our psyches it seems futile to even examine it, much less challenge it. But we will.

Bones. Human bones are much lighter than comparable primate bones. For that matter, our bones are much lighter than the bones of every “prehuman” ancestor through Neanderthal. The ancestor bones look like primate bones; modern human bones do not.

Muscle. Human muscles are significantly weaker than comparable muscles in primates. Pound-for-pound we are five to ten times weaker than any other primate. Any pet monkey is evidence of that. Somehow getting “better” made us much, much weaker.

Skin. Human skin is not well adapted to the amount of sunlight striking Earth. It can be modified to survive extended exposure by greatly increasing melanin (its dark pigment) at its surface, which only the black race has achieved. All others must cover themselves with clothing or frequent shade or both, or sicken from radiation poisoning.

Body Hair. Primates need not worry about direct exposure to sunlight because they are covered from head to toe in a distinctive pattern of long body hair. Because they are quadrupeds (move on all fours), the thickest is on their back, the thinnest on the chest and abdomen. Humans have lost the all-over pelt, and we have completely switched our area of thickness to the chest and abdomen while wearing the thin part on our backs.

Fat. Humans have ten times as many fat cells attached to the underside of their skin as primates. If a primate is wounded by a gash or tear in the skin, when the bleeding stops the wound’s edges lay flat near each other and can quickly close the wound by a process called “contracture.” In humans the fat layer is so thick that it pushes up through wounds and makes contracture difficult if not impossible. Also, contrary to propaganda to try to explain this oddity, the fat under human skin does not compensate for the body hair we have lost. Only in water is its insulating capacity useful; in air it is minimal at best.

Head Hair. All primates have head hair that grows to a certain length and stops. Human head hair grows to such lengths that it could be dangerous in a primitive situation. Thus, we have been forced to cut our head hair since we became a species, which might account for the sharp flakes of stones that are considered primitive hominid “tools.”

Fingernails & Toenails. All primates have fingernails and toenails that grow to a certain length and then stop, never needing paring. Human fingernails and toenails have always needed paring. Again, maybe those stone “tools” were not for butchering animals.

Skulls. The human skull is nothing like the primate skull. There is hardly any fair morphological comparison to be made apart from the general parts being the same. Their design and assembly are so radically different as to make attempts at comparison useless.

Brains. The comparison here is even more radical because human brains are so vastly different. (To say “improved” or “superior” is unfair and not germane because primate brains work perfectly well for what primates have to do to live and reproduce.)

Locomotion. The comparison here is easily as wide as the comparison of brains and skulls. Humans are bipedal, primates are quadrupeds. That says more than enough.

Speech. Human throats are completely redesigned relative to primates. The larynx has dropped to a much lower position so humans can break typical primate sounds into the tiny pieces of sound (by modulation) that have come to be human speech.

Sex. Primate females have estrous cycles and are sexually receptive only at special times. Human females have no estrous cycle in the primate sense. They are continually receptive to sex. (Unless, of course, they have the proverbial headache.)

Chromosomes. This is the most inexplicable difference of all. Primates have 48 chromosomes. Humans are considered vastly superior to them in a wide array of areas, yet somehow we have only 46 chromosomes! This begs the question of how could we lose two full chromosomes, which represents a lot of DNA, in the first place? And in the process, how could we become so much better?

Anyway, I wonder: is there any reason why a Martian Linnaeus, say, would assign us to two different genera?
So maybe the above is an answer.

Date: 2006/03/02 18:00:38, Link
Author: avocationist
I'm completely lost now and don't know where I've left off.

Puck, I don't think anyone expects an exact pathway, but the proposals so far are just too vague. You said the type 3 system is proof the flagellum can operate without all its parts. It is no such thing! Regardless of how it got together or which of its parts may have once had a different function, the flagellum as it now is cannot have any parts removed. the type 3 system is not a simpler flagellum, it is a transmembrane injection device.

I read someplace that an objective observer would have put chimp and human in the same genus to start with,
What does it take to get into a genus? What's the difference between a family and a genus?


(GCT: ) I'm offended that you think you can twist the arguments around and not have me notice.
You know, I honestly don't think Avo notices when she twists the arguments around. This is the fundamental (pun only partially intended) problem with creationist thinking: whatever question you ask, the answer has to conform to the overall precommitment to goddidit.

This is very shi##y of you Russell. Let GCT go back and show where I twisted his arguments. I already spend enough time keeping each one straight as I can. My words are very frequently misunderstood and I patiently explain.

Again, this is the 4th time that I find you on your theme of being very suspicous of the motives and honesty of those who disagree with your views.

That, and the fact that she doesn't see that as post-modernism.
Why don't you define postmodernism then, because I gave my definition and it had nothing to do with our conversation.

I think the nylonase story is another great example, if Avo is seriously interested.
I've read about that, no doubt from an ID standpoint.


What is also bizarre is the fact that you somehow think reality is different depending on whether one believes in god or not.

I think I already addressed this. comments like this make me think I am speaking with simpletons. Am I speaking with simpletons?
Do you honestly think that designing a shoreline is subtle and non-complex?
Why yes, I do. What did you have in mind? It sounded like a big landscaping project.

So, since it isn't atheistic, why can't you accept evolution and still believe in your god?
Because I have read books which have convinced me it ISN'T TRUE. It isn't because of my belief in God. The only thing about my belief in god is that I could never suppose that existence itself was anything other than directly related to said God.


Also, if one must believe in god in order to hold a belief in ID, how exactly is that scientific?
How is it not?

I simply meant that a universe with God is a very different one than without.

To the person who lives within a limited sphere of perception, there is no difference at all. But the universe itself, would be totally different. But you must realize there is no such choice- if there is a God it necessarily means that there is no other possible reality, never was, never will be and that all such talk is total fantasy. contrariwise, if there is no god then there is also no possibility or need of a god.

And that is a specious argument for a couple reasons.  One, it's entirely possible that there are other worlds, or other universes that could create worlds with life.  Two, their definition of the best world is based on an Earth bias.  Three, (and this is a religious objection) why couldn't your god create a more perfect world?
I think the argument is not based on earth bias, but it can only make the argument if they assume that the laws of nature and the elements are as they are. It might be possible to have a completely different sort of universe, I suppose. What Nature's Destiny is saying is that the universe that we find ourselves in is a completely cohesive whole.

Random from the scientific sense means that we can't determine or predict the exact time, location, etc. of the mutations that will occur.  We can also discern no plan.  It's non-causal.  That doesn't have any implications when it comes to god belief.  One is free to hold a non-belief in god and decide that it all happened naturally.  One could believe that god set up the initial conditions and let everything run on its own.  One could believe that god makes all the mutations happen and has a specific plan for letting things play out a specific way.  We just can't determine which, if any, of those is correct through scientific means.  So, we call it random.
I don't think that is what people are taking away from their textbooks. But it is fair enough.


This is your answer to how you can tell whether Dawkins or you are right about god through science?
Hmm, I don't remember answering that specific question. I am saying that we will find out more about genetic expression, embryonic development, chromosomal rearrangements and so forth, and this, I hope, will put to rest some false ideas about how species can evolve through small random mutations.


This answer meant nothing at all.

If there is or isn't a God, all will appear exactly the same to your eyes. In that sense it is nothing. If there is a God this is a radically different situation. Supposing that you have a consciousness that animates and transcends your body, this will eventually make a big difference to you - that between life and nonlife. A God universe is ten trillion times better.

Certainly we are superior to all other animals in figuring out ways of killing each other.
It's time we grew up. Belief in Jehovah or the things that are taught about that demonic entity is a real impediment to adulthood, in my humble opinion.


So, you reject the notion that Miller is a confused IDist?  Good.  We've made some progress.
It seems the one to twist words is you. First you say I believe ID because my belief in God requires it. I explain that I could work evolution into my belief in god and point out what has been pointed out by others here - that even people committed to evolution can believe in God. (But yes, I have indeed learned here that evolution is more comatible with belief in God than I thought it would be.) Now, Puck says that Miller disagrees with ID scientifically but accepts it philosophically. I still find that slightly incoherent. Also, what I understand of Miller is that while he thinks the setup had a tremendous amount of freedom to play itself out, he also believes in an interfering, omnipotent and omniscient God. Yes, I think he is an IDist. Just not of the tinkering sort.

What I can't seem to get across here is that the divide is bigger between Dawkins and Miller than it is between Miller and Behe.


How is reality different if god exists?  God exists or doesn't, correct?  If we learn that god doesn't exist, does that change the reality of the world we were living in that didn't have a god?  If we learn that god does exist, does that change the reality of the world we were living in that did have a god?
I was not speaking about a personal reaction to a belief. Why did you think I was? If there isn't a God all is material and ultimately will die out, perhaps never to rise again. Death is agony because one does not want one's consciousness to cease. Life is certainly fascinating, in a bitter way.

If there is a God then all in the universe is a direct emanation and part of that God, no one and nothing can be excluded, and consciousness is free to develop forever.



Fortuitious for the survivors. Not so much for the much larger number of species that have gone extinct.

Yeah, but I was talking more about the fortuitious events leading to life and to the cellular systems being improbable without intelligence.



The problem is that you couldnt prove that I stacked the deck.  To prove that I stacked the deck, you would have to see me stacking the deck, or explain how I was cheating.
Yeah, proof might be hard but eventually you can't keep accepting it if someone keeps winning every poker hand.

Behe thinks that he can prove that God interferes.  Miller doesnt know if you can prove God or not, but he does know that Behe's proof isnt any good.
Well, he does not speak of proof, but he certainly thinks he can show very strong probability. As for Miller, perhaps someone else, maybe Matzke's article might have something in it, but that Miller argument is just not too close. I just don't see why you guys think Miller really has given Behe a run for the money.


Behe and Dembski are abusing the typical assumptions of science.  They are providing an assumption...then providing 2-3 cases of that assumption possibly being correct.  The 2-3 cases that they provide;flagellum, eye, etc. are all heavily contested.
they have more than 2 or 3. I think there are lots. but good - let the contesting continue.

Behe got 3 aces, and then claimed that he had proven that the deck was stacked.
what do you have in mind here?

What you probably dont realize, is that if you go get a shuffled deck of cards, and deal them all out, the odds of them being in that order is just as rare....
Doesnt make sense?  Well, odds dont deal with the desirability of the results.  Sure, to us, the odds of a perfectly arranged deck are much higher than a random deck.  The problem is that statistics says that the odds are the same.
Dembski abuses this little trick.  He shows that the odds of life evolving are very, very slim.  He ignores the fact that it doesnt make the evolution of life extraordinary.  You dont consider most decks of cards "extraordinary" despite the fact that it is incredibly rare that they will be in that order!

Dembski abuses this little trick.  He shows that the odds of life evolving are very, very slim.  He ignores the fact that it doesnt make the evolution of life extraordinary.  You dont consider most decks of cards "extraordinary" despite the fact that it is incredibly rare that they will be in that order!
 Yes, of course I realize that any random shuffle of the deck, if you specified exactly that as the perfect deal, would be just as unlikely as any other.

What do you mean odds don't deal with the desirability of results? Odds themselves don't know, but we know. It is precisely the odds of getting the needed result that we are calculating.

How do you surmise that life would evolve no matter what shuffle of the deck occurs? That is what you are saying!

Better analysis, and a better understanding of certain genes moved the percentage up 99.4%
Then this is a clue to some big pieces we are missing. There is more to this picture.


Why is the difference profound?
Your just a hairless walking talking ape.
Oh please.

we have constantly found apes that are showing more and more hairless. with a more bipedal stance, and even eventually talking apes.
We have?


I do think that science will ultimately prove whether species are capable of mutating into new species, and whether they are capable of generating new body plans in the ways described by Darwinian evolution.
I agree, but I am curious what kind of proof you would require.
That is hard to envision because it is in the realm of unknown processes.

I guess all I can say is that I think the evidence and the reasonings of ID have more merit than you think they do. And I don't think the case is as tight by the other side.

The point is that to calculate the level of unlikelyhood for something such as the flagellum to any degree of accuracy is pretty much impossible at the moment. I wish it wasn't it would make my job a lot easier.
I think there is a lot of truth to that. Nonetheless, we can and do at least begin to examine the issue. but for this reason, it makes sense to be less emotional about what we don't know enough about.  
What job is that?


They cannot understand religious beliefs outside of their own
Miller's God and Avo's God are basically the same.
You know, Puck, I actually find this upsetting. I have no religion, I identify with a large number of different world spiritual outlooks, and about the only one or two that I consider really narrow and detrimental are Catholicism and Islam, with certain forms of protestantism close behind.

Alright, I see you didn't mean it quite the way I thought you did. What about you - isn't your view of God's actions somewhat similar to Miller?

I've never quite bought this "we all worship the same God" thing. The deity worshipped by Christian fundamentalists has one set of properties (consigns gay people to he11, had a human son, spoke to Amos, Jeremiah, Pat Robertson, doesn't have much of a sense of humor...). The deity recognized by, say, Reform Jews has very different properties. Miller refers to his God as He, Avo refers to hers as She...
I agree with you, Russell. Perhaps deep down we do all worship the same God, but that is so deep down it can be pretty inaccessible. That is why I said the terrible things that I said above.

The beliefs of mainstream Christianity are in my opinion very detrimental and I do undersand why Dawkins thinks it is the root of all evil. Over at Telic Thoughts, they were very incensed when Dawkins said that a religious upbringing was a form of child abuse. Of course, that was way over the top and they trotted out studies that show religious-home kids were more emotionally sound. I got curious as to why Dawkins would be so outragious so I looked up the incident. And it turns out that some woman told him that as a teenager her friend was suddenly killed, and that according to the adults around her, her friend that she was currently mourning was burning in #### becuse she wasn't saved. I started going on a website and learned a lot of shocking things about the way hellfire and damnation is bludgeoned into the heads of the faithful, and has been for centuries. I read Catholic children's primers vividly describing small children going to #### and burning in red hot ovens and how they scream with pain, and how they will never, never get out. They had quotes from famous preachers who told their congregations that they will witness their closest loved ones in #### and feel no pity. They have descriptions of the extreme sufferings God will inflict that are difficult to use another term for than demonic fantasy. And both Augustine and Aquinas taught that the saved will enjoy the sight of the sufferings of the damned.

I made some remarks at Telic thoughts to the effect that Christians need to start thinking about why they have brought about such fear and hostility on the part of the secular humanist community. I asked them, why did Darwin say - Christianity is a damnable doctrine that he did not understand why anyone would want it to be true?

They were silent.

Date: 2006/03/03 14:49:00, Link
Author: avocationist
Instead, scientists looking at the structure of human chromosome #2 can see that it is a fusion of two chromosomes in the chimp genome, complete with extra telomeres and everything. The genetic material was re-arranged, not lost.
 You know, it is interesting to note that this very same writer realizes that and has written that in other essays. He thinks it is evidence of gene manipulation. Perhaps he was making a point here that this is an important difference.

So I have to leave town for several days and didn't want people wondering if I had fallen off a cliff.

Date: 2006/03/09 19:05:23, Link
Author: avocationist
Hi Puck,

I think ID has tons of evidence, and I believe that it has a great deal of merit.  Ken Miller would agree with me.

Well, maybe, but I thought KM thinks the design is undetectable.  In which case it has no merit.

The problem, and you seem to completely miss this, is that ID is a philosophical conjecture.
No, it is more than that. Sure, as a philosophical conjecture, you can posit nearly anything, but ID does try to interpret empirical facts. And, I think, popular evolution theory can also be accused of waxing philosophical.

This is an invocation of Pascal's Wager.  In case you arent familiar with the fatal flaw of Pascal; he attempted to rationalize a belief in God.  There are several problems with the actual wager, but the lesson is that you cannot rationalize beliefs.  Read up on Pascal please!!!!
This is the second time you brought him up and apparently I found his idea repugnant for the very reason that you say it is flawed. Or wait, maybe not. I am not sure what it means to say you cannot rationalize beliefs. Of course you can and you had better at least try. No, I found it repugnant because it is absurd to say that it is safer to believe in God in case he really is a whacked-out petty tyrant who will blame you for not knowing if he exists - I mean you can't believe in God because it is a safer bet. And why should I read Pascal when I already find his thought silly? I think you made a lot of assumptions about what I meant when I said a universe with God is better - even tho I explained it! It has nothing to do with Pascal's wager.

Miller is closer to Behe in the theological department.
Of course, in the scientific department, Miller is nowhere near a confused IDist....ID is scientific right?
Miller and Behe both believe in a God who is the cause of our world and takes an interest in it. The difference is in how or where the interference line gets drawn. Miller even thinks God may influence random mutations on a quantum level which appears to be chance, and Behe thinks God might just create a flagellum de novo - somehow -
These two positions are not very far apart no matter what Miller may say. Miller does not accept the kind of interference that Behe envisions to create the flagellum "in a puff of smoke" but their ideas of God's interference and design/causation are just not that far apart, and Dawkins and Miller just really aren't that close.


Let GCT go back and show where I twisted his arguments.

And I responded to this already...Here's what I said.
No need to repeat the last post - I have completely lost track of the thread of the conversation and if you think I have twisted your words you need to show how. Not that I expect you to do that level of research at this point, - but I did not know to what you were referring.

So, now you resort to personal attacks?
No, you didn't address this.  You simply made the assertion that the universe would be a lot different with a god than without.
Alright, I'm guilty. I found it a bit frustrating that when I say the universe with God is quite different than without, that you took it to mean that the laws of gravity or something would be different.

The problem with your statement is the same problem that you have with a lot of your statements, namely a complete lack of evidence coupled with a complete inability to separate philosophy from real life.  
There is no separation of philosophy from real life.  What a bizarre thought. But of course, one can realize that one's philosophical opinions are more or less provisional. Which they are.

You have NO CLUE AT ALL whether there truly is a god or not, and you have NO CLUE AT ALL how things might or might not be different.
You give up too easily. There might be a temendous amount we don't know, but we can surely surmise that if there is no God there is also no soul, no reincarnation or afterlife, no conscious intention behind the universe, that matter is the primary reality and things like intelligence are emergent properties of matter. Whereas if there is a God then something which has the property of self-existence and something like a universal mind would be the causal to matter, and that therefore all things are really one thing at their origin, and that something other than dead matter is the source of our existence.

Good job, you've got the slippery evasion tactic down pat.
No, you need to explain to me why you think a person or people altering a shoreline would be detectable as design.

You've also admitted that you haven't read the books that could convince you that it IS true.
Like Mayr's book? I am trying to read it, but it is very simplistic and makes bold statements with little detail. It is going over stuff that I have already read refutations of. But maybe it will get better. My main reason for reading it is to better understand why you guys think the evidence is so good.

Plus, you're convinced that ID is true, even in the face of no evidence for it, yet evolution is not true even though there are mountains of evidence for it.
Remember, many of the mountains of evidence are data which are not in dispute, but the interpretation of that evidence, and certain extrapolations from that evidence are what is in dispute.

Because science does not presuppose god, that's why.  The fact that you can't even understand how an a priori assumption of god violates science means that you really have no standing at all in this discussion.
Neither should science presuppose no God, and despite what Puck and some others have said, this is quite often out there in the public domain. Judge Jones said that there is a centuries old agreement against the supposition of God, and that ID invokes and 'permits' the supernatural. How can the supernatural not be permitted, and why must we call God supernatural? An a priori assumption of God does not prevent a person from doing perfectly good science, even in the arena in which it might matter, so long as they are willing to be proved wrong.

How would the universe be different?  You have no frickin' clue at all!
If there is a god, there's no other possible reality?  Says who?  God couldn't have made a different reality?  That's a howler.
If there is no god, then what does it matter if there is no need for a god?
 I mean that a universe with a God is a different ballgame than one without. Whichever one we are in, it is the only possibility. If there is a God, it means that God caused existence and that matter could not have caused itself. If there is no God and matter is eternal, then God is an imaginary idea. I am not sure what you mean by couldn't God have made a different reality. I think that you mean couldn't he have made a different universe. I suppose he could but that is really a matter of detail - this type of story or that type of story. God IS the universe, whatever sort s/he morphs Itself into.

Either way, it's all claptrap.  They have no idea what possible universes there are/were/whatever, and neither do you.
Given the elements that exist, they are all finely tuned and cannot be more finely tuned to produce life as we know it.

What people take away from their textbooks does not change the actual definition.  So, once again you are shown that evolution does not mean no god.
Textbooks have stated, and the Weisel 38 have stated, that evolution theory proposes an unplanned and unguided process, and many or most evolutionists expect or hope that life itself was capable of self-assembly.

You asked this: This is your answer to how you can tell whether Dawkins or you are right about god through

And I answered this: I am saying that we will find out more about genetic expression, embryonic development, chromosomal rearrangements and so forth, and this, I hope, will put to rest some false ideas about how species can evolve through small random mutations.

And then you replied:  So, you didn't answer my question, but you felt compelled to go on some tangent?  Nice.  Is that an attempt at obfuscation, or what?

Why not rephrase the question? You spend a lot of time accusing me of not answering or twisting words and I spend a lot of time wondering where we got lost. Perhaps if you included more than the final sentence in an exchange. If I don't answer right, clarify.

I have no idea where your question came from - I do hold out the hope that science will prove something about consciousness such that it will make materialism untenable. Or perhaps some other types of proofs will occur. As it stands now, no one can prove God to another. The best one person can do is to help another one to expand their thoughts so that he can discover it for himself.

As for who will be the discoverers of the limits of change through mutation, it doesn't matter. If IDists are in the minority, then it will likely not be them.

Having a god does not necessarily mean that we have souls and will transcend.  It does not mean that we will have life after death.
Perhaps not, but at least the possibility is there, whereas if there is no God, the possibility is most likely not there.

Where did you get the idea that a god couldn't create a universe where people live and die and don't have life after death?
I think it is very likely that it is indeed impossible due to the nature of God and life that there is no such thing as a living being without spirit, in which case God couldn't create such a universe.

Also, how does one determine that a universe with a god is ten trillion times better?
The real number is not computable, so I picked a small number to illustrate.

Miller accepts evolution.  For you to insist that Miller is a closet IDist is completely specious.
Anyone who believes in God is an IDist. So there!

(BTW, those "others here" that said one can believe in god and accept evolution...I'm one of them!  The fact that you imply that I'm arguing that one must be atheist to accept evolution, when I've specifically stated otherwise is completely intellectually dishonest.)
Of course I realize you are one of them - why do you think I implied you were not?

What's all this talk about "better"?  What makes us "better" than other primates?

You seem to have some sort of superiority complex over the other animals on this planet, and you want to impart that onto the science as if it is part of a scientific argument.

I guess I sort of wonder what to say to this. Certainly evolution papers and books talk pretty often about acquiring better and better adaptations. Like where Dawkins says that 5% of an eye is better than 6% of an eye. Is it better to have an IQ of 130 than 70? Sure, chimps have some better traits than we have, but the overall package is that we are an improvement and the point of the argument was all about the vastness of the improvements and the numbers of changes which have occured - also the writer promotes the idea of interventionism, that we humans were genetically modified by an outside race. I pasted it here just because it was a useful list of differences.

As for the value judgement, in my view, all things, every grain of sand or twig, is a perfect manifestation of God and are doing exactly what they should be doing. I don't even think of one person as better than another. I don't think Mother Theresa is better than Stalin. She isn't. I think that God is the animating spirit and universal consciousness in all living beings, and possibly even in inanimate things. Therefore, the animals are each unique and valuable expressions of consciousness.
At the same time, I find it a sort of pretense, and it is probably born of desperation to halt the mindless and uncaring desecration of the planet and rotten treatment of animals when people say that we are no better than animals or animals and people have the same rights.

Animals have the right to our respect and protection.

Date: 2006/03/10 04:53:55, Link
Author: avocationist

I do not see any positive scientific evidence for design, is their anything specific that you see as good evidence?
By positive evidence, do you mean that you don't want what might be considered negative evidence, such as problems with the theory?

You say there are other flagella with parts missing. I'm not sure what you mean. Are you saying they are simpler or use other designs than the one Behe has popularized?

I'm not sure what you mean about assembling the parts in their current form - how do you suppose a system like the flagellum could have evolved? An inability to assemble them gradually is exactly what Behe claims.

Re us and chimps - does no one find the chromosome fusing odd? Is it usual for chromosomes to successfully fuse?

That the differences between us and chimps are caused by quite small differences in DNA is interesting - nonetheless we still have 30 or 35 million base pair adjustments, plus a chromosome fusion to account for.



The books you've read that convinced you that evolution isn't true, were written by people who convinced themselves evolution isn't true because their god said so.  Their god told them evolution was bunk, so they went out and figured out how they could make convincing arguments that evolution is bunk.  Nevermind the fact that they formed their conclusion then looked for data....

Well that is an assumption that first of all calls some of them liars, altho they could be self-deluded, and it also suggests that those on the evolution side could be equally motivated by inner desires to find a certain type of worldview vindicated. And it denies any possibility that they could be persuaded by evidence or facts, so what you're really saying is that 'we are right because we are right.'


But, how would a person know what the differences are, (God or no-God universe) unless that person had seen at least one universe of each type?
Well, I think I answered this in the post above. I am talking about global, foundational differences, not little details.

An evolving gene pool can try various things that are within its "reach", and it can "remember" previous results. Those are two of the properties we associate with intelligence. So even if intelligence is required, why would that form of it be insufficient?
Well that really is the crux of it. Is it sufficient? It is a stretch to call the above intelligence.


Scientific evidence consists of consistent repeatable patterns in observations, such that those patterns logically follow from the premise (or hypothesis) being tested.
Well, yes, but remember the phlogiston, remember the epicycles. It's tricky.

Jay Ray,

Good post. In fact, I do realize that there have to be some of your sticky laws going on, and even though I have been entertained by some of the arguments about chances of proteins getting together, I have long wondered or supposed what unknown forces might help coherent patterns to form.

I hardly need to do your deck shuffling experiment, since what you say is obviously true. The question is, though, how much can we extrapolate from the way that subatomic particles congregate, and atoms and molecules congregate, to the formation of the inner workings of the cells, the many millions of life forms, the fact that a cell has billions of highly organized and complex atoms which perform a dazzling array of functions? We are talking about complex information here. I'm not sure the two correlate, even though I suspect in many ways you are on the right track so far as the organizational patterns in the universe.

Even if we grant that the organization of life isn't quite as outrageous as proposed by some creationists, nonetheless  we have not a few but millions upon million of these amazingly varied and successful life forms. And there are things that nature unaided cannot do. We do them all the time. We write novels or compose symphonies. Why, when faced with the greatest complexity and unlikely mass of organization should we ridicule the notion that it might have taken an intelligence to accomplish?  

It seems to me there could be two kinds of organization. One would be helped by sticky laws that we don't know about. Perhaps they would help a membrane to form. But other designs are free of the necessity to have formed themselves in this or that way by any sort of law. And then the origin of life itself seems to actually go against what laws we do know about.

Also, while you say your sticky laws might make life even inevitable, such arguments to me seem like good ones for those theists who think that God was able to frontload the whole universe even as far back as the big bang for just that. In other words, even if you are right, it is pretty dam-ned fishy how it has all worked out.

As for creationists refusing to acknowledge sticky laws, first, we haven't really found them yet (but we might). But while it is fashionable to tar creationists with the same brush as ID, many or most ID people do not adhere to the restrictive and in my opinion shallow and immature thoughts of creationists. Some ID people like perhaps Mike Gene of telic thoughts are essentially theists or even deists. They are very interested in a front-loaded universe and would be searching for ways this could come about.



Sure, you could probably get a computer simulation to do it effortlessly, but then, of course, the IDers will say, "all bets are off, because the computer was the result of intelligent design."
I don't think so. This is something a computer program could easily accomplish and has almost no relation to a computer program that tries to simulate actual evolution. I think the variables in actual evolution are so complex that we cannot create a computer program to simulate it.


The same thing applies to the argument about life. Even if you could positively establish that life on earth was exceedingly unlikely, it doesn't prove anything unless you assume that life is a desired outcome.But of course, if you assume life is desired in advance, then you're assuming God in advance.

I don't see how this follows. You seem to be saying that, yes, the chances of life occurring are indeed one divided by many trillions, but it was just the way the random shuffle happened to fall. Nonetheless, there is something noteworthy about the fact that we have a planet teeming with millions of life forms when the chances of that were vanishingly small. I don't think we need to extrapolate further about having specified it in advance. Now, you can say that each and every shuffle of the deck is also very unlikely. But we can also say that they all do nothing different from one another, nor would a random shuffling of pebbles and shells on the beach. No matter how many times the waves toss them about, and no matter that each one is unlikely if specified in advance, they also do not stand out one from another in any discernable way. But that one shuffle - life, does.

What would you think if you walked down to the beach and the waves formed words out of the shells, either in one wave or over a succession of 60 or so waves - "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" ?

Now, you will say oh, but I have specified that in advance. And someone else later down in the posts has said that after all, there is not only one solution to proteins or perhaps even to life. But I will accept any sufficiently complex sentence in any language or alphabet on earth. So you see how many good solutions I will accept!

I'll accept even things other than words. A small house with windows and doors would do, or a code that can be decoded as a blueprint for building that house.

Now, I realize that there is a flaw in what I just said, to whit...


but one point would remain the same.....and this is what avocationist and others seem to miss.  No matter how you shuffled, and how you taped the cards together.  The odds of having the cards in the final order are exactly the same.
It's the second time you've said this. I do realize that each shuffle is equally unlikely, and that it is our preference for high cards and certain suits which makes a certain hand specified as desirable. And I am quite sure Dembski realizes that as well. What YOU don't seem to understand is that each of those many deals don't accomplish anything and don't have any structured meaning. You can randomly shuffle letters forever and not get a novel by chance. Your argument implies that all shuffles are really equally valuable.

The flaw in my argument is that one does not necessarily have to get an entire shuffle right in one throw. But even if I acknowledge that there may be sticky laws, and of course the Great Law - what works gets preserved - there are too many improbable miracles in evolution theory, and there are too many systems that seem highly unlikely to congregate without intelligent design behind them somewhere.

Can any of you see that the possibility of the existence of an eternal being is
1) A reasonable assumption given the mystery of the existence of anything at all without cause
2) That such a being might accomplish things just as we do

and that given the possible existence of a prior intelligence it might seem actually more rational and less miraculous to suppose that this being organized the universe than to rely upon an endless succession of unlikely winners at the lottery of chance?

Why should we be the first or the only intelligence?


Also that nobody knows how many of those 52 factoral sequences would still produce a highly diverse ecosystem, even if not identical to the one we've got.
Well, given the universe that we occupy, books like Nature's Destiny are narrowing the options on that.

Date: 2006/03/12 07:37:27, Link
Author: avocationist

Re " Anyone who believes in God is an IDist. "

I don't think so.

I'm not sayiung there is really no difference. I am just pointing out that once you postulate any sort of God at all, the deck is stacked. There is an obvious correlation between:

There is a God  ===== the world evolved.



Science cannot believe in the supernatural, for a very simple reason.  Science is based on observing the natural world.  Supernatural "things" do not occur in a natural world.....this means that if angels really exist, and they are observable in some way....then they are natural.
The question here is about observation. I think that what we observe is skewed or narrowed by our perceptive abilities. Perhaps even narrowed by attitudes of mind. If angels exist, what if we cannot observe them, or cannot usually observe them? Or haven't figured out how to observe them? I don't accept your division of natural and supernatural. Perhaps "observable and not observable by current means" would be more useful. That we have learned to observe many things that were once not observable should give us great pause.
Supposing that the origin of life required intentional intervention, as I think it probably did. I still can't think of that as a miracle. It seems events qualify as miraculous if they are more rare and discontinuous?
I have a problem with the statement that science "cannot" believe in the supernatural. If they take that stance they are as locked in as the religious side. Apparently you consider God supernatural. And you believe God initiated this world, do you not? And you suppose that this is forever undetectable? But that whatever event or events he caused, were indeed supernatural?


I know that you think that all theists are IDists.....but your totally wrong.

An IDist doesnt believe that God interfered.  An IDist believes that there is definative evidence that God interferes.
Alright, that is a fair point, one which I believe I have already tried to refute. I do not think it is even possible to have a world that is the result of an intelligent plan but which is also not detectable as such, because to say that is to say that randomness and chaos are perfectly capable of producing the very same things that intelligence and planning can produce. Which renders intelligence meaningless and impotent. And we see that human intelligence and planning are anything but meaningless and impotent.

Anyway, you are saying the difference is that Miller doesn't think there is evidence - nonetheless he thinks the world both received and required fundamental planning and interference. In this sense he is most certainly an IDist, not in the sense of fitting some definition in people's minds, but in the actual facts themselves. Miller believes this world is the result of intelligent planning.

The reason that more than 50% of the population support intelligent because they fail to see this difference.  I personally believe that this confusion comes from the common fundamentalist Christian position of faith=knowledge.
You can have as much faith as you want in will never have knowledge because of faith.
I'm not sure you're right that they fail to see the difference. I think most people do think that there is evidence, if only in a 'common sense' kind of way. I mean, really, Dawkins has said in his book/s that (paraphrasing) evolution explains the undesigned emergence of features which appear designed. And remember, he does not believe God so much as initiated matter. So what is wrong with a person saying, "If it looks designed, it probably was designed?" Especially if they intuit that there probably is a God?

I'm surprised you say there is a christian idea that faith equals knowledge. I rather find an over-adulation of faith at the expense of knowledge. Recently on UD a commentator said that faith cannot be destroyed by scientific knowledge. But this is a rather dangerous approach. I don't say that faith should be easily destroyed by the first scientific factoid that appears to disagree with it. But if your faith means believing every word of the Bible is true, then the sun goes around the earth. And the original Koran is in heaven and written in Arabic, mistakes and all.
I think what you meant is that they accept faith as a substitute for knowledge. Or that they allow spiritual faith, which should lead to spiritual knowledge, to instead inform their scientific opinions too strongly.

An IDist says...the only possible conclusion that you can make based on the evidence is that a God exists...and that he interferes is a fact...that cannot be denied.  God is a scientific fact.  Now, if you hold this position we will argue with you at great length.
It occurs to me that it is a good thing that scientific culture takes a skeptical stance. Because it helps to cut out the excess of junk. False ideas are a huge impediment, and religion, in my opinion is full of them. Buddhism, the most rational and psychologically sophisticated religion, shows this very well. I'd go so far as to say it is better to be an agnostic or atheist than to hold rigidly to an insular belief system that is false.

Nonetheless, I think God may end up as a fact and it would be a good thing. But if "he" does, no doubt he will fail to conform to our preconceptions.

Date: 2006/03/12 12:25:49, Link
Author: avocationist

there are too many improbable miracles in evolution theory, and there are too many systems that seem highly unlikely to congregate without intelligent design behind them somewhere.

Can any of you see that the possibility of the existence of an eternal being is
1) A reasonable assumption given the mystery of the existence of anything at all without cause
2) That such a being might accomplish things just as we do

I credit you, as have others, for being reasonable, and, especially, civil. But I feel like we haven't made any progress. The above is just more assertion based on incredulity. And science just doesn't engage in "reasonable assumption[s]" based on "mystery."

Once you start positing miracles, empirical inquiry breaks down. If nothing else out of this thread, I would like you to understand that.

Perhaps I shouldn't have used the word mystery. The existence of anything at all is a great, unexplained phenomenon. I don't know what to do with your assertion of incredulity. This is a bizarre and mind-numbing idea put forth as a control and shaming technique.

Must science be willing to accept any explanation so long as it avoids anything but mindless and unguided processes?

You see, you seem to be saying that if there is a God that his actions were miraculous. Yet if that is the case, what are we to do? Ignore it?

Why in the world should empirical inquiry break down if God, for example, started life?
This is where Darwists are in danger of behaving like Christians. You can't insist on the philosophical assumption that there is no design, or that design is undetectable.

I should clarify that I do not think of God as creating nature and then subverting its laws or poofing things into existence. I think nature was created and then God worked within it to bring to fruition the possibilities it contained.

Jay Ray,

So I am curious, do you think there are patterns that are not coherent?
No, it was just a typical, thoughtless redundancy, like "very unique." I guess I meant "highly coherent".

To a naturalist or a deist, complexity seems to be a natural outgrowth of the sticky laws + randomness + time + the universe.  I gather we disagree on this rather fundamental point?
Yeah, I'd say so.

One thing we might agree upon is that whether or not the universe and its laws as a whole came into existance via an undiscovered utterly natural process, or if it was poofed into existance by god, once the ball is rolling complexity will arise.
It must be so, because that is what happened. (With a lot of help from yin and yang.)

The important question that arises out of this is, if one assumes god got the ball rolling initially, does god meddle?
You know, I live on the buckle of the Bible belt, and so at times I make remarks at work that alerts somebody's antennae. I was asked, "Don't you believe in God?" And I just stopped - I didn't know how to answer. I certainly can't say no but a yes answer confirms that I believe in their puny God. I think I just said, "not in the way you think." You might as well ask if I believe in breathing.

In the same way, the question "does God meddle," doesn't really compute, because God is all there is, or ever can be. There is no outside to God. I don't think that the reason God is difficult to discern is because he deliberately hid himself or preferred people to have blind faith, but because God is everything. Where is the contrast? So it isn't a question of meddling, but it is a question of how and by what processes this whole drama has unfolded and continues to unfold.

You may have heard, if you like philosophy, that it isn't so much important to get the right answers, but to know the right questions. I used to be a person who asked similar questions, but now those questions contain assumptions that I can no longer understand.

What with God being everything, it is hard for me to conceive of a personal God, and so this is an area that puzzles me. A personal God with preferences is a limited being, not an infinite one. It may be that God is only capable of a focused will or intent when He/she is expressed through a mind of some sort that is less then the Totality.

I have serious doubt that frontloading at the big bang can have included the tendency to form something like DNA and the cell. It looks to me like there are designs in biology of the meddling sort. That may be a product of lesser minds than what I would call God, or the Absolute, or Atman, who may not engage in that sort of activity. In my opinion, christianity gives that role to the Logos.

I, for one, do not make that assumption.  For those that do, I'd say that their opinions about a god that "tweaks" or not, a) implicitly places limitations on god whatever way they make the distinction, and b) presumes that any mere human can know anything procedural or methodological about god at all.  Dangerous turf, if you ask me.
Why do you say that it places limitations on God? This seems a popular idea.

What's this about "mere human?"  Why dangerous? anyway, ID doesn't necessarily say they can know anything about procedure or method, just the bare fact of design. As to whether we can know about method, that remains to be seen. But you criticize ID for wanting to maintain mystery, and then you say we can never know about procedure or method.

Here again I find that I would expect exactly the diversity we do find, given the sticky laws + randomness + time + the universe.  I think this is one of the most basic differences between IDers and naturalists.
It is easy to say, "Why that is exactly what I would expect!"

It is exactly what you'd expect if you already accept a set of ideas which are unproven and presume a lot.

To contrast, the IDer doesn't look at the process, only at the result.
Hmmm, well that certainly is true of a YEC. I find YECism really boring. What is interesting about a magical God with a big magic wand who waves it over the planet making millions of species in a day? Pure magic!

The IDer I believe, feels uncomfortable in a universe where so much depends on flips of the coin.
I don't know if I am uncomfortable, but it just doesn't appear that much was left to chance. But neither do I see God as an outside agency tinkering, deciding to make the blueprint for a beaver or a badger down to the last detail. Rather, I think that God is unfolding within and as the universe, and is also probably transcendent in some way that I don't understand.

the IDer gets great comfort out of the feeling that the universe, and especially human existance, is intentional and that god really, I mean really cares about us.
I do think that something like humans is intentional and required for completion. The question, does God care about us, is another nonquestion because there is no need to ask it. Like karma, it takes care of itself. We are not separate from and cut off from, God. As they say in the east, that which was never born cannot die. We are part of that and are therefore unvulnerable, altho we don't know it. And God's love is universal and impersonal.

I predict that you'll never see any procedural description coming out of the ID proponents--such considerations are antithetical to the beginning assumptions.  This is one of the reasons that it isn't science.
I don't agree with that at all. It could happen any time.

I'd like to briefly profess my opinion that nature just does what it does,
sure, but what is nature, then? Might it contain more than meets the eye? And when a person says that nature just does what it does, then you have no real right to argue with ID, because you have stood back and assessed the situation from a distance. ID is about looking up close. You are satisfied and find it adequate to say, "Nature just does what it does." That is hardly different than saying, "God did it, so we can't study it."

and when we say it "cannot" do something, we are saying more about our own tendencies than anything true about nature itself.
What? What are yousaying? I mentioned some very specific types of things that humans do with their intelligence that of course nature cannot do, such as write novels or build cars.

Any "rearrangements" we may make of nature's ordinary course are purely for our convenience, so we like to think, and in no way should this be considered a reflection of the inadequacies of nature to do anything at all except to conform to our desire.
I think you are finding it an attack upon the value of nature to say that it cannot do the things humans do. Sure, and humans cannot do what nature does. This is not a value judgement, just a difference in qualities. Humans are produced by nature, and we have fantastic minds capable of amazing feats. We can give nature the glory for it, if you like, but the point is, that  human focused intelligence accomplishes things which would not happen without intelligent input.

Secondly, I find nature has a music all of her own that rivals any symphony composed in human history.  Don't get me wrong here, I love good music, novels, art in general.  Good art moves me, what more can I say?  When I look at nature, I see the process as the symphony, the fugue and the poetry.  Nature is music.
That may be literally true. There is a whole thread of thought which says that vibration, of which sound is an aspect, is the main method by which existence becomes manifest. It seems compatible with string theory.

I'm not sure how the origin of life runs contrary to any known laws.
In trying to come up with scenarios for a cell to form, mostly a long list of problems presents itself. Of course life itself doesn't go against the laws of nature, but what I mean is that the chance formation of DNA, proteins, the cell membrane and that sort of thing has not been accounted for, and has run up against many dead ends. Life appears to be discontinuous with nonlife.

But if you accept frontloading, then again you have to ask yourself, does god continue to meddle?  Why would god need to?
Yes, those are the questions. I  tend to favor some idea that there is intelligence residing within, perhaps in the DNA, guiding it. It appears like a learn as you go project, yet not a mindless one.

And why assume we can know anything about it either way?
Well, I think we are in the dark ages now much as we were 500 years ago. Relativelyspeaking. It was reasonable to suppose that maggots spontaneously arose from rotten meat. It looked that way, it was consistent, and the micro-world didn't exist.  If we don't destroy our civilization, in time we will understand very much more about embryonic and other genetic and epigenetic processes, and then, I think, we will have a clearer idea about whether random mutation has the creative power currently attributed to it.

How do you see ID as laboring under the same limitations as YEC?

They can keep searching until sun goes woosh, but they will find nothing hard and true, because the universe is a process and that isn't what they are looking for.
But frontloading IS a kind of process. Isn't drawing up a blueprint, getting parts delivered, and building a house, making a few adjustments as you go, and putting in the finishing decorations a process?

If we're to say that a concious, intelligent eternal being can exist, we have to acknowledge that this being was itself uncaused.
Right, otherwise, what use is he?

But if we're to be open to the possibility that this concious, intelligent being can exist without a cause, why not skip a step and give the universe itself the same possibility?
Because, if by universe, you mean only dead matter, then it is simply impossible to suppose that it caused itself, nor can dead matter itself have the property of self-existence, uncaused existence.

But if you think of the universe as a seamless whole, with mind or an uncaused principle at its core, then it could be as you say.

Down past the plank time, stuff is just unknowable.  My best guess is that some physical process is responsible; I put nothing past quantum weirdness.
There is no planck time or quantum weirdness without existence. Exsitence is primary.

What came before the big bang, and what caused that?  And what before that?
The big bang, if it even happened, is not that important because obviously it had a cause.

I remember pondering eternity, both time and space, at the age of four, maybe five. To this day, thinking about eternity puts me in a trance.
Good. Add to those two, existence. Eternity, infinity, and existence - all not able to fit in with our usual linear mode of thought and experience, all unavoidably necessary yet almost impossible for our minds to grasp.

It had never really occured to me that eternity could have a negative effect on someone, especially creative types.
The difference is one of fear. It scares her. It scares her because it feels like annihilation. Her ego/mind is attempting to protect itself by switching gears.

To this day, thinking about eternity puts me in a trance.  The earth is gone, its just me and the dark sky amid a field of stars. I feel at home.
I think that is very close to our true situation - almost all of what we think of as reality is a comfort zone to protect us from the true state of affairs - each of us is alone in a vast empty black without a compass. Sunlight and other people is what keeps our sanity. I'm fond of solipsism.

Date: 2006/03/12 12:30:45, Link
Author: avocationist
Oh, I missed this:

And if there was another universe, what was on the other side of ITS walls?

I don't accept the idea of multiple universes. If there are such, then the one whole is what I would call the universe. Universe, by definition, means ONE.

Date: 2006/03/13 07:34:39, Link
Author: avocationist
What I find mystifying is why Arden Chatfield and stevestory and hehe and Sir toejam and all the rest of the unpublished lightweights over at the Bunker keep picking in poor David Stringer who, like them all, also has no credentials or publications, when they could be taking on a real honest-to-God published scientist like myself.

Let me tell you why they don't. It is because they strongly suspect that I am absolutely right, that that are full of it up to their eyeballs and have wasted their pathetic lives chasing something that never existed, thats why.

Why did you guys ban him? Admittedly, he's thin-skinned but expects others to have thick. As for his insults, he has elevated it to a fine art, so that gets forgiven. I suspect that the real problem is his debating style. Yet he does engage in civil discourse at iscid.

Date: 2006/03/13 07:54:06, Link
Author: avocationist
I know this is a lot of fun for those who can keep up, but I wish paley would go back to refuting evolution like he did in the first several pages of this thread.

Plus, he's probably not too serious about the cosmology, whereas I think he is serious about his antidarwinism.

Date: 2006/03/13 07:56:55, Link
Author: avocationist

your post lacked substance.

Date: 2006/03/13 19:02:14, Link
Author: avocationist

I mean evidence that actually points to an intelligence as opposed to just pointing out supposed problems with evolution.
 How about CSI and IC?
It does not follow however that the system could not have evolved by addition of parts.
There are two ways. One is the slow evolution of a system such as 5% of an eye, 6% of an eye and so forth, while the organ is one of vision the whole time. The other path is cobbling different parts together so that they have first one function, then something completely else, then yet a third, and so on. I went into this in some detail in a previous post, with questions about how it could work, so maybe you didn't see it. I also know Behe considers it unlikely enough to dismiss as a serious possibility. The trouble I have is finding what I have read so I can cite it. I was also impressed with Mike Gene's essays on the flagellum about how the assembly occurs. Here's some points he makes to refute what he calls the EFM Hypothesis, which he defines:
Thus, we have a step-by-step account that involves at least three different functional states: protein export system transformed into nonmotile filament transformed into flagellum. Let us refer to this scenario as the Export-Filament-Motility (EFM) Hypothesis.:
Selective Motility?

Another aspect of this motility component of the EFM hypothesis worthy of a critical look is the assumption that some kind of primitive, proto-motility function would be selectively advantageous. While a crude Darwinian "common sense" would seem to indicate this, I am not so sure. To appreciate why, we need to ask why it is that modern day bacteria move in a series of straight runs and tumbles. Why don't they simply swim straight for a food source instead of taking a convoluted path involving short bursts of straight runs interspersed with tumbles that randomly reorient them? In fact, bacteria will only be propelled by their flagella spinning about 100-300 times/sec for about 3-4 seconds. Why?

We sometimes forget that the small-scale world of bacteria is much different from our macro-world. Bacteria are constantly being buffeted by water molecules and thus live in a "Brownian storm." The simple fact is that because bacteria are so small, they swim through a Brownian storm. Brownian motion will knock bacteria off course after 3-4 seconds. [4] And this highlights a serious problem with the EFM hypothesis. The flagellum is a highly sophisticated machine. Even if one believes it evolved, what we study today is the product of billions of years of evolutionary modification. Yet even this high sophisticated/highly evolved system barely overcomes the Brownian storm. Thus, just how advantageous would some proto-wiggle really be? Imagine a boat in the ocean during a tropical storm. Would a propeller that spun once every second really be any better than no propeller? In other words, it is possible that biologically significant motility on these scales depends on a minimal amount of system complexity and output that is out of reach in a Darwinian search beginning with simple states. To assure myself this was not the case, I did a PubMed search with the following search words: " partial motility flagella selective advantage" and it returned 0 hits. I obtained one hit with the search words partial motility selective advantage" and this was not a relevant study. Thus, this essential feature of the EFM hypothesis is without any evidential support.

The space between the two membranes is called the periplasm. Transport via the Sec pathway dumps material into the periplasm. The trick for the bacteria is to grow this into a filament that penetrates the outer membrane in a coordinated manner. So how do cells make P pili?

First, you export all the pilus subunits into the periplasm using the sec-machinery. The proteins are threaded through the sec-machinery in an unfolded state and most refold in the periplasm. And therein lies the problem, as the pilus subunits easily form insoluble aggregates (or clumps) in the periplasm through hydrophobic interactions. To prevent this, we need to invoke another component, a special chaperone encoded by PapD. PapD does two things - it binds to the pilus subunits after they are pumped into the perisplasm and prevents them from clumping with each other and also helps the pilus subunits to fold into their proper conformation. In fact, the pilus subunits are not stable as monomers and exist either as bound to the chaperone or as bound to each other as part of the filament. The manner in which the chaperones carry out their function is far more elegant than anyone assumed, employing something that is now called "donor strand complementation" (DSC).

The 3-D structures of PapD complexed with PapG (the adhesin on the tip) and PapK (one of the adaptors) have been solved. PapD forms a boomerang-shaped protein with two immunoglobulin-like (Ig-like) domains (a structure composed of layers of antiparallel beta sheets). The N-terminal end of PapK is also an Ig-like domain, but it lacks a C-terminal beta sheet that normally contributes to the hydrophobic core of the domain. This produces a cleft that exposes the hydrophobic core, which is what makes it so sticky and prone to aggregation by itself. The chaperone PapD masks this exposed region in a most fascinating manner - it donates one of its beta strands to complete the Ig-domain in PapK (Fig 1). But it does so in an atypical fashion, as the beta strand it donates runs parallel, not antiparallel, with its neighboring strand. Thus, PapD provides at least two essential functions captured in one very elegant act - by donating one of its beta strands, PapD simultaneously prevents aggregation of PapK while providing the missing steric information for proper folding of PapK. And what this means is the folding of pilus subunits is IC. By themselves, the subunits don't fold properly and are unstable. The steric information for proper folding is not found in a single amino acid chain or gene, but in two distinct chains/genes. And By itself, PapD has no function. Clearly, the simplest known filament is far more sophisticated than the filament imagined by the EFM hypothesis (i.e., biology is not as simple as it assumes).
What happens next? The pilus subunit-chaperone complex interacts with a protein channel on the outer membrane, PapC (also known as the usher). The channel is large enough to accommodate the tip of the filament, but not the rod. The actual mechanism of incorporation is being worked out, as the chaperone somehow hands off the pilus subunit to the usher for incorporation into the growing filament. Interaction between the usher and chaperone-pilus subunit does not result in the chaperone-subunit complex breaking apart, thus the mechanism of handoff is also probably quite complicated and sophisticated.

But there is one more feature to the story worth mentioning. The pilus subunits themselves are thought to form a filament through a donor strand complementation-like mechanism. Each pilus subunit has an N-terminal extension that does not contribute to its own folding. By itself, it is a disordered strand. However, it has been proposed that this N-terminal extension from one subunit (let's call it A) displaces the displaces the donated chaperone strand associated with another pilus subunit (B). This N-terminal strand would then form a beta strand that runs in an antiparallel direction and complete the Ig-domain of its neighbor in a typical fashion.(Fig 2) Again, the steric information for the Ig-domain of subunit B is supplied from subunit A. This mechanism is called donor strand exchange. And the result is that the filament is made by linking subunits, where each subunit contributes a strand to perfectly complete the fold of its nearest neighbor.

Thus, it should be clear that some ad hoc notion of an export protein sticking to itself and sticking to the export apparatus to form a filament does not reflect the biology of the simplest known pilus. Life is much more sophisticated than this. Thus, all the examples of simple, nonmotile filaments in bacteria provide no obvious support for the EFM speculation.
As if having your supporting evidence shown to be irrelevant was not bad enough, there are more problems. For example, let's imagine that with enough luck, somehow a P-pilus-like materializes. After all, such pili are the most common. And therein lies the problem, because while the P-pilus makes a great attachment organelle, it's probably a dead-end if one wants to evolve a flagellum. For one reason, the P-pilus has not been observed to secrete proteins. This could be because the channel is so small . Or it might have something to do with the energetics of the system, as P pili formation is independent of cellular energy. It's not surprising that the P-pilus looks very different from the bacterial flagellum (or even things like type IV pili).

Finally, there is yet another fact that suggests flagella did not arise in the manner that the EFM proposes. Whether we're talking about simple type I pili or more complex type IV pili, what they all share in common is being built from the bottom-up. The flagellar filament, in stark contrast, is built from the top down. And the manner in which this done is yet another amazing story in microbiology. How amazing? Robert Macnab is an expert on the flagellum and has been working on them his whole life. As such, you might expect him to be used to the complexity and sophistication of the flagellum. Yet he reacted by noting that this mechanism is " a much more sophisticated process than any of us could have envisaged."[3] In fact, consider how this was reported:
"The latest technical discoveries in flagella fascinate biologists such as Robert Macnab, a professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University who also studies flagella. He marvels at how organisms as simple as bacteria have evolved such complex methods to develop propelling features, especially since motility in bacteria is not directly necessary for survival, like DNA replication or protein synthesis. "We think it would not be possible for the system to work with any significantly lower complexity." [4]

So let's have a look to see how well the EFM hypothesis' filament formation story anticipates the actual mechanism bacteria use to form filaments.

Flagellar Filament Formation

Shigella are nonmotile pathogens. Even though Shigella do not express flagella, they do possess the flagellar operons, suggesting this nonmotile state was recently acquired. Four strains were recently analyzed, showing that loss of flagella has occurred independently.[5] In two strains, the only thing missing was fliD, the gene that codes for the protein that caps the filament.

What happens if you don't have fliD is that no filament forms? As Ikeda et al. explain, "A fliD-deficient mutant becomes non-motile because it lacks flagellar filaments and leaks flagellin monomer out into the medium." [6] FliD is not merely a regulator or aid, but an essential component for filament formation. To understand why, let's consider the research results that fascinated Macnab and others.[7]

The fliD gene products form a five-member pentagon-shaped ring that caps the hollow filament formed by flagellin subunits. Each member of this pentamer has a leglike extension that points downward and interacts snuggly with the filament. However, there is a symmetry mismatch between the cap and the filament. The cap is formed from five protein subunits, but the helical end of the filament itself is formed from 5.5 flagellin subunits. Macnab explains the significance of this as follows: " When one protein of the cap pentamer is at the dislocation point (think of a split washer), it will be in a very different environment from the other four members of the pentamer." [3]

In other words, a significant crevice is associated with the cap and end of the filament. And it is proposed that the next flagellin subunit that gets added to the filament is added to this crevice. The addition of the new flagellin subunit is then coupled with the cap itself rotating along the filament axis to open up a new adjecent crevice. As Macnab suggested, think of the cap as a split washer (where the center is filled) sitting on the end of a hollow tube. Individual flagellin proteins travel down to the tube to be added at the tip. The flagellin then gets placed into the space of the split washer, the washer turns, and opens up a new space. Thus, you can envision the cap spinning around, inserting new flagellin monomers one-at-a-time. (Fig 3)

Fig 3 (adapted and modified from [7])

[The yellow blocks represent flagellin. Newly added flagellin molecules are shown in violet. As the cap turns, one of its legs exposes an empty slot (shown in the picture second from the left). This slot is the site for the next addition of flagellin. ]

Duane Salmon once estimated that the growth rate of the filament to be about 50 flagellin units/sec.[8] Since there are ca. 5 subunits per turn of the helical filament, this suggests that the fliD cap rotates about ten times every second as it incorporates about 50 flagellin subunits.

What's most relevant about this is that the C-terminal and N-terminal ends of flagellin subunits are unfolded as they travel down the hollow filament tube, as the folded protein has a significant kink in its middle that would prevent transport through the tube. As Macnab notes, "large conformational changes would be required in the monomers before they could be added to the filament tip." Thus, the fliD cap also does not simply provide a passive, mobile slot to insert flagellin subunits. It also helps flagellin fold. In other words, the cap is a chaperone. Thus, the flagellar filament is built in a way that is similar to P pili and quite different from HbS filaments; the flagellin units do not "self-assemble," they are assembled by a processive chaperone at a rather impressive rate.

Things get even more interesting when one considers that just below the cap, the filament cavity is expanded such that its cavity is about twice the size of the central channel that runs through the rest of the filament. It is suggested that this might be the site in which flagellin folds in a manner that is analogous to the folding that occurs in the GroEL chaperonin in the cytoplasm. The parallels are interesting. GroEL is capped by GroES to form a closed chamber, while FliD also functions as a cap to form a closed chamber. It is suggested the filament chamber can house one flagellin monomer at a time, which is exactly how GroEL works. Yet there are a couple of significant differences that probably stem from the fact that GroEL is a generic chaperone chamber that functions only to fold a diverse set of proteins, while the chamber at the distal end of the filament folds and incorporates only one protein, flagellin. The first difference is that GroEL requires energy in the form of ATP hydrolysis that alters the volume of the chaperonin. It is intriguing to speculate that the folding chamber at the end of the filament also undergoes cycles of volume changes associated with the rotation of the cap and insertion of a new flagellin filament. In such a case, the energy could be derived from the winding coupled to favorable protein-protein interactions associated with assembling flagellin subunits into the filament. Secondly, the filament chamber would cycle much faster that GroEL. The typical GroEL cycle lasts 15 sec. The filament, on the other hand, is incorporating 50 subunits/sec. That's folding individual monomers every 0.02 seconds, which is 750 times faster than GroEL.

There are several clues that point to design here.

1. Flagellin/fliD and GroEL/GroES are not homologous. Yet if the flagellin/fliD chamber functions as I suggest, we have another system whose sophisticated mechanism is related in a logical fashion (another example would be in the similar proofreading mechanisms of DNA replication and attaching amino acids to tRNA).

2. FliD and flagellin form an IC relationship. FliD has no other basic cellular function apart from forming the filament. Flagellin too has no other basic cellular function apart from forming the filament. And both are needed to form the filament.

3. As suggested, there seems to be only enough room for one flagellin monomer to fit into the chamber and fold. If this is essential, we have another IC-like interaction. Flagellin must be first unfolded to transport through the channel. But it must also be folded again to be incorporated into the filament. If this second folding event depends on the distal chamber, then two independent events must be carefully coordinated to construct the filament.

And there is one more interesting twist on all of this. There is suggestive evidence that the hook-associated proteins, those that attach the filament to the basal body and the fliD cap itself, may be chaperoned through donor-strand complementation. Specifically, there are two chaperone proteins that specifically interact with the C-terminal ends of the hook-associated proteins and cap and prevent their premature aggregation. Thus, just as there is a mini-IC relationship with flagellin and the cap, the cap and hook proteins may also share an IC relationship with their specific chaperones. Again, we would see the basic conceptual strategy in protein folding and assembly as seen independently in the P pilus. And the "self-assembly" is highly regulated - a chaperone helps assemble the hook, another chaperone helps assemble the cap, and the cap assembles the filament. In other words, and here is the interesting point, we will soon begin to make a strong argument that assembly of the flagellum itself is IC.
To sum this section up, let's consider more problems inherent in the EFM hypothesis

   * The EFM hypothesis is divorced from biological reality, as the formation of the simplest filaments (the p pili) is far more involved (at its core) than a protein simply sticking to itself.
   * The EFM points to other filaments that employ bottom-up construction to explain the top-down construction of the bacterial filament.
   * It is not clear that a transport system, by itself, is "preadapted to form a filament."
   * Even if it is true that secretion systems are preadapted to form a filament, such "preadaptation" may very well steer a forming structure away from the fitness peak associated with a flagellum-like structure. For example, the most common filaments do not transport proteins, probably because they are too small and lack sufficient energy sources: "Thus, the chaperone/usher system might not be able to adapt for secretion of soluble proteins." And there is no reason, according to the EFM hypothesis, that the filament must be hollow. One might claim there are lots of uses for nonmotile filaments currently in use by living bacteria. Yet how many have gone on to become rotary propulsion units?
   * The bacterial filament itself, along with its assembly process, is IC. It is fundamentally more sophisticated and complex than anything foreshadowed by the EFM hypothesis, indicating again that this hypothesis is divorced from biological reality.  

I know it's long but it's pretty interesting and I just took out a couple small parts. And this is what I mean about ID looking up close, Jay Ray.

Usual enough for us not to find it odd, we see it in plants quite often i think.
Only plants? I'm wondering how it would work. I would think that for two creatures to sucessfully mate they would need to have the same number of chromosomes. Wouldn't it have to happen in one generation, to go from 48 to 46 chromosomes, and wouldn't there have to be several siblings get this mutation perhaps from the same mother, so that they could mate and continue the new species? Or wouldn't it have to occur in the mother and father together?

ID proponents for some reason like to say that these advances only help to show how the species barrier is becoming more and more of an obstacle for evolution, whereas every paper I read on the subject shows the exact opposite.

Well, that is certainly interesting.

and it also suggests that those on the evolution side could be equally motivated by inner desires to find a certain type of worldview vindicated. And it denies any possibility that they could be persuaded by evidence or facts, so what you're really saying is that 'we are right because we are right.'

You: I can never really understand this point, atheists don't belive in god because they see no evidence of a god, not because they would rather there wasn't. If I saw evidence there was a god, then I'd say 'you know what I was wrong', and then I'd pay my friend the money I bet him when I was 9 (I see myself more of an apatheist, although that probably wouldn't stop me going to ####). This is not the opposite of christianity, the disproof of the existence of god would have a lot more effect for christians, so I don't think you can say scientists are just trying to protect the atheist worldview.

The point is that people have inner motivations to protect a worldview or just to be right, or not to derail a career, and it is not at all confined to situations where the stakes appear to be high. Just recently on UD I saw someone make the opposite point, that most religious scientists  feel that their faith is not vulnerable to scientific inquiry (except perhaps YEC types, which are surely a minority) whereas evidence of design would be very upsetting for an atheist or materialist.

Do you have a problem with the statement 'Science cannot believe in the supernatural as there is currently no way to distinguish a phenomenon as supernatural'?
I tend not to think in terms of supernatural. Was the origin of the universe supernatural? Perhaps yes, in the sense that nature is within nature, and only something outside nature can cause it. The laws of nature are not the cause of the laws of nature.


because to say that is to say that randomness and chaos are perfectly capable of producing the very same things that intelligence and planning can produce. Which renders intelligence meaningless and impotent.
What do you mean by the very same things? At the moment we know of no intelligence that can produce what we see in the natural world, and there are many things we have created that the natural world could not. In the future it is possible that we will be able to create improved versions of everything in the natural world. Im really not sure why anything we observe in this universe renders intellegence meaningless.

Alright, this is pretty close to GCT's questions also.
We live in a universe. This universe may or may not have God. If there is a God then this God is the source of existence, because that really is what the definition of God entails. And not just a verbal definition.  The great question of causation is solved if there is an eternal and nonlinear being that is beyond notions of existence or nonexistence.

If there is a God then the way things have turned out for planets and life cannot be unconnected in some way to this God. And if there is a god then existence and the laws of nature come from this God so that random and unguided processes would not be adequate to produce our world. So by rendering intelligence meaningless, I mean the statement that even though there is a God, it looks like a universe might look if there wasn't one.
I'm not saying that the universe cannot appear material and nonspiritual to some people. I'm saying only one or the other is true and they are mutually exclusive. If there is a God, it means that not-god was never an option. Likewise, if there's no god, then such a notion is total fantasy, quite unnecessary, and impossible.

Date: 2006/03/13 21:00:16, Link
Author: avocationist
Jay Ray
My take is exceedingly taoist.
Oh, good.

Asking the right questions does no good if you draw the wrong conclusions.
Sure, what I meant was that as understanding progresses, so do the questions. some questions aren't so much answered as disappear.

Interesting.  So your thought is that somehow this eternal, concious being was incapable of directly tinkering with atoms and molecules and instead works through lesser intermediaries?  If I'm wrong, please correct me.  If I'm right, then I'd ask how the lesser intermediaries themselves came to be.
From Tao te Ching, I like #42 the best. If the Tao is so infinite that it cannot even be called one, how is it to make plans? The Tao is the void of Buddhism. To become one, requires some self-consciousness. Now you have two. The duality of two and nonduality make three. Anyway, I'd like to see a good explanation of that passage. From a great power station, you need stepdown units to get structured work done. In the Christian trinity, you have the Source, the Uncreated Energies, and the Organizing Force, which is supposed to be the real creator of this world.
I like my names better, don't you?
Jehovah is a misanthropic doody head. And an imposter. I don't care who hears me say it.
Just because something resembles a design does not mean that it necessarily has been.  This is a major sticking point for a lot of people.
There's more analysis than that. I hope you'll look through my previous post to Chris; I excerpted some of the better and more interesting parts of a very detailed set of 5 essays on the evolution of the flagellum.

Oh, and just because it looks designed doesn't mean it wasn't, either.
Your ID take is a different from theirs.  You should take a closer look at what they are saying, and what they are not.  It seems like you might have some weighty philosophical disagreements with them.
Well, they are Christians. Are you saying that they think method is off-limits?
It is exactly what you'd expect if you already accept a set of ideas which are unproven and presume a lot.

Then you say something like this which puts you squarely back in the middle of the YEC arguments.  What unproven ideas?  What presumptions?
Plenty of people have and have had trouble with Darwin's theory without being YECs! I could go through my books, and I should, to present some of them, or perhaps I can just look around and lift some things from the net. But I can't do it now, cause I spent so much time already.

Perhaps you can explain how you square statistical, probabilistic quantum mechanics with a being who leaves little to chance?  Why go through all the trouble to create this system which is almost entirely random, when in fact what you really wanted to do was have the universe be what it is today?
I really didn't mean to quantify how much was left to chance as I don't know. I can't form an opinion about the quantum reality as I don't understand it very well and I think some false claims have been made about particles arising without cause. And philosopically, the question of freedom versus determinism is a very difficult one. I suspect both operate but I can't begin to defend that. And how does the randomness of quantum particles affect evolution theory?
"Unfolding" implies that everything is going according to plan.  Why do the laws of physics sport this feature?  Newtonian mechanics would have worked better for this task.
Well no, I don't define the unfolding too tightly. A general plan, yes. The laws of quantum physics, I suspect, work the way they do because reality requires it. Sub-planck length reality, I think, is already another dimension. My little thought. Has anyone else thought about this?
Completion?  Completion of what?  What goal does the god-verse have in mind, here?  Explain how you derive this.  
Because, by golly, it would be a sad place without our intelligence to understand and admire it all. We may not be the end-product, either. But we're getting close. In my opinion, it's all about consciousness, so far as any goal type of thing.
What is love without care?  Where do you derive the conclusion that there is any emotion whatsoever felt by this eternal, concious, intelligent being?
Not sure where the love without care came from. Because I said the love was impersonal? It's the best, the only kind! That which we call love, it is conditional. Easily lost. Easily withdrawn. It has requirements. I don't say that the infinite feels an emotion. I'm saying that a life force and love energy are just the state of its being. It's not a passionate love, it supports all things without distinction.
It'll be someone with a more Eastern perspective. (propose a method for ID) Maybe you?  
Why thanks, but I am not a scientist and i cannot do it. Anyway, the banned JAD at least gave it a shot.
Of course there is more than meets the eye.  I don't know of a single scientist that would claim otherwise.
But what I was specifically alluding to was that pure material reductionism is an inadequate explanation of the cosmos.

Slow down.  What is your evidence that I assess only from a distance?
Well, I mentioned complexity, and you answer that nature just does what it does. That sounds like not wanting to look to close, being easily satisfied with surface explanations.
The feeling you speak of, that IDists have, is intuition.

You seemed to think that I was disparaging nature because it doesn't compose symphonies (it does, through us) and I explained that I was not and you even posted my explanation, yet still seem to think I was.
The passivity of matter is its perfection.

OK, string hypothesis it is. I like it. I root for it.

Abiogenesis is not the place to start. Abiogenesis really hasn't got off the ground. Better to stick to problems with homology and the fossil record and that sort of thing.

The god-verse is not a supervisor, because if he was, he could also act directly. The Tao JUST IS.
I suppose my views might be somewhat Hindu. Mostly from hinduism I take advaita. But they do have some notions of advanced states of being in which there is only a very subtle separation left between them and God. Everyone and everything has always existed, in one form or another. I don't know why I should know how they were created but they ought to exist. It doesn't make sense to have such a gap between our type of being and god.

I guess frontloading could either be a very general one of creating the universe, laws of nature and elements so that a few planets would probably evolve life forms, or it could be more specific.
A book like Nature's Destiny doesn't think it is probable that other forms of life could have evolved. Many different elements conspire to form the best system, which substitues could not fill. Not that the humans would have to be just like us, but more or less.
I wasn't really meaning to compare frontloading to building a house. You had said something about frontloading not being the kind of process that this universe really is. I think a process can unfold according to a general plan without being boring.

Right, otherwise, what use is he?

Use?  I think this is about the plan again, right?
No, not the plan. I mean, if we are to have a god-being, she certainly should possess the property of uncaused existence, or its not much of a god.
And you're saying that neither life nor just plain stuff could happen uncaused.
That's right.

But this original intelligent, concious creator thing is obviously alive in every meaningful sense.  Its certainly more complicated than dead matter.  So by that logic, it could not exist either.
It isn't complicated.
One last thing.  Do you or do you not agree that electromagnetism and gravity exist?  What about the nuclear force?
Oh, yeah, I missed that. Of course they exist. I wasn't sure what i said to bring that on...we were discussing sticky laws, and we agreed there might be more we don't know about to add to the ones we have.

Date: 2006/03/17 21:01:56, Link
Author: avocationist

I havea enjoyed following this discussion very much, and tend to agree with you about human nature. I am really wondering why you stated humans are 5-10 thousand years old and have 4 billion to go.

Date: 2006/03/18 08:18:46, Link
Author: avocationist

I'm seriously evaluating whether it is worth my time to engage Avo anymore.  It's amazing how I can come up with an argument that refutes her position, only to have her spit it back to me later on as if it is her argument and somehow strengthens her position.
I promise you GCT, you have not given me any great new insights. as I already asked, if you think this has occurred, please show how it did. Use the quote feature, show the thread of you said, I said. Only then can I figure out where you went wrong.

The only thing I recall as far as me changing my tune at all, is that you have insisted that ToE is less unfriendly than I had thought to the possibility of God, which if true is fine.

Seven Popes,

I don't know why in he11 you think the quesiton of the origin of homosexuality has anything to do with what we're discussing here or with my opinions.

I have known at least 3 families in which there were gay guys that were large, with many brothers. And more than one gay in the family.

I have been sure for many, many years that being homosexual is congenital for at least a reasonably high percentage.

I'd like to know more about the causes of lesbianism. As usual, being women, it will probably be more complex.

Date: 2006/03/18 19:54:04, Link
Author: avocationist

What is Nick Matzke's essay on the flagellum? My critique was of Miller's essay. As for partial motility, it sounds good but Mike Gene's essay made the point that a weak form of the flagellum wouldn't be able to overcome Brownian motion. This brings up something I wonder about however. All around us, we see beautifully adapted things, yet we envision a time when there were barely motile flagella and 7% wings. Wouldn't that be a funny world, if we could go back in time?

You speak of parts A, B, and C evolving together, so that the subsequent removal of one part would of course cause nonfunction. But all this is speculation until we can understand systems closely enough to know if it is plausible. And to the best of my layman's comprehension ability, the plausibility is seriously called into question by an essay series like Mike Gene's.

Russell made some snide remark about my cutting and pasting his essay, chock full of technical detail. How odd. He's the one with the PhD, not me. I certainly have had to give up on trying to reading research articles that are just too dry and over my head, but the stuff I pasted here was both germane to what we are discussing, and I have to tell you that I found it pretty fascinating reading.

I'd truly like to get some actual responses to the points in MG's essay.

But the point is that IC says in principle if you remove a part and the system ceases to function, then that part could have not been added by evolution, and this is not true.
You can hope that it isn't true, but so far as I know, there just isn't any knowledge of how it could occur, it is just assumed to occur. MG's entire essay, and it is in 5 parts, deals with the problems that would be encountered. I'd really like to see a good answer to it.

So I didn't get a clear answer on the chromosome question. Apparently if there are different chromosome numbers, hybridization is possible, as in horse and donkey. But hybrids aren't viable. And I am wondering how the chromosome number change happens in the first place. If there is a fusion of two, it must occur during one meiosis. How does a chromosome know how to fuse itself with another and come out with a beautiful and coherent result?
CSI in my opinion in its current form is completely unapplicable to biological systems due to a number of factors, including its definition of complexity, specification and information, and the current impossibility of calculating the probability that the flagellum evolved naturaly.
Well that seems like an awfully quick dismissal of some good ideas. You might quibble a bit about definitions of information, but just to throw the whole thing out.And yours is one of the most calm and reasonable voices! Of course we cannot calculate the possibility of the flagellum evolving, we can only pick it apart and get a feel for the problems and the odds.  One thing I have noticed that bugs me a lot. Everyone prefers to read the arguments of their own side and finds the other side's tedious somehow. I am no exception.


You lack imagination.  If there is a god, there is no logical imperative that this god is anything more than an observer.We could still have arisen through chance or "not-god" processes.

What is this "great question of causation?"
It's not about imagination. the great question of causation is how to account for the existence of anything. There is absolutely no way within your linear paradigm to account for the existence of matter. Something fundamentally other is going on. In order to get the label of God the being must deserve it. If there is an eternally existent being - then this being has already transcended the linear paradigm. And if this being had nothing to do with matter, then matter has also transcended the linear paradigm. yet matter cannot do so because matter cannot cause itself. And if matter has transcended the linear paradigm, then it is also worthy to be called God. Then we have two uncaused entitites in the universe, utterly different from one another. There cannot be multiple uncaused causes to existence.
There is no logical imperative that this god be about love.
Perhaps not, but if God is about love, there is a logical reason why. And that reason is that as the one and only possible source of existence, all things have emerged from and are part of that God. Therefore, all is self. And self always loves itself.


Now, simply because there is a mutually exclusive set of god or not god does not mean that the universe would be significantly different with or without god.
Of course it does. But you envision a kind of God which I think is untenable. You think I'm saying the universe will appear different if there is a God, but I rather think that the perception of God is not easy or obvious, and that the world won't look any different. The perception of God is of a different order. I guess the simplest analogy is that of a dog whistle. The dog can hear things outside your range. The perception of God is outside the range you are used to.

ID doesn't say God can be scientifically proven. ID says it can be shown that beyond reasonable doubt that some systems could not have brung themselves into existence.

Whether we can ever test for god or not god I don't know, but ID might be indirect evidence. But I don't consider it good indirect evidence, because lesser beings than God might have done the designing.

Now, you have said that because we can't test for God we can't say whether things were planned. You want evidence for god to be first. Well, it might not happen that way. And I don't see why you should it expect it to. Many discoveries, most perhaps, were found circumstantially first. Pluto comes to mind.
I really do appreciate your insistence that the term "unplanned and unguided" really means that evolution theory has no position on the matter of whether it was guided and planned or not, I'm just sort of surprised that this is so well hidden. i wonder why it wasn't put into the text books that way.


You say nothing in MG's essay does anything to advance the case that it is IC. Can you elaborate? I have not dismissed Mayr as simplistic, I said that what I had read so far was. For a different audience, he might not be.

You know, it is true that no one seems to know much about Mike Gene, who wants it that way for some reason, but what has that to do with what s/he writes about the flagellum?


And what is Mumbo Jumbo about, and why did you recommend it?

Seven Popes,

Which seven popes are you promoting?
What about 6 percent of a simian tail?  Some humans do develop these at birth, and all of us carry the bones for a vestigial tail.

All of us carry the bones? I dug around and found this from a creationist site:

All true tails have bones in them that are a posterior extension of the vertebral column. Also, all true tails have muscles associated with their vertebrae which permit some movement of the tail. Ledley conceded that there has never been a single documented case of an animal tail lacking these distinctive features, nor has there been a single case of a human caudal appendage having any of these features.
Most modern biology textbooks give the erroneous impression that the human coccyx has no real function other than to remind us of the "inescapable fact" of evolution. In fact, the coccyx has some very important functions. Several muscles converge from the ring-like arrangement of the pelvic (hip) bones to anchor on the coccyx, forming a bowl-shaped muscular floor of the pelvis called the pelvic diaphragm. The incurved coccyx with its attached pelvic diaphragm keeps the many organs in our abdominal cavity from literally falling through between our legs. Some of the pelvic diaphragm muscles are also important in controlling the elimination of waste from our body through the rectum.

But i suppose the purpose of your question is to scare me that we might have vestigal tail genes. I don't know or care if we do. Neither chimps nor gorillas have tails, so I suppose it must be a real throwback, some 20 million years!


I have two older brothers.

Is this your way of coming out?

Date: 2006/03/19 12:24:39, Link
Author: avocationist

A question here - in what way would 7% of a wing differ from simply an arm?

Soren Lovtrup, professional biologist in Sweden, said "...the reasons for rejecting Darwin's proposal were many, but first of all that many innovations cannot possibly come into existence through accumulation of many small steps, and even if they can, natural selection cannot accomplish it, because incipient and intermediate stages are not advantageous."2 Well known evolutionist vertebrate paleontologist Robert Carroll asked if the gradual processes of microevolution can evolve complex structures:

"Can changes in individual characters, such as the relative frequency of genes for light and dark wing color in moths adapting to industrial pollution, simply be multiplied over time to account for the origin of moths and butterflies within insects, the origin of insects from primitive arthropods, or the origin of arthropods from among primitive multicellular organisms? How can we explain the gradual evolution of entirely new structures, like the wings of bats, birds, and butterflies, when the function of a partially evolved wing is almost impossible to conceive?"10

Feuccia and Martin believe birds evolved from reptiles but not dinosaurs (I didn't know there was a difference):

It's biophysically impossible to evolve flight from such large bipeds with foreshortened forelimbs and heavy, balancing tails," exactly the wrong anatomy for flight. (15)

There is also very strong evidence from the forelimb structures that dinosaurs could not have been the ancestors of birds. A team led by Feduccia studied bird embryos under a microscope, and published their study in the journal Science." (16) Their findings were reported as follows:

New research shows that birds lack the embryonic thumb that dinosaurs had, suggesting that it is "almost impossible" for the species to be closely related.

Most of the rest from chapter 9 of Denton's Crisis

According to Denton, who critiques Gerhard Heilman's book The Origin of Birds, his 'scheme is highly speculative. He attempts no rigorous mathematical aerodynamic approach, which would give estimates of wing area, body weight, and lift at the various stages to show that his frayed scaled aerofoil would work and that the transition to gliding, and from gliding to powered flight was at least feasible...there are serious doubts about the feasibility of the transition from gliding to powered flight. ...the physical adaptations for powered flying are in opposition to those of gliding flight. The aerofoil of a glider is usually a membrane attached to the body...which extends out to the fore and hind limbs. In the case of a powered flying, lift and thrust are usually generated by surfaces such as the wings and tail, which are some distance from the main mass of the animal."

The arboreal (trees down) theory is also considered implausible by Ostrom on the grounds that all birds, including Archae, exhibit anatomical features which seem to preclude them from having descended from arboreal climbing ancestors:

'The critical point is that in order to fly, the animal first had to be able to climb. However, according to the design of modern birds, (including archae) that skill may not have been part of the repertoire of primitive birds or their ancestors.'

Problems in getting airborne from running include loss of thrust when the hind feet get off the ground, not overcome by the primitive enlarged scale "wings" and therefore would not be selected.

Remarking that the running, bipedal insectivore leaping after prey scenario is somewhat plausible, Denton nonetheless says that  "no known animal regularly catches flying insects by leaping after them...nearly all insectivorous vertebrate species take their prey on the ground. Only the most skilled flyers, the bats and a few birds, are able to capture insects in the air."
The Mexican roadrunner is fast, never leaps, and can barely fly, so Denton thinks the niche envisaged for proto-avis is not very attractive.

"Altho many variants of both the arboreal and cursorial theories have been proposed over the past century, to date no overall scheme has ever been developed which has not seemed impausible to some degree to a significant number of authorities...and there are a host of more specific problems, such as...the difficulty of explaining the origin of the feather.

"The central difficulty with all gradual schemes for the evolution of the feather is that any aerofoil will only work if the feathers are strong, capable of resisting deformation and capable of forming an impervious vane. Moreover, there has to be a sufficient surface area to achieve the requisite degree of lift. "

Per Heilman, the original impervious vane which supported these pre-avian species as they glided was a set of 'longish scales developing along the posterior edge of the forearms and the side edes of the flattened tail'     and then,
'By the friction of the air the outer edges became frayed, the fraying gradually chaning into still longer horny processes which in the course of time became more feather like.'

But Denton says, "it is difficult to understand what the adaptive value of frayed scales would be to a gliding organism, when any degree of fraying would make the saales pervious to air, thereby decreasing their surface area and lift capacity...all gliding organisms present an unbroken surface to the would seem reasonable that selection for gliding would always tend  to... decrease the tendency to fray.

Apparently Ostram envisages the forelimnbs evolving into an insect-catching net, but Denton points out that it is difficult to envisage a net catcher turning into an impervious aerofoil, because a net must be pervious to air.
"It is not easy to see how an impervious reptiles scale could be converted gradually into an impervious feather without passing thru a frayed scale intermediate which would be weak, easily deforemed, and still quite permeable to air.  It is true a feather is basically a frayed scale - a mass of keratin filaments - but...the filaments are ordered in an amazingly complex way to achieve the tightly intertwined structure of the feather. Take away the exquistite coaadaptation of the components,..hooks and barbules, the precisely parallel arrangement of the barbs on the shaft and all that is left is a soft pliable structure utterly unsuitable (to flight). seems impossible that any transitional feather-like structure could possess even to a slight degree the crucial peroperties. In the words of Barbara Stahl, in Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution, "how they arose initially, presumbly from reptires scales, defies analysis."


Thanks for the cute pic. As mentioned above and below, gliders are in a different track from winged fliers:

A gliding stage is not intermediate between a land animal and a flier. Gliders either have even longer wings than fliers (compare a glider's wingspan with an airplane's, or the wingspan of birds like the albatross which spend much time gliding), or have a wide membrane which is quite different from a wing (note the shape of a hang-glider or a flying squirrel). Flapping flight also requires highly controlled muscle movements to achieve flight, which in turn requires that the brain has the program for these movements. Ultimately, this requires new genetic information that a non-flying creature lacks

And last but not least: (how can I resist?)
Do they not see the birds suspended in mid-air up in the sky? Nothing holds them there except God. There are certainly Signs in that for people who believe. (Qur’an, 16:79)

Date: 2006/03/19 16:31:34, Link
Author: avocationist
Jay Ray,

Please don't think you have to be mystical to be a Taoist. Taoism is pretty free. Even those lines from Tao Te Ching that seem a bit conscious - "Heaven regards the people as straw men" don't really seem literal.

The purposeful arrangement of parts, the well-arranged universe, the information encoded in the DNA, Hubert Yockey speaking on origin of life, calls life an axiom and  unsolvable within science. It begins to add up. Now, following this, you state that the person who comes to a teleological view is afraid of being alone in the universe.

But I agree about the responsibility avoision. This is a major theme with me. In my opinion religious people just don't get it. We are indeed responsible. God isn't going to step in and make people be good. Especially if there isn't a personal God, but mainly for other reasons.

No IDer has laid out an explanatory sequence of steps which shows a design event, and it never will.  They can't.
Maybe not. But certainly not now. It's back to the drawing board if ID is right. But you assume we cannot reverse engineer God's handiwork. I say why not. If it is a nuts & bolts kind of design, why not? We don't know how much of the mind and methods of God we can unravel. Look how much we have unraveled already in physics and biology.

Evolution, on the other hand, provides a sensible process.
Except it doesn't know almost anything really interesting.

Why do you say designists will have a tough time working QED into a design event?  

One of the basic points of science is to define things more tightly and tightly with careful study.

True enough. This was in response to my saying I don't define frontloading as requiring  more than a general outline, although it could also be very specific. I talked to a Catholic who thinks that God did something at the big bang that resulted in a totally deterministic universe, such that if you roll some dice right now, it was set from the beginning.
And I was about to reply that would be terribly boring, when I realized that it wouldn't.

In regards to "Planck length reality", any response would be based upon how you define dimension.
I hear tell of infinite dimensions. I don't know what they're talking about. I mean an actual physical dimension that is upholding the reality that you and I are in right now.

Do you see the tautology in this idea?  

Why is consciousness necessary?
Because without it, the universe would suck.
Why would it suck?
Because there is no conciousness.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a tautology.
I personally think that love necessarily  implies caring.  Care, or passion for the object of one's love (however vaguely or broadly you define "object") can no more be absent from that love than blue can be absent from purple.  But that's about the emotion of love itself, not whether the universe feels loves or care or any emotion whatsoever.  I guess I'm just a stickler for consistancy.
What if you love every human being equally. Does that mean you don't care for them?

In fact, that personal passion you speak of is almost totally dependent upon the supposed 'giver' of love getting a reward in return. Remove that reward and the love goes with it. A love that is conditional is not real.

Totally unsupported.  Love energy?
You have to be a mystic to know about these things.

ID goes so far beyond the data its impossible to distinguish it from religion or philosophy.
And I think the same of Darwinism.

But what I was specifically alluding to was that pure material reductionism is an inadequate explanation of the cosmos.

This may turn out to be accurate.  But to date, nobody has demonstrated a replacement.
A replacement for what? You speak as thought materialistic reductionism has an explanation for the cosmos.

I think there are enough practicing scientists in the world to justify basic research into abiogenesis.  Why not?
They have been doing research for decades, and Harvard has pledged money to reinvigorate it. What I meant was that we should not discuss abiogenesis in our arguments because there isn't much to defend.  

Would it disappoint you if science proved a definative, mechanistic, non-concious origin of life?
I think it would, but I don't expect it anytime soon.
My view of the Tao is that it is a poetic, artful, pre-scientific explanation regarding the flow of energy, shaping interactions of matter to produce complexity.  Lao Tzu recognized that we interfere with this flow at our peril.
I think he was describing enlightenment.
One of my favorite things about Hinduism is the doctrine of maya, which states that the universe that we perceive is confusing and largely illusory.  Thus, we have issues.  The solution they propose is to gradually peel away the filters until you see the universe for what it really is. Only then does one recognize that there is no difference between one's self and "god".  But here is my favorite part.  One of the filters that will be peeled away during this process is Hinduism itself.  The idea of god is part of the illusion.  Its like Buddhism in this regard, except with a lot of fanciful creatures and dressing.  But if you follow the path set out by either technique, one of the things you realize is that the dressing up, the tales and parables, the myths around which the religion is built, and even the technique toward enlightenment itself, are all illusions.  Universe as game.  I get a kick out of that.
Yes, it is true that for the rare traveller who embarks upon the pathless land, they must jettison everything, including their religion and its confines. Christianity, Islam, are particularly good at discouraging this truth. Even Islam, through its sufis, is more open about it. I think the philosopher Kierkegaard figured it out. It's simple really. No description on this side of the gateless gate can ever capture the true nature of Reality for those who have not yet encountered it. Therefore, as you get a bit closer you come up against moments where you either let go and enter unknown territory, or you hang back and wait to be guided, which will never happen. You must go it alone. That is why it is important for religion to stop teaching people to be children.

The gateless gate is a zennish expression for enlightenment. Krishnamurti said, "Truth is a pathless land."

That's the whole point of addition to the card analogy I made: sticky laws inform the process.  Without them, you just have labels.
But I have to ask... what did you mean by this:  
--As for creationists refusing to acknowledge sticky laws, first, we haven't really found them yet (but we might).--
I thought we had agreed that a way out of the improbability mess, or at least a partial way of reducing the improbability, is if we find more sticky laws than the ones we already know about. If we don't find more, improbability stands:

Hoyle, Sir Fred, The Intelligent Universe (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1983), 256 pp.

"If there were a basic principle of matter which somehow drove organic systems toward life, its existence should easily be demonstrable in the laboratory. One could, for instance, take a swimming bath to represent the primordial soup. Fill it with any chemicals of a non-biological nature you please. Pump any gases over it, or through it, you please, and shine any kind of radiation on it that takes your fancy. Let the experiment proceed for a year and see how many of those 2,000 enzymes [proteins produced by living cells] have appeared in the bath. I will give the answer, and so save the time and trouble and expense of actually doing the experiment. You would find nothing at all, except possibly for a tarry sludge composed of amino acids and other simple organic chemicals. How can I be so confident of this statement? Well, if it were otherwise, the experiment would long since have been done and would be well-known and famous throughout the world. The cost of it would be trivial compared to the cost of landing a man on the Moon." pp. 20-21

"In short there is not a shred of objective evidence to support the hypothesis that life began in an organic soup here on the Earth." p. 23

Date: 2006/03/21 06:59:47, Link
Author: avocationist
Davison says it was a mistake for ID to ever concede that design was a point of argument, but I can't see how that was to be avoided.

I suspect the real reason he gets banned is he doesn't watch his tongue.

It is possible that I am Sanctum. I also have two older brothers.

Date: 2006/03/21 08:09:26, Link
Author: avocationist
Jay Ray,

I am going thru the posts in order. I am currently needing to respond to Jeannot post #94. some of your comments on flagellar motility were answered by somebody. I have to go to work now but will probably be able to spend a couple of hours   tonight. I'll go throught he posts I already answered and see if I missed something important about the flagellum.

I spent a lot of hours reading Millers paper and Dembski's response, and I got comments from one person that showed the person didn't even realize what paper I was talking about.

I got comments saying that Miller had solved the dilemma or proposed a solution, when he did no such thing.

Date: 2006/03/21 20:56:57, Link
Author: avocationist
Chris said,

One point though is that I was at a conference last year where several people who are experts demonstrated that partial motility is better than no motility at all, so Im going to have to take their word for it.
Mike Gene's point wasn't to debate whether some motility would be good. On the face of it, why not. What he said was that a flagellum couldn't be significantly weaker than it is because it wouldn't overcome turbulance. ]

Oh, heck, now I see I did already respond to this. I am trying to figure out why Jay Ray says I ignored feedback.

I have already pointed out what i think problems with IC are.
If I understand correctly, you think that the proteins can co-evolve. But just saying you think it can be done doesn't seem to get to the heart of the problems with it. Yet two people say they have read Behe's book and aren't impressed. you were one of them. I am a bit stumped by this.

I know you have probably already stated it, but why do you consider IC to be attacking a straw man?
You speak of parts A, B, and C evolving together, so that the subsequent removal of one part would of course cause nonfunction. But all this is speculation until we can understand systems closely enough to know if it is plausible.
This is a well studied phenomenon. As I said I dont know if it applies to the flagellum but it does apply to other complex systems.
You say it is well studied. Yet Behe's chapter on blood clotting comes to mind, and it is way beyond A, B, C. I wonder where somebody has laid out for my reading level how such things have been adequately studied.
It is possible no one has a clear idea of how the flagellum evolved, I'm not sure how this in any way supports the assumption that it was designed.
I guess I find myself asking, in light of what I have read not only about the flagellum but the complexity of the cell and DNA and replication and so forth, at what point might a design inference become rational? What would it take? To me the construction of these things seems so very like something we would do that I tend to actually find it difficult to envision the Absolute, Infinite God doing it. It looks like the handiwork of a being more like us.
Our view of evolution may change drastically, there may be other factors that we haven't considered, self-organization is a promising example, that are as important as natural selection. Maybe there are currently unknown laws of nature that dictate to some extent how evolution has played out
And really, to some extent that is all I ask for. Someone once said I was not really clear about my position on evolution, and I answered that at the very least, random mutations just wasn't adequate. There has to be at least one more major factor that we have not discovered, similar to the way that Darwin had not discovered genes. But if we end up finding these sticky laws and self-organizational principles, it is going to look like a grand, intelligently set-up scheme anyway.
My objections to CSI are not to how his method works in principle, but how he applies it to biological systems, at the very best he can say it has a low probability of evolving in the same way that someone has a low probability of winnig the lottery.
Yet even if this is true, if the probability is ineed low but that Dembski takes it as more proof than it is, how does this translate into ID being a laughing stock?

As for me, I don't have a problem with a low probability event from time to time. I have a problem with evolution seeming to require a steady diet of them.


You can see a funny world now. What you think is perfectly adapted could also be seen as imperfections.
And you show me a picture of a perfectly adapted squirrel. You think the squirrel is on the way to wings? What I am asking is, isn't life in a different stage now than some millions of years ago? Wouldn't it be funny to see what humans looked like when they were anatomically awkward, between true upright walkers and knuckle walkers. Pelvis not quite right, arms a bit long but short for  knuckle walking, back not quite straight. Don't you suppose that the reason the little proto-bird with its 27% of a wing still managed to catch insects is because the insects themselves were also in an awkward stage? It's not so important if your olfactory sense is poorly developed if your prey hasn't got long enough legs to run away anyway.

About the article on protein evolution. At least it wasn't all that long, but I couldn't really get the gist of it. I did try. How would you summarize it?
Nobody can claim that the chromosome fusion in Homo sapiens has anything to do with our adaptation.
Perhaps by this you mean that the changes and adaptations could have been brought about without a chromosome number change?


Yes, I do value enlightenment values.


Hi. I didn't answer a previous post of yours because it was logical and while I didn't agree, I didn't see holes.
But consider: Mike Gene is doing what many ID proponents do. He's selecting one particular system and saying, "This system is way too complex to have evolved without intelligent guidance." In doing so, he in no way refutes non-directed evolution in general. At best, he can only claim that we don't know enough at present to adequately explain how the flagellum might have evolved. But he presumably wants to take that a step further, and claim there is no way in principle that the flagellum could have evolved without intelligent intervention.
But if we are to get down to the nitty gritty, we must select one system at a time to examine. I don't know that MG is trying to refute non-directed evolution in general. I think that of all IDists, he is one of the closest to belief in mainstream evolution and he may very well think that it does occur in much the way it is proposed to. That would make him a designer-as-tinkerer IDist I guess, but I really don't understand his thought well enough to say. Now, you say that if we don't know how something evolved, the only reasonble conclusion is to assume that our present knowledge is insufficient to explain how. But it is more than just a lack of knowledge of how. It is a thing which gives every indication of being utterly outside of the capability of anything we know about nature's processes and quite readily recognizable as just the sort of thing a purposeful intelligence might set out to accomplish.

Let's suppose he's right - that currently understood evolutionary mechanisms cannot explain the flagellum. What does that tell us? Only that some other mechanism must have been involved.
Must? Well, yeah, and one of those other mechanisms might have been purposeful design. But if you say that unintelligent processes must have been involved, then you are saying that your mind is made up and will not take in any contrary information.
But even if our feeling is that the odds are too long in light of known mechanisms, that only suggests there are probably additional unknown mechanisms. It does not mean that intelligent guidance is the only reasonable answer.
I agree, but neither is it an unreasonable answer.
If there's a way to test for intelligent guidance, then we can scientifically ask if it was involved.
I find the arguments about information persuasive.

I have no problem with people who believe an intelligence was/is involved. I have a problem with people who claim that we can scientifically conclude such is the case, based entirely on negative data.
At some point if intelligence was indeed involved, we must surely be able to discern the difference between what an intelligence can do versus lack of same. And CSI or even IC, those are not negative data. Negative data about Darwinism is lack of gradations in the fossil record, lack of precursors, lack of ability to show positive mutations leading to new species, lack of plausible pathways to new organs like wings.
It's interesting that you would even ask how a chromosome "knows" something. I think that reflects your basic assumption that such things must be purposeful and directed.
No, I didn't mean anything by it.

Poorwill catch insects by perching quietly on the ground at night (their legs are too weak for them to stand) and leaping up (powered by their wings) and snatching them as they fly by.

Looks like Denton doesn't know guano about birds.
Oh my, you have just totally wiped out everything Denton spent several pages on. Those must be powerful wings it has. I give this maybe half credit - it catches insects while remaining stationary, but then leaps. Actually, the niche he was describing did not involve a creature with legs too weak to stand. It involved a four-limbed runner who runs after prey on its hind legs.

Date: 2006/03/26 19:13:59, Link
Author: avocationist
What is it about this particular site that it goes down so often? I logged on to reply three nights in a row and hit times when it "couldn't be found." Rest of internet OK, and this has happened quite a few other times.

Mike Gene's essays only call into question whether the flagellum can be adequately explained by 'undirected' mechansims such as co-evolution. I freely admit I'm not in a position to refute all of his points. This isn't really my area.

But consider: Mike Gene is doing what many ID proponents do. He's selecting one particular system and saying, "This system is way too complex to have evolved without intelligent guidance." In doing so, he in no way refutes non-directed evolution in general. At best, he can only claim that we don't know enough at present to adequately explain how the flagellum might have evolved. But he presumably wants to take that a step further, and claim there is no way in principle that the flagellum could have evolved without intelligent intervention.
If we find even one system that truly cannot be explained by random mutation, then evolution is in trouble. As for selecting one system, we must start somewhere, and focus on particular systems is the only way to go anyway, to gain the deepest understanding.
I know I already responded to this post. I'm trying to figure out where I left off.

Henry said:
My take on it: Not seeing descendants from fusion events that produced incoherent results doesn't mean they didn't happen - it means if it happened, they died without leaving descendants.

OK, but the existence of failures doesn't detract from the need to explain success.

And this:  
Well, if series of small steps is ruled out, that leaves only one huge step, which seems to me to be enormously less likely. And since complex life forms exist, that means picking the less unlikely of two very unlikelies. Besides, how does one know that the intermediate stages don't work? You'd have to rule out every possible sequence to know that.

Well, a lot of people are not satisfied to simply decide to believe in evolution because the evidence that paleontolgoy points to is unacceptable. Being unacceptable to you, makes it seem ludicrous or implausible to you. Or, as Bodhidharma, one of the greatest zen teachers of all time said, "Behold the mind."

No, Henry, I will never submit to simply picking the least objectionable of two objectionable theories. Better to just hold out.

It isn't just a matter of ruling out every possible sequence. It isn't just one little item. There are too many miracles in evolution, and by the way, I don't believe in miracles. And some things do appear unlikely in principle, such as a slow  change from a limb to a wing.

And this:  
But, an arm is already a partially evolved wing. An arm with a large surface area is moreso. Besides which "that's inconceivable" isn't a valid argument - otherwise much of physics would have been thrown out before it got started.

If an arm is a partially evolved wing, then anything is anything. I can only suggest reading Denton's  Evolution, chapter 9, pages 199-209, and if you like it, continue to read about the avian lung on page 210.


Add up to what? purpoesful arrangement of parts is a tautology.
Why is it a tautology, and why is a tautology always wrong?
Hubert Yockey said intelligence is not required and that intelligent design is rubbish.
Yes, he is an evolutionist, who says strange and discouraging things about origin of life research. Frankly, I don't know what he means when he says that life is an axiom and unsolvable within science. I wonder if he knows.
If the universe was not 'well aranged' and we saw life then maybe that would be a better argument for intelligence.
But it is life that it is well arranged for. It's looking like the whole inanimate world lends support to the animate world.

One quick example, which I've already pointed out is where you chided me with the knowledge that one can believe in god and accept evolution, even though I had already used it to counter your arguments that ToE is atheistic.
Yes, I have come to see from you and others that NDE is more accepting of theism than I had thought. I should have prefaced my comment with "As you have pointed out..."
Of course, then you still turn around and insist that Miller must be an IDist since he believes in god.
Yes, Miller is an IDist who disagrees with the likes of Behe on how and where God intervened. He definitely believes random processes are capable of producing a lot more than Behe does. On the other hand, I don't know to what extent he thinks God interfered on the quantum level (his hypothesis). Perhaps God directed mutations that way, which would be almost indistinquishable from Behe's position.
And, you continue to make comments about "materialistic reductionism" which say to me that you have not changed your position at all.
What about my comments have been incorrect?
This is so wrong on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin.
Which "linear paradigm" are you talking about that is "mine"?
The one which is turtles all the way down, so far as causation events go.

Why can I not account for the existence of matter?
Well, please do.

What must a god do to be "deserving" of the label and why is it necessary?
A God must be the source of the universe and all existence. And that is necessary because if he can't, we need to find who/what can.

Do you even understand what it is you are talking about when you talk about things causing one another?  Who's talking about multiple uncaused causes to the universe?
If God is not the cause of matter/energy, then it has another cause than God. But God is also uncaused. Therefore, we would have two very different items, both uncaused. I consider this impossible.
So, I can assume that you love all of yourself unconditionally?  You don't wish you were a little smarter or better looking or anything else?  What you wrote here is claptrap.  You've made an a priori commitment to a notion of a loving god, and now you can't imagine one that isn't loving, so you make poor arguments as to why it should be so.
There is a difference between seeing lack of perfection in a being and rejection of that being or lack of support for that being. Even the Bible agrees. When Jesus speaks of the perfection of the Father, he gives the example that He sends his rain to the just and the unjust.

and then finish with a crude snipe at me, nice.
This:    The perception of God is outside the range you are used to.
was not a snipe at you. It is more or less the human condition.
Also, you have yet to demonstrate how you have the knowledge of the possible outcomes of the universe given god or no god in order to make the determination that a universe with a god is fundamentally different, let alone better.
I'm saying they are mutually exclusive. If one is true, the other both isn't, and cannot be.
The insistence that it is one or the other {random evolution versus design] is called setting up a false dichotomy, but you wouldn't engage in logical fallacy, would you?
Well, evidence that a system required design would be evidence against its random generation. Perhaps you are thinking of other alternatives than God vs NDE. One other alternative is interventionism, which thinks other beings, perhaps very old, perhaps even from a prior universe, or from a planet that got life going a few billion years ahead of ours, intervened here. I'm certainly open to other possibilities.
Who could have designed "certain features of the universe" or "brought matter into existence" if not god?  You arguments are so transparent that I'd be embarrassed to make them if I were you.
Oh, well, if it is the universe itself we are speaking of, then I can't attribute it to any other than God. Why should I be embarrassed? I have never been embarrassed to say that in my view God is the primary reality.
Oh really?  How do you find "indirect evidence" for god through science?  Hint, you can't.
This is an assumption on your part. Consciousness research is a possibility. Quantum mechanics/string theory is another. And I think there are more. In my view, reality is all of a piece. One continuum, from God to a twig. As we get deeper into reality, we should find evidence, and it is far more likely that the evidence will be indirect than direct, for the reason that we don't have instruments to measure spirit. At least not now.

You say we 'can't' find scientific evidence for God, but if my view of reality is correct, it 'must' find evidence for God. Otherwise, science is fundamentally limited. So fundamentally limited that it can never get to to the bottom of our reality, more limited than I hope or can accept if I do not have to.



Avo, why did you use profanity?
Sorry, it wasn't meant to come out that strong.

By the way, I know a guy with two older brothers who's gay, and he's left-handed. How did that happen?

Intelligent Design cannot believe in a Deistic entity...front-loading is a Deistic idea....ID is a theistic idea.  If ID is Deistic...then it believes in evolution...which it doesnt
I don't know about all that. Front-loading is a newish idea, but some ID folk are interested. But I do agree that it's hard to imagine a front-loaded flagellum. I find it hard to imagine a front-loaded cell. I think if there is front-loading, it was not just at the big bang, but at the start of life also. Perhaps the inanimate followed by the animate frontloading event.
If God doesnt exist....we could still have souls and reincarnation.
but quit assigning your conceived God to a God that can be proposed by rational reasoning....its just absurd.  Your God is based on a lot more than rationalism...
How so?
Quit using that tired old line about Darwinism being just as religious as ID.
I do see parallels, and not just with religion. I see patterns in human thought and behavior, and those patterns often repeat themselves in different situations and times, and they also often repeat themselves on two opposite sides of an equation. That is probably why the extreme right and extreme left are often equally oppressive and violent.

Date: 2006/03/30 07:26:36, Link
Author: avocationist

I wasn't accusing you of left-handedness, more's the pity, since I consider it a compliment. It was a response to whoever originally posted the research that as the number of older brothers increase, a boy's chances of being gay increase, but that if he is left-handed it doesn't apply.


If he allowed it to unfold, he allowed it to unfold following natural laws.  The natural, "stupid" laws would have created all of reality.
ID suggests that God poked...and kept poking.
OR, ID doesnt even deal with this stuff, and just notices design.
 OK, I think I see what you are saying. Maybe I am wrong but I don't really think ID insists upon evidence of poking. Evidence of design might lead a lot of people to assume that there was poking. But all ID really says is that we can see evidence for design. It doesn't really address who or how, by what sort of process. And just because they may say that the flagellum evidences design does not mean the design comes in discrete packets of poking. It simply means that certain systems are clear examples that let us know we are not dealing with an undesigned process.

So either ID is not an alternative for Evolution at all, and in fact may confirm evolution
or ID claims that God kept poking...which is theism

SO which one do you believe Avo?
ID as an alternative?
or ID as a theory that has nothing to do with Evolution?
I think ID may in the end confirm a kind of evolution, but not the one Dawkins believes in.

The thing is, and this goes to some other commentors as well (GCT), we've got a dividing line going on and it is not in the same place on this website as it is over at UD. The ID dividing line, and mine, is intelligent, purposive input or not.  That's it. So I put atheism on one side of the line and deism, theism, creationism, pantheism on the other.

I'm not saying there is no legitimate arguments between those interpretations.
First, random mutation can explain the flagellum...and all of the other "IC" systems...
Second, if Evolutionary Theory cant currently explain something it doesnt mean that the theory is debunked...
it may mean that theory doesnt apply to that particular example, or that the theory needs to be expanded.
That is fair enough, but I just can't help remembering when I asked a Christian at work what would happen to her belief in the Christ story if she found out that in the Mediteranian world of that time there were other gods with almost identical life stories as Jesus and which preceded his life by a couple of centuries. She said nothing would happen because she has faith.
You almost got the point.  
Yeah, but you didn't. Point being, statements like that an arm is already a proto-wing just means anything goes, with enough imagination.
You would be more accurate to call Miller a confused Creationist rather than a confused IDist...
Yes, that works as well. Miller believes in ID (intelligent interference happened), however, he just thinks it is undetectable. So the argument is about whether God's interference is detectable, not whether it happened. So Miller thinks ID is true, but unprovable.

And I just have a problem with that defeatist attitude toward reality. If something is true, I cannot say that it will be forever unprovable. I certainly see no reason to insist upon it.
What if God is mean and hateful?
You mean like Jehovah?
There are not any rational arguments for a Christian God..thats pure belief
I agree, but who is the christian God. They say contradictory things. Some are beter than others.
the reason you have 2 "original" causal occurences is because you cannot even imagine for a moment that God does not exist.
If you are arguing for God because of a causation argument, then there is absolutely no proof of YOUR God.  Any original causal event would be your God.  He might be completely devoid of consciousness.
I'm not following your argument. It is true I cannot imagine that God doesn't exist, any more than I can imagine magic. The point is that I used to be able to and now I can't.
Once you see deeper into a situation, you can't unsee it. I am not sure consciousness of the personal variety is required, at least initially.
I dont know if you have noticed Avo, but a lot of people are beginning to get tired of this.  They can tell that your not truly being open-minded.  Your not even considering the alternative opinions to your own.  
I'm sorry you think this, Puck. It looks like projection to me.  I consider very seriously other people's opinions all the time and I have revised my own understandings far more than most people have, and will continue to do so. As to people getting tired, you have said such things several times now. I feel scolded. But if anyone is tired, they need not participate. Isn't that right?
Creationism is a more rational and honest belief than ID.  ID is rubbish.  At least creationism has something to stand on...the bible.
Oh, my heavens. The Bible? I just don't know what to say. To me, the inability to examine the Bible and see it for what it is could be a kind of litmus test for rationality. And open mindedness.
Go back to being a creationist...we will all respect you much much more
This is annoying and uncalled for. I was never a creationist. When I was a Christian, I knew that I had not examined the question of evolution, and took very little position on the matter.

Because he is taking it for granted that a biological complex that performs a specific function is purposeful, which implies intention. And then he says that this implies intelligence, ie 'a purposeful arrangement of parts proves that the parts were arranged purposefully'. It's not wrong, it just doesn't go any way to proving his point.
OK, and so Behe thinks it does. He thinks that what he sees is too unlikely to have gotten itself together without help. I find the arguments from information and probability pretty strong. But you've read the same ones.


The situation is pretty hopeless. No matter how many times I make the same point, you claim I am dishonest, inconsistent, a word twister and idea stealer. I'll be brief.

On Miller, see above.
You admit that NDE is not in conflict with theism, then equate it to atheism.  
In my understanding of "pure" NDE, which you and others say is wrong, it does conflict with theism. Now, you are telling me that NDE includes both a God who set it up or a universe with no God. But that is not really one theory. As I explained above.

Who said anything about turtles?  You are much closer to that than I am, insisting that things have a cause and all.
The problem is that we must understand the need for acausality, which defies our rational minds.

Matter is.  End of story.
Unacceptable. Inadequate. Unless matter is God. About God, the simplest true statement is this:  God is.

There is no logical need for a cause, and there is no scientific way of finding the cause that you think exists.  How do YOU account for matter?  You say, "Goddidit," which is completely scientifically useless.
Matter arises from God, either automatically, or as a choice.

Why must god be the source of the universe?  Why can't god simply be an observer that has the power to interfere and does or does not?  Oh yeah, it's because you've already made your a priori assumptions about what god is and isn't.
You need to really think about this.

There is a difference between seeing lack of perfection in a being and rejection of that being or lack of support for that being. Even the Bible agrees. When Jesus speaks of the perfection of the Father, he gives the example that He sends his rain to the just and the unjust.

Thank you for proving my point.  Your reversal from the position that god is all about love is nice.
What reversal? I said God does not reject or fail to support all beings, whether they are right or wrong, and that this does not conflict with the need to attain perfection and lose imperfection.

This:    The perception of God is outside the range you are used to.
was not a snipe at you. It is more or less the human condition.
I don't believe you.  You are saying that I am either sub-human or you are super-human.  Either way, I am less than you.
I'm saying that I have spend many years working on a better understanding of the nature of God, and that I had a significant breakthrough at some point, in my mid thirties. The instrinsic worth of every human being is exactly the same.

I'm saying they are mutually exclusive. If one is true, the other both isn't, and cannot be.
Are those goal posts heavy?
What are you talking about? I have made the same point over and over.
NDE vs. design, however, is a false dichotomy.
So this is the same definition problem. Over at the design sites, this is precisely the dichotomy they are bucking.
If I were you, I'd be embarrassed to try to pass this off as non-religio/philosophical and scientific.
My discussion about God is philosophical. I don't think such ideas are antiscientific, but I am not trying to pass off my ideas as science.
You admit that the designer must be god, but then try to say it is scientific in the same breath.
The author of the universe and life is God. I am not convinced about who wrote the DNA code. Reality is reality. That is what I can't seem to get across. You have just stated above that God and science are not to be spoken in the same breath. Look, if there is a God, IF--- then it does not conflict with science. It cannot.
Science is studying that which makes the world understandable.  The existence of something that can completely alter existence or violate any physical law seems completely contradictory to what science is.
Do you realize that if God exists that it is already true? The existence of God may by realized as true in the future by particular minds, but if God is true, it is true now and was true all along. Therefore, it is silly to worry that the existence of God will make existence incoherent. And I do not think God does or can violate physical laws! It is a contradiction.
Oh, and science is limited, that's part of what makes it work.  If we simply accepted "goddidit" as a potential explanation for everything, we wouldn't get anywhere.
Take that whole phrase, which is a useless meme someone fed you, and throw it in the trash.

And read Bhodidharma. I prescribe Buddhism for you.

Date: 2006/03/31 05:43:20, Link
Author: avocationist

What I mean is that saying the particular path of mutations that led to us is very improbable is fair enough, in the same way that saying that the chance of everyone who has ever won the lottery winning in that order is also very improbable.
But as we know, the chances of repeating any sequence is very low, and yet is 100% guaranteed to unfold randomly. But the pattern to the throwing of dice is meaningless and incapable of accomplishing anything, so far as we can see. So I don't think the two are comparable at all. No matter how many times we run the lottery, there isn't any importance to who wins in what order. It doesn't build anything.

For each mutation that led to the development of the falgellum in a particular bacteria, there were millions that didn't in the same generation. Dembski does not model evolution as a branching and pruning process, which is what it is.
I don't know about Dembski, but it is hard to see how this idea of pruning could work to create billions of highly ordered and complex systems, or IC systems in which it is very hard to see how many small steps could have each been selected as positive when it does not appear that each one could have been positive. You know the Dawkins experiment about "Methinks it is like a weasel"? There are some good arguments against it.  

Because he is taking it for granted that a biological complex that performs a specific function is purposeful, which implies intention. And then he says that this implies intelligence, ie 'a purposeful arrangement of parts proves that the parts were arranged purposefully'.
Well, perhaps different people are able to accept suppositions that others can't. But the more we find out about biology, the more a designer hypothesis seems the less improbable of the two. After all, the universe most likely has existed forever in some form or another, and we are here, aren't we? Why should we be the only intelligence. I certainly have an incredulity problem.
(cosmological and chemical fine tuning) Maybe my physics is lacking but I don't see how that in any way is scientific proof that it was set up by an intelligent force, and even if it is that does not have any bearing on evolution. If fundemental laws are found that affect in some part how evolution has played out, this will not prove the ID claim that an intelligence actively interferes with evolution.
Maybe not active interference, but it certainly ups the likelihood of the pre-existence of consciousness.


I acquiesce to all your accusations. But I am curious. What is your gender?

Jay Ray,

I think you may be right, he was using Godel's theorem. As to why I posted it without understanding it, that is because it was intriguing and interesting. No, I am not comfortable with a lot of math, or much formal logic either.

The part I disagree with in this statement is that creationists of all stripes posit GOD, along with a whole host of this god's presumed qualities, as the answer to those gaps.  According to them, god needs no beginning axioms.
Do you think God needs beginning axioms? What might they be? How can an axiom precede the existence of anything at all? And how can we speak of preceding in a state of timeless eternity?


And how do we rigorously prove that system X "cannot be explained by random mutation"?  (And, bear in mind, these days biologists recognize a lot of different DNA modifications where you somewhat misleadingly (or perhaps "misled-ly") write "random mutation": substitutions, duplications, insertions, transpositions, acquisition of plasmids...)  
So all those are nonrandom? So the ability to intelligently and purposefully turn on mutation events evolved randomly?


Here's the thing. If you really could find prove that system X could not possibly have evolved, then yes: then we would be in the market for an alternative explanation. But if your evidence is just your opinion, or Behe's opinion, that it seems improbable, or that there are lots of biological systems whose evolution has not (and  never will be - there being a limit to resources available for research) explained, step by step, back to the origin of life - actual students of the field are not impressed.
It cannot be retraced I guess, but there needs to be plausible ideas for how these systems could have evolved.


Well, a lot of people are not satisfied to simply decide to believe in evolution because the evidence that paleontolgoy points to is unacceptable.
Who are those people? Specifically. Are they the ones who have seriously studied the evidence, or are they the usual gang of creationists precommitted to rejecting evolution?
At one point I kept a list of paleontologists who tried to find some kind of saltation theory that could somehow coincide with a belief in evolution. As to whether these and the many others were objective in their search for truth, we will probably not agree. But it is silly to present this argument, because said lack of objectivity and precommitments are found on all sides. Your typing of creationists is right in so far as biblical literalists go, but that is by no means all religious people.  

"I think that several people reject Darwinism because of actual flaws with the theory, the fact that they have almost all turned to creationism in response is mere coincidence"
Tell me how many alternatives you see. If we suppose that some people actually see flaws in the theory, wouldn't that increase the likelihood the world was created? Is that so illogical?

As to flaws. Homology.

Actually, I'm looking for specific names and references. It's my observation that when you try to nail down creationist rhetoric to specifics, in fact it never gets more specific than "a lot of people say..." or a   Mike "who the #### is he?" Gene cut'n'paste bombardment. Can't hurt to ask. Who knows? Maybe I'll be surprised.
Are you saying that I couldn't come up with a list if I were willing to spend the time on your homework assignment? Are you saying I couldn't come up with names and references of people who find problems with paleontology and other aspects of NDE? I find this useless. I don't have endless time.

Who is Mike Gene? Mike Gene for some reason finds it necessary to protect his identity. Why do you find my cut and paste so offensive? Mike Gene's qualifications are irrelevant. He may be an 8th grade dropout like me who reads in his spare time. Are you planning to bring him before the hiring board of your institution? If not, then perhaps you can give us a reasoned response to the parts I cut and paste because they are fascinating, and I spent many hours reading what he has to say about the flagellum, and I spent a good deal of time finding what I thought the most interesting, and readable, portions with which to whet your appetite. I can only imagine the hours it took to put that huge essay together. It is far, far more advanced that what Behe presented in Black Box. So far all you've done is mock his credentials and my cut and paste. You strongly urged me to get some specific arguments, but you don't really want them. You don't really want to look, do you? It's just all about tossing insults. And who has the right credentials to toss those insults.

Date: 2006/03/31 06:24:15, Link
Author: avocationist
As you seem earnest I should tell you that I knew that and was only having fun.
Yeah, I knew you were having fun, but I thought you were also perplexed about the left-handedness comment.

Date: 2006/03/31 06:35:56, Link
Author: avocationist
Thordaddy, my guess is you are male. I just want you to know that in my opinion men have no authority whatsoever on the topic of abortion. Perhaps there is an ethical debate to be had, but it isn't your debate.

Newborns do have consciousness. Self versus other are not required. The baby is in a highly aware state shortly after birth.

Also, just to drive you all mad, my daughter spoke to me from the womb a week before she was born.

Date: 2006/03/31 13:48:00, Link
Author: avocationist

Would I be right to presume you believe in a soul, and are Christian? If so, why do you concern yourself so much about the CNS and brain?

Date: 2006/03/31 15:44:24, Link
Author: avocationist


Did I mock "Mike Gene's" credentials?
Not directly.

What I was trying to point out is that, with no shortage of experts on bacterial flagella to choose from, with research records, and lots of evidence that they have not only thought about what they're writing, but have subjected their ideas to professional scrutiny, it seems unwise to rely on someone who won't even tell you his name, let alone why you should take his word for anything.
Well, that is your prerogative. I'm pretty sure I already linked to an essay by Frank Tipler about the problems with the peer review process, how it enforces orthodoxy, and resists innovation. Not giving one's name is certainly an irregular situation, but then, s/he may have very good reasons for it.

Last time, you accused me of calling Spetner (or someone) "malicious", I challenged you to find the quote. You never did. Of course, you never retracted the accusation - you just said you didn't "have time"  to track it down, or some such.
I said that I spent more time than it was worth to look it up. I was definitely remembering something I saw, and I couldn't find it. I also said perhaps it was not you who said it. I can neither retract nor stand by it. I'm just not interested in this level of personal bickering.

Obviously the most famous paleontologist with a problem is Gould. Not that he gave up on evolution, but he definitely saw a problem with the data.


BTW - are we still waiting for Spetner to get back to you on why he screwed up, and what steps he's taking to set the record straight?
Unfortunately, yes. That is, he got back to me the one time, and what he said indicated he didn't understand what he did. So I pointed it out more carefully, and he has not ever answered.


God is man's creation, not the other way around.
In that case, we are not having the discussion I thought we were having.

How can an axiom precede the existence of anything at all? And how can we speak of preceding in a state of timeless eternity?

Part of me thinks these are meaningless questions in the context of science.  Eternity is great fun to ponder, but scientifically beyond our grasp.  Surely you know that to ask what came before eternity is unanswerable.
Yes, that was what I was pointing out.  
The question is nonsensical.  It's mind tweaking if you enjoy that sort of thing, which I do sometimes.  But in a sincere discussion, I have to wonder what is your point?  Or let me pose you this question in return: what color is the smell of leather?
The whole thing became meaningless since we were not in the same discussion.

Date: 2006/04/01 16:45:04, Link
Author: avocationist
Well you know Russell, you can twist things how you like. You ignored the part where I said I once had a list. That was some months ago. The list might not be as big as you'd like. I recall about 5 names. But when I said a lot of people, I didn't mean only actual paleontoloists.

I make a statement about how evolution skeptics react to paleontology, and suddenly I am discredited because I am not willing to look up names for you. It would no doubt take a while. Or maybe not. You ask for details on why I doubt evolution, but when I provide them I get little comment.

And I don't know why you say Gould's issues have nothing to do with mine. I haven't read his books, but I have read some excerpts.

Jay Ray,

I don't actually recall you saying you were an atheist, but that is fine with me. No cold shoulder. My husband is or was an atheist. Now he says he is an agnostic, and I'm not cold to him at all.   ;)    Furthermore, I actually respect him as a fairly spiritually advanced person. See, in my weird view of things, one's professed beliefs or lack thereof has only a little to do with one's spiritual life.  
I didn't get the sense from our discussions though, that your sum assessment of theology is that God is a figment of the imagination. I mean, in that case, what is there to say? At any rate, it caused a misunderstanding.

But I am intrigued by your hope for an afterlife. Can you elaborate?

Date: 2006/04/04 18:23:42, Link
Author: avocationist
It seems to me, Thor, that a gay gene, or for that matter a congenital development origin of gayness refutes the idea that gayness is a sin, rather than refuting evolution.

It does seem difficult for a gay gene to coincide with natural selection, but it does not seem difficult for congenital devlopmental causes to fit with evolution.

However, it has been pointed out that a small number of gay people in a group can enhance survival. People think it's all about having as many kids as you possibly can, but it isn't. It's about quality of life and raising the kids to adulthood. Hunter-gatherers and for that matter chimps, produce offspring about every 3-5 years. More than that is too much. If you look at a highly social animal  like wolves, you see that only one pair regularly produces offspring (the alpha male and female) while other relatives such as uncles and aunts help to care for and raise the pups.

More labor, hunters, and childcare is what a group of humans needs, not just everyone to pump out as many kids as they possibly can.

Date: 2006/04/04 20:32:26, Link
Author: avocationist
Russell, you said:

Now, apologies for sending what looks like a "form letter" to all our anti-evo friends, but I contend  that their arguments always founder when you demand specifics: specific quotes, specific numbers, specific data...

If you let them get away with "it's common knowledge that..." or "Darwinists always claim that...",  it never ends.

Works for Shi, works for Avo, even works for Thordaddy. (Oh, sure, Thor keeps coming back for more, but you'll notice he never follows up - he just changes the subject.)

And all this because I pointed out that a lot of people are disturbed by the problems in paleontolgoy, more perhaps than anything else. And you've gone from wanting a list of paleontologists, to just a list of said people. But I have authors here in my bookcaase that discuss problems with paleontology. What is so special about this "detail" other than avoiding the details that I have brought up to discuss - such as why do you and others here think that Miller ever really refuted anything that Behe said about the flagellum in his paper the Flagellum Unspun, and what is your reaction to the very specific details that Mike Gene brings out in the assembly and function of the flagellum? But no, you think you've got brownie points for asking me to come up with names of people who have a problem with paleontology.

Are you familiar with the term "quote-mining"?
Yes. I am familiar with quoting out of context. A big sin in my book. So what is quote mining?
Let's cut to the chase. Your whole issue is that the evidence - paleontological, molecular, whatever - leads serious students of the field to the conclusion that life on earth requires intelligent input, right?
Yes, or at least that current theory is inadequate to the extent that when the real facts become known (if ever) that it will be fundamentally altered.
There's no doubt where Gould stood on that issue, and it wasn't with you.
But it doesn't matter. Unless the items are quoted out of context so that they convey a different meaning than the author intended, there is nothing wrong with noting the sheer magnitude of of admitted problems in evolution. That said authors adhere steadfastly to evolution adds to the human interest.

Jay Ray,

At this point, I want to live indefinately. I'm not in any way satisfied with the length of the human lifespan.
It's absolutely unacceptable.
I want my personality to continue on for as long as I want it to.
Agreed. I applaud your honesty.

That could be forever, that could be some amount less.  So I'm not so much concerned about an afterlife as I am extending the one I am living right now.
May I suggest you become an alchemist?

I'd settle for an afterlife of some sort, so long as its *me* doing the afterliving.
That's a bit tricky. The question is, who are you?

However, I'm not at all persuaded by typical theological propositions for this.  It's wishful thinking with no evidence whatsoever for their claims.
Some of it  is wishful thinking, and most of what people consider the "me" of them, their personality, is an encumbrance and a barrier. But one does want one's consciousness. I think there is evidence for these things, but it is not accepted by some people. However, the evidence seems to be accumulating. We are living in interesting times.

If it turns out I'm wrong and there is an afterlife where my personality lives on, I'm willing to listen to the organizers or controllers or managers of the thing.  It could be a good time.
But the reason I asked is that atheism doesn't usually mix with hopes for an afterlife.

But back down here on reality-based earth, I realize that I will die, that my body will decompose into its constituent parts, and that those parts will be taken up into later generations of life.  I suppose in a wiggly sort of way this is immortality.
Notvery satisfying, is it?

But the whole that is *me* will necessarily end when my body dies.  I accept this fact.
May be only the body dies.

Anyway, the answers to these questions has been my quest.

Date: 2006/04/05 05:44:02, Link
Author: avocationist

I will agree with you in part.  What I see is that science is succumbing to political pressure to find a "gay gene."  The whole point is TO USE SCIENCE to refute gayness as a sin and USE SCIENCE to legitimate the behavior.  It's an example of providing the conclusion (gayness is genetic/inborn/immalleable) and finding the evidence to fit this conclusion ("gay gene").
There could indeed be such pressure. In that case, tho, it won't stand th test of time. But there is more than a gene. What about studies that show birth order has a role? There are also some studies showing a different brain organization, and this is what I consider the most promising. In fact, I am all but sure that this is going to turn out to be the case. The brain of the embryo gets a little different development and this changes the sexual and emotional behavior. There really is a tremendous amount of evidence that sexual behavior is brain-dependent and hormone-dependent. But again, people are complex and there could be more than one type of gayness and more than one cause. There are even more than one kind of left-handedness.

The people who are convinced homosexuality is a sin are unable to look dispassionately at the evidence. The only acceptable evidence is that it is a 'behavior." It actually rather surprises me how men can think that other men are so easily swayed away from being excited by the female body. Could you? When people say that it makes me wonder if the person making the accusation is really fully heterosexual. I don't intend this as an insult but I think you can see the logic. In a normal male, the attraction to the female is strong. If one doubts that another person has a strong hold on their heterosexuality, it might mean that it is weak in their own self.

The thing is, Thor, that research into development and behavior is showing (and feminists of a certain stripe aren't liking it I think) that male and female behaviors and inner feelings are pretty much hard wired from birth. Yet there is a tremendous overlap because actual brain development has a wide continuum of structure.


Again, it seems that you identify with the problems of a "gay gene" and so you simply propose the next best thing, namely, homosexuality as a congenital development.  Again, we can only conclude that homosexuality must be a congenital birth defect because it REJECTS evolution's only purpose.
I don't assume it is a congenital defect for any other reason than that it makes so much sense in the real world, where I live among gay people and read books about the unbelievably tiny amounts of hormone during embryonic development that it takes to influence an animal's behavior for life, and where I look at men and women and see that homosexuals, especially the more "end of spectrum" effeminate gay men and masculine gay women appear in myriad ways to not have the brains typical of their gender.

Are you aware that the male infant makes his own male brain with his testosterone? That things can interfere with his testosterone?

I am not considering this question from an abortion angle, just a truth angle.

You seem to be saying that evolution devised a congenital birth defect that causes men to be sexaully-attracted to other men men (same for women) and NOT reproduce SO AS TO regulate life's propensity to reproduce and overpopulate themselves into extinction?  This is the nature of homosexuality?  
It may or may not be part of nature's natural variation, but it might also be a mistake. Many mistakes get made during embryonic development. Lack of perfect nutrition means a child will not live up to his genetic potential. But producing variety does help in tight situations, because just a few individuals might have what it takes to survive the situation. And humans are the least instinctive and the most capable of varied behavior. Not every individual should have the goal of reproducing as fast and as early as possible. A society is stronger if there are some people with other skills and interests. We are not sea turtles whose main strategy is chucking out as many eggs as possible.

Date: 2006/04/05 05:57:56, Link
Author: avocationist
If there is a genetic basis for homosexuality, it will be a more complex multi-gene trait or the byproduct of the actions of other genes regulating hormones, sexual behaviour, etc.  I think that many if not most gays are actually bisexual in varying degrees (though I'm open to correction), rather than simply 100% gay, which suggests that homosexuality is not controlled by a single gene.

All this is better explained through the congenital development theory. It gives you the complex spectrum of behaviors that we actually see in real life. And any gay genes could easily fit in with it, too.

It also explains why many homosexuals have some heterosexual attraction, altho some don't seem to at all.

I came up with the idea that much homosexuality is developmental before I knew what I had read things that confirmed it, because of close observation of some gay friends I had years ago. At that time, the psychological explanations, the cold father, the overprotective mother were all the rage, and I saw that it isn't true.

Date: 2006/04/05 06:59:42, Link
Author: avocationist
whereas what I wrote was not English.

Apparently there are mirror image twins. My sister's husband is an identical twin but one is left-handed and one right.

Date: 2006/04/05 19:03:31, Link
Author: avocationist
No, it would not, because (as far as we know) mutations are random. Thus, just because some trait might affect fitness does not affect that probability that that trait will arise;
If you can come up with a way to predict mutations (not just differential probabilities of transitions versus transversions), then you have just scored yourself a Nobel.

And yet, it must have some logical pattern. Else, how to account for the amazing similarity between marsupial and placental animals.

Date: 2006/04/05 20:04:55, Link
Author: avocationist

The weasel program was meant to demonstrate cumulative selection not evolution.
Yes, but without deciding the end result at the beginning, blind forces might never get there.

The whole question of search space is an interesting one, because we may not really know the factors that would help to narrow down the search. When certain evolution detractors have put forth what would appear to be the search space, the possibility of a solution to this or that problem is often quite out of reach, no matter how many e coli you have working for you. Problem is, organizing factors or emergent properties all seem to change the nature of our universe. They all seem to require some fundamental intelligence.

Why do you read several evolutionary papers per week?

This may be an irreconcilable philosophical difference, sufficed to say any of the laws I described would not be any more proof of this consiouness to me than if they did not exist. Having said that I am perfectly willing to accept the existence of a god, but I would still need scientific evidence of his involvement in evolution.
Are you familiar with cosmic fine tuning? It's not just a few laws here and there. They say, for example, that the amount of matter in the universe is within one billionth of what it needs to be in order to have a stable universe. That is, the parameters are that narrow. Nature's Destiny by Denton does a good job of explaining a wide array of them.

Having said that I am perfectly willing to accept the existence of a god, but I would still need scientific evidence of his involvement in evolution.
There is no way for God to be omnipotent or omniscient unless God is actually everywhere, and in everything. I think of evolution as an inside job, not one of an external being. It seems to me the evidence is fairly strong that random processes didn't cause this universe, or its laws, or its existence in the first place. What do you think of the information based arguments for ID?

I had this problem over at UD, the best way to look at it is that random means that the organism does not know which mutations will increase fitness.
It's too bad you guys over there have different names and I am clueless what's going on. It may be that the organism turns on a mutation feature, and in a specific area of the genome, and then suddenly gets the mutation for digesting nylon. For me, that's just too good to be true but we must also account for the organism's ability to direct itself like that in the first place.

Presumably you mean that we need an evolutionary path for every single system for it to be scientifically acceptable to infer that it did evolve?
I don't think so. Behe complains that there are none in the literature that are really any good. If we had a couple of quite good and plausible routes for some very complex systems to evolve, then the pressure would be off. It wouldn't matter that we couldn't explain each one.
I would say that modern evolutionary theory certainly does not rule it out.

(homology flaw)  Why is that a flaw, have I missed something?

I'm referring to the problem that homologous organs often do not arise from the same genes, and that during development, they are often grown from different body segments or in a different order or from a different group of cells. Animal forelimbs develop from different body segments. Homology is difficult because many or most genes control widely divergent body parts. The eye color of drosphila is controlled by a gene th also controls female sex organs. Mouse coat color and mouse size are on the same gene. Chickens are subject to a detrimental mutation in a single gene that causes a wide array of malformations, some of which are unique to birds and others which are shared by other vertebrates.

No only do homologous structures in closely related species arise from different genes, but nonhomologous structures can arise from the same gene.
This may be true in some cases, but in many cases journals are so eager to publish innovative 'against the grain' work that big name journals can end up publishing bad papers.
I suspect that this greatly depends on just which grains are being rubbed.

Date: 2006/04/06 06:39:15, Link
Author: avocationist
Oh, sh**. My last post here (to Chris) was meant for another thread. I always keep two windows open since the reply screen is so cumbersome and hard to use. I will cut and paste it over there.

Date: 2006/04/06 06:44:05, Link
Author: avocationist

The weasel program was meant to demonstrate cumulative selection not evolution.
Yes, but without deciding the end result at the beginning, blind forces might never get there.

The whole question of search space is an interesting one, because we may not really know the factors that would help to narrow down the search. When certain evolution detractors have put forth what would appear to be the search space, the possibility of a solution to this or that problem is often quite out of reach, no matter how many e coli you have working for you. Problem is, organizing factors or emergent properties all seem to change the nature of our universe. They all seem to require some fundamental intelligence.

Why do you read several evolutionary papers per week?

This may be an irreconcilable philosophical difference, sufficed to say any of the laws I described would not be any more proof of this consiouness to me than if they did not exist. Having said that I am perfectly willing to accept the existence of a god, but I would still need scientific evidence of his involvement in evolution.
Are you familiar with cosmic fine tuning? It's not just a few laws here and there. They say, for example, that the amount of matter in the universe is within one billionth of what it needs to be in order to have a stable universe. That is, the parameters are that narrow. Nature's Destiny by Denton does a good job of explaining a wide array of them.

Having said that I am perfectly willing to accept the existence of a god, but I would still need scientific evidence of his involvement in evolution.
There is no way for God to be omnipotent or omniscient unless God is actually everywhere, and in everything. I think of evolution as an inside job, not one of an external being. It seems to me the evidence is fairly strong that random processes didn't cause this universe, or its laws, or its existence in the first place. What do you think of the information based arguments for ID?

I had this problem over at UD, the best way to look at it is that random means that the organism does not know which mutations will increase fitness.
It's too bad you guys over there have different names and I am clueless what's going on. It may be that the organism turns on a mutation feature, and in a specific area of the genome, and then suddenly gets the mutation for digesting nylon. For me, that's just too good to be true but we must also account for the organism's ability to direct itself like that in the first place.

Presumably you mean that we need an evolutionary path for every single system for it to be scientifically acceptable to infer that it did evolve?
I don't think so. Behe complains that there are none in the literature that are really any good. If we had a couple of quite good and plausible routes for some very complex systems to evolve, then the pressure would be off. It wouldn't matter that we couldn't explain each one.
I would say that modern evolutionary theory certainly does not rule it out.

(homology flaw)  Why is that a flaw, have I missed something?

I'm referring to the problem that homologous organs often do not arise from the same genes, and that during development, they are often grown from different body segments or in a different order or from a different group of cells. Animal forelimbs develop from different body segments. Homology is difficult because many or most genes control widely divergent body parts. The eye color of drosphila is controlled by a gene th also controls female sex organs. Mouse coat color and mouse size are on the same gene. Chickens are subject to a detrimental mutation in a single gene that causes a wide array of malformations, some of which are unique to birds and others which are shared by other vertebrates.

No only do homologous structures in closely related species arise from different genes, but nonhomologous structures can arise from the same gene.
This may be true in some cases, but in many cases journals are so eager to publish innovative 'against the grain' work that big name journals can end up publishing bad papers.
I suspect that this greatly depends on just which grains are being rubbed.

Date: 2006/04/06 07:58:55, Link
Author: avocationist
Jay Ray,

I remember Newton and some of those wacky taoists became sidetracked down the red herring called alchemy.  This should come as no surprise in modern times.  Anytime we've tried to combine mysticism with science, its failed.  Gee, I wonder why that could be....
Why must people think Newton was the only alchemist? He failed, as did most. Alchemy isn't the queen of science and philosophy for nothing. What do you think mysticism is? Your very sentence contains the supposition that it isn't true. Mysticism is the experience or intuition about things which are very subtle, hard to prove, hard to control, hard to repeat at will. So the question is, have they any truth or not? But if they do have some truth, then they are absolutely within the realm of science. All phenomena are within the realm of science. Alchemy may deal with what you consider mystical phenomena, but it is a matter of scientific experiment, nothing else. Alchemy involves ideas about how nature works.
The idea that science is a separate realm from mysticism or God is a false idea. And luckily, it won't be around much longer.

I'm familiar and comfortable with the idea that this thing called "me" is an illusion.
Yeah, but all such descriptions are only approximations. Looked at another way, the thing called 'me' is the one and only endurable phenomenon. That is, "I Am."
What I am really is just a wave in the ocean we know as the universe.  Every wave eventually crashes against the shore, whereupon it takes another form.  I'm cool with that.
This means that the form is not the true essence. The illusion of me or self is mistaking the external compilation for the true essence.


I do.  How cool would it be to be a wave that rolls up onto the shore and manages to keep on going, maneuvering at will?  It won't happen, but it would be preferable.
Why won't it happen?

I'd be one of those that wants evidence beyond what can be provided by anecdote.  Channeling doesn't count.  Regression hypnosis doesn't count.  Near death experiences don't count.  In the end, no matter how many of these stories accumulate, they are still all just stories.  
When one of them happens to you, it will count. I haven't paid much attention to channeling or hypnosis, but I am impressed with near death experiences.

Every moment is interesting, don't you think?
Well, yeah, but dam*  these are interesting times!
We withhold judgement until the facts are in.  Many of us would welcome these things if they were demonstrated.
Well, there's nothing wrong with that. I suspect it's a developmental stage. It's a way of cleansing out the bullsh*t.
But so far, the the so-called evidence is anecdotal, vague, contradictory and entirely unpersuasive.  "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."  
What can you expect but anecdotal stories from people who have experienced the invisible (to our senses)? There is a tremendous amount of consistency in near death experiences.
Deep down, I tend to think that god doesn't exist, in just the same way that I don't believe in the invisible Sock Gnome who lives in my laundry room and steals my socks from time to time.
No, that's the Borrowers!
Nope.  Yet I'm glad I have the opportunity to experience it for at least a little while.
It's a terrible thing to have one's consciousness snatched away, to be part of this incredible universe and have it fade forever before your eyes. What a cruel, cruel reality we live in. But it is a bit better than the classic Christian one, where most beings are to be tormented horribly forever.
However, I see no benefit to myself or to any other life on this dazzling planet if I continually strive for that which is always out of reach of the living.
Does anyone reach enlightenment without striving? There is great benefit to others if you strive with the right attitude. Despair and a sense of lack don't benefit, but increasing one's level of consciousness does, since all consciousness is one, and all beings partake of the collective unconscious.
The right attitude is to enjoy the ride and not be impatient about the unfolding of understanding - which I think is pretty much what you said.

for that which is always out of reach of the living.  
Identify with that which lives, not that which dies. This is the sole doctrine of no-self, or the illusion of self.

I find it quite comforting, and have done ever since I was a child and used to sit in the garden: imagining bits of myself pushing up through the grass as trees and crawling around as insects. The fact that people seek more still puzzles me, and seems to be one of the main reasons in my experience that people are religious other than tradition.
Comforting and beautiful it is, since this whole big shebang - the universe - is one big writhing process, but loss of consciousness, awareness, being part of it all: this doesn't bother you? I don't doubt your sincerity yet when people say this I cannot quite believe them.

Date: 2006/04/07 10:44:25, Link
Author: avocationist

Regarding the ability to make predictions, I'd like to know if you knew what you know now, could you go back to the dawn of the age of mammals and predict the remarkable similarity of marsupial to placental mammals, the wolf, the mouse?

Date: 2006/04/07 10:54:08, Link
Author: avocationist

You said,
Most of us don't choose our heterosexuality, but a very few of us have inclinations that defy evolution.
Is that your answer to my question about whether or not you could easily turn off your attraction to the female body? That some people can but most can't? That it takes a strong (and presumably wicked) inclination to go against the tide of attraction but that it's really there all along? Would you be happy letting your daughter marry a gay guy who realized it was wrong/impractical to be gay and repented? I'm not talking about disease - let's say he's young and healthy. A woman kind of thrives when her husband is attracted to her. Do you really think this guy will give her that? Because I've spent a lot of time around gay guys, and I never felt from them any attraction or tension of the sort that usually occurs when males are around. It is so extremely comfortable that women often say gay guys make great friends.

Have they just buried their attraction to the female? Why doesn't it jump out at odd moments?


2. Why would evolution produce a "homosexual" orientation in humans?
That question has been answered. Why do you repeat it as if you had not read the responses. Tell us why you disagree with the answers, don't ignore them.

Date: 2006/04/07 11:13:06, Link
Author: avocationist
Even though Thordaddy has an obvius genetic inability to see the color gray, it isn't really his intelligence that's so lacking. His stance is an emotional and unconsciously driven one.

Thor has stated that it is an absurd position to say that we are all part of one very old living entity, and yet that is precisely what I believe and what must be, at least in some sense, the case.

It is too much of a stretch to say that conception is no more important a milestone than turning 18. Conception is the contact between a specific sperm and egg which can potentially lead to a unique individual. But it isn't possible to dismiss the potential that lies in the sperm and the egg regardless of whether those particular two end up together. Before conception, there are many sperm hovering. Presumably, any one of several of them could have got in first and you'd have a different person. At the moment that the particular sperm that lead to your child was swimming upstream, it had the potential to become that very child. The eggs that became my children were in my womb before I was born, and those particular eggs had the potential to become my children. If they did not have that potential, then my children could never have been born. This can be taken back indefinitely to the very beginning of life.

Nature seems to work in such a way that altho there are crucial milestones, they do not stand alone in utter separation from prior events. Water goes along degree by degree until it hits 212 or 32, at which points it changes its properties. But it cannot get to 212 without traversing the space between.

It is obvious that if life comes from life, that all life has a beginning which never ends unless life ends. Whether you believe in common descent or special creation of each species, the life force is a continuous thing that passes from one body to the next.

If you believe in evolution all life is connected in this way, and if you believe that God made each species, then all life comes directly from God, so all life is connected just the same.

Date: 2006/04/07 11:30:20, Link
Author: avocationist
Ok, let's go back to that.

What IDers must understand is that evolutionary biology doesn't make future predictions (except at a short timescale). First, they would be useless since they cannot be verified within a researcher's lifetime. Second, as J. G. said, there is far more than one evolutionary path for a given lineage. Third, we cannot predict future selective pressures (environments).

First of all, we can eliminate #3, because you would be making your prediction upon conditions that were shaping up in Australia, i.e., the existence of suitable trees and mammals coming along to create niches for predators. I've been told over and over that science is about being able to make predictions.

Now, granted there is more than one evolutionary path. How can we account for not one but several incredibly similar outcomes? After millions of years of separation from very different early ancestors there arose these almost identical animals. The coincidence of just too out of range of my credulity meter.

I'd rather either discard the notion that they developed separately, or come up with a new facet of evolutionary theory, such as perhaps some sort of Platonic realm of ideas in which there are just so many body forms available.

the trace of a chromosomal fusion in Homo...

That was predicted?

Date: 2006/04/07 11:35:30, Link
Author: avocationist
Oh, yes, that is pretty much what I meant. please elaborate.

Date: 2006/04/07 12:26:59, Link
Author: avocationist
I realize that the selection pressures were reasonably similar on the different continents. And while there may indeed be a limit on the number of different kinds of mammals that can arise, I still find the similarity between the marsupial and placental types uncanny.

Are you amazed at the convergence between different reptiles or birds?
Are you kidding?


If you know an event, I assume you can go back through time before this event and predict it, provided you don't interfere with its cause.
Based upon what principles would you predict the almost identical morpholigies of the marsupial and placental types?

What is your alternate theory about it?
I could speculate, but I am clueless. Actually, I threw the question out there but I haven't read up on the genetic similarities. I'd like to know more about that.

I guess I would lean to the idea that those animals were not really separated for as long as we think they were. and yet, they've got this completely different reproductive strategy.

Date: 2006/04/07 12:40:05, Link
Author: avocationist
I am more than willing to put my vast reputation on the line with the prediction that homosexuality in the majority of cases can be traced to the brain.

Date: 2006/04/07 15:54:44, Link
Author: avocationist
But I think someone did make this claim:

Saying that a human life begins at conception is just as arbitrary as saying it begins at birth, or at age 18, or age 21, or whenever you want to say it begins.

And why do you say conception is hard to pinpoint? Sure the very moment goes unnoticed, but it can be suspected within days.

I said Thor has emotional reasons that are unconsciously managed. That is why some of his replies are so disconcerting. Apparently, when he said "me" he meant that he was an example of human life. It is odd not to make that distinction.

Date: 2006/04/07 15:58:21, Link
Author: avocationist
I have come to the conclusion that Thor is not a religious person after all, because he thinks life starts at conception.

Date: 2006/04/07 16:12:54, Link
Author: avocationist
And your supposition about "not really separated as long as we think," or words to that effect, highlights one of the supreme difficulties facing the evolution-denier.
Gosh, I hope that's not like being a holocaust denier.

Anyway, if australia was indeed isolated that long ago then I think there ought to be some evolutionary principles to account for the similarity that occured. Just saying similar selection pressures isn't good enough.

What do you think, Paley?

Date: 2006/04/07 19:08:57, Link
Author: avocationist
That's not my point. My point is that to claim, as Thordaddy has about a million times, that "life begins at conception" is as arbitrary as saying it begins at birth, or age 18, or age 40.
Conception is a unique and funamental milestone without which you could not have your specific set of genetics, and it is the event which starts a body to forming out of the potential contained in the sperm and the egg. Your 18th birthday is a day that follows other days and it could pass unnoticed. I'm not sure why you would think there's no difference between conception and turning 40.


Yet, you clearly use the world "potential" because the "unique individual" may be readily disposed of.
that's only one reason. It could be miscarried. Also, I do see the fundamental nature of the conception event, but I d o not think of things as separately existing without reference to other things, and all things unfold as processses within larger processes. If there is a soul we do not know when that soul inhabits the body, and the zygote does not have a mind or awareness, unless it be a spiritual awareness. If there is a soul then that soul could inhabit a different body, and I just don't think it is a good idea for people to have unwanted children that they are not prepared to care for. I do not think that an unformed albeit potential human has all rights when it has no responsibilities. I do not think it has the right to demand of the mother that it's life, which is not yet formed, should take precedence over hers. A life form which cannot even breathe on its own or metabolize its own nutrients cannot demand the use of someone else's body. This should be given graciously not under duress. I'm against late abortions but I don't think early abortions cause any suffering. It is silly to insist that a woman have a child at the wrong time because that almost certainly means that she will not have another child later that she could care for better and with less stress. I think that unwanted children brought forth under stress is a main cause of unhappiness and spiritual problems in this world.

None of this means that it is to be taken lightly, and I have never met a woman who did. For those few 'low-life' women  who have taken it lightly and had multiple abortions, we should be very thankful that they are doing so.

If you want to believe that you are a mere individuated outgrowth of one very large and very old entity and your death represents nothing more than this entity clipping his toenails, believe it.  But you readily admit the even the most micrscopic change in those last billions of years and you would NOT EXIST.  One change in sperm or one changed egg going back million and billions of years.
Well I think exactly that - there is one all-encompassing being and it is alive, and within that being are many individuals, just as there are cells in your body that have individual existence and a life-span. Except in our case we have awareness, so we aren't toenails. But you seem to confuse the material with the spiritual. If you are a materialist, then I suppose it is sad to contemplate a death, but why not also be sad about all those potential humans who will never be born? Every change in a sperm or egg throughout all our past has meant that untold people, wonderful people some of them, have never seen the light of day. Your existence has negated the existence of others.  .
I don't assume a newborn is conscious, I see its consciousness. consciousness can perceive consdiousness.

Eric Murphy is right that there is no one moment when human life becomes human life, because it is an unending flame that passes from body to body, but conception is certainly the moment when the materials to create an individuated human get started.

I don't understand where the consciousness thing fits in with your arguments. but I think it is because most people agree infanticide is wrong, and you hope to persuade people that a newborn isn't conscious, yet it's wrong to kill it.

Date: 2006/04/08 13:27:23, Link
Author: avocationist

I don't think there is any evidence that people choose their heterosexuality.  Most people will readily admit that they didn't.  This seems to make sense because evolution HAS NO NEED to devise "sexual orientations" especially those (homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality) that seemingly defy the basis for evolution, namely, reproduction.  There are a lot of "choices" people make that they wish that hadn't.  Does this means they are ALL genetically-based "choices?"
No, it does not. but evidence from animal studies that I have read, which were about pollution and not sexuality, discovered that in nature there is a wide array of sexual expressions in, for example, mice, and it depends upon the levels of hormone that each embryo was exposed to in the womb. This is normal variation, not pathological. For example, a male lying between two sisters or a female lying between two brothers will get a bigger dose of exposure to the opposite sex hormones. This affects brain development and later sexual expression. The more masculine females are less common and less attractive to the males, but under adverse conditions are more likely to thrive. There are just too many stories of people feeling different from childhood and being bewildered by their lack of attraction to the opposite sex, which they fully expected. There are many tragic stories of suicidal despair by homosexual who tried and wished they could change. Tchaikovsky is supposed to have killed himself over it, and died believing he was headed to ####.


Have they just buried their attraction to the female? Why doesn't it jump out at odd moments?
Or they are really just attracted to other males and they rely on those like you
Thor this response makes absolutely no sense. Because yes, we are saying exactly that - they are just attracted to other males. and why is that?

Then write the answer out specifically so I don't miss again, please?
Briefly, that a human group which has the occasional adult who isn't marrying and producing kids has extra assistance in raising the young. I've certainly noticed that gay people are often close to their parents and lend them more support in their old age. It is pretty taxing to have a family of your own as you well know. A childless uncle may take greater interest in his nieces and nephews since he is less burdened. And someone quoted a study showing that women with a gay relative seem to have more children.

Date: 2006/04/08 14:31:58, Link
Author: avocationist
Eric I think you contrdict yourself. You agree that some milestones are more important than others, but not very much so. Yet in that case it is hard not to back off from the idea that one's 18th birthday is as important as the one moment in which the genes that are required to form the unique individual that you are came together so that the process of forming your body could start. I also disagree with giving birth an equal status. Or perhaps it is just a very different status. The question Thor is asking is, what is the most important event in the causal chain that allowed your unique self to be manufactured? It is difficult not to answer, conception. At your birth, you were already formed.

Yet, if a zygote had a spiritual awareness (volition to live, perhaps) what could be a higher awareness than that?  We know that an awareness of oneself develops over time.  I see no reason to assume that that development doesn't START at conception.  Do you?
The volition to live is instinctive and I wouldn't call it a spiritual awareness. Everything has a volition to live! All those millions of sperm that get wasted an untold number of times in your life. My poor, hopeful eggs waiting in vain that I might allow it to meet up with a sperm. Did you never hear the famous phrase coined by somebody or other that menstruation is the weeping of a disappointed uterus? Nature everywhere overcreates seeds and even overcreates young. Witness the poor sea turtles.

Awareness of self does seem to develop slowly, and that appears to have to do with brain development and experience. The potential for it certainly begins at conception, but is there much self awareness in a conceptus of less than 12 weeks gestation? I doubt it.

I do not think that the soul or consciousness is dependent upon a body.

Since when do we attach responsibilities to zygotes, embryos, newborns and infants?
Rights and responsibilities are usually tied together.
What child has only ever been wanted by his mother?  What of fathers, brothers, sisters, grandma's and grandpa's?  Their "want" plays no role?
They do play a role, but not a primary one. They cannot or should not try to force her to have a baby, but their loving support would no doubt influence her opinion, probably very strongly.

There is NO "right" time to have children.  If there is, can you articulate this objective criteria?
The right time is when the mother wants to have it and is willing.
What with the world population, only wanted children should be born.

How can one be serious when all they are doing is excising a "bunch of cells" and exercising their "pro-choice" position?
Just because you may read something to that effect in the media does not mean that is how women feel about it. Having an abortion is not easy or pleasant.

I don't agree that a newborn has a low degree of consciousness. It does have a low degree of self-consciousness and concepts, but its awareness is very high, if not in some ways higher simply becauser of the lack of language and thoughts that will come later. Of course, the awareness level of a baby shortly before birth is high as well.

Date: 2006/04/08 14:40:15, Link
Author: avocationist
But that merely begs the question, what is a human being?  And one can define the term to fit whatever answer one wants.

Date: 2006/04/10 16:23:57, Link
Author: avocationist

I thought it was you that wanted to expand the scope from Official Paleontologists to scholars of any description who could read the paleontology literature sensibly. Hey, either way is fine with me!
Gould was one. And I remember Goldschmidt, no doubt the same one loved by JAD. Also, Colin Patterson.

I've got some quote mines for you. D. Raup and Stanley, Principles of Paleontology, 1978,

"Unfortunately, the origins of most higher categories are shrouded in mystery; commonly new higher categories appear abruptly in the fossil record without evidence of transitional ancestral forms".

White, former president of the Linnean Society,
" Whatever ideas authorities may have on the subject, the lungfishes, like every other major group of fishes that I know, have their origins firmly based on nothing" (credentials not named)

Woodruff, Evolution, The Paleobiological View
"the record fails to contain a single example of a significant transition"

T. Huxley, Three lectures on Evolution
"if it could be shown that this fact [gaps between widely distinct groups] had always existed, the fact would be fatal to the doctrine of evolution"

Gould and Simpson,

"New species almost always appeared suddenly in the fossil record with no intermediate links to ancestors in older rocks of the same region."

"In spite of these examples, it remains true, as every paleontologist knows, tha most new species, genera, and families and that nearly all new categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences."

Raup, Conflicts between Darwinism and Paleontology-
"Paleontology is now looking at what it actually finds,...As is now well known most fossil species appear instantaneiously in the record, persist for some millions of years virtually unchanged, only to disappear abruptly-"

All but one or two were paleontoligists. The rest evolutionary biologists. Evolutionists all, with the possible exceptions of Patterson, who at the least went through a crisis of belief.

But I have authors here in my bookcaase that discuss problems with paleontology.

Do you! Who are they?
W. R. Bird, Jonathan Wells,  Richard Milton, Michael Denton (Behe?) Lee Spetner, Philip Johnson.

I believe I pointed out that Behe never made any claims beyond "seems improbable to me" that even could be refuted.
Well, if that is what you took away from his book I don't know what to say.

and what is your reaction to the very specific details that Mike Gene brings out in the assembly and function of the flagellum?+++++++++++++++
I believe you will find the answer to that if you go back over this thread.
Well, that effort was certainly a waste of time.
But just to summarize: my reaction is "Biological systems are, indeed, complex. Really complex. Really, really complex. But no amount of documenting how really, really, really  complex they are gets us any closer to 'couldn't have evolved'".
Really? No amount of complexity? Isn't that like saying no evidence could possibly convince you? That there is no limit to the complexity that random and undirected processes could generate?
Now, if there's anything that you feel "Mike Gene" wrote that actually argues "couldn't have evolved" - as opposed to "is really complex" - that I failed to address, please: point it out. I certainly don't want to pass up any opportunity to pursue these things right down to the specifics.
Well, pretty much what I posted, actually. It's a 5-part essay, and I went through and found what I thought were some of the most interesting parts. You know, on another question, maybe yours, I spent at least 20 hours going through the Flagellum Unspun and Spinning Fine papers, and critiqued it. But no one really got into the nitty gritty of what's there.

I assumed that you meant that "a lot of people" had concluded from an informed analysis of paleontological data that the basic idea of "evolution" was fundamentally inadequate - that the idea that species evolved from pre-existing species as a result of random genetic change and selection was incompatible with the bones and fossils.

Well, "a lot of people" turns out to be five. On a list you lost. And the only one of them you've supplied a name for is Stephen Jay Gould, whom you have only read as quote(mine)d by creationists. And his issues have nothing to do with those I assumed you were suggesting.
If the quotes are out of context, or misleading, then that's a problem. Simply searching the literature for those moments when evolutionsists have spoken about the problems does not constitute quote mining. I believe when I said a lot of people, at that point I was talking about all of them, from the paleontologists on down to ignorant folk like me.

If you are looking for paleontologists who have gone beyond being troubled and have abandoned belief in evolution, and have publicly said so, the list would probably be only 3 or 4 or 5.
I'm not sure what you think Gould's issues were, but I do believe he found that the fossil record does not support gradualism, and therefore he came up with punctuated equilibrium and isolation of small populations to allow him to accommodate the data.

Date: 2006/04/10 19:06:54, Link
Author: avocationist
You appear to have responded to some of my points in the gay gene thread:
Disconcerting, wasn't it?

You ask why emergent order of some kind changes the nature of the universe. I guess it all comes down to what we find. But the fine tuning that seems to be turning up just makes this universe a more and more fantastic place. It begins to take more credulity to suppose pure materialism than to suppose consciousness precedes matter, or perhaps that they operate together.
Fair enough, if this is true we should be able to detect it with more than arguments from ignorance.
From the IDEA site: intelligent design theory is not merely a negative argument against evolution. Intelligent design begins with positive predictions based upon our observational experience of how intelligent designers operates.
Do you have anyone other than Dembski in mind, I think his is the only information based argument I have read, and as applying it to biology relies on IC, it amounts to an argument from ignorance.
I believe the phrase CSI is his, but others have argued the same or similar points. He was not the first. At least, I don't think he was. I should dig up some. Let me think.

Here is Meyer:

"Experience teaches that information-rich systems … invariable result from intelligent causes, not naturalistic ones. Yet origin-of-life biology has artificially limited its explanatory search to the naturalistic nodes of causation … chance and necessity. Finding the best explanation, however, requires invoking causes that have the power to produce the effect in question. When it comes to information, we know of only one such cause.

"Indeed, in all cases where we know the causal origin of 'high information content,' experience has shown that intelligent design played a causal role."
Fair enough, if this is true we should be able to detect it with more than arguments from ignorance.
We should have infinite patience for the unknown and unsolved if it relates to NDE, but we should have no patience at all for anything that ID theory has failed to answer up front. Darwin's argument for natural selection was an argument from ignorance, because he was so utterly ignorant of what he was dealing with. So a kid could make up a fairy tale, and that is positive, but if someone says the fairy tale events could not be true, why, it is an argument from ignorance, and incredulity too. And it's negative.

Meyer on the argument from ignorance accusation:

   Well, Chris, (wasn't you was it?) all scientific theories are based on inferences from evidence. If we could see everything directly, we wouldn’t need to theorize. And Darwin’s theory is in fact an inference from a number of different classes of evidence. And Darwin justified the theory not because he could make observable predictions in the laboratory – after all he was trying to reconstruct the distant past – instead he justified it because it provided a better explanation of the evidenced than the main competitor hypothesis, and that’s precisely how the theory of intelligent design is formed, framed, and justified. We argue that our theory provides a better explanation of some of the critical pieces of evidence of biology, namely the irreducibly complex molecular machines and circuits that we seen in cells and the presence of this informational software that drives everything in the cell as it’s embedded in the DNA molecule.
   Well, what you’re getting at is that our argument is an argument from ignorance, but it’s not an argument from ignorance, it’s based on the evidence that has been discovered of the complexity in the cell, the information-bearing properties in particular, but it’s also based on what we know about it takes to build informational systems. That in our experience, our repeated and uniform experience, intelligence is always involved in the production of information. So when we find information in the living system, the most natural inference to draw is that there was an intelligent source. Now that form of reasoning happens to be precisely the form of reasoning that is always used in the historical sciences, where our present knowledge of the cause and effect structure of the world guides our judgment as to what is the most likely explanation of what happened in the past.

Does that happen? Im not to up on this, I was under the impression it was to do transposons. In any case Demski says this does not count as gsin of CSI.

I'll need to look into it more because someone else has said there's no evidence for it, and I have run into articles about it more than once, but I'll have to see if they were right. But that was my understanding. I'm not sure what you mean about doing transposons. Genetic shuffling during meiosis? It was not meant as an argument for CSI, just as something pretty impressive, hard to imagine it evolving via luck.

Try this:
Behe also said he requires a list of every single mutation and the time at which each one occured, I dont expect to see that any time soon.
Did he really? Because I was not aware of that, and it isn't what I recall reading.
Yes, it is known that mutations in regulation can produce quite different yet viable phenotpyes, which if selectable may appear as a jump in the fossil record.
What is a mutation in regulation?
Do you mean different transcription factors activate them in the developmental cycle?
I'm not sure. Wells gives the example of a gene called Distal-less that is involved in generating appendages in 5 phyla (mouse, worm, butterfly, sea urchin and spiny worm) but the structures are not homologous. He also says that gene transplant experiments show that developmental genes from mice and humans can replace their counterparts in flies.  So this indicates that genes do not control structure, but something else.
He quotes Gavin de Beer: "Because homology implies community of descent from...a common ancestor it might be thought that genetics would proovide the key to the problem of homology. This is where the worst shock of all is encountered...[because] characters controlled by identical genes are not necessarily homologous...[and] homologous structures need not be controlled by identical genes."

Says the Crevo guy: If homologies are continually found outside the expected evolutionary tree, then it can't be said that homologies provide evidence for evolution.

But first, let's take note of why evolutionists don't think that convergent evolution is a problem for them. They believe that there are perfectly valid explanations other than evolution for homology. The main one they point to is environmental selective pressures which select the same mutations across two lineages. There are a number of problems with this stance:

   * If evolutionists agree that there are other possibilities for the origin of homologies than common descent, then they should also agree with us that this makes the use of homologies as evidence of common descent null and void, since homology can be just as much evidence of other mechanisms.
   * The idea that the same set of beneficial mutations can occur randomly twice is astronomically low. First of all, the chances of getting one beneficial mutation is astronomically low. The chances of finding a sequence from point A to point B with all containing beneficial or at least non-lethal configurations is astronomically low. The chances of two different organisms finding the same configuration from the same random space is even more astronomically low.

As an example John Davison published a paper in the journal of theoretical biology, it goes over a lot of data and describes a potential mechanism. Im really not sure what ID has that it could publish at this point.
I think it is not quite the case that there have been no research proposals or papers, but it isn't a serious drawback for me. One thing is that they may come. Another is that ID is just another supposition like Darwinism, but in the real world, research will go on just the same. Same data, different spin.

Date: 2007/01/21 14:52:58, Link
Author: avocationist

I watched most of your linked documentary yesterday, until I had problems with the sound.

It certainly is depressing. I've been worried for some time that mandatory immunizations are coming, and I only found out last week that insurance companies can deny coverage if the person has not complied with some recommended treatment, or failed to ingest prescribed medications.

So now we no longer really have soverieign control over our own bodies, and are not permitted to make informed decisions are to what treatments we will accept.

I wonder about the tax avoision though. That movie stated many ex IRS agents stopped filing when they understood there is no law for it, but most such people lose their court cases rather than win. Also, doesn't do much good in the case of an employee whose employer withholds the tax.

Date: 2007/01/21 16:23:40, Link
Author: avocationist
As I lay in bed a couple nights ago, remembering the delightful thread that this once was, I had a sudden idea about who GoP was. I came back to see what had become of it, but I haven't made it through all the pages. Around page 20 I saw people call him Bill, but I don't know why. Now, what with this new persona change, I am not too sure of my guess. Definite style change.

I'd rather get back to more interesting things. I picked this out:

According to both Hawing and Greene we are in a weird situation. They both want the laws to be "plausible" and both see a difficulty.

This is not just a creationist view. Aparently most cosmologists/astrophysicists see a problem.

The vast majority are looking for naturalistic causes. This is the only reason that string theory is taken seriously BTW.

Now, I'm fond of string theory, but I can't discern why string theory saves the materialists from fine-tuning.

On page 27, someone linked to some arguments between Berlinski and others re the 2nd law on TO. I was surprised to see two of his opponents put forth the idea that the second law may not actually have anything to do with life.

How doubly odd. First, that is saying that life exists outside of one of the foundational laws of physics. Second, it seems to me that the second law is part of a necessary duo, the other of which I could call the Organizing Principle. If we had nothing but the second law, nothing could exist. All we would have is uniformity over the face of the deep. Sure, all kinds of things happen in open systems, and most systems are open. Maybe the universe is open. But we certainly do see the second law at work all the time, and although Berlinski described it in poetically negative terms, it is a blessing in disguise. For without dissolution we could not have the other side - the impetus to become, the raw materials for which arise out of the cycle of dissolution and renewal; but more than that, if there were no force for dissolution then all things would be fixed, a #### if I ever heard of one.

Date: 2007/01/21 16:26:40, Link
Author: avocationist

I saw the F word here a lot, but I can't use a valid theoligical term that starts with 'h'?

Date: 2007/01/21 16:59:06, Link
Author: avocationist
Well, I plan to lurk at UD for the great new information they dig up, but I have lost my respect for that blog.

First, I got placed on moderation for getting irate with Dave over his treatment of some new person. Using a term more mild than viscious for the way he was spoken to is hard to justify.

I figure I was on moderation because that post quickly disappeared and after that my posts disappeared into cyberspace for a few hours before reappearing.

It gave me a surreal feeling to see my open complaint disappear. Made me wonder how many other such things disappear, and made me wonder what the true flow of things would look like uncensored. Made me wonder how much censoring goes on.

Then, from a post by Dembski about an ongoing book-essay by a friend that was linked, I pulled out this and praised it:

In the great commission, and in many other places in the New Testament, we are told to joyfully share the ”good news” with others. Is this the good news, that after all the trials they go through in this life, most of the world is headed–without knowing it–for an even worse place,
unless they accept a Savior they have heard little or nothing about? No, I believe the good news shared by the early apostles is not that the world can be saved from a punishment they didn’t know awaited them, but that they can be saved from a separation from God that they are well aware of, and that to be reconciled to God they don’t have to follow His will perfectly, only to accept His forgiveness. Though the very word ”gospel” means ”good news”, the gospel many churches are trying to spread today is certainly not good news, and Christianity will never set the world on fire again until we start preaching good news gain.

I said I hoped this sort of theology would be on the increase, and that I had tried to express this sort of thing myself.

That post never appeared. I find the moderation there extremely erratic and unpredictable, not to say subjective and biased.

I do understand that they don't want the board overrun by attackers, who are after all in greater numbers than the ID crowd, and I do understand that they get tired of the same ole lack of understanding of what ID is and isn't. On the other hand, shouldn't it be their mission to educate? Shouldn't they display more than a two-year-old's capacity for patience?

Turning into a glee club makes them look foolish.

From my point of view, the general run of persons on both these boards are blinded by ideology and use emotion to interpret facts, but what I like about this place is, I expect that detraction to stand.

Date: 2007/01/21 17:04:43, Link
Author: avocationist
Why? I pulled that stuff right off this thread.

Date: 2007/01/21 18:35:59, Link
Author: avocationist
In the Discovery Institute's Wedge Document, listed as one of its "Five Year Objectives", is:

Show it to me, or link it. I've been on the DI site several times but I don't know where it is. I thought Phillip Johnson was its author? I did see a well-done disclaimer about the wedge document by the DI. I don't recall the bit you mention. I could see Johnson writing that, perhaps. I didn't think that even he believed in a 6-day creation, and I have read one of his books but I can't remember.

I think they'd like Christian churches to defend the idea that God was behind the creation in some way, and that random processes unguided by God aren't compatible with their faith or with logic. So far, only Dawkins seems to get that.


Did I miss it?

Yeah, it's called being blind, or selective comprehension, or something.

No, the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt and _Dover v Kitzmiller_ made them look foolish.

No, that made the Dover school board and judge Jones look foolish.


UD makes them look like fundamentalist religious extremist ayatollah-wanna-be's who can't tolerate any dissent whatsoever to their god-given (literally) religious opinions.

Yeah, gotta keep those beliefs in the (mental) distance, don't turn the eye of scrutiny too close.

Date: 2007/01/21 21:18:06, Link
Author: avocationist


Yes, but a warning, if you act like a total abrasive shithead for one or two years and threaten to hack the site, we might punish you by sending all your posts to the bathroom wall.

So on that note, I'm curious as to why Dave Scot got banned from here?

* Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation & repudiate(s)

That isn't even a complete sentence.
Who is supposed to have written the Wedge, and for whom?

I really can't know that the author meant by traditional doctrines of creation. That God created the world I think all Christians should believe. But that it might have been a long and natural process they can also believe. But not naturalistic in the sense often meant here, as in no intentional input. My guess is that they want the churches to stop wimping out and assess the situation a little better. It appears that a lot of nonfundie churches go along with Darwinist teachings without looking too hard. In school, kids are taught that there is no purpose to evolution. That really isn't compatible with theism. Even Miller believes the universe was designed by God, he just thinks that complex system could evolve by unguided processes. So in that sense, there is a divide between his understanding of evolution, and Dawkins'.

Quote (avocationist @ Jan. 21 2007,18:35)
I think they'd like Christian churches to defend the idea that God was behind the creation in some way, and that random processes unguided by God aren't compatible with their faith or with logic. So far, only Dawkins seems to get that.

I see.  So (1) ID is fundamentalist Christian religious apologetics, (2) IDers are just lying to us when they claim it's not, and (3) Judge Jones was entirely correct when he ruled that it *is*, and is therefore illegal to teach in science class.

You know, Lenny, I understand that this thread is generally lighthearted and dedicated for the abuse of of UD, so it's true that this ought to be moved, but you are proving yourself to be a bear of very little brain, and one dedicated to gratuitous belligerance as well.  
Obviously, to you, any religious person is a fundamentalist. Whereas, I fear fundamentalists, and I got news for you - you are one.


Yeah, gotta keep those beliefs in the (mental) distance, don't turn the eye of scrutiny too close.

I believe you mistook my meaning. So I'll clear it up. I meant that I agreed there is a strong streak of fundamentalism at UD, but I also see it here.

What is it about the referee’s final whistle you don't get?

I have to agree with decisions by all authorities? What a good little citizen of the coming police state you will be! Why, you'll even spy on your neighbors and everything.


IF YOU WERE RIGHT the decision would be over-ruled by a higher court in an instant.

They aren't even taking it to a higher court. Not that they could ever err...
avocationist: feel free to set set forward your evidence FOR ID. I'm sure you'll find plenty of people to correct your misconceptions and misinformation.

Been there, done that.

Back to Lenny,


What, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than, say, weather forecasting or accident investigation or medicine.  Please be as specific as possible.

In my opinion, nothing. In my opinion, God is everything, so there is no process or for that matter, material, separate from God. But generally, people have the idea that matter is something separate from God. So God set up a system, and it's running along on its own, or mostly on its own. Like you might wind up a top and let it go on the floor. But the evolution of life just doesn't look like something that could happen on its own. On the other hand, getting to the point where you have matter, a universe, organization into galaxies and planets, and various laws of nature such that there is a planet with weather, also does not look too probable. Your question is about like asking whether a mouse can scratch his ear without the assist of God.

When you get sick, do you ask your doctor to abandon his “materialistic biases” and to investigate possible “supernatural” or “non-materialistic” causes for your disease?
I mean, your questions are just absolutely trite. Why bother to eat? Why not just pray for sustenance? And of course there are emotional/spiritual components to disease causation.

Why aren’t you and your fellow Wedge-ites out there fighting the good fight against godless materialistic naturalistic weather forecasting, or medicine, or accident investigation?

Aren't you ashamed to provide this level of discourse?

You've made a lot of ass-umptions. I'm barely tolerated at UD. Is your position really so weak that you have to paint everyone with the same brush? Some ID people are fundies, some are religious but nonfundies, and some are not categorizable.

Your refutation of the Wedge document disclaimer was filled with fear and paranoia. Some of the things they said and do say  I agree with. There is no humanity without a metaphysical worldview. Right now, the atheists have got the floor. I agree with the DI that the purposeless worldview being taught is depressing and disheartening to humanity. I also don't think it's true. I don't know whether it might backfire if the Christians got their way, but I don't see why it should. Our country was freer in the last century than it is now and Christianity was not particularly oppressive. What I see coming, a totalitarian regime, will be by the corporate elite, not the fundies, although they will use the fundies.
There are a lot of fundie elements in our society, and they absolutely should be kept in check. There are Christians who want to implement Old Testament Biblical law. But I really, really don't see that as happening.
When I see all the fear and loathing in your arguments, it makes me skeptical that you can evaluate for truth. Fear is a decreaser of consciousness and reason.

Date: 2007/01/21 21:26:11, Link
Author: avocationist
Having previously dealt with Avocationist and her evasive tactics and lies, I don't want this thread to get bogged down with that carp.
You know, GCT, you've chosen just the right avatar.


I've read quite a few books and been to quite a few lectures and seminars on evolution, surprisingly the phrase 'unguided by God' hasn't come up. I think you might be confusing science with atheism
Alright, I worded it sloppily. The common phrase and what young people are taught, is random, unguided, purposeless. I think you knew that, right?

Date: 2007/01/22 11:40:06, Link
Author: avocationist
All I've got to say is that if this is the kind of mind you people bring to the evolution question, then there is really nothing more to say. Very hard to believe this level of shallow thought. In other words, you examine nothing, question nothing, do no independent thinking at all. Wow.

Date: 2007/01/22 12:05:46, Link
Author: avocationist
Hello Paley,

Interesting idea, but keep in mind that in closed systems (i.e. sealed naturalistic universes that obey our laws), dissolution will triumph in the end!

Maybe it isn't a closed system?
Maybe it is or isn't, but at any rate, I recently read that the ancient Hindus considered one lifetime of Brahma, in which the universe manifests and unmanifests, as 311 trillion years! So either way, I think that we might consider that while the tendency toward increased entropy is very easy to observe, so is the organizing principle, but we haven't given much thought to it. Where does its will and energy come from?


By the way, what are your beliefs about religion, God, and science? Do you think that everything is reducible to naturalistic mechanisms, or is there an explanatory need for God? Just curious.

I am a monist, taoist, panentheistic sufi. Science and God and nature are nondifferent.
Just when I think I've got ahold of a true idea, I later realize that we just have no way of knowing much of anything. Or maybe we do, but when we think we know, we often don't, and there isn't much of a way to tell that we're in an ignorant state of false ideas. If we're lucky, we figure it out after the fact.

Truly the human conundrum is perplexing. Religion, and most other beliefs, are the pacifier and blankie that keeps people from facing facts: we have no facts.

Yes, I think there is an obvious need for God as an explanation for existence. There is no other explanation, although what the nature of this God might be is up for conjecture.
I'm a follower of Intelligent Design; I am sure that will win and soon, yet I just can't imagine God as I envision her being the designer of life forms. I think that was delegated. To a guy. Maybe a committee, like the Elohim!

Date: 2007/01/22 13:01:22, Link
Author: avocationist
Hi Chris,

If this is true, we still cannot say scientifically that intelligence is needed to make the flowers grow...My point was that just because the major evolutionary processes appear unguided to scientific investigations does not mean that God wasn't involved. Im no theologian but I can think of many ways God could act without us being able to detect it scientifically.
Yeah, and you're right, but you might be ignoring the very real and persistent tendency to state, for example, that divine intervention isn't needed because the theory accounts for everything. Now, this may not be technically true, and it might be an overstepping of bounds, but it has been done more than some of the time. I think that only just recently, as they are being called on it, they are removing the starker statements from the textbooks.

Also, I think that the time is probably close at hand when science will either hit a wall, or open itself to the possibility of what the new agers call 'subtle energies.' I am not actually convinced that there is such a thing as the nonmaterial. What there is, is energies and particles that we cannot measure or access but I think that we can discover them either indirectly, or improve our instruments and access more than currently. This will open up our understanding greatly about how the universe really works and solve problems like ESP. Traditionally, when people get an intuition about these less perceivable realms, they assign them to the 'supernatural' but it isn't supernatural. No more supernatural than an ultraviolet ray.  

Lenny, I will not entertain your silly nonquestions. They are based on unfounded assumption and reading comprehension deficits.


I tried that, and it ended up eating all my free time, while I argued against 8 or 9, and got called a liar and evasionist by GCT who it seemed to me often twisted my words and referred back to things I had said pages earlier. I was told to do my homework but I was the only one who did so. I tried to go through some essays about the flagellum, but no one but me would read the texts. I was told to read Mayr's book, so I bought it and tried to read it. It was simplistic and utterly boring, since the pabulum it spoke of I had long since seen refuted in great detail. What I come away with is that people quite often (not always) read things with a jaundiced eye. We see a debate between Miller and Dembski. In my eyes, Dembski wins; in your eyes, Miller wins.

So why do I think the ID folk are more accurate in this case? Because they have a different blind spot. The blind spot for the people here involves how evolution theory supports their worldview (perhaps their career), and they do not want to scrutinize it honestly. The people at a site like UD, have a blind spot that is about their religion. They have no more willingness to look at that than you guys do here to look at yours. Since the question of origins is not on the exact bullseye of their blind spot, they can evaluate it fairly honestly. Behe is a prime example. He already had a career in molecular biology, and he was already comfortable with his religion, so when he read Denton's book he could decide either way without it hurting him where he lives.

If you were interested to know the arguments for ID, why should I spend a godawful amount of time trying to do a half-decent job of dredging it up when you could read the authors of it yourself, and get a far better picture. One book I like is Shattering the Myths of Darwinism, it is written by a secular person who is not in with any group.

I have pretty much the same thing to say about Judge Jones. Plenty has been written about this. I didn't follow the trial as much as I could have, but I definitely think he ignored and had no intention of listening to the evidence except from one side. Yes, that does make a person look foolish, or perhaps that is too kind a word.

I am interested in seeing why Dave Scot gets himself banned from various sites. Why here, and what's the PT story? Does he behave in a manner he would not tolerate on his own site?

Date: 2007/01/22 13:06:43, Link
Author: avocationist

Look, I don't really like having my own thread. It takes up too much time and obligates me to answer everything. I legitimately took my points right off of this thread, a few pages back. If I answer on any thread, am I going to be told to move it to my thread? Only one person said to move it, and then I pointed out that this is actually on topic.

The other thread was moved because it got into discussions that were disruptive to the general humorous tone of UD bashing.

Why is Paley's racism more on topic than the debate over the 2nd law as it relates to evolution?

Date: 2007/01/22 16:04:07, Link
Author: avocationist
So what you're saying, Louis, is that I may not post on this forum. So you guys don't allow discussion but are a glee club too?
This is PALEY"S thread, not mine. Why can't I post here? What have I done? Interrupted your hundreds of rants on how bad a guy Paley is?

Date: 2007/01/22 20:58:08, Link
Author: avocationist
Louis, thank you for your respectful and (almost) reasonable reply. I really don't want to muck up all the threads, and I don't intend to. I pretty much post on topic. It doesn't work if I want to post on a thread, to every time move it to my thread.

I didn't really come here to start a one-woman defense of ID; I don't have the time and I am not qualified.

I don't want to move this particular discussion to my thread. I wrote and Paley responded, and he should be able to. Furthermore, my topic of 2nd law was not really particularly antievolution.  Paley seems to like Berlinski, and I read two of the three linked items on page 27. This is a nice old thread that I have been following for some time.

And this hashas been a thread which has contained arguments of my type, and which has been a containment forum for Paley himself.

If you find I am mucking up too many threads, yell at me and I'll listen.

And Lenny, I talked about it because he asked me a direct question.

Date: 2007/01/22 21:45:18, Link
Author: avocationist


1) How are you comparing the physically measured values of energy (as defined within Thermodynamics as you insinuate in your post) with the non-physical measures of will.  Or are you trying to indicate that the universe (and thus everything in it) has purpose.

1.About the physically measured values. I'm not really educated scientifically or mathematically. Just a layperson here. Just to let you know. Yeah, I didn't mean to directly compare those values with will. I meant that the thought struck me yesterday while reading through the linked emails between Berlinski and Wadkins and in conjunction with my esoteric ideas, that the tendency toward dissolution ought to have a counterbalancing (equal? nonequal?) force which allows things to organize. Even though will seems to be involved, it must also have physical values. Notice I said will and energy.

As to whether the universe has purpose, I tend to sort of think so, but we might be out of our ken. I think existence (life) and evolution are purpose enough. Existence IS the purpose. Nothing can trump that.

2)  Some examples of false ideas would be helpful.  Are you arguing against some factual claims?  Or maybe evidentiary based explanations for the world around us?  Or is this a declaration of the limitations of thought and words as applied to certain theistic ideas?

There are many examples. I am arguing that many so-called factual claims are not. There have been many intelligent and educated people who defended wrong ideas about astronomy, the phlogiston, and so forth. And while we do slowly improve, there are emotional impediments in the way which prevent us from moving a good deal faster. The mocking and mob mentality that go on here are a great example of it. Or, try picking on a Christian sometime. They cannot bear up under the scrutiny. It is scrutiny that ruins belief systems. Today people made fun of a comment I made about forced immunizations. They brought up fluoridation, which I am against. Very mocking. No knowledge. No need fto understand why someone has a different point of view because they already know better without examination. Doesn't matter where I see it. The Baptist who thinks all Catholics are going to #### or whatever. Now, I might be wrong on these two, but I'll tell you I have an amazing batting average. Things I was made fun of over 20 years ago, health-wise, people are now asking for my advice. Because I turned out to be right. Margarine is not a health food. But the cardiologist I worked for insisted to me that it was, but guess who I see shopping at the health food store now? I am very suspicious of knee-jerk respect for whatever the current establishment says is right. In my ten years as a nurse, I have seen them pull a dozen drugs off the market because they are dangerous or lethal. They don't always know what they are doing.

But mostly I'm talking about the way people want so very badly to know what's going on, and we don't and we can't.
Existentially, historically, metaphysically. Look at the belief systems held by Islam and Christianity, how they mirror each other and how each side is sure they are right and the arguments they can each line up to bolster their structure.

And by the way, just to irritate you all a little, I think men have a bigger problem with this than women. And I have an evo-psych explanation! Women are more comfortable admitting that they don't know what is happening because it isn't directly tied to their self-image. Women have been more dependent upon men, because they are weaker and because they have the babies. So if the wagon train spots hostile Indians, or a possible tornado headed their way, or a decision which way to go, the women are going to look to the men for direction and protection. If the men, on the other hand, are clueless, well then that's just not good. No wonder they don't like to ask for directions! Knowing what is happening, what direction is what, is directly tied a man's masculinity and sense of resonsibility. Unfortunately, it bleeds over into other areas, such as metaphysics. Where having firm beliefs is an impediment to progress. So yeah, it applies to theistic ideas where thoughts and words, while needed, are also only going to take you just so far.

"Truth is a pathless land."  Krishnamurti

Date: 2007/01/22 21:50:50, Link
Author: avocationist
Is it true that Wesley is a Christian?

Date: 2007/01/22 23:44:29, Link
Author: avocationist

Avocationist, regardless of whether or not Milton claims to be a creationist, he is using creationist sources when he researches his book.  And please, try to prove me wrong on this point.  Check the references he cites and tell me how many of them are either creationists, DI fellows, or well-known quotemines of actual scientists.
His book was written in 1992. DI didn't exist. I see nothing wrong with quotemining so long as it is in context, and so long as the author is not misrepresented. I looked through his bibliography at the end and it is quite extensive, including many different sorts of people. If ID is true, then many of the creationist arguments will also be true and overlap, although many won't. This is a strange argument you use - that creationists are some sort of bad people (witches anyone?) and can not only be dismissed as a group, but any honorable mention is tainting.
Personally I curious as to why when one troll disappears we get another right on its heels. I really am suspicious!
It's called serendipity!


Maybe you need to ask a knowledgeable person who runs the board to track some IPs
I have been the same persona here before and at UD for quite a long time. I inherited my husband's old computer a few months ago, though. You guys are so full of it. Who else writes with my ideas and style?

Waddya say, Avocation?  Wanna help me find my Spiritual Harmonic Convergence?
I told my husband that I find monogamy to be a mindless instinct controlling us via our selfish genes, but he said he is just not into sharing.

I'd be glad to discuss Milton's claims about the "myths" of radiometric dating, uniformitarianism and natural selection, if you're up to that, Avocationist. I assume you have his book. I won't mind dismantling it, but I have a sneaking suspicion you may not actually know much about these topics. I'll be visiting the bookstore tonight to read through Milton's work, so you won't be able to say that I really NEED to read it before criticizing the ideas it contains.
Deadman, I think that is just great that you plan to go to so much trouble. But I don't see how standing and reading through it in a bookstore would help us go through the text. I think we should both have a text available. It doesn't need to be that book. And no, I am certainly not qualified to discuss the various dating methods. Why would you pick that one? I have always read thru that stuff and just kept it in mind without taking it too strongly. I definitely think we don't know for sure if our dating methods are accurate, and I certainly have read some good criticisms, for example, of getting wildly different readings on the same sample with several methods.

Yo Phonon, loved your documentary-
Me:Yeah, and you're right, but you might be ignoring the very real and persistent tendency to state, for example, that divine intervention isn't needed because the theory accounts for everything.

You: Don't you see what argument you are making here? All you are saying is that if the theory doesn't explain it, then divine intervention is a plausible alternative. That's not really testable, is it? I've never seen a good way to scientifically rule-in divine intervention.  
No, I said nothing of the sort. I said that kids have been taught that there is no need to have a God to explain things anymore, because science has got it covered. That is uncalled-for, it is a metaphysical statement, and it is a positive statement.

Uh, really?  
When I say nonmaterial, I am not referring to nonmaterial things such as a concept. I mean I doubt the so-called spiritual realm is nonmaterial. But I do suspect that we have not been able to explore the whole enchilada, and that we are confined within a narrow band, much like our ability to percieve within the electromagnetic spectrum. On the other hand, I am not quite sure where consciousness fits into materiality.

Are you really really serious when you say that ID people, particularly the people at UD, do whatever it is they do HONESTLY?
Well, I do tend to be a little naive and give people the benefit of the doubt...Yes, what I said was that the ID people are in a better position to evaluate the claims of ID because they have less to lose. It's just pure probability! Of course, a lot of ID folk have not evaluated it much because it's just easier for them to accept it as it fits with their views. I think the Dover school board used it without even caring what it was about.

Behe isn't at UD. But it definitely was Behe's "honesty" that helped in ID's defeat at Dover.
I didnt say he had to be. I was simply showing that he was free to evaluate the ID book he read - Denton's - because he could go either way without much loss. What do you think Behe said that was dishonest? I read most of his testimony.

You are a lying sack.
We can leave it at that. Of the six remarks you made, 4 showed misinterpretations of what I said. So it would just be a go-round to little purpose.

Date: 2007/01/23 00:53:17, Link
Author: avocationist

Fair enough... for philisophical musings.  But I think your idea to identify the SLoT (or in this case entropy) as some "disorganizing force" confuses the discussion tremendously.  When you invoke the SLoT argument you can't ignore the other laws around it.
I simply can't keep from musing philosophically. It ties everything together for me. Perhaps you should explain about those other laws around it, in what way am I ignoring them. I do think of entropy as a disorganizing force, basically things break down into their simpler and simpler components. Is that wrong?
When does entropy give you your money back? When is it ever reversible? Sure it is a cost of doing business. I'm not knocking entropy. Ya gotta have the creator, the maintainer, and the destroyer (Hinduism).
Would you agree that the SLoT usage is confusing?  Or do you have some more detail to this?
Um, no, I don't see why.
Are you defending non-factual belief systems that cannot withstand factual scrutiny?  Is this a bad thing?   Please elaborate.
Sorry, I meant that the destruction of belief systems is a good thing. If you notice when people give up a belief system, it is usually because they were willing to scrutinize it in a new and deeper way. Of course, most often they jump into a new one, and pull up the covers. So brief is the flight toward truth...

Quote please.  Permalink.  I can't find it.  This is one more reason to open/discuss in a seperate thread.
Oh, it was on the Hovind thread. I watched the documentary that Phonon linked. It was a bit paranoid. Anyway, I am leery of vaccination, think they are overdoing it, that some are more useful than others, and that they shouldn't be forced. It isn't a simple topic and that was my point.


I see lots of "They" and "establishment" talk.  Could this be a case of a single person (your cardiologist) being mistaken?  And your committing a falacy here by relating (his?) actions to some over-arching "establishment They"
Of course it was not my cardiologist alone! This is mainstream stuff, several decades of error (but the truth was available in a wee small voice) supported by all sorts of establishment (and often financially biased) research, and that is just what he said to me.

However my point is that with this type of statement without at least one reference the impression I get is someone (you) making conclusions (margarine bad) without enough factual information (WHAT makes margarine bad).  
Why oh why do you get that impression? I was taught 12 years ago in nursing school that margarine might be carcinogenic and promote heart disease. Now what do you think of all this recent hoopla about "Recommended daily amount of hydrogenated fats is zero?"  This is a huge admission of error. It means that finally, at long last, the truth couldn't be denied anymore, that margarine and other hydrogenated and trans fats are killing people.

And what have you replaced margarine with at the "health" food store?  
I didn't replace it because I never used it. I eat butter, but now I also use coconut oil.
Are you talking theistic, natural world, measureable phenomenae?
Mostly, I'm talking about the nature of reality. I'm quite intrigued by other theories than the Big Bang for instance. I doubt the BB will hold up this century, but we'll see. No ax to grind here, but we'll see. It is so easy for people to think they've got it right, and then from false foundations they build high rises. Errors get compounded.

That was my inner zen buddhist speaking. I just think that people are in a daze, convinced that everything is quite solid around them, when really they haven't a clue. I think of my situation, anyone's situation, as being like a lone speck in an endless, seamless, black nothingness. No landmark, no direction, no compass.

I agree.  But which system is right?  Or can we use factual based analysis to find some things out about the belief systems?  Or will this ruin the systems?
Neither system is right. Factual analysis and logical scrutiny, can help dissolve them. I see this stuff because of my inner work from Buddhist-enlightenment ideas. When I read about this and went to work on it, on my own deconstruction, I see it more and more. And what I like about Buddhism, is that they promote dismantling and jettisoning more than endless addition. So on the path toward wisdom, this is crucial - to let go of nonsense and stop adding to it.

Date: 2007/01/23 12:31:28, Link
Author: avocationist
The level of hostility and uncalled-for insults is absolutely shocking. what person who has dropped by at UD has ever been descended upon by a riverful of pirhanas each biting and tearing apart a person they haven't even learned anything about. when you come to UD, do they expect you to lay out the TOE in a nutshell? The most any one person can do is post to a topic and take exception to the small area is discusses. And I mostly see ID challenges go unanswered. All I did was drop by to say hello. there is no way I can cope, timewise, with this level of challenge.
I could perhaps go into a long diatribe with supported psychological evidence as to why people adopt a persona in order to communicate in chat, not necessarily being able to reconcile succinctly their chat persona to their "actual" persona

It is surely a waste of time to even try to reason with people like this bunch here.

I am disgusted. What a lot of pent up rage.

Serendipity, is that your real name?  Well, what do you know. Avocationist is not my real name either. What the he11 did you think I meant by persona? I don't treat people any differently online than I do anywhere else.

Date: 2007/01/23 15:22:02, Link
Author: avocationist

Yours was probably the most thoughtful and constructive post, therefore, I'll have to put it off to deal with the mayhem, which never seems to stop.


No I can't cite an example of a textbook. I'm not going to that level of research for every comment I make and I don't have any on hand. I have read enough on this topic and talked to college kids about it. Specifically, a phrase to that effect was removed from a Miller textbook. That is, the word unguided was removed, I think.

Hello Louis,

Yes, you lead the pack. No I am not thin-skinned and I rarely get annoyed in real life or on line. You have called me a liar, you have called me loathsome, and a subverter of science. I happen to have a tremendous amount of love for science, and respect.

I am a monist, taoist, panentheistic sufi. Science and God and nature are nondifferent.

People who subvert science are those who try to stop debate and open inquiry. Understand?


I brought up Milton's book because he is not associated with DI. It was you who brought up the quality of his references. To the best of my knowledge, he is a secular source, although he has become rather new age, which doesn't bother me either. But he isn't in any Christian cartel.

Back to Louis,

You just can't lump anyone who disagrees with neoDarwinism into a group whose ideas are no good. Life just isn't that simple. Science would NEVER progress if you and yours got your way!!!


Yes, I am interested to know what DS did here. I did read the PT thread, and agree that he should be banned for life for threatening to hack the site, and that his behavior (wording in his post) was hypocritical.

Occam and Stephen, your post on back burner along with Cedric


I'm going thru the list you linked, and some display bad behavior, but some are not that unreasonable. There is some sense in comparing this situation to other political situations that have occurred. There WAS a time when Darwin's new theory was utilized by certain groups to promote eugenics. The theory DOES lend itself to that. It's a sensitive spot and an historical mistake for which modern theorists should not be fried, it's just a part of history. And, equally, religions have used scripture to excuse their bad acts, so it is not unique to NDE.

I'm angry with Jonathan Wells because I bought his book a few years ago (before I ever heard the term ID) and he promised in his book cover that he was completely secular, and had accepted evolution at least in high school and I think early college. However, it turns out he was a man on a mission from the beginning. It is true that I like his book and that he kept religion out of it, but I don't appreciate being lied to. I did say that once on UD, and got no comment. At least I didn't get banned!

But some of the comparisons there are not quite what you make out. Johnson (he's a fundie, his kind worry me) did not really compare Gould to Gorbachev, but rather he compared their two situations, which is not the same thing.

Ditto Dembski comparison of Darwinisn and Soviet regime. There IS a hegemony, and it would be a loss/disruption to change it.


People are often attacked by Dave Scot for making unfounded assumptions. I don't approve of his style. But it is one assumption, one comment in one thread. When one of you go over there, you don't suddenly find yourself with your own thread and half the board throwing insults and challenges that are almost impossible to meet, sneering and mocking all the while, telling you to go back to your black sabbath and so forth.

I didn't say Milton's book was essential, I just named it as one of several. Personally, I like Denton's maybe best.

Me, under two different names. Zachriel under...I think three different names, and he is invariably polite. I'm sure others here could list the times they've been banned after attacks...or even better yet, banned without even having their comments appear, so as to give the false impression that UD condones dissent. An even more amusing little trick is to NOT directly ban names and posts, but to have the posts themselves never appear, or claim they were "lost" in the moderation queue.

Although I find some boards too tolerant of nut cases that can't be reasoned with or who are broken records, generally I despise censorship, and that very thing is why I posted at the uncommonly dense thread. My post got lost in cyberspace, and I couldn't even imagine why, but I was on moderation for criticizing DS for the very treatment you speak of. I understand it is a fast moving blog and they might need tighter control on mayhem than here, but I think the moderation style makes them appear weak.
Yes, I saw Febble post there, but I didn't witness the part that led up to her banning. I have read your link. Obviously she is very intelligent, but I did not agree with her on a couple of points. Frankly, her remarks really deserved an in-depth response.
Here is one thing she said: You guess at random, but when you get a correct answer for one slot, you get to keep it. You replicate what works, in other words. You don’t start from scratch each time.

That is a point of contention. How to keep answers which have no way of being correct until future answers arrive, such as with IC systems.
Also, I am pretty sure that she is twisting Dembski's words to give intelligence a meaning everyone knows he does not intend.

I second this. My pent up rage toward xians is in a pretty small pen and doesn't need much tending but I am mildly offended by a group making claims about god, heaven, morality and the like as if they know for sure.
Really? I wonder who said this:

Just when I think I've got ahold of a true idea, I later realize that we just have no way of knowing much of anything. Or maybe we do, but when we think we know, we often don't, and there isn't much of a way to tell that we're in an ignorant state of false ideas. If we're lucky, we figure it out after the fact.
Yes, I think there is an obvious need for God as an explanation for existence. There is no other explanation, although what the nature of this God might be is up for conjecture.
As to whether the universe has purpose, I tend to sort of think so, but we might be out of our ken.


So we can assume this means that you're incapable of supporting the pro-ID, anti-evolution assertions you make, right?
I am sure that if guys like Dembski and Behe and many, many others who are far more capable than I cannot do so, in fact have not brought out one good argument for ID, then I also cannot. But, more to the point that you responded to, as a group most of the people here are showing themselves unreasonable and irrational, and unreasonable people can't be reasoned with.

Last but not least, here is an example of just one uncalled for remark that shows relentless negativity and prejudice aforehand:
I also noticed it went unrefuted (as should be).
Has it occurred to anyone here that I've spent hours on this, and that I have not yet even gotten to the real questions, and furthermore, why in the world would I refute his discussion about the meaning of thermodynamics? There was not anything to refute.

Date: 2007/01/23 20:02:15, Link
Author: avocationist
Cedric said
Its just that I am curious what thought processes run through a person's head when they get into the whole ID thing.  
Well, I don't know about the word twisting but the referencing of your own words doesn't seem unreasonable.

Occam said
Just once, any IDer, anywhere, ever, please tell us what the theory is supposed to be.  

What is your model, how can it be tested, and what does it predict?

In your response, please feel free to omit references to the alleged inadequacies of any other theory.

Also please keep in mind that part of the bargain is that you need to be prepared to update or discard your theory should it be falsified.  If you cannot commit to this, please leave science alone and go back to church.

Stephen quotes Darwin-
"It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

1. I think GCT may have a personality disorder. Of course bringing up previous words is fine, but it was an endless morass. It gets hard to keep up the sense of the back and forth remarks when the conversation takes place with 9 people simultaneously, and everything gets misinterpreted again and again. And always petty stuff.

2. The theory of ID states that certain features of biological organisms and of the universe are best explained as being the result of intelligent design.

3. My model? Why would I have my own model? My own prediction, is that as we learn more about evo-devo and epigenetic factors, we will learn exactly why a species cannot go beyond certain bounds. People constantly say ID needs to do its own research and blah blah, but the results of the world's research are public domain, and I certainly note the frequency with which UD finds new little aspects of some article that seem promising toward an ID perspective. The main difference between ID and NDE isn't the research, but how the research is interpreted. However, it is no doubt true that from an ID perspective junk DNA would not have been as easily dismissed, and I remember thinking years ago when I heard about it, "that can't be right." If more researchers had an ID mindset, it would from time to time cause them to interpret or react differently.

4. I certainly refuse to agree to omit any references to the inadequacies of nde. That just won't fly. If a theory is inadequate, then it's inadequate. Whether or not you happen to have a well-thought out alternative is just irrelevant. When you notice a problem in your theorems, you go to work trying to fix it. Nor will I apologize for my incredulity.

5. Yes, I update and discard ideas all the time and plan to continue. It wouldn't bother me in the least if random processes were capable of generating life forms. I just don't think they are.  Now, how much would it bother you to discard NDE? Honestly now.

The bolded part of Darwin's paragraph are quite Lamarkian! But that's not to criticize. Lamarkian ideas seem quite intuitive to me, and after all he was working with what he had.

Now, I have read probably 8 or 10 books and found their arguments persuasive. You people should be well aware of them. Not to mention articles on the net. I have especially enjoyed the refutations and answers by the authors of works, since I get to see their works attacked and defended. It doesn't matter much, though, because as someone here said, they didn't find Darwin's Black Box impressive, and I did. I think Demski won the flagellum debate hands down. I think Berlinski won the fish eyes papers debate as well. I just don't find the NDE arguments persuasive. I find them shallow. I read Mike Gene's 5-part essay on the flagellum, including its assembly, and I plead incredulity. No way that could arise by random processes. The arguments against RM+NS are just too good.

Also, I am quite sure that evolution proceeds by a saltational route.

Someone mentioned dating methods. Isn't that mostly for YECers? I think the human race is far, far older than 100,000 years. I have no idea how old. I don't know how old the universe is, or whether some sort of memory pattern from prior universes could be impressed upon it. I don't see how, but I'd like to think so. Now that would be evolution!

I deeply believe and hope in evolution. I like to think of the universe as on a trajectory of becoming, with many planets full of life forms. What I take issue with, the rock bottom that I am certain of, is that NDE is on an absurdly wrong path, in supposing that the mechanism of evo is mutations of the genome. Mutations of the genome is not a positive. Nor is it adequate. Yeah, yeah, I know about transpositions and duplications and deletions and cooption.

I don't know how life evolved, nor does anyone. It stumps me. It may not even have evolved here on our planet, which means we wouldn't even have accurate clues. But let's not think about that.

I consider the mind of God responsible for it ultimately, but not necessarily in a personal God kind of way. Maybe DNA itself is an immortal or semi-immortal life-spirit that works from within. Think about it. From the first DNA to now, no such thing as death. It just goes on and on. Maybe there are platonic patterns that forms get kind of 'pulled' into conformity with.

What the theory of evolution needs is a mechanism. That's the problem. No mechanism to account for what we see. But there is progress. People are looking at emergent properties, and self-organizing properties. I don't think that's enough, but it's a big help.

You guys really ought to read Denton. He is looking hard at understanding evolution from a whole cosmic point of view, and he believes that life forms evolve as a result of intrinsic properties of matter and physics, at least in part. Very teleological but very naturalistic and nonDarwinian. There is nothing in his views that ought to be repugnant to any but the most hard boiled atheist or Biblical literalist. (Even Dawkins really only dislikes the stupidities of religions and what gets done in its name.)

One thing Denton has explained that goes along with my own approach is how all-of-a-piece this whole universe is. While there is a qualitative gap between animate and inanimate objects, nonetheless, living things are quite firmly nestled in the physical laws that surround them. The universe, its laws, and its elements are the supporting structure for life forms. I don't know if there is a better synopsis of the amazing level of fine tuning that exists than Nature's Destiny. The first few chapters are a little dry, but powerfully important.

If there is anyone on this whole playing field who can be a mediator and facilitator of salvaging evolution theory it is Denton. I want him knighted. You guys cling to random mutation because it's all you've got but it's less than nothing.

Here's a Denton quote:

A fascinating aspect of the folds, which we first pointed out in our papers, is the way adaptations are in every case the secondary modification of a primary natural form. I am now quite sure that the discovery that the protein folds are natural forms is only the beginning of what may turn out to be a major Platonic revision of biology, and an eventual relocation of biological order away from genes and mechanism and back into nature- where it resided before the Darwinian revolution.

I find the information arguments compelling, and here is a little snip from scordova:
But I don’t think we have even touched the tip of the iceberg. One simple example. At first we observed the translation of DNA into a protein, kind of a nice sequential, start-to-finish read and write. Apparently no big deal. Then we saw that in some cases that the same strand of DNA could be tranlated backward into yet another meaningful protein. Then we saw the same process with frame shifting!!!

The level and compactness of information is astounding. Even today we know there exists not just one layer of coding but layers and layers and layers. I seem to recall Sanford saying it appears that not just one level of coding exists for DNA but maybe 12 have been so far discovered.

What I'd like to see is some good refutations of Denton's book. Unfortunately, what the promoters of the book being shown at the top of this forum page had to say made me roll my eyes, and the one negative review was idiotic as well.

By the way, Febble did a bangup job of stating why she thinks natural selection is capable of generating IC systems. I just did not think her arguments were compelling enough.

Alright here's another prediction: You can have your evolution, but you gotta change the package. A lot. I mean, look at it this way. The knowledge of the cell and of genetics in Darwin's day was nil, and shortly thereafter we had Mendel. Soon as the evo's got over that shock, they incorporated it, and it was the only game in town and they've been running with it ever since. RANDOM MUTATION HAS GOT TO GO. I'M BEING YOUR FRIEND HERE!

Date: 2007/01/23 22:26:12, Link
Author: avocationist
Yes, Ghost, I had already decided to do that. I was awaiting your reply? Of course you can reply anywhere you want, but I don't think this topic belongs on the other thread.

Date: 2007/01/23 22:38:24, Link
Author: avocationist

This topic started out as just a general sort of inquiry from Ghost about my worldview. I didn't mean to get into an argument about slot. It has been a long time since I read arguments using slot as evidence against the possibility of evolution, and that isn't where I was going with it. I did note that slot is not the only thing happening. The usual defense if the evo's is to say that our planet is an open system. I can agree with that.

So you tell me you're a chemical engineer and I did skim through the wiki  links, but basically I just don't have a clue what you're getting at.

What you seem to be saying is that the slot is not a general rule that we can see happening unless we have a specific set of numbers and take all other forces into account. So if a pot boils and cools off, I have no business attributing it to the slot. the slot only applies to people with math degrees who can pick the system apart minutely and explain every equation. It doesn't actually apply to the real world.

I've sort of lost the point of our discussion.

Date: 2007/01/23 22:43:33, Link
Author: avocationist
Ghost, maybe people wouldn't be so annoyed it you would jump in with some politically incorrect views, so that Louis could come back and rant at you. Feel free to help me out here if you like!

Mike, what I meant above about slot not being the only thing happening, was that it seems to me slot does not stand alone but should have other forces that oppose it, or at least can work against it given enough energy. In other words, I see it as part of a loop.

Date: 2007/01/23 23:17:47, Link
Author: avocationist
Well, gee, Argy, I don't think I meant to be anti-intellectual. I really don't get what Mike was saying, but it seemed he scolds me for taking a rather common view of the second law as it relates to what we see around us. Basicaly saying I have no business mentioning it.

As for Mayr's book, I'm sorry. It just wasn't interesting. Very introductory stuff.

Date: 2007/01/23 23:45:21, Link
Author: avocationist
Ha, yes I did ask for clarifiction. Meanwhile, just for you, I picked up my Mayr book and looked through it at random. I guess it's not so bad, perhaps the beginning chapters were a bit slow.

Date: 2007/01/23 23:48:54, Link
Author: avocationist
My dictionary has about 5 definitions of entropy, including the general winding down of the universe. This is a common type of usage. What was wrong with my using it?

Date: 2007/01/24 00:44:53, Link
Author: avocationist
Thank you, Creekybelly,

Your post was informative, and I had a couple of questions, but I will not discuss it here.

Does this mean I am banned from Paley's thread?

Date: 2007/01/24 10:27:42, Link
Author: avocationist

Shhhhhhh behave. It'll think we're fundamentalists. Oh wait. It already does. Corn's high this yeeeah.

{spits baccy}
Personally I curious as to why when one troll disappears we get another right on its heels.

Some people, no names mentioned, no fingers pointed, use the internet as a sheild between themselves and the deep loathfulness of their behaviour.

All we are going to get from him/her/it is a lot of sanctimonious abuse, claims of "independent thinking" (when what Avocationist is doing is manifestly neither independent or thinking), a large dose of intellectual dishonesty all coupled with the usual hand waving, lies, lack of understanding and bullshit.

Nothing to commend, I just don't like liars. Especially liars who are trying to subvert science.

Now, again, I dropped by to commiserate a little because of the banning business at UD, which I think I have made pretty clear I dislike. I got jumped by Lenny with "Aha! Here's a creationist - so explain to me creationist, why they wrote what they did in the wedge document. I'll explain Lenny, when you personally account for the eugenics movement as it abuse Darwin's theory in the 1930s - 1950s in this country and Europe, OK?

I am going to make individual assignments to the people here.

1. Let me know why you disagree with Mike Gene's essay on the flagellum, and give some good arguments about how its assembly process evolved.

2. I want thoughtful critiques of separate chapters of Denton's book, Evolution in crisis.

3. Where did Berlinski go wrong in his assessment of the Nilsson-Pelger paper?

4. A full critique of Dembski's response to The Flagellum Unspun.

And I expect it all back by this evening, or I'll start questioning your motives, your character, and your sanity.

Date: 2007/01/24 12:40:37, Link
Author: avocationist

I am not susre where I said Darwin's ideas were misused. Maybe in relation to eugenics?

I am not excusing negative  and insulting rhetoric, I simply made the point that in some of those cases, they are comparing similar behaviors in certain situations, not actually calling the people nazi's, for example.

Johnson compares Gould to Gorbachev. Again, no discussion of the ideas. Is this really not a comparison: "Gould, like Gorbachev, deserves immense credit for bringing glasnost to a closed society of dogmatists. And, like Gorbachev, he lives on as a sad reminder of what happens to those who lack the nerve to make a clean break with a dying theory." ?
It isn't the same sort of comparison as I have seen made, for example, when IDists have compared academic establishment behaviors to a priesthood. That is a direct comparison, but if they compare a situation in which a regime is under challenge to a similar one involving the soviets or Gorbachev, it is not a direct comparison, i.e., they are not calling them communists. He is saying that Gould finds himself in a similar predicament.

Hello Creek (where do some people come up with these names?),

"A closed system with a specific internal energy will tend to relax

Is it not so that even in an open system, the tendency toward equilibrium is still there, but simply can be counteracted?

I didn't understand your post and I'm not sure I should ask.

Why do you multiply the states, then switch and add them instead, and why do you say that A entropy increases and B entropy decreases and yet say they are not in equilibrium with each other. It wasn't clear to me whether system A and B are interacting. What does the In stand for in this:
( ln(6x10) = ln(6)+ln(10)
Personally, I'm curious in what manner you're interested in applying the 2nd law. Is it abiogenesis, or evolution, or genetic information, or even something as general as having a universe that isn't in thermal equilibrium?
General information about how things work, and specifically about how other laws might be in an interactive system with it.


In scientific terms that's a conjecture or a hypothesis at best.
Yes, it's probably a hypothesis. That's alright with me.
The 'theory of intelligent design' needs to include what the designer did, and in more detail than 'he designed things somehow'. For example it needs to include whether evolution was frontloaded at some point, or if the designer intervened whenever anything needed doing. It needs to take a position one way or the other on common descent, and most likely the age of the earth. If the earth is young it needs to explain how x number of kinds could evolve into x number of species in a few thousand years. If life was frontloaded it needs to explain how the unused information was not degraded by mutation, and in more detail than something like 'some kind of fantastic error correction mechanism'.
Those are ALL important questions.


Most importantly this theory needs to make predictions,
I have seen a few. Just reading around. Natch I can't remember them. But I have made one yesterday. I predict that we will find specifics in  genetics/embryonic development that prevent species from jumping the species barrier. I.e., we will find a species barrier. Of course, that could be a problem if there is frontloading. If there is frontloading, we will have to find out how the programming allows for saltation into new species, on a periodic but not gradual basis.

The big problem with your use of entropy, is that you wish to refer to some properties of entropy in a closed system.
So does entropy have any effect on a biological organism? What about when it dies?

Do you really think I don't know what you posted about the mechanism of evolution? Are you really unaware that much has been written to refute that? Are you unaware that while it might sound good it might not stand up to scrutiny? I mean, what was the point in assuming I didn't know that mutations are considered to be the driving force of evolution? If you didn't read my post, why throw in your two cents? I clearly stated it isn't adequate, and I think it is a wrong turn that the theory took, and its salvation lies in rethinking that.


If you'll note, I made a general response to 3 posters together. One of them said he wished that just once an IDer would state what the theory of ID is. Now, that's pretty absurd since it is clearly and often stated at the various sites. As to your request that I put my theory in my own words, I consider that a silly time waster. Does each of you have your own personal theory of evolution? would you feel called upon to improve upon, say, Mayr's def?

What I gave you was plenty of my own thoughts and ideas, as well as a quick run down of where I'm coming from, what I've read and considered important. You want to play a little game on your terms.

The bit about if I was at a party is actually a good way to put it, but I am not sure I'd bother at the party. I'd give a very vague rundown, and tell them that if they are truly interested and they probably are not, that I can loan them a book. I'd tell them that things are not alwasy as they appear and they may have heard one side.

I think I said quite a few interesting things in my post. the one liner wasn't even for you.

Me: Fascinating! Which ones? And why?

Are you completely unaquainted with the literature? What have you read?


That last paragraph, in italics, is it from you? The conclusion that an intelligent designer gives us hope for immortality doesn't really follow.

If it is from you, then it means you find the arguments of Denton, Dembski, Behe, Meyer insultingly simplistic.

In that case, I'd like you to answer the following and clear it up for me,
   If selection could, in principle, accomplish “anything,” then all the order in organisms might reflect selection alone. But, in fact, there are limits to selection. Such limits begin to demand a shift in our thinking in the biological sciences and beyond. We have already encountered a first powerful limitation on selection. Darwin’s view of the gradual accumulations of useful variations, we saw, required gradualism. Mutations must cause slight alterations in phenotypes, But we have now seen two alternative model “worlds” in which such gradualism fails. The first concerns maximally compressed programs. Because these are random, almost certainly any change randomizes the performance of the program. Finding one of the few useful minimal programs requires searching the entire space ­requiring unthinkably long times compared with the history of the universe even for modestly large programs … But the matter is even worse on such random landscapes. If an adapting population evolves by mutation and selection alone, it will remain frozen in an infinitesimal region of the total space, trapped forever in whatever region it started in. It will be unable to search long distances across space for higher peaks. Yet if the population dares try recombination, it will be harmed on average, not helped. There is a second limitation on selection. It is not only on random landscapes that evolution fails. Even on smooth landscapes, in the heartland of gradualism, just where Darwin’s assumptions hold, selection can again fail and fail utterly. Selection runs headlong into an “error catastrophe” where all accumulated useful traits melt away…. Thus there appears to be a limit on the complexity of a genome that can be assembled by mutation and selection!

   Stuart Kaffman, At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 183-184.

While you are at it, resolve the Haldane's dilemma.

Date: 2007/01/25 00:47:17, Link
Author: avocationist
Why can't you tell me which "features of biological organisms and of the universe are best explained as being the result of intelligent design", and why?
One reason is that the barrage comes too thick and fast. I go to work and find more than two pages. Even if I answer just the more pressing nonsense, it'll take hours. I am not sure why my giving an overview of what sorts of articles and books have influenced me is so illegitimate. I think there are many IC systems. Blood clotting is a good one, the flagellum, the cell itself, perhaps DNA/RNA. I don't have "my" theory of ID.


I seem to remember reading that bit you quoted from, but the bit wasn't long enough for me to evaluate his point. Yes, I've seen the claim that NDE isn't falsifiable. Tell me why it is. You want my hypothetical tests for ID. I don't thin I am qualified to come up with that. But it is odd that the folks here spend so much time perusing UD and seem to get so little out of it. Because from time to time I have certainly seen ideas on how to falsify, and some possible experiments, and some predictions. I never intended to be a one person encyclopedia of knowledge about ID. There are others far better than me. Right now there is a promising discussion started by Sal Cordova with Caligula over Haldane's and some related issues that looks very promising. Some interesting papers are cited, and I do want to make some time to follow it. Oddly, Salvador mentions that when he goes to PT, he tends to get barraged with vitriol. Now Salvador just happens to be one of the more refined, and one of the more intelligent people you'll come across. What's going on that someone of his calibre gets barraged with vitriol? And despite everyone claiming that I've got a thin skin, I disagree. I've been on boards for Buddhism, Christianity, philosophy, enlightenment, even politics/Islam, and I've never seen the prejudice and hyena-like behavior that goes on here.

Why the intense emotion? It's all good my friends. Take a deep breath. Science will do very well, knowledge will increase, and no one's life is in danger.


Oh, it is true that the terms you used were for GoP but the implication was that they were for me as well. Also, I was annoyed you were calling me a troll when I had just arrived. It didn't occur to me that you actually thought I might be him or some other troll in disguise. And I admit I was squinting when I read your posts. One does that when a lot of mud is flinging about.
I thought the spitting baccy meant I was a redneck. I'm not, but I am an aspiring hillbilly. The citing of fundamentalism is not projection, and I do not retract it. One can be of any persuasion and be a fundamentalist. Even a liberal.
Oh, and you can dispense with the him/her/it. I really am a normal female, not a hermaphrodite or anything.

In short, your gracious explanations are as graciously accepted.


I gave a mathematical (albeit layman) critique of Dembski's usage of his own mathematical formula in application to the complexity of flagellum. Does it need to be expanded more for your benefit?
I'll have to reread it. You know I don't do math and I can't remember if yours was over my head. I have read a few of Dembski's papers and liked them, but I shy away from his books because of the math arguments.


It isn't so that I don't like the theory of evolution. I don't think it is true, and I find the whole drama fascinating. Some sort of unfoldment of life IS true.

Would you care to deconstruct this comment with me?
What I meant by my comment (science would not progress if Louis got his way) is that there is this human group tendency, what Nietzche called the herd instinct, to stifle those in disagreement with the currently held paradigm, whatever it might be;  it has happened in science often enough; while new discoveries are often made by mavericks. If the paradigm defenders got their way, we'd have the sun going around the earth.

It's one of the two words in his "theory". You'd think hi definition would be pretty unambiguous. This is a weak reply.
No, in fact in the longest post by Febble she even brings up what he really means by intelligence. Without seeing both in context, we can't know where the wording went wrong. It's possible Dembski goofed, and wrote something unclear, but it seemed pointless to me to argue that Dembski meant something we all know he didn't mean. However, as a stepping off point for her counterarguments, it served well enough.

Boy, so do I. It doesn't google well.
Silly BWE, it was me of course. That was the point. It's on the LUCA thread.
I don't know what you meant by this:
You are aware that if you hadn't recieved xian ideas from OTHER PEOPLE, you wouldn't have recieved them at all?


Do you think you are open-minded?

Yes, BWE.

Don, I don't think we should get sidetracked into falsification. hafta at least make some attempt to focus.

Oh, Louis, I never meant that eugenics was a part of Darwinism, I considered it a opportunistic misuse. My point was that Lenny expects me to answer for the likes of Johnson. Let him answer for some bad evolutionists.
Oh and btw give me just one good reason that anyone should take the comments of Dembski et all seriously when the entirety of working scientists in the relevant fields of science to those comments don't take them at all seriously and have openly refuted them?
I think the problems in evo theory are growing rather than diminishing, I think that some evo's are as biased in their way as the Christians in theirs, and I don't think that the criticisms of the ID works have really hit the nail on the head. And I am somewhat, but not terribly, impressed by majority opinions.

The burden of proof rests equally.

Occam and Deadman,

My motive in making the assignments was to distribute the work load a little. Since it's ten against one here, I can't do all the homework.

The last time I was here I tried to focus just on the flagellum. I urged people to read Mike Gene's essay because it is inspiring and far more detailed than the chapter in Behe's book. No one seemed to want to. I find the part describing the assembly particularly good. I even cut and paste parts of it in for people. I also reread and printed up The Flagellum Unspun, and Still Spinning Just Fine, plus a follow up to that last. I spend hours and hours on it! I marked those pages up and cut and paste some more. Now Russell says I'm a liar for saying no one read that stuff, maybe he did and if so I apologize.

Hey Occam, you accuse me of trying to convince other people to dislike TOE, but I got challenged. I didn't start it.

Oh, this is getting long. I'll just post it.

Date: 2007/01/25 01:53:11, Link
Author: avocationist

You want a prediction in the form of an if-then statement. This is interesting, but I will have to think about it. Remember, I'm not a scientist and not in the habit of setting up experiments, writing articles, or applying for grants.

I'm just curious - do you think that our planet is or has ever been in or near a state of equilibrium?
I wouldn't think so. Before it was a planet maybe.

log(1000) = log(10x10x10) = log(10)+log(10)+log(10) = 3
Oh, dear, things are just getting worse.

Now Deadman, I can go through and focus on certain arguments for ID or against evo, but what was wrong with citing several works and saying the arguments within convinced me? It seems to me there are about 10 or 20 of them.
When I read Berlinski's critique of the Nelson-Pilger paper, I actually first ran across on the net the criticisms of his paper, [having never heard of any of it] which I think was by 5 people, and their criticisms seemed quite good, so that whoever this Berlinski character was, I decided not to bother with him at all, and move on. However, somehow I did get started with his answer to their criticisms, and he blew them out of the water.
Of course, that isn't really evidence for ID, that just has been my experience that when I actually see the big guns arguing, I find the ID side much more compelling.

Yeah, Kaufmann is interesting, and after all he isn't an IDist. So like I said yesterday, things are very interesting, and getting more so. Things are heating up!

Oh, and Deadman, ain't nothin wrong with my incredulity button, I find it a right handy tool I wouldn't be without. 'Course, it doesn't help a lot with faith.

One problem is that Denton himself has repudiated much of the arguments in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. There are other problems with the book which I'll get to tonight. Deadman's links are certainly worth a look.
Yes, they are and I hope to find the time. I don't quite see that he repudiated it.  I have both books, and last night I reread a 2002 essay of his called An anti-Darwinian Intelletual Journey: Biological Order as an Inherent Property of Matter.
In light of the data you present, why do you suggest focusing on Denton's book?


And you intend to, uh, actually READ them . .  ?
I mostly skip over your jabs, but yes, I have already read them.
Oh! He said ID was full of crap and left DI? Where's the scoop on that?
Do you also realize that he considers the entire cosmos teleological, with human beings the inevitable and intended ultimate end point?

I think the Kansas thing and the Miller textbook thing are both true and are just different data.

I do like learning most anything. I think my main question is can we not see the law(s) of entropy at work in every day situations. The very fact that when the organism dies, the forces that work against it cease, allowing entropy to increase, seems to validate my point.
In light of the fact that Don comes along and says that nothing about entropy or thermodynamics prohibits evolution, it seems my intentions are misunderstood, although I've stated them a few times. I do not think entropy prohibits evolution. Information theory might, but not entropy. My interest in it was as I said, general interest in how things work. I think of entropy in a yin-yang kind of way. If entropy is yin, what is the yang?

Date: 2007/01/25 02:27:16, Link
Author: avocationist

1. Are you religious? and if so:
2. What doctrines of your religion are you defending with your anti-scienceish stance?
3. What might make me accept your particular flavor of whatever it is you do with your religion?  last one was hard to write and encompass all the possible replies. an example would be:
"The xian god is real because my dad read their book to me when I was little. Therefore I am certain of the book's accuracy."
Or something along those lines. I would hope for something more substantial. I'm wondering because I have lots of ideas about god but I couldn't use those ideas to get enough strength to go tilting at your particular windmills. It seems to me like you'd make a better case if you gave me good reason to think you might be on to something on a different track. I like to think of us as mushrooms popping up out of the universal mycelium-but with eyes, opposable thumbs and an emotive capacity to experience myself.

That idea is a sort of a simplification of course. It's for those of you who aren't ready for the whole truth. That truth needs to be revealed in stages. Like an onion. An onion. Layers.

I am not religious. I am not antiscience. Even when I was very young, I used to say, 'astronomy is like theology for me.' I guess you forgot, but when I was here I held out the most optimistic expectations for what science will discover, which is to say I think it will penetrate to at least some extent into spiritual realms that most people now consider to be off limits to science. Science is the study of reality, and reality is God. All I care about is what's true.

I don't know that I have any doctrines, unless they be my own conclusions, some more tentative than others. I believe that God is everything, absolutely everything. I came to this conclusion myself, but years later found out it is also Hindu. So I am a monist, but it was years before I heard the term. The interesting question for me is, since what we call matter and ourselves are natural unfurlings of God, does that mean that matter always manifests or is it a choice or a periodicity?

I guess I do have a problem with the idea of unplanned or unguidedness, because I don't like to think there is no mind of God. However, I also don't believe in a personal God, and that is somewhat hard to reconcile, so that's an issue I struggle with.
Especially since I am in love with God! When I don't have things figured out, I just patiently wait for resolution and deeper understanding.
I do have one inkling about how the mind of God could be. Since God is the totality of everything, that everything could have an overarching mind. The way many religions describe God, it's as if he is a separte person who is essentially, here but not there. There but not here.

My religion is a religion of one. I contemplate. I search for truth and deeper wisdom. I think in terms of consciousness. People are, for the most part, in a state of partial unconsciousness. I seek to increase my consciousness. This is nondifferent from knowing God. Our individuality within this unity is a mystery, it keeps me fascinated and fulfilled; that is why I think we can know and have a relationship with God; it is the bridal chamber Jesus spoke of.

I love the beauty and truth in all religions, and deplore the negativity which keep people stuck. I have no need for any particular religion because I am free. I have no intermediates, not faith, not dogma.

There are a few things I identify with: Sufism, monism, panentheism, taoism. I have an attraction-repulsion with Buddhism, a very strange relationship with Buddhism. Buddhism is deceptive in its simplicity. It bothers me because I find it cold and it amazes me because of its purity. I learn from it. It has been called the most atheistic of religions and yet it may take you closest. Because concepts separate you from God, and Buddhism is a relentless stripping.

I don't practice meditation, but I do read some of the writings.

Perhaps I haven't been fair to Christianity. It was Christianity that set me free. I am terribly critical and ever grateful.

Date: 2007/01/25 12:43:07, Link
Author: avocationist
Okay, a lot of people, without perhaps realizing it, are going at this like lawyers in a courtroom - more focused on the game of battle than finding truth. Because of this, there have been reams of accusations and sneering remarks, which I just don't have time to decently answer. For example, I said I don't want to get sidetracked into falsifiability. It would be fine if this were a normal sedate discussion. I have seen good responses to this, and I have little doubt the poster could find them. Behe made a nice answer, in which he calls people on the fact that they refute ID will claiming it is nonrefutable. There are some scathing exposes of how slippery Darwinian outlooks can be as well. I happen to think that both proposals are scientific and falsifiable, in the main. But this is just not to the heart of the matter. I object to someone saying, "Oh, so you mean you can't even define why ID is falsifiable? So in other words you admit you are an ignoramous and a fool?" I do not claim to be able to have good recall, to the point of articulating well, all these topics. Many of them I could do if it were the only question on the table. But many of these are just baiting questions and the answers are readily available if you read up in the various discussions.

I have to go to work shortly, and I can't stay up late again tonite, and I'm going away for a few days. I think I will be able to bring a laptop.

I'd like to have a look at the nylonase question, it interests me, and I want to see if it parallels antibiotic resistance. But it will be DAYS before I can get to it.

By the way, I had come across some antiDarwinian books perhaps 5 years ago, and was intrigued that they were written by secular people. It was long after that that I discovered the ID movement.

Look, the party scenario question is a good one, even though I answered it. You've persisted so OK. But again, DAYS. I gotta open my mail sometime. I have other interests that are more compelling to me than even this!


The essay you linked is far from a simple one. Actually, your cut and paste yesterday wasn't either...could you state what thermodynamics question you think there is? Even if we don't pursue it as a topic, I'm interested. Where are your questions. I am afraid that your motive here is to have the chance to shred Denton, but that's OK. I'll go along. However, I still don't think he made the about face that people say. I think he is a person who has been looking for a long time, and his thinking has evolved. Of course he may backtrack on certain points. I believe people mistook his first book as a creaionist screed, when in fact he was really agnostic, and trying to clear the table, so to speak, of errors so that the real detective work could begin. Sure he took off in a hopeful new direction with his second book, but the one builds on the other.
By the way, I think someone made a remark that Berlinski dislikes ID. He's a maverick. Do you think that's so?

Date: 2007/01/25 12:50:41, Link
Author: avocationist
edit - pressed reply button prematurely. sorry

Date: 2007/01/25 12:59:39, Link
Author: avocationist

My feeling from your post is that you asked me my views on God so that you could look for links to my inner creationist tendencies. I don't appreciate it because you appear to be trying too hard. Maybe the word belief was a poor choice. But it isn't faith, it is logic. Now, some people have come to the conclusion that God is everything, or all is one, through a mystical experience, or LSD.

Yes, of course science can study God. To what extent is the question.
Does this struggle influence what is true? Does that muddy the ideal?
No. But it is important to have a strong commitment to truth as a first priority. Yet you can't ignore your own intuition. In the end, truth becomes something recognized. We have a kind of inner compass, or looking glass. It clouds things. It's a long process, of allowing your looking glass to become purified, so that your inner compass can line up better and better with truth. You have to be willing, but you can't throw your convictions out the window either. So what I find true today is hopefully, if I am sincere, clearer than my truth of yesterday.
I do have one inkling about how the mind of God could be. Since God is the totality of everything, that everything could have an overarching mind. The way many religions describe God, it's as if he is a separte person who is essentially, here but not there. There but not here.
Is this inkling based on any evidence?

Mostly it is logic, but also coupled with my sense that this universe, while it is the body of the impersonal God, is not without a mind.

Date: 2007/01/25 13:02:36, Link
Author: avocationist
Shit! I did it again! What's wrong with me? I will continue...

Date: 2007/01/25 13:17:24, Link
Author: avocationist
More BWE

Contemplation does seem to lead to a different set of truths. Maybe on an internal dimension rather than an external dimension?

Yes, I do think that spiritual intuition and contemplation are of an internal dimension. That seems to be the best explanation. The fun is, bringing the experience of that dimension to this, and having such a richer experience.
So, is god only knowable through contemplation?
Oh, no, I think there are other ways.
Little bit confused now. So, in this case, there is no such thing as a false idol, right? Because god is everything so if I hump a goat, I'm getting it on with god?
The goat isn't such a problem, but false ideas are.  
Free of religion? Do you think jesus rose from the dead? Really and physically?
Why are you asking about Jesus. He's enigmatic and I don't know how much of the Biblical stories are true, nor can we know. Too much obfuscation has occurred. Plus, I think that those stories can be legitimately interpreted in several ways and on several levels. The most material are the least important.
A relentless stripping of false idols until you are left with none.
Yes, that's what I was getting at.
Is it possible to use thought and words and symbols and ideas to strip away samsara?
For me, yes!
well well. What did you get free of? Are you critical now? Critical of what?
gosh, I'm not quite sure why I feel free. The easy answer is free of the need for dogma, but there is something more subtle. Critical of Christianity as understood by them. I want to reform it.
Do you think I should be a xian? Is there any reason I should?
Maybe after I get done with it.
Now, why do you dislike the idea of common descent? If god is simply what is, then why name her at all? Why is understanding god always a prerequisite for not believing in evolution? Do you think it is bad science?
I don't care about common descent. I name God for convenience. I don't know that it is a prerequisite, although it's common enough. Perhaps belief in God allows one to see through Darwinian falsity? See, a theist can go either way as regards Darwinism, but an atheist, what choice do they have? I don't make global statements like it's bad science. An entire discipline with all the data it has turned up? The fact that we have strong contention is a spur and therefore a blessing in disguise.

Date: 2007/01/25 13:34:07, Link
Author: avocationist
Hello Altiban,

I've got 5 minutes left. so I can't do your post justice. I also love the gnostic stuff. The scientific pantheist site I visited once, but that just doesn't quite cut it for me. Essentially I agree with you, yet I also think there is just way more going on to this puzzle, this pandora's box that Darwin et al opened, than anyone had a clue of, and probably still don't. That's why it is so confusing right now. I mean, this thing is BIG. However, I still do see evidence of the kind of design that they ascribe to the tinkering God. I just don't think God is the one responsible. There is no reason to suppose that the gap goes from humans to the Godhead. There could be other inelligences, they could be disembodied intelligences, they could be lightly-bodied intelligences. I was serious when I propsed that DNA might be a living spirit.

The struggle I speak of does not simply concern evolution, but the nature of God and my relationship to that. There is the question of impersonal love. As I said the other day, the evolution of life stumps me for these reasons. I have some vague, barely articulated ideas about how evolution might be natural to the nature of God-universe. But that makes it somewhat inevitable, and that is not really Darwinism. However life unfolded, it was done from within.
Yes, I agree that most Christians are dualists and have a very limited notion of God.

By the way, I think space aliens have interfered on ths planet, but it doesn't touch the important questions. Just another interesting angle. Yeah, Behe apparently made an off the cuff remark that God poofed the flagellum into existence. I don't know if he really thinks that, but I sure don't. However life got here, it unfolded in an absolutely normal manner. But I don't mean normal in the sense of matter left to its own devices.

I don't accept the idea of the supernatural. No meaning for me.

What I want to reform about christianity is that while consciousness and the lack thereof is ultimately responsible for lowly views of God and the cosmos, I find that Christianity locks people into it, fails to encourage them to grow and even requires them to stay put.

And this is one reason I find Denton so exciting. He's hot on the trail of he's not sure what.

Date: 2007/01/26 00:34:06, Link
Author: avocationist
Darn it Mike,

If systems or items tend toward equilibrium, then that ought to be a part of what we see, regardless of how deeply we understand its workings and the mathematics thereof. I think entropy is not only so defined as you state. This is in wide common usage, no doubt for that reason. How am I arguing against scientific principles when I am just wondering how they work? And how in the he11 does this bring us to God of the gaps? Your assumptions are showing. I have explained three times that that is not what I'm groping toward.

I know there is no thermodynamic relevance to your links. But you had just asked if anyone was going to answer your thermodynamics questions. I was in a hurry, and didn't write clearly.

ID is falsifiable if things like IC can be acounted for.

Evolution can't explain A yet.
Therefore Intelligent design.

In the end, I can see only two choices. Ether there is a mind involved in the whole process of this cosmos, or there isn't. They aren't the same at all, and they won't look the same. I would just not worry too much about diminishing God by finding natural explanations. The question is, do we live in a universe with a mind or not. The idea that God shrinks is downright silly. Supposedly, people were real deflated when they figured out angels didn't push the planets around. So they said God lost a job. What nonsense. Isn't the truth more magnificent, the planning more impressive? The old way of looking at things was like a fairy tale, with a magic-wand God. God's domain can never shrink. It is a nonproblem.

Just imagine, for a moment, whether the regulars at UD, in a comparable situation, would be anything like as interested in or ready to debate with someone from our side
Sure, they would. You guys just keep disappearing.


What about (using Behe's irreducible complexity) other functions of the flagellum? Such as the e coli genome and base pairs? Is the flagellum's specification merely reliant upon the rotary itself? Well umm NO. If we take the blueprint o a flagellum (e coli genome/dna molecular function) can it be stripped from the flagellum (referring to the other subsystems of the flagellum)? It can't. So is using Behe's irreducibly complex systemisation to create his specified complex system, valid in this argument? No. Because it is applying variables where there are none.

In a nutshell: Dembski takes into consideration the rotary of the bacterium, disjointly and rather casually ignoring its subsystems to create a system based on redefinition of scientific terminology to make things "fit".

First paragraph, if it could be rewritten in more regular English, second paragraph, what subsystems?


I guess I don't find the issue of God quite as important to the ID discussion as other people do. Some people just don't want to see any God or weird reality at all. Some people believe in God in a very faraway, nonvibrant form, and they want him to stay in his place. Any overlap between science, which is the study of reality, and God which is the source of said reality, is very uncomfortable. Some people, really want their anthropomorphised and sanitized God of their ego gratification to be true. Some people want a God who is grand and not petty, and it is horrifying to them to contemplate one who would poof a flagellum. Miller might be like that. Some just don't want to see God get diminished by natural explanations for things. They are embarrassed for poor God and don't want any humiliation for her.

The God of my understanding is pretty invulnerable, but I do see the situation (and tried in vain before to express it) as a divide between pure atheism, and all others. Deists, theists, religionists - they are all on one side. Because once you posit a God the deck is stacked and it is just a matter of what level of involvement you want to subscribe to. We are either in a God universe or we aren't, and as Dawkins has blessedly understood, they aren't the same ball of wax.

Now, why did I write this post to you...had to go back and reread yours a few times. It was where you questioned my  finding ID it intellectually satisfying.
But I think if you have kept up with my earlier posts, you'll see I envision the natural world unfolding in a step by step way, however I think this whole shebang isn't chance, and isn't a result of willy nilly interactions of matter.

I don't find a tinkering God at all satisfying, and I think of the whole universe from its inception as one unified system. The parts of ID that I think are strong are the information arguments, and also the IC arguments. I liked the Meyer paper for a pretty readable rundown of the information arguments.

I suppose it is offensive that a bunch of people are not only  into ID, but in their minds they know good and well who did it, the God of the Bible. But I see ID as simply that we are at a crossroads right now - there are two possibilities. Either things are accidental or they are designed, and the two can be told apart.

I just don't find Darwinian mechanisms compelling. I don't expect either side to win, although I think ID is correct. I think we are working on a puzzle that is very, very hard, and without enough pieces we keep trying to interpret the whole.

Neither Dawkins nor the fundies will get their desire, because neither are correct in their assumptions. IMHO

Date: 2007/01/28 23:43:34, Link
Author: avocationist
I just lost about two hours of work in wihch I answered all posts since I left, and was on the final poster, when my server failed or computer locked up, which is always very discouraging.

Date: 2007/01/29 00:47:07, Link
Author: avocationist
As regards the nylon eating bacteria, the paper cited was a bit technical (and also I'm having trouble with pdf links and I think it is the reason my computer shut down), but in this article they stated they didn't know how the bacteria aquired their ability. If we don't know that, I don't think we can assess the situation. Then ther's the problem I can't cut and paste from the article because it's in pdf. I was going to ask for clarification of a couple of things.

My understanding of antibiotic resistance is 1) that it is being found that bacteria have a way of turning on mutations that are directed toward solving a problem, and 2) that they usually involve either a reshuffling of some sort or actually a loss of information or functionality. In reading around on the net, I found a couple of references to frame shifting alteration as the source of their ability to ingest nylon:

The bacteria were examined and compared with others of their species and it was discovered that a particular frame shift mutation (which means that a gene got read at a slightly different starting point and slightly different ending point) allowed that bacteria to break down the nylon and obtain energy from that process. But not a LOT of energy. It wasn't a highly competent design because the bacteria weren't extracting a lot of energy from the process, just enough to get by. And it was based on a simply frame shift reading of a gene that had other uses. But with a simple frame shift of a gene that was already there, it could now "eat" nylon. Future mutations, perhaps point mutations inside that gene, could conceivably heighten the energy gain of the nylon decomp process, and allow the bacteria to truly feast and reproduce faster and more plentifully on just nylon, thus leading perhaps in time to an irreducibly complex arrangement between bacteria who live solely on nylon and a man-made fiber produced only by man.

Nor does this address the problems associated with speciation, as opposed to fine tuning of an organism to suit an environment.

I'll just keep these short, so I don't lose them.

Date: 2007/01/29 01:24:48, Link
Author: avocationist
Creeky Belly,


Me:  In the end, I can see only two choices. Ether there is a mind involved in the whole process of this cosmos, or there isn't. They aren't the same at all, and they won't look the same. I would just not worry too much about diminishing God by finding natural explanations. The question is, do we live in a universe with a mind or not. The idea that God shrinks is downright silly. Supposedly, people were real deflated when they figured out angels didn't push the planets around. So they said God lost a job. What nonsense. Isn't the truth more magnificent, the planning more impressive? The old way of looking at things was like a fairy tale, with a magic-wand God. God's domain can never shrink. It is a nonproblem.

You:  I agree, but what you've just stated is not a theory of ID, it's a creationist (philosophical) argument, all or nothing. ID wants to have it both ways: X can be observed naturally, therefore supernatural explanation. It masquerades as science until it draws a conclusion. Unfortunately for ID, scientists can see through the bullshit. (I should say, to keep with the logical fallacies, true scientists can see through the bullshit)

I'm not sure which part you agree with, and which is creationist bullshit. Yes, it was a philosophical answer, because your original question was philosophical: you worry that if we find naturalistic explanations for things, God's domain shrinks. I find it hard to relate to this. On one hand, I do not believe in the supernatural, and I don't think there is such a thing as disrupting the laws of physics. On the other hand, if we manufacture a car, we have definitely designed something that nature alone could not, but neither have we gone against the laws of nature. I also resent being called a creationist because it is usually pejoriative and often refers to Biblical literalists. Whatever poor sap wrote Genesis probably never dreamed humanity would descend to such an extremity of foolishness as to take it literally.


there are two possibilities. Either things are accidental or they are designed, and the two can be told apart.

How? Be precise. Don't just point to Dembski's mathemagical tripe.
I don't point to his tripe because I haven't read it. But I have read some explanations of information from an ID viewpoint in the Meyer paper, probably Spetner and perhaps also Dembski in a short essay. Generally, we don't have too much trouble discerning when things are designed or not. There may be some ambiguous cases, but ID would not focus on those. There comes a point of complexity, when the probability of unguided processes producing the result just becomes untenable. Where it becomes more rational and reasonable to infer design. That people who believe in an omnipotent and moralizing God argue against that, not just as to whether we have reached that point, but whether we ever can, is puzzling to say the least.

It's important to realize that because we aren't sure, we speak as if we had a choice of universes, whereas in fact there is only one kind. Either we live in a God universe or we don't, and they are mutually exclusive. If there is a God, then existence without God is a nonpossibility. If there is no God, then God is a silly notion, and there is not possibility of one. If we live in a God universe, it is a designed universe, and if it is a designed universe then a nondesigned one cannot have any existence and therfore cannot be rationally postulated.

Wesley,(or anyone)

I read down quite a bit on the link about falsifiability, but I never found the point made that I am looking for. So why is it that ID is not falsifiable if we could account for IC and CSI?


Very disappointing post. I thought we had established a bit of rapport, but apparently not. I'm sorry you didn't realize my remark about people disappearing was meant to be a joke. Probably you haven't read through the history of this thread, in which I made it clear I'm unhappy about the moderation over there.

The alien thing comes from a genre of books about it.


[Cedric's jaw drops open. His drink falls from his suddenly useless fingers onto the floor and rolls under the sofa.]

Not sure why.
I made several replies to all the entropy nonsense. Won't go over it again in detail. My points were:

I never did have any 'argument' regarding the second law.
My interest in the second law has nothing to do with the ID debate, never did, it was a side issue that struck me at the time, largely due to a book I'm reading on a different topic.
Entropy is not only defined as a variable, but as a process and a result.
How can you say that we cannot discuss entropy unless we have the ability to plug in the actual numerical values? Do the laws of physics only work if we have learnt to understand and quantify them?
Everything Improvius said in post 633 is obviously true.

I find it VERY odd that people keep thinking I'm worried that the SLOT prevents evolution. I do realize that has been done by creationists, but how many times do I have to make myself clear, and if you guys don't listen well to that, why should I expect you to listen to what else I say?

But please note that Berlinski's beef is with the thermodynamics of abiogenesis, not evolution proper. None of the observed mechanisms driving evolution run contrary to the Second Law so long as the animals eat.  :)
You too, Paley? sigh

Date: 2007/01/29 11:21:58, Link
Author: avocationist


I don't think it shrinks and I'm not particularly worried, since I don't think we can empirically support the supernatural. If we could, then we could rule out God from natural processes and in that sense God's domain would necessarily diminish. That's why I spoke in the domain of philosophy; since in science, the answer is simple: God gets dropped by Occam's Razor.
See, I don't think there is a divide between nature and God. If there is a God, I don't think this God is outside of natural processes. If I could drown Occam in the deepest ocean it would be a boon to philosophy. People get away with all sorts of lazy thinking by invoking the poor ghost, and we should let him rest in peace. No, we do not drop God due to Occam. Either there's a God or there isn't. And accounting for existence and a highly complex universe without recourse to any sort of mind or causation is actually the more difficult route.

You seem to be able to hold contradictory positions simultaneously.  If you don't believe in the supernatural, how can you believe in design of the universe by a god?
I don't consider God to be supernatural. I don't think the situation is one where God is here but not there. I think it is a lot like the idea of two dimensional beings seeing a third dimensional being jump up and down. When he jumps up off the flat plane, he disappears, so he is supernatural and has magical powers. It seems obvious enough that we are also like these two dimensional beings, and when we see only dimly or not at all or by clues and inferences, we consign the phenomenon to a realm called supernatural.


Answers in Genesis says that not only does creationism itself "depend heavily on speciation", but they also say that those who argue that there are NO "new species forming in nature" are "poorly informed".
What they mean by speciation is not the arisal of totally new kinds. They consider one kind to have given rise to dogs and wolves and jackals and foxes, that sort of thing. they do not think that amoebas became fish became reptiles, etc.


You describe in detail the mutation (a frame shift).  You acknowledge that the gene that has been frame-shifted was in fact originally used for other purposes.  You acknowledge that with further point mutations to this gene we could arrive at a highly specialised organism that is apparently (according to the measures "defined" by Behe) irreducibly complex, yet arrived at by simple random mutation and natural selection.  In your own words, you have just completely invalidated ID, showing that irreducibly complex organisms can evolve naturally.

I didn't show that mutations could lead to IC - I show that whoever wrote what I quoted, believes that. But is a frame shift new information?  

Speciation is just the accumulation over time of lots of these mutations
A lot of people think that is an unwarranted extrapolation from minimal data.

Date: 2007/01/29 14:02:17, Link
Author: avocationist
Anyway, I found where somebody had asked Spetner about the nylon bug:

Comments by Lee Spetner, November 19, 2002

It's interesting, first of all, that the URL you pointed to picked the "nylon bug" as an example of a random mutation yielding a gain of information. (The short answer is, the mutation does yield an increase of information, but was it random?) It's interesting because the "nylon bug" is exactly what I used in my letter #7 to Jim Crow (of which you got a copy) as a possible example of a nonrandom mutation triggered by the environment. To respond to your query, I shall have to elaborate on this more than I did in that letter, which was not polemical.

Let me point out two important facts that the URL ignores. First, there are two altered enzymes, not just one.  Both these enzymes are needed to metabolize the 6-aminohexanoic-acid-cyclic-dimer (6-AHA CD) found in the waste water of the nylon factory. Neither of these enzymes alone is effective. Both are needed. The first enzyme, which I shall call enzyme 1, is 6-aminohexanoic-acid-cyclic-dimer hydrolase (6-AHA CDH) and catalyzes the conversion of 6-AHA CD to 6-aminohexanoic-acid-oligomer (6-AHA LO). The second enzyme, which I shall call enzyme 2, is (6-aminohexanoic-acid-oligomer hydrolase (6-AHA LOH) and catalyzes the conversion of 6-AHA LO  to 6-amino-hexanoic acid [Kinoshita et al. 1981].  Only enzyme 2 is the product of a frame shift. Enzyme 1, whose DNA sequence I have not seen, is probably the product of only point mutations. [Okada et al. 1983, Ohno 1984]

Second, enzyme 2 is not just the product of a frame shift, it is also the product of 140 point mutations. Many of these mutations are silent, but many are not. 47 amino acids out of 392 of the enzyme have been changed.

It seems to me that many of these altered amino acids are essential to the catalytic effect of the enzyme. How many, I don't know. In my above cited letter to Jim, I calculated the probability of getting multiple random mutations in the 30 years it took to evolve these enzymes. If the evolution of this enzyme had to rely on random point mutations, it could have never evolved. Thus, if only 6 of these 47 mutations were essential for the evolution, the probability of achieving it in 30 years is about 3 x 1035. So, if the evolution could not be random, then it would have to be nonrandom, and as I have suggested in my book, they would be triggered by the environment. That is, the capability is built into the bacterium and the environment triggers the mutations.

I have ignored the evolution of enzyme 1, and the random evolution of that enzyme makes for an even less probable event.

Now, why should there be a built-in capability to metabolize nylon, which did not exist until 1937 or so? The answer is there shouldn't be. But there could have been a built-in capability to metabolize some other substrate. Kinoshita et al. (1981) tested enzyme 2 against 50 possible substrates and found no activity, but that does not mean that it doesn't have activity on some substrate not tested. The activity of enzyme 2 was small, but enabled the bacteria to metabolize the nylon waste.

Date: 2007/01/29 14:09:37, Link
Author: avocationist
I'd be very interested in your source which states that any mutation is specifically directed. I am aware of papers that show an increased mutation rate under certain stress situations (such as application of antibiotics), which would naturally lead to a faster rate of "finding" an antibiotic resistance mutation. But I am not aware of any that show specifically directed mutations in bacteria.

It gets turned on in response to the environment, is confined to speific loci in the genome, and is turned off when it's job is done. The mutations which occur under those conditions are random. Thus it took (if I understood the article) 3 months to produce the nylon eating mutation(s) but apparently that was not the only time it occurred. Spetner mentions it being discovered accidentally 30 years after nylon was invented.

Date: 2007/01/29 21:50:29, Link
Author: avocationist
What gets turned on?
The hypermutation state.
And the letter above does not describe any experiments showing directed mutations. Spetner asserts that the enzyme could not have evolved "randomly," but makes no note of how selection might impact the evolution of the enzyme.
As I said, the mutations themselves are not directed, but the search for a solution is turned on. The hypermutation state is under control of the cell. Of course selection, after the fact, will reinforce keeping the enzyme which works.
OK, God is not supernatural.  We just think it [he/she] is beyond nature because it [he/she] exists in  another dimension that we can't perceive, because it's beyond nature.  But it's not supernatural.
Other dimensions are not supernatural. They are very much part of your reality. I personally think the subquantum, sub-planck-length may be a divide into another, smaller dimension. That you can't perceive it means little. Can you hear a dog whistle? Can you see xrays?

Lenny, you provide me a link where the answers in genesis people think species spontaneously arise from one another, and they do not mean 'Biblical kinds."

Date: 2007/02/02 18:10:15, Link
Author: avocationist

Me-That you can't perceive it means little. Can you hear a dog whistle? Can you see xrays?

You-You might want to save yourself the embarrassment and not post drivel like this.
Why is it drivel? Someone responds to the idea of other dimensions as if they were a magical idea, and I point out that if they exist, they are invisible to us. As you mentioned yourself, it is a part of string theory. If the string theorists are right, then those other dimensions are the bedrock of what we call reality, and yet we can't perceive those dimensions. We already know that there is a world of the unseen - life forms, molecules, atoms. We know that we can perceive but a small band of the electromagnetic spectrum, and yet people perist in always thinking that the latest discovery is the final and last. That we have already uncovered so much of the unseen, should instead have the opposite effect.

Mike DSS,

Yeesh.  It sucks being you.  :O

SORRY!  Sorry.  Shouldn't say things like that.
Sometimes it does!I don't even know how to manage the TV set upstairs or the DVD player.

AND you realized that this function COULD be improved with further "evolution"
I do not realize that. That is the supposition of the author of the bit I quoted. I included it to show that the author is not antievolution.

The results found two NEW bacterial strains (PAO5501 and PAO5502) where PAO5502 was actually derived from an isolated solution of PAO5501.
I'm not clear on the relevance of 5501 and it what way it was a different strain from the original -1.

but in this article they stated they didn't know how the bacteria aquired their ability. If we don't know that, I don't think we can assess the situation.
I think that is a bit disingenuous to the work done and support given to the "educated guess" of the experimenters.
I am not sure why you say so. If we don't know how it happens, how can we talk about whether random processes are adequate? I don't disagree at all with their educated guess that 'the basic mechanisms acting during environmental stress are involved in this adaptation.'  

You quote Spetner:
"there are two altered enzymes, not just one.
Both these enzymes are needed
Neither of these enzymes alone is effective."

But did you undersand his point that he finds two alterations mathematically suspect, i.e., improbable?

I do not understand your point here:
So Spetner is NOT aware of the enzymes in the NEW strain of PAO5502 that eat nylon. I wonder how many point mutations and changed amino acids are in the PAO5502 bug?
Are you saying he was talking about a different organsm, and should have been aware also of this one? The bug he discussed did survive on nylon.

Spetner cannot make these claims [probability of success] without further analyzing the mutational effect of the NEW strain of PAO5502 which was produced in only 3 months (maximum, maybe faster) from PAO1.

What was different about this case - fewer steps?

BUT, we saw in the experiment that PAO5502 was a new strain only AFTER PAO5501 was isolated and the conditions changed. Therefore, might it be possible that PAO1 mutates to form PAO5501 which has enzyme 1 developed but not enzyme 2.  THEN PAO5501 mutates to form PAO5502 which now has both enzyme 1 AND enzyme 2.
Of course it might be possible - but is it the case? Do we know that 5501 had the first enzyme? And if it did, what contribution did it have so as to preserve it?

Is this pathway a possiblility?  And shouldn't Spetner examine the development of enzyme 1 instead of discarding it with a non-sequitor?
It isn't that he dismissed it. He just concentrated on the probability of the other enzyme, and then mentions that the existence of the need for two enzymes and more steps decreases the probability further.

Now, why should there be a built-in capability to metabolize nylon, which did not exist until 1937 or so? The answer is there shouldn't be. But there could have been a built-in capability to metabolize some other substrate. Kinoshita et al. (1981) tested enzyme 2 against 50 possible substrates and found no activity, but that does not mean that it doesn't have activity on some substrate not tested. The activity of enzyme 2 was small, but enabled the bacteria to metabolize the nylon waste.

And we finish with an argument from personal increduality.  Without supporting evidence on WHY the increduality is even valid.
I would not call this an argument from Personal Incredulity (blessed be It's name) but that he thinks bugs are already prewired to deal with environmental stressors such as the natural penicillin that occurs in bread mold.

Are you referring to the second-to-last paragraph in the nylon bug article where it states...  
Not directly, but rather from my memory of what I have read in a few different places about organisms being able to turn on a high mutation rate under certain conditions and which apply only to certain parts of the genome, and which gets turned off again when appropriate. And that, really, is the only point I had about all this. That it is a controlled skill which directs the mutations in these cases.


Quote (avocationist @ Jan. 29 2007,14:09)
It (rapid mutation) gets turned on in response to the environment, is confined to speific loci in the genome, and is turned off when it's job is done. The mutations which occur under those conditions are random. Thus it took (if I understood the article) 3 months to produce the nylon eating mutation(s) but apparently that was not the only time it occurred. Spetner mentions it being discovered accidentally 30 years after nylon was invented.
Ahhh, OK, there's the disconnect! For you, God is in there fiddling with the mutations that occur so that our bacteria can adapt to it's new environment.

Well wow and double wow. I mean, where did you ever come up with that? How can you just make up stuff that is so completely at odds with everything I said? Are you that desperate to have me say what you think a 'creationist' would say?

This leads me to ask you if you consider God to be completely incompetent?  Because I don't see any other justification for all of the other mutations that are observed in the experiment, but which don't aid in the task of adapting to the environment, if it's God that's responable. Remember the "silent" point mutations that were observed?

I mean, how hard is this? I responded to another poster's misunderstanding of what I wrote, I clarified that the mutations are random. The organism turns up mutations somehow, in what is probably a random search for solutions. Faced with certain stressors, it turns up mutations in certain areas of the genome,  and when a solution is found, turns it off again.


Anyway, heading towards a more reductionist view (it seems) how would Planck and Classical Quantum (Gauge Field) be divided into smaller microstats?
could you clarify your question?


You ask for my scientific arguments for ID, and you insist that unless the game is played on your terms, I can be dismissed. But I have answered you by telling what books and papers I have read, and said I find their arguments tenable. I also said I find the arguments about information buildup and IC particularly strong. For you to dismiss Denton's arguments in Nature's Destiny and Crisis as unscientific is idiotic. If all you guys can come up with is that the counterarguments to evolution are not science, then you really are playing games.
I am VERY dismayed by the level of hatred expressed by most of the posters here. I was going to use the word hostility, but it isn't adequate. You have quite convined me that you are fundamentalists. Numbers of comments show that the poster considers it just fine to dismiss other human beings based upon their prejudice, and that they do not deserve civil treatment. This means that you are unable to hear what they say, and the constant assumptions and misunderstandings of my many plain statements mean that my words are just piss in the wind here. There is little point in talking to people who can't listen. And I do want to emphasize the word 'can't.'

You guys seriously believe that those who don't agree with you are dishonest, and you use words such as nutters and the insane so that you can keep it up - the ability to completely dismiss other points of view by dehumanizing those who hold them. Please tell me how you are different from an Islamic fundamentalist who wants to engage in Jihad with the infidels. Or the Christian explorers of yore who killed and abused the natives who were, after all, destined for ####? And if I had tried to point out to them the error of their ways - could they hear it?

This means you have isolated yourselves in a mental world of your making.

THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE! And I know you can't hear me, can't believe me, can't examine yourselves.

I don't have any hope that more than a slight amount of real progress can be had in a discussion like this. People are not going to change, generally, but what does interest me is the patterns I see in human beings, and how it matters little what position you take, but that the content of your character determines how you behave within that position.

Just look at this:

Creationists are every single one to the last drop COMPLETELY AND UTERLY INSANE and are no different to the 9/11 bombers...they believe the biggest lie ever told.

Anyone who thinks that being polite to a Theofacist will stop them, is living in fantasy land.

I am shocked, and even frightened by this level of hatred. There is nothing to which such a person would not stoop. This is the seed of violence. k.e. has given us a picture of his inner world, and it is not a decent place. k.e. apparently believes that if you believe in God you are a theofascist. That would include Wesley, apparently. And if that is not what he believes, then he has some nerve calling me a theofascist. If anyone would call me a theofascist then they have not seen a word I have said, and have made up an opinion out of pure fantasy. I don't appreciate it, it is cetainly dishonest, and it indicates a mind that is so tied up with preconceptions that you just can't get into it's smooth, billard ball surface.

I don't mind the F word near as much as this, and I would overlook some of Lenny's nastiness if what he had to say contained any substance. It doesn't. His posts are downright silly.

But generally, it is hard to overlook nastiness, because it is draining. I don't live that way. It's like if you had some relative who asked you to take her in during some crisis, and she pulls her world into your life. Her ex-husband comes and knocks her around, there are fights and screaming, glasses get thrown, police arrive. Drug dealing boyfriends spend the night, she drinks and gets into fights and cries, etc, etc. I just wouldn't want something like that in my house.

I find it best to distance myself from people who don't know how else to live but in extremes of useless emotion.

The level of emotionality expressed here is way beyond what it should be.

Date: 2007/02/02 18:37:31, Link
Author: avocationist

My theory of intelligent design checklist goes:

1. How old is the Earth?
2. Did all species:
 b. All descended from a smaller number of species(ie kinds) (goto 3)
 c. All descended from a common ancestor(goto 5)

3. If the earth is old, how does special creation better explain the nested heirachies found in nature than the idea that species evolved from a common ancestor with guidance from an intelligent designer.(goto 5)

4. If the Earth is young, how did a small number of species evolve into all those that currently exist in a few thousand years (taking into account extinct fossil species).(goto 12)

5. Assumiung some evolution took place did the designer:
 a. Act periodically to add information
 b. Set life off with all the information already contained in the genomes

6. If information was 'frontloaded' into genomes what did it look like in ancient organisms before it was used, and how did it avoid being degraded by mutation

7. What triggered the release of new information

8. What mechanism did the organism use to detect the trigger

9. What mechanism did the organism use to activate the new information

10. What evidence shows that these mechanisms have been in operation

11. If theses mechanisms are unknown what experiments could be performed to determine them?(goto 13)

12. Assuming the desinger intervened to input new information how could this be tested scientifically? Assume that the theory of evolution and common descent have been disproven.

13. Assuming the theory of evolution has been disproven, what discoveries could falsify your mechanisms, idea of common descent, and age of the earth.

You can assume for all of these questions that the theory of evolution has been disproven.

There may be more quesitons, but you need answers to all of them before you can claim there is a theory of ID, let alone that it is better than the theory of evolution.

Plenty of good questions. Where I disagree with you is that they have to be answered before anyone can approach origins with other than mindless chance as the assumption. It is no more logical, in the face of our ignorance, to have a preset notion of mindlessness at the bottom of reality, than mind. All other things being equal. But are they equal. And that is the question. What I can say, in regard to your several questions, is to repeat that trying to decode life, what it is and how it works, and it's history, turns out to be a really hard, and really big and deep question. Slamming and sneering because one faction has used more imagination to cement together a coherent-appearing theory just slows things down. Better to hang loose and not be motivated by inner feelings of threat. Whatever will be will be, whatever is true is true.

For all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

But hey, Davison and others have made some attempt at getting started on a few of them.

Again, I don't disbelieve in evolution, just don't think it happened in an NDE way. That is why I say life unfolded.

Date: 2007/02/03 18:46:51, Link
Author: avocationist
Hello Steve's Sibling Mike,

Things are quite confusing so I'll have to try to clarify a bit. You say that "the experimenters created an environment where a bug that produced the first product of nylon digestion would thrive (they called this bug PAO5501) whereas the PAO1 bug would starve."
So this means that it was done in such a way that there was an artifically created survival island. What conditions could that have been? What did the bugs eat ? Then, "The experimenters then took this PAO5501 bug and placed it into an environment that only a bug that produced the second product of nylon digestion would thrive."  Hmmm...but Spetner is talking about the probability of whichever bug that survives on nylon that he was aware of. If there is a newer set - I do not know how much it does or does not relate to his older set.

Yes, I know 5501 had the first enzyme mutation. What I am wondering is what did that allow it to do so that  it to survived and generated the next level of mutation?

It sounds like they knew what they were going for in advance? And perhaps that is because they were trying to recreate earlier nylon eating bugs? So if they created them stepwise, then it is already a bit intelligently designed, no?

I explained clearly in the last post WHY it was a bit disingenuous because of the detailed analysis of comparitive experiments whose results speak directly to this experiment. THIS is why you can't just say "Their guessing so it's no good".  You have to show WHY the guess is no good by investigating the past precedence evidence and find flaws in reasoning or judgement to "break" the links of the present experimental conclusions with any supporting evidence.  This is not meant to be onerous to the challanger but a necessary step to have any factual or logical basis to challange the experimental conclusions.
But what did they guess? What I saw in the article was that they stated they didn't really know how it happened, except that it was the result of stress, with which I agree. And I never said their guess was no good, I simply said we don't understand the mechanisms by which bugs seem to come up with just what they need when they need it.
Spetner never referenced (so I suspect was not aware) this experiment.  If Spetner saw the experimental results then what he claimed (his calculation of a small probability of two alterations) would require a bit of rework in the mathematical assumptions.  Because the process happened from scratch (pure PAO1 bug) in three months.  I know I wouldn't carry on with my improbability claims if someone showed me what I was claiming had actually occurred in three months.
So it appears that Spetner was talking about an earlier experiment, not this one. But your emphasis that it happened in a very short time only decreases the probabilities. Spetner isn't doubting that it happens, what he is doubting is that it is a process with no direction. He thinks random processes would not just happen to come up with such focused mutations at the right time.
I had told you that there are TWO different bugs already identified before this experiment.
Now I thought you said they had to create the first one.  
As I stated above, the experiment laid out a supporting basis of findings to support the stated conclusions.  Spetner doesn't deal with the supporting evidence at all.
 What conclusions does Spetner disagree with?

And it also seems that Spetner is being a bit hypocritical by "ignoring" enzyme1 development (while then calling it improbable) while at the same time criticising an experiment because "50 tests were not enough so they ignored some other capability.

This is the bit which confused me before. Spetner's point about the two separate mutations is that it is even more unlikely to have two lucky chances occur than one. What's the 50 experiments comment about?

I would say that the mutation rate is increased  when the bug finds itself in a starvation condition.

Yes, but other conditions cause it, too, or we wouldn't have antibiotic resistance.

Yes, I should look for some reference on this, although I generally have a hard time finding what I'm looking for. I guess I have lousy googling skills as well.


do you know what projection means?

Yes, I do, and I find it a particularly useful concept. Projection is what k.e. did in his shocking post, and that is why I said we had gotten a picture of his inner world.

Or, maybe he is right and I am an insane theofascist who must be stopped.


You do love to talk over my head. I never said that science would accept other dimensions without proof, or at least clues to their existence. I merely mentioned other dimensions for reasons I have long since forgotten, and got a response from somebody, as though it were a silly or magical idea. And my point was that IF there are other dimensions, they will be just as real and just as much part of our reality as the three or four we currently approve of. And they came back with the problem that we can't see them. So then my point was, don't let that be such a barrier, in light of what we have already discovered that was unseen or dreamt of a mere 2 or 3 or so hundred years ago.

As to whether there is anything smaller than quanta, I am not sure. A quanta is the smallest unit of energy? If it is the smallest unit, then by definition there is nothing smaller. Where do the proposed strings fit into this picture? By the way, the book I mentioned reading is called Beyond The Big Bang.

At any rate, I'm perpelxed by your last post (in English, that is). I didn't know about a Biblical ID model. I guess there could be one. But why did you post it? If I would look for ancient wisdom as regards cosmology or human history,  I'd probably look at Hindu sources.

I find the Biblical Genesis creation mythos rather nice, and reasonably compatible with science, and open to many different possible interpretations.

OK, Cedric, I'll give your question a try. But I don't even know how a scientific model is properly presented, so I'll go to wiki or something. As to whether ID has one, I don't know. As to whether ID is a theory or just an inference, I don't know. Probably I should know, since I am sure I've seen it discussed. But I don't find that question all that important.


You ask how I can explain why the process listed above isn't sufficient. First off, there is no process listed above, except that that author of that quote (and I have stressed this twice now that it wasn't me) believes that further mutations could accomplish an IC system. An unspecified IC system. So somebody says that he sees no reason why more mutations couldn't accomplish an IC system.

So what you are asking is why don't I think the mechanism of NDE, which is really random mutation, isn't sufficient. I hope you realize it's a pretty big question.

Of course, finding it insufficient, I then have to wonder - so what the heck did happen? Wouldn't we all like to know.

Let me point out that the scepticism over NDE isn't that small adjustments like that don't happen, but that they can lead to new body plans, or IC systems.

Yep. 100,000 years is certainly less than 200,000 years. Wonder why the quoted material omitted the actual dates being compared?

So do the evolutionists have a theory to account for this oddity? And please don't let this comment be mistaken for my subscribing to a Noah's ark history of the human race. I'm just wonderin'.

Date: 2007/02/03 18:57:19, Link
Author: avocationist
Oh, wait, I missed this.

Characteristics of a Successful ID Model

1. The intelligent Designer is identified
2. The model is detailed
3. The model can be refined
4. The model is testable and falsifiable
5. The model can make predictions

Is this what I should use?

Date: 2007/02/04 15:33:01, Link
Author: avocationist

The Biblical site you quote seems to be saying they are superior to ID in that they have a more detailed presentation. Well, sure they do, since they have revealed text to go on. In a similar way, NDE, which I see as the other side of the coin to Biblical creationism - has a more complete theory - not much evidence to prove it but a nice, detailed theory. Lots of times I see the objection that someone or other wants to believe one theory over another because it has a fuller explanation. Never mind whether it holds water. But few have the intestinal fortitude to maintain the "I don't know" position when appropriate. This is one reason I find ID the most rational and scientific of the three competitors. They work with what they've got, not their imagination.


What is below or beneath quanta and planck?

I seem to remember when reading up a bit on string theory and quantum mechanics the use of the term subquantum, and that planck length was a sort of natural behavioral divide, and much talk of quantum weirdness. Since string theory proposes tiny dimensions, it occured to me that the onset of quantum weirdness might signal entry into a smaller dimension, and perhaps planck length is where it begins.
The author is La Violette.


No, I've never been in a position to present a scientific model. and no, I don't need endless links to a lot of technical papers. I rather prefer to read the ideas as summarized by the experts on both sides, and see what each side has to say to the other. Now, if you have some particular point from a particular paper, cut and paste it.

And may I remind you and others that I did not come here to convince you of ID or any other particular agenda. I came to the Uncommonly Dense thread, in which there is the occasional good point dispersed with utter inanity as though you were boasting about how impervious you (plural) can be no matter the evidence - in a spirit of friendliness to let you know I disagree with the moderation policy of UD. Which I am beginning to rethink. At which point the hungry jackals here began to accost me with questions about how in the world I can walk and chew gum and ascribe to ID. So I try to answer and am told that I am dishonest and horribly disrespectful for daring to disagree with certain experts. Such appeals for submission to authority only increase the dismality of this whole thread.

From a ToE perspective, speciation is just two populations that are reproductively seperated accumulating mutations up to the point where the two populations can no longer interbreed - at which point you have a new species.
Yes, but have you noticed how undetailed that is? Have you read any of the objections to it? Where have we ever seen any interesting new incipient species arising these past few thousand years?  I conservatively estimate 4 new species a year. And I don't mean species like fruit flies that can't be told apart or mice that may or may not still breed with each other.  


You are aware of course that major changes can be caused to a "body plan" by simple one off mutations, aren't you?
Yeah, there was that pro-evolution film that Disco Institute was in an uproar about two years ago or so. How come all the evidence that they could come up with was a fruit fly with disability? How come all the human efforts at causing mutation couldn't come up with anything interesting or useful or different?

but once the base change to the body plan has been obtained, I'm hopeful that you would agree that standard evolution could add in incremental functionality bit by bit.
No I am not able to agree because there isn't any evidence for it, and what NDE has to say about that is that we can't watch it. So evidence is forever lost. The amount of rewiring and restructuring that would have to go on to add each and every new body part is staggering. Highly coordinated. Unknown vast number of changes to the DNA. And maybe not only DNA but epigenetic factors we are only now slowly becoming aware of. I believe I atually have a copy of Meyer's paper somewhere on this.

As for IC, what can I say but bah humbug.  This canard has been refuted so many times that I don't understand how it can still be getting discussed.

Really? Now that is news. I'd like to see just one.

Basically, imagine the following hypothetical:  There is a function performed by a cell-level machine, and this machine requires 20 separate components.  Through mutation the cellulaire machine acquires a new capability which is far more advantageous than the capability of the old machine - the organism can eat a wider range of foods for example.

But the thing is, all of those parts that were there for the original function just aren't needed for the new function, which only needs 13 parts to be functional.  So those unneeded are quietly dropped by evolution, one by one, inthe interest of efficiency (the energy used to build unneeded machine parts could be used elsewhere).  Eventually, we arrive at a point where only the needed 13 parts are left in the machine.

Ha! I've got your number! You're actually on my side! You are posing as anti-ID but you're really kidding, right? In case you're, surely you jest.

So that means that the explanation of the flagellum with it's 40 proteins and several interrelated parts is that it is a degeneration from a BIGGER machine with pehaps 50 or 60 parts, and that explains how it got here!! Neat.

To invalidate evolution, you would actually have to show that there is no step by step evolutionary pathway to arrive at the IC system.  No-one has ever successfully been able to do this.
Contrariwise, it would be necessary in order to pose that no need for any intelligent input into manifestly complex systems is required, to show how such a step-by-step pathway could happen.

You may like to ask yourself why ID researchers aren't actively trying to nail down such a system.  It's an obvious avenue of research, and as a bonus, it would actually be scientific refutation of the theory of evolution.  But, despite having had this flaw in IC explained to them over and over again, they haven't even changed from IC to "Non-incremental pathways".  Apparently even the ID movement itself doesn't take IC seriously enough to bother researching it.  I suggest you do the same and throw IC out the window as an idea.
Of course they have attempted this very thing to their utmost, but I don't think it is considered possible to prove a negative. It is possible to show that it is logically indefensible to rely on something with so little probability, and that not just once here or there, but thousands and millions of times in the course of evolution.

Date: 2007/02/04 16:12:55, Link
Author: avocationist

Yes, most experiments tend to have a conclusion in mind.  So why carry out the experiment in the first place?  Hmmmm...
Yes, of course I realize they were trying to induce mutations to allow the bug to eat nylon. My surprise was that they seemed to know about the need for the first enzyme mutation, and they artificially supported the two tier process to providing food for the middle step, indicating that they didn't expect success if they simply put the bug on the nylon. No doubt, in the original strain at the factory dump, the fact that there were multiple substrates available, took care of the problem. Nonetheless, in order to recreate it, they did indeed engage in some human assistance, intelligently applied.

So it appears that Spetner was talking about an earlier experiment, not this one. But your emphasis that it happened in a very short time only decreases the probabilities.
How?  Show me the math.  Otherwise your handwaving here.
Speaking of things which are obvious...I don't know how to calculate probabilities, but that won't be necessary. Let's say you need a mutation, and your chances of hitting it are one in a thousand. Would you be more likely to be successful if you have 3 months or three years?

Spetner is correct in saying that a nylon eating bug that eats nylon strands in your car needs both mutations to survive BUT HE IS INCORRECT IN RELATING THAT POINT BACK TO THE SOUP WHERE THE BUGS WERE ORIGINALLY FOUND.  He has no clue about how the first mutation for enzyme1 interacted with all the messy intermediaries in the chemical ooze.
OK, but is he wrong that the two mutations occured? His calculations involve the full thirty years of time. His point was merely that two separate mutations events were required.

The two original bugs are referenced.  They started with a bug called PAO1 that had no nylon eating characteristics at all.
Yeah, I stated that wrong. When I said first, I meant 5501, the first of the mutant strains.

Luck plays no part in THIS game.
So it's a determined process?

But the expermenters didn't consider the mechanism your referring to as relevant...
I choose a) but who knows.  c) has a certain allure, and who can "trust" the Japanese after WWII anyway.

Point being, there begins to be some interesting things turning up about how these one-celled organisms deal with various stressors, that they seem to have yet another confoundingly organized and convenient way of knowing when and how to solve problems by altering their genomes in a controlled way. I do realize that antibiotics were not a factor in this particular experiment.

It's not only that the ceaseless hostility is hard to take and takes the fun out, but worse, it lets me know that I am not in a rational environment.

1)  What part of the experimental results (NOTE: not the expermenters conclusions) were the result of intelligence/intelligent design/purposeful direction/etc...?

The part where they set up the parameters of the experiment itself and the part where they carefully supported the first mutants so they would not die until they became the second mutants. And perhaps also, the one-celled organisms themselves, and their ability to direct mutations uncannily at the right time.

2)  What is the estimated probability (rough WAG) of this experimental result being repeated by another lab?

I'd say it is extremely high.

3)  Could another experiment use a totally different starting bug and still end up with a nylon eating bug at the end?
I have no idea but I can only suppose that at least several could do it. There must be reasons why some organisms are closer to that talent than others.

Date: 2007/02/04 16:58:21, Link
Author: avocationist

1. The intelligent Designer is identified

This has been beaten to death so many times and I just can't believe it still gets bandied about. No, naming the designer is not necessary to the design inference. ID is the science of design detection. That's it. ID proposes that certain features of the universe and biota are indicitive of intelligent causation. A complete worldview it is not. A solution to your existential angst it is not. At least not at this time. The reason this particular webiste boasts naming the designer is because they are annoyed with ID for stepping outside of circular reasoning, i.e., sticking to what they know.

2. The model is detailed
Certainly the paragraph presented to me at the end of Darwin's book was quite undetailed. He said the natural variation would be acted upon by natural laws to produce all the life forms. Denton, too, thinks the whole cosmos is governed by natural laws which operate evolutionarily. I tend to gravitate toward this idea too.

3. The model can be refined

I think it will be. Our knowledge right now is just too low. Of course, that supposes that ID, which is the SCIENCE OF DESIGN DETECTION AND THAT'S IT will be expanded upon or indeed become just one pillar of a larger theorem about origins. Over at sites like Uncommon Descent and Telic Thoughts, which you guys are too defended to read objectively, I see them combing the literature constantly and finding new ideas, researches and factos ripe for furtheration.

4. The model is testable and falsifiable.

People are constantly claiming it has been refuted. ID, IC and all the rest. Now tell me how Darwinism is testable and falsifiable.

5. The model can make predictions

Like I said, I have seen numerous comments at UD (I never claimed I was a person qualified or even particularly good at defending ID) in response to news items that this or that would make a good lead for research, or that certain research might be more fruitful with an ID bias. I've also seen several people propose their personal predictions. Here's some stuff I rooted around on google for:

(1) High information content machine-like irreducibly complex structures will be found.
(2) Forms will be found in the fossil record that appear suddenly and without any precursors.
(3) Genes and functional parts will be re-used in different unrelated organisms.
(4) The genetic code will NOT contain much discarded genetic baggage code or functionless "junk DNA"

Behe predicts that scientists will not uncover a continuously functional Darwinian pathway from a simple precursor to the bacterial flagellum and, moreover, any detailed evolutionary pathway that is articulated will presuppose other irreducibly complex systems. How does one test and discredit Behe’s claims? Describe a realistic, continuously functional Darwinian pathway from simple ancestor to present motor.

My personal prediction is that epigentics and evo devo will prove that there are barriers between species; if those barriers are passable at all it will not be via undirected mutation.

Testability as well covers confirmation, predictability, and explanatory power. At the heart of testability is the idea that our scientific theories must make contact with and be sensitive to what's happening in nature. What's happening in nature must be able to affect our scientific theories not only in form and content but also in the degree of credence we attach to or withhold from them. For a theory to be immune to evidence from nature is a sure sign that we're not dealing with a scientific theory.


Is intelligent design falsifiable? Is Darwinism falsifiable? Yes to the first question, no to the second. Intelligent design is eminently falsifiable. Specified complexity in general and irreducible complexity in biology are within the theory of intelligent design the key markers of intelligent agency. If it could be shown that biological systems like the bacterial flagellum that are wonderfully complex, elegant, and integrated could have been formed by a gradual Darwinian process (which by definition is non-telic), then intelligent design would be falsified on the general grounds that one doesn't invoke intelligent causes when purely natural causes will do. In that case Occam's razor finishes off intelligent design quite nicely.

On the other hand, falsifying Darwinism seems effectively impossible. To do so one must show that no conceivable Darwinian pathway could have led to a given biological structure. What's more, Darwinists are apt to retreat into the murk of historical contingency to shore up their theory. For instance, Allen Orr in his critique of Behe's work shortly after Darwin's Black Box appeared remarked, "We have no guarantee that we can reconstruct the history of a biochemical pathway." What he conceded with one hand, however, he was quick to retract with the other. He added, "But even if we can't, its irreducible complexity cannot count against its gradual evolution."

The fact is that for complex systems like the bacterial flagellum no biologist has or is anywhere close to reconstructing its history in Darwinian terms. Is Darwinian theory therefore falsified? Hardly. I have yet to witness one committed Darwinist concede that any feature of nature might even in principle provide countervailing evidence to Darwinism. In place of such a concession one is instead always treated to an admission of ignorance. Thus it's not that Darwinism has been falsified or disconfirmed, but that we simply don't know enough about the biological system in question and its historical context to determine how the Darwinian mechanism might have produced it.
The fact is that for complex systems like the bacterial flagellum no biologist has or is anywhere close to reconstructing its history in Darwinian terms. Is Darwinian theory therefore falsified? Hardly. I have yet to witness one committed Darwinist concede that any feature of nature might even in principle provide countervailing evidence to Darwinism.
What about positive evidence for intelligent design and Darwinism? From the design theorist's perspective,...It is a huge leap going from insects developing insecticide resistance via the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random variation to the very emergence of insects in the first place by that same mechanism.

Yes, there is positive evidence for Darwinism, but the strength and relevance of that evidence on behalf of large-scale evolution is very much under dispute,

Interestingly, the biological community regularly sings the praises of natural selection and the wonders it has wrought while admitting that it has no comprehension of how those wonders were wrought.

The only reason to insist on looking for non-telic explanations to explain the complex specified structures in biology is because of prior commitment to naturalism that perforce excludes unembodied designers. It is illegitimate, scientifically and rationally, to claim on a priori grounds that such entities do not exist, or if they do exist that they can have no conceivable relevance to what happens in the world. Do such entities exist? Can they have empirical consequences? Are they relevant to what happens in the world? Such questions cannot be prejudged except on metaphysical grounds. To prejudge these questions the way Eugenie Scott does is therefore to make certain metaphysical commitments about what there is and what has the capacity to influence events in the world. Such commitments are utterly gratuitous to the practice of science. Specified complexity confirms design regardless whether the designer responsible for it is embodied or unembodied.

Darwin's theory has virtually no predictive power. Insofar as it offers predictions, they are either extremely general, concerning the broad sweep of natural history and in that respect quite questionable (Why else would Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge need to introduce punctuated equilibria if the fossil record were such an overwhelming vindication of Darwinism?); and when the predictions are not extremely general they are extremely specific and picayune, dealing with small-scale adaptive changes. Newton was able to predict the path that a planet traces out. Darwin's disciples can neither predict nor retrodict the pathways that organisms trace out in the course of natural history.

Demski concedes predictability: (But would he do so today? I think he made a mistake here. He considered predictability as describing what a designer would do, but not in the sense of what we should find if ID is true, as in the several predictions above.)

But what about the predictive power of intelligent design? To require prediction fundamentally misconstrues design. To require prediction of design is to put design in the same boat as natural laws, locating their explanatory power in an extrapolation from past experience. This is to commit a category mistake. To be sure, designers, like natural laws, can behave predictably (designers often institute policies that end up being rigidly obeyed). Yet unlike natural laws, which are universal and uniform, designers are also innovators. Innovation, the emergence to true novelty, eschews predictability. Designers are inventors. We cannot predict what an inventor would do short of becoming that inventor. Intelligent design offers a radically different problematic for science than a mechanistic science wedded solely to undirected natural causes. Yes, intelligent design concedes predictability. But this represents no concession to Darwinism, for which the minimal predictive power that it has can readily be assimilated to a design-theoretic framework.

Date: 2007/02/04 21:14:50, Link
Author: avocationist

Please keep in mind that if you cite mathematical arguments against evolutionary mechanisms, you must show both the assumptions and the derivations behind the calculations. It's not enough to say, "Well, Spetner claims that this change is very unlikely" unless we know how Spetner calculated the probability. This is particularly important when someone shows an experimental result that achieves what Spetner says is very unlikely, as Mike PSS has done. According to Spetner, evolution of the second enzyme would be nearly impossible under a three month period unless Something was guiding the mutation process, yet the second enzyme was produced by tweaking the selective environment, and not tweaking the response to that environment. The scientists did not guide the bacteria's response to that environment. This suggests that at least one of Spetner's assumptions is very flawed.
In this case I was not discussing the specifics of Spetner's calculations, but made the point that more than one mutation being necessary to the digestion of nylon made the mutation pathway less likely to be successful. Although it now appears that Spetner was not discussing the same case of nylonase development, and that may be somewhat pertinent, I don't know that Spetner said it was unlikely in that it indeed happened. Rather, he says it is unlikely to have been a truly random process. Again, that the one Spetner seems to have been discussing took perhapas 30 years, and this 3 months, does not make NDE look more likely, but directed mutation more likely.  No one said the sicentists guided the actual mutations, but they did in this case strongly assist in the two step process by specifically supporting the 5501 group with food, perhaps in a semistarved state so that they still had motive to search for the ability to digest the nylon as well.

Here are some more thoughts and/or articles on directed mutation.

Johnny B on the nylon bug:
“The proteins used to metabolize different compounds have been shown to come about by simple frame shifts”. Frame shifts of what? Do any frameshifts work? No. Does it have to be of specific existing enzymes? Yes. Is the bacteria frameshifting every gene in its genome? No. This is clearly an assisted, not blind, search. Thus, teleology enters the picture.
A couple of articles:

Genetica. 1999;107(1-3):181-7. Related Articles, Links
   Click here to read
   Transposable elements as activators of cryptic genes in E. coli.

   Hall BG.

   Biology Department, University of Rochester, NY 14627, USA.

   The concept of transposable elements (TEs) as purely selfish elements is being challenged as we have begun to appreciate the extent to which TEs contribute to allelic diversity, genome building, etc. Despite these long-term evolutionary contributions, there are few examples of TEs that make a direct, positive contribution to adaptive fitness. In E. coli cryptic (silent) catabolic operons can be activated by small TEs called insertion sequences (IS elements). Not only do IS elements make a direct contribution to fitness by activating cryptic operons, they do so in a regulated manner, transposing at a higher rate in starving cells than in growing cells. In at least one case, IS elements activate an operon during starvation only if the substrate for that operon is present in the environment. It appears that E. coli has managed to take advantage of IS elements for its own benefit.

A Biochemical Mechanism for Nonrandom Mutations and Evolution
Barbara E. Wright*

Division of Biological Sciences, The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana


As this minireview is concerned with the importance of the environment in directing evolution, it is appropriate to remember that Lamarck was the first to clearly articulate a consistent theory of gradual evolution from the simplest of species to the most complex, culminating in the origin of mankind (71). He published his remarkable and courageous theory in 1809, the year of Darwin's birth. Unfortunately, Lamarck's major contributions have been overshadowed by his views on the inheritance of acquired characters. In fact, Darwin shared some of these same views, and even Weismann (106), the father of neo-Darwinism, decided late in his career that directed variation must be invoked to understand some phenomena, as random variation and selection alone are not a sufficient explanation (71). This minireview will describe mechanisms of mutation that are not random and can accelerate the process of evolution in specific directions. The existence of such mechanisms has been predicted by mathematicians (6) who argue that, if every mutation were really random and had to be tested against the environment for selection or rejection, there would not have been enough time to evolve the extremely complex biochemical networks and regulatory mechanisms found in organisms today. Dobzhansky (21) expressed similar views by stating "The most serious objection to the modern theory of evolution is that since mutations occur by `chance' and are undirected, it is difficult to see how mutation and selection can add up to the formation of such beautifully balanced organs as, for example, the human eye."

The most primitive kinds of cells, called progenotes by Woese (108), were undoubtedly very simple biochemically with only a few central anabolic and catabolic pathways. Wächterhäuser (103) theorizes that the earliest metabolic pathway was a reductive citric acid cycle by which carbon fixation occurred (64). At that point in time, some four billion years ago, how did the additional, more complex metabolic pathways found in even the simplest prokaryotes evolve? For that matter, how are they evolving today? As pointed out by Oparin (79), it is inconceivable that a self-reproducing unit as complicated as a nucleoprotein could suddenly arise by chance; a period of evolution through the natural selection of organic substances of ever-increasing degrees of complexity must intervene. Horowitz (40) suggests a plausible scheme by which biosynthetic pathways can evolve from the successive depletion and interconversion of related metabolites in a primitive environment, as the rich supply of organic molecules is consumed by a burgeoning population of heterotrophs. Thus, a possible scenario begins with the starvation of a self-replicating unit for its precursor, metabolite A, utilized by enzyme 1 encoded by gene 1. When metabolite A is depleted, a mutation in a copy of gene 1 gives rise to gene 2 and allows enzyme 2 to use metabolite B by converting it to metabolite A. Then metabolite B is depleted, obtained from metabolite C, and so on, as an increasingly complex biochemical pathway evolves. In fact, there are examples in which a similar series of events can actually be observed in the laboratory, for example, involving enzymes that are "borrowed" from existing pathways, via regulatory mutations, to establish new pathways (75).

The starvation conditions that may initiate a series of events such as those described above target the most relevant genes for increased rates of transcription, which in turn increase rates of mutation (111). Transcriptional activation can result from the addition of a substrate or from the removal of a repressor or an end product inhibitor. The latter mechanism, called derepression, occurs in response to starvation for an essential substrate or for an end product that represses its own synthesis by feedback inhibition. Since evolution usually occurs in response to stress (41), transcriptional activation via derepression is the main focus of this minireview.

Date: 2007/02/04 21:18:46, Link
Author: avocationist

(Are you related?)
I've never read a word he's written.