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Do creationists evolve to be that stupid?

It’s a serious question! I once thought that maybe Douglas Axe was going to be a serious creationist foe for a change: he has a real Ph.D. in chemical engineering, and he seemed to avoid saying the egregiously stupid things all the other creationists say. And then I saw this little clip of Doug Axe digging in his heels and denying reality — he makes a bogus mathematical argument that evolution is impossible, and flatly denies the existence of any transitional forms — and I got to wondering. Was he always this stupid and I didn’t know it because he kept his mouth mostly shut, or did he gradually become increasingly idiotic as he hung out with IDiots?

He doesn’t believe in change, which would suggest that he’s always been this way. On the other hand, he does believe in Intelligent Design creationism, so maybe he was guided towards stupidity. But then, if he believes purposeful design can shape organisms, why is he denying the existence of transitional forms?

Ah, screw it. I’m just writing him off…another creationist reveals the root ignorance of their position.

Comments

  1. docsarvis says

    “Any transition of form is pure fantasy.”

    Wow. The denial is strong in that one.

  2. says

    The problem with them isn’t their level of intelligence, but their vile nature. I know lots of people with below average intelligence who aren’t actively making the world a worse place.

  3. says

    Peer pressure. Creationists can’t fight peer pressure. If they give science too much credence, they get grief from their more benighted fellow creationists. Hence they must embrace the creationist creed ever more closely. Denial of transitional forms is one tenet of the creed and no creationist can be forgiven for failing to declare their nonexistence. Axe is merely learning to conform.

  4. says

    … he has a real Ph.D. in chemical engineering

    I don’t see why this should lend itself to Axe being able to think critically. Or at all, really.

    Look, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had arguments with my mechanical engineer dad about the effectiveness of “alt-med” (supplements, accupuncture, “healing touch”, you name it). “Engineer” does not necessarily equal smart, well researched, or skeptical.

  5. busterggi says

    Its not just stupidity, if it were people could be educated out of it. Its deliberate refusal to accept reality.

  6. Nothing says

    You all seem to ignore the possibility that the fellow in question is fully aware of reality and his own fallacies, but that he also might have an agenda and money to make out of his “creationism”.

  7. Blattafrax says

    he has a real Ph.D. in chemical engineering

    It’s a “protein engineering” Ph.D., from Alan Fersht’s lab (that’s a very big name in the field) at Cambridge University. Some say Fersht was embarrassed at the eventual destination of his offspring.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    “Engineer” does not necessarily equal smart, well researched, or skeptical.

    Neither does “scientist”. Or “doctor”. Or any other qualification or title, for that matter.

    (Full disclosure: non-PhD chartered chemical engineer here.)

  9. peggin says

    Every time a creationist opens his/her mouth, I think of that Luke Wilson movie Idiocracy. Not a great movie, or really even a good one, but if the creationists have their way, that’s the world we’re headed towards.

  10. bortedwards says

    Waaaaa?! I recall somewhere that lab bacteria have evolved beneficial/adaptive mutations within time frames of months (sorry, refs not to hand). How do 8 ‘changes’ take longer than the history of the universe?! Even the lottery fallacy doesn’t begin to cover that mathematical self deception. He’s not getting anywhere near MY tax return!
    Ps, clearly they don’t believe that backing music has evolved since the 1980s either!

  11. raven says

    How do 8 ‘changes’ take longer than the history of the universe?!

    IIRC, he is assuming they all happen at once or something.

    It’s a factually wrong statement anyway.

    There are malaria parasites resistant to a common two drug combination that arose in a matter of a few years. This requires 5 separate mutations.

    Any human is born with 100 new mutations not found in either parent. We know this by direct DNA sequencing as well as by other less direct data.

  12. says

    Their “standard of excellence” has to do with a a priori beliefs, not intelligent discovery.

    When that’s the standard, it always comes out stupid. Varying degrees of incorporation of intelligent conclusions are possible (Behe includes much that’s good, but there’s no more ID reason for that than there is any against Hovind’s stupidity), but unintelligent conclusions are always required as well.

    However they get there, they simply must come to a stupid conclusion. The paths they take are no doubt various, yet almost certainly as dull as their “science.”

    Glen Davidson

  13. knut7777 says

    I think the issue is this: stupidity is insufficiently punished in our society. In some circles it is even a badge of admittance.

    If only the reproductive efficiency of dumb guys were slightly lower than everyone else, the collective IQ would rise, and the embrace of primitive tribal superstition might wane.

    Not advocating eugenics, just noting that the fundagelical states are a drain on the rest of us, and they reproduce with cornucopial fecundity.

  14. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    If he accepts Intelligent Design, and thinks that humans were guided to our present perfection by a superbeing, and, at the same time, claims there are no transitional forms, doesn’t this, er. Hmm.

    Nope.

    Still fucked up.

  15. raven says

    If he accepts Intelligent Design, and thinks that humans were guided to our present perfection by a superbeing, and, at the same time, claims there are no transitional forms, doesn’t this, er. Hmm

    There is no Intelligent Design theory.

    It’s just another word for creationism.

    You are more referring to theological evolution anyway. God is behind the curtain, changing germ line DNA bases to make it look like evolution is occurring. The Wizard of OZ or Howdy Dooty version of god.

    In some versions of ID, god poofs new species into existence when no one is looking. That is why there are supposedly no transitional life forms. Presumably he poofs older species out of existence to make room for the new species or makes them go extinct gradually. Or something.

  16. chigau (違わない) says

    Hey!
    There are ‘new’ species ‘discovered’ almost every day!
    Where are they coming from?
    Huh?
    Huh?
    Take that Darwinistianites!

  17. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    In some versions of ID, god poofs new species into existence when no one is looking. That is why there are supposedly no transitional life forms. Presumably he poofs older species out of existence to make room for the new species or makes them go extinct gradually. Or something.

    Thanks. I was conflating idiocies.

    In my defense, I dealt with Mormon missionaries this morning and they stole part of my thinking thingie.

  18. Pteryxx says

    Not advocating eugenics, just noting that the fundagelical states are a drain on the rest of us, and they reproduce with cornucopial fecundity.

    Yeaaaah, there are non-genetic reasons for that: lack of education, and lack of sex education. (Along with economic and policy correlates.) Stupid isn’t an inherent characteristic… it’s been carefully cultivated.

  19. Abdul Alhazred says

    Although it is quite common in liberal Christian circles to believe that God somehow tweaked evolution along in His desired direction, this is never really the position of professional “intelligent design” enthusiasts.

    As a practical matter “intelligent design” invariably has something to do with the universe being just a little bit older that the invention of writing.

  20. unclefrogy says

    the concept that for me seems to be the one that throws all of the god stories right out the window and requires the most magic to get around is the real age of things. the inability to accecpt fact that things really are that old and we have been here that long requires some of the most absurd ideas I have ever heard to explain away the evidence.

    uncle frogy

  21. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Presumably he poofs older species out of existence to make room for the new species or makes them go extinct gradually. Or something. – raven

    Heresy! God created a perfect world, with a perfect range of animals and plants, so extinction cannot occur – it would make a hole in the “plenum”.

    This was the religious view in the late 18th – early 19th century, when the combination of natural history and paleontology was making it increasingly clear that many fossil animals no longer existed anywhere. Georges Cuvier marshalled the crucial evidence. He, and many others, believed in successive creations: at the end of every geological period, God shook the Etch-a-Sketch and intelligently designed a new lot of creatures.

  22. says

    I wish IDers would make up their minds. I swear it’s like trying to nail a shape-shifting amoeba to the wall. Did God intelligently guide evolution over billions of years, or did he just poof everything into existence 6k years ago? Big difference.

    @Knut7777 (#17): You’re right, the religious do reproduce faster. “Go forth and multiply” and contraceptives are evil, etc. It’s not genetic, but it is hereditary via indoctrination. Tell a child at an impressionable age that they’ll burn in hell if they don’t believe, and they’re as good as brainwashed. That’s one brutally efficient memetic virus.

  23. mudz says

    You know, I believe you could all have avoided being so confused if you weren’t so determined to conflate ID with creationism.

    All you’re doing is confusing yourselves and wasting time.

    In fact, you should be embarrassed. Because if I, a Christian who believes in YEC and the merits of the ID program, can easily distinguish between the two, then it should present no problem for you, since I gather from your comments that you are all intellects of supreme authenticity. So why you are having trouble, I cannot say.

    That said, I thought it’d be fun to go through your comments and respond in general. Sometimes, I get bored. :D

    Intelligent Design – The hypothesis that the apparent design in nature is better explained as a result of actual design, rather than blind forces.

    Creationism – The belief that a supernatural supreme being (i.e God) directly created all original life on earth.

    If you’re still having trouble, just let me know, and I’ll try to clarify again. ID postulates no designer. If you want to think it’s God, aliens or magical noodles it’s completely up to you. :)
    Creationism on the other invokes the supernatural as well as specifies the creator and designer. Based on historical/religious texts, rather than contemporary investigation of the natural world.

    It might be a good idea to look up supersets and subsets at this point, if you are unfamiliar with them.

    You could say that Creationism is a form of ID. But ID is not a form of Creationism.
    So if you still wish to put them together in a label, I would suggest Creationism ID, rather than ID Creationism. It would still be awkward and confusing, since many creationists aren’t subscribers to ID, but it remains your choice.

    ID also is not concerned with the age of the earth, the supernatural, destiny, horoscopes, literacy, or communicating with the dead.

    Extinction. I have no idea how prevalent this objection was, but I’d chalk it up to a failure of imagination, since anyone who read Genesis should have been aware that extinction was quite possible and only narrowly averted for the human race as well.

    “Yeaaaah, there are non-genetic reasons for that: lack of education, and lack of sex education.”

    I discovered video pornography (totally by accident, I swear) and quickly developed my sexual education at the age of roughly 12. In college (high school for americans) I was in the accelerant class. I did this as a regular Kingdom Hall (church) attending Christian who did not believe in evolution (though I also had nothing against it).

    I also was never taught the existence in hell, I was taught it was an illogical construct, and I still largely agree. So I can’t have been indoctrinated by a doctrine I didn’t have.

    Peer pressure. Since 95% of my friends are atheists and agnostics, and I do not attend a kingdom hall or church (I think non-denominational Christian would be most accurate at this point), my beliefs are held against the popular opinion of my peers. So my creationism is counter-peer pressure. In fact, it never occurred to me that Christians (let alone creationists) weren’t a minority. But this is New Zealand, so it’s somewhat different from the U.S.A.

    It’s also silly in light of the fact that creationism represents a choice, a rather unpopular one in academia. If you didn’t want to believe in creationism the choice is easy, be a theistic evolutionist or something. The Catholic Church is supportive of it. There’s really nothing that can force one to attend a religion or hold a belief if they don’t want to. Scientists aren’t generally dragged to work by their families.

    I hope I cleared some things up. I am cautiously optimistic, given the level of reading comprehension evidenced so far. :)

    (I would comment on the video itself, but I regret that my internet cap is not so generous as to let me view it.)

  24. mudz says

    Out of curiosity, in order to be a serious opponent that merits debate, is a creationist forced to agree with the assumption that:

    A) There are fossils that represent transitional evolution.

    B) Abiogenesis, and subsequently Evolution, is statistically valid.

    Why are those necessary requirements? You’re just asking creationists to agree with evolution. That doesn’t seem like a particularly useful debate between creation and evolution.

  25. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You know, I believe you could all have avoided being so confused if you weren’t so determined to conflate ID with creationism.

    ID is creationism. So says Kitzmiller v. Dover. You lose.

    There are fossils that represent transitional evolution.

    All fossils represent transitional evolution. You lose.

    Abiogenesis, and subsequently Evolution, is statistically valid.

    They are, they happened. You lose.

    It’s also silly in light of the fact that creationism represents a choice[presuppositional religious stupidity],

    Fixed that for you. You lose.

  26. says

    You know, I believe you could all have avoided being so confused if you weren’t so determined to conflate ID with creationism.

    ID is creationism, it has at its minimum a creator playing some role in the creation of life. There’s no getting around this problem, both conceptually and historically (ID sprang forth from the ashes of “creation science”).

    If one could distinguish between creationisms, ID would differ in that it’s not trying to reconcile the events in Genesis with the body of scientific knowledge. Rather it remains largely silent on pretty much all claims (there are Young Earth Creationists, Old Earth Creationists, and Theistic Evolutionists who all advocate ID) beyond that an “Intelligent Designer” is the best explanation for certain features of life. ID fits into a different school of theology (sits in with Natural Theology, as opposed to Biblical Inerrancy), but it is still a form of creationism.

  27. says

    Though whether or not ID counts as a creationism doesn’t really matter either way. What matters is whether or not ID is a testable hypothesis, whether or not it has explanatory power, and whether or not it’s able to show itself as a viable research program for scientists. On all three counts it has failed. Hence the real problem with ID is that it’s not a science. Even if it were true that a designer has had a hand in life, ID offers no way of being able explore that possibility scientifically. It’s stuck making the same inference that Paley did 200 years ago. There’s no mechanism to test, there’s no testable predictions, there’s just that design inference coupled with arguments from ignorance that a particular structure could possibly have evolved.

  28. Anri says

    mudz:

    If you’re still having trouble, just let me know, and I’ll try to clarify again. ID postulates no designer. If you want to think it’s God, aliens or magical noodles it’s completely up to you. :)

    Except that, in the real world, when you dig into pretty much any ID’ers beliefs, they just coincidentally turn out to be god.
    Some of them like to dance around the issue by pretending they’re not talking about god when they discuss the ‘designer’, but a small amount of questioning reveals that they essentially always are.

    ID also is not concerned with the age of the earth, the supernatural, destiny, horoscopes, literacy, or communicating with the dead.

    Again, except in the real world, in which there are two primary kinds of ID supporters: those willing to admit their beliefs are religious and those that wish to conceal that fact.

    I also was never taught the existence in hell, I was taught it was an illogical construct, and I still largely agree. So I can’t have been indoctrinated by a doctrine I didn’t have.

    Why is hell a less logical construct than heaven?
    (Am I wrong in assuming you believe in heaven?)
    What does you god do with people who displease him?

    One more thing:

    In fact, it never occurred to me that Christians (let alone creationists) weren’t a minority.

    Perhaps it might be a good time to learn about the world, then.
    Then again, this is Pharyngula, so knowledge is likely incoming with the ease and subtlety of a saturation artillery barrage.

  29. says

    I think what makes ID so attractive is that it’s a way of putting in a creator without really thinking about how it is to make sense of a creator. But it’s important to be able to distinguish between a scientific and a non-scientific idea.

    ID proponents are fond of citing SETI, for example, as a means of being able to detect design. Yet what makes the SETI search viable is that the search is looking for a particular thing that advanced sentient beings may be capable of – using radio communication. This isn’t just detecting a pattern, it’s detecting a pattern based on known mechanisms. We know that it’s possible for life to encode information into waveforms and transmit them (since we’ve been able to do it), and thus we are looking for that signal because it is a sign of intelligence.

    Now what signal are we searching for in life that works in the same way that SETI are looking for a radio signal? A couple of possibilities come from our own species – we have been able to shape life through artificial selection and now genetic modification. These would be possible candidates for scientific theories of design. Yet ID Proponents don’t look for these – there’s no focus on any mechanism at all – the design inference hasn’t advanced beyond Paley 200 years ago.

    In other words, whether or not a designer played a role in life, ID has no proposed way of checking this. It’s a useless conjecture because it doesn’t offer a scientific account of design.

  30. mudz says

    @ Nerd

    1 – So am I supposed to listen to local judges or atheist scientists in defining the english language as well as philosophical logic for me? Judges have also ruled that ID be taught in school curricula as science.

    2 – It believe it’s common courtesy to argue that in the debate, not state it as a priori dogma. That is after all, what this is all about.

    3 – You forgot to specify the presuppositional religious stupidity, since I presume that’s why it’s placed in brackets. I really can’t see what would fit there in one word though, so it seems awkward. Good luck with it, though.

    @ Kel

    I believe that a form of guided evolution is also possible as an ID theory.

    Aren’t there scientists that believe in forms of Panspermia? The only addition you’d need is for the life-seeds to be intelligently designed in order to generate life as we know it. That would make it ID.

    See why using Creation as a synonym of ID just leads to unnecessary confusion? I do appreciate the rhetorical power of it, in making it a religious rather than a scientific offense; but surely clear communication and rational discourse is more important in the long-term?


    “Though whether or not ID counts as a creationism doesn’t really matter either way.”

    I’ll agree to that.

    I must disagree with you with the rest however. Since ID has at least two laboratories, and 50+ peer reviewed papers on ID, I believe it’s established as a viable program. It conforms to all the materialistic standards of contemporary scientific culture.

    And if your objection is that science is simply too narrow to accomodate what could be an absolute fact, then that simply means we should do something about that?

    Considering the fact that we cannot detect gravity, dark matter, alternate universes, or particles time-travelling, we can only infer these things, your objection would destroy all of science that doesn’t immediately give us a Theory of Everything.

    I’m told that scientists love ignorance, because of their love of potential new discovery.

    I won’t go into an extended dissertation of ID here, since you can just look up ID papers yourself. (www.discovery.org)

    But a quick example. If you were an alien, and you came across a human house, a structure it had never seen before, shouldn’t the alien be able to use the scientific method in order to determine at the least whether it was a natural or designed phenomenon?

    And here’s a testable prediction. Life is designed. If it’s proved that it hasn’t (and I haven’t been satisfied as to this), then the prediction fails.

    I also believe ‘Irreducible Complexity’ is another testable prediction, and a relatively simple thing to investigate.

    And I’d say it’s explanatory power would be that it explains why life looks designed, as well as explaining that human life could not be the product of a blind, pitiless confluence of chances. That there is a system of design to life. Already it has allowed IDers to predict that ‘Junk DNA’ was no such thing. I predicted (as well as many others I assume) that the appendix would be found to have a function. And on it goes.

    If we’re designed, then we’re the product of design. It seems that it’s explanatory power would be great indeed, and the most powerful revolution in modern biology possible. Exciting isn’t it? :D

  31. mudz says

    I missed a couple of responses while writing. I’ll squiz over them now.

    – Eternal damnation in hell is illogical, because there is no point to it. It’s just torture without end. The sufferers aren’t learning anything, and they can’t ever expiate their sin.

    A Jewish temporary hell I could believe, since that has a purpose.

    – Heaven is logical because spirits would live in a spiritual environment. And it’s also more logical that God would reward the faithful, than simply eternally damn the wicked. He destroys them instead with the ‘second death’. Just to keep it short.

    – I never found America that interesting before. You never seemed sincere in your praise of God.

    @ Kel

    Actually yes, I’d cite SETI as well. If they find an intelligent race that designed or created us, that would also be vindication of ID. They’re just looking in different places.

  32. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Judges have also ruled that ID be taught in school curricula as science.

    Citations needed, both that ID is a science, and the rulings. Your unevidened OPINION is *POOF*, dismissed as nonsense, as “that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” (Christopher Hitchens). You are long on OPINION and short on evidence.

    It believe it’s common courtesy to argue that in the debate,

    This isn’t a debate. This is educating you on what is and isn’t science. The science isn’t refuted by your OPINION, and you presented no SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE OR SCIENTIFIC THEORY. You know, something from the peer reviewed scientific literature that hasn’t been refuted like Behe has. ID/creationism are religious ideas, and have been acknowledged as such by SCOTUS.

    presuppositional religious stupidity,

    Belief in imaginary deities and mythical/fictional holy books as inerrant. Do keep up.

  33. says

    I believe that a form of guided evolution is also possible as an ID theory. [..] Aren’t there scientists that believe in forms of Panspermia? [..] That would make it ID. [..] See why using Creation as a synonym of ID just leads to unnecessary confusion?

    By that definition, artificial selection and genetically-modified life are both forms of ID. Yet artificial selection was part of Darwin’s theory of evolution, and no scientist denies that humans can consciously manipulate life on a genetic level. There’s no a priori exclusion of the idea that life could have any guidance. What the issue is, however, is being able to describe and to detect that guidance. If you don’t have a means of describing and detecting that guidance, then you’re not doing science.

    Since ID has at least two laboratories, and 50+ peer reviewed papers on ID, I believe it’s established as a viable program.

    What findings have been uncovered?

    And if your objection is that science is simply too narrow to accomodate what could be an absolute fact, then that simply means we should do something about that?

    That’s not my objection. My objection is that ID has no way of being able to be detected, as at present there isn’t any specific theory that can be testable. If you think this is mistaken, please show me.

    And here’s a testable prediction. Life is designed. If it’s proved that it hasn’t (and I haven’t been satisfied as to this), then the prediction fails.

    That’s not a prediction, that’s the contention.

    I also believe ‘Irreducible Complexity’ is another testable prediction, and a relatively simple thing to investigate.

    What is the mechanism behind “Irreducible Complexity”? Remember that the task here is to show how a designer works. If it’s just to say that “evolution can’t produce that”, then you’re making an argument from ignorance.

    And I’d say it’s explanatory power would be that it explains why life looks designed, as well as explaining that human life could not be the product of a blind, pitiless confluence of chances.

    Two things. First, that’s not what’s meant by explanatory power. Explanatory power in the scientific sense is the ability to explain how things happen. You might drop something and it falls to the ground, but what explains how it falls to the ground is the gravitational attraction of objects.

    Second, while it is besides the point on ID, evolutionary theory isn’t a theory of chance. Natural Selection is the opposite of chance. Think of it this way: two students apply for one place at university. One scores much higher than the other and the person gets in. Is that chance? Of course not.

    If we’re designed, then we’re the product of design. It seems that it’s explanatory power would be great indeed, and the most powerful revolution in modern biology possible.

    This is why I tried to highlight the difference between scientific and non-scientific explanations. Explanatory power in the sense that you’re using it is non-scientific. If you want to understand the scientific opposition to ID, then you need to understand what is meant by a scientific theory. Massimo Pigliucci’s book Nonsense On Stilts lays out the distinction well. David Deutsch’s The Fabric Of Reality has a good explanation of scientific epistemology. Or if both of those are a bit too much, Samir Okasha’s Philosophy Of Science was quite a handy book.

  34. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Also, there are agnostic (possibly atheist) IDers. Just to add perspective.

    Irrelevant bother if you aren’t scientific and don’t have a scientific theory. Which you don’t. It is a religious idea until you show otherwise with scientific evidence.

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Since ID has at least two laboratories, and 50+ peer reviewed papers on ID, I believe it’s established as a viable program.

    Anything published under a web-site that describes the babble is being inerrant, like ICR and AIG, are not science. Do keep up.

  36. David Marjanović says

    You know, I believe you could all have avoided being so confused if you weren’t so determined to conflate ID with creationism.

    Heh. ID can be distinguished from supernatural creationism, as you have done – but ID proponents don’t do that! Time and time again they make arguments about ID that only make sense if the designer is Yahwe.

    Look up cdesign proponentsists.

    I believe that a form of guided evolution is also possible as an ID theory.

    How would you test whether guidance has occurred? If you can’t test it, it’s not science.

    Aren’t there scientists that believe in forms of Panspermia? The only addition you’d need is for the life-seeds to be intelligently designed in order to generate life as we know it. That would make it ID.

    Yep, it would. It’s also so clearly an unnecessary hypothesis that I don’t know of any scientists that think it’s more probable than the usual alternatives.

    And if you believe in a scientific hypothesis, you’re doing it wrong.

    Since ID has at least two laboratories, and 50+ peer reviewed papers on ID, I believe it’s established as a viable program. It conforms to all the materialistic standards of contemporary scientific culture.

    You’ve had a very, very superficial look at it. Every one of those “peer-reviewed” papers was published under highly suspicious circumstances. I recommend digging through the Pharyngula archives.

    http://www.discovery.org

    We call it the Disinformation Institute because its press releases are so dishonest.

    But a quick example. If you were an alien, and you came across a human house, a structure it had never seen before, shouldn’t the alien be able to use the scientific method in order to determine at the least whether it was a natural or designed phenomenon?

    Well, let’s see. Do houses reproduce? Do baby houses inherit characteristics from mommy houses?

    I also believe ‘Irreducible Complexity’ is another testable prediction, and a relatively simple thing to investigate.

    Fun thing is, it’s exactly what the theory of evolution predicts – and this has been known since the early 20th century. As always, cdesign proponentsists simply don’t understand what they’re talking about.

    A stone arch is irreducibly complex: if you take one stone out, the whole thing falls to pieces. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t built piece by piece. The trick is the scaffold.

    And I’d say it’s explanatory power would be that it explains why life looks designed

    Then how does it explain stupid design? Why are vertebrate eyes the wrong way around when cephalopod eyes show that there’s nothing inherently impossible about eyes that are the right way around? Why were you born through a ring of bone that could hardly be any wider, when birds don’t need such a ring? Why does DNA fall apart when kept in water, so all organisms spend a large part of their energy on constantly repairing it?

    If I had the time I could literally go on for hours.

    the product of a blind, pitiless confluence of chances

    What if reality really does suck? Do not try to make an argument from consequences. You will regret it.

    And then there’s the obligatory disclaimer: mutation is random, but natural selection is not – it’s determined by the environment.

    Already it has allowed IDers to predict that ‘Junk DNA’ was no such thing.

    You’re gravely mistaken in several ways.

    Just a few days ago PZ posted about this. The American grant system in particular selects for scientists that blow up the significance of their results, for example by using “functional” to include “happens not to be so tightly coiled up that passing proteins can’t temporarily stick to it”. I particularly recommend this.

    I predicted (as well as many others I assume) that the appendix would be found to have a function.

    So does the theory of evolution. If it has no function at all, why hasn’t it been lost long ago? Growing and maintaining an appendix requires resources that could be used elsewhere, ultimately for reproduction.

    Junk DNA isn’t lost any more quickly than it is because there’s no mechanism to recognize it and cut it out.

    If we’re designed, then we’re the product of design. It seems that it’s explanatory power would be great indeed

    It can’t explain a single champsosaur.

    Also, there are agnostic (possibly atheist) IDers. Just to add perspective.

    The one I know about is a postmodernist who barely believes that reality exists. He has found an establishment and a bunch of brave rebels against the establishment, so he joined them… while not having any more of a clue about biology than they do.

    Eternal damnation in hell is illogical, because there is no point to it.

    Wasn’t God supposed to be inscrutable, ineffable?

    A Jewish temporary hell

    Is that like Catholic purgatory?

    - I never found America that interesting before. You never seemed sincere in your praise of God.

    It’s a land of extreme opposites. Name it, it exists there.

    (Compare Rule 34b: “If you can think of it, Japan has done it – with schoolgirls.”)

  37. David Marjanović says

    the materialistic standards of contemporary scientific culture

    I forgot to address this. Materialism is actually not a criterion for science. Ockham’s Razor is.

    As long as assumptions of supernatural forces keep being superfluous, that’ll amount to the same thing…

    Anything published under a web-site that describes the babble is being inerrant, like ICR and AIG, are not science. Do keep up.

    Yeah, except mudz never mentioned the Institute of Creation Research or Answers in Genesis, only the Disinformation Institute. This fits the phony distinction mudz made between creationism (ICR, AIG) and ID (DI).

    There are trigger phrases that predictably make you post certain things, as if you had no control over that. Why is that?

  38. mudz says

    “Belief in imaginary deities and mythical/fictional holy books as inerrant. Do keep up.”

    Ahh. I am glad to affirm that I don’t believe God is imaginary, nor do I believe the bible is fictional.

    I’ll add this to the list too. The Butler Act. In which evolution was actually prohibited from being taught. Which is of course, what the Scopes ‘Monkey Trial’ was all about.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butler_Act

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2009/01/louisiana-creat.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Pandas_and_People#2004.E2.80.932005:_Dover.2C_Pennsylvania

    Scroll down to ‘2004–2005: Dover, Pennsylvania':

    “Amid an international controversy, the board also became the first in the US to promote the teaching of intelligent design in the classroom, sparking a lawsuit, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, by the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs.”

    Actually, you’re right. I made an error with this one. No judge ever ruled that ID was a science to my knowledge. ID was simply lawful prior to the ruling. I say this, because although the Louisana page I gave you claims that pro-ID has been made law, I believe that was actually a misinterpretation they appended to it for the same reasons ID is described as Creationism 2.0. And it would be dishonest for me to say that it makes my case when I don’t believe it’s true.

    Discovery Institute never supported the teaching of ID in class, it simply wanted the Theory of Evolution to be discussed more thoroughly. A Critical Analysis.

    So I apologise.

    However, as noted, evolution has previously been prohibited by a court as unlawful teaching, which makes my essential point.

    So consider my statement suitably modified. You get the point anyway. Judges are not scientists, and scientists, even were they infallible, do not all agree that evolution took place.
    There is no reason for us to accept Judge Jone’s arbitration if we believe it to be false. We might have to accept the legal restrictions it has placed upon ID, but that doesn’t mean we are no longer allowed to make a case for it.

    I’ll have to do some reading actually, to figure out what precisely is the overall state of ID in America, as it comes to legitimacy. Since ID does have labs and papers, this might require some clarification as to it’s legal status.

    @ Kel

    “By that definition, artificial selection and genetically-modified life are both forms of ID.”

    Yes it is. I think you might be coming to see the point I’m making. Airplanes are the result of ID, houses, bikes, economy, all should the explicable patterns of ID. And like you said with SETI, it is by observing the patterns of human intelligence that we can extrapolate patterns of design to look for in other things.

    The fact that humans are capable of intelligent design is the philosophical premise of intelligent design. It immediately proves that ID exists. The trick is finding non-human ID.

    “What findings have been uncovered?”

    I believe there’s a whole list of irreducible mechanisms they’ve been studying in nature.

    http://www.discovery.org/a/14791

    You’d probably be better off just perusing the publications rather than asking me, since I’m still reading. :)

    “That’s not a prediction, that’s the contention.”

    Ah, fair point, so it is.

    Junk DNA and the appendix were two predictions. And it’s true that this theory is different in that it explains what already exists, rather than something we expect to reproduce. This is a science that started on the far end.

    But a prediction. I could predict that it is possible to design and create life for another planet. I could predict that humans will not show significant species alteration over time without intelligent interference.

    All sorts of things, I imagine. It’s sort of an ‘all or nothing’ field so it’s strange to try and be so specific. What does evolution predict, for example?

    “What is the mechanism behind “Irreducible Complexity”? Remember that the task here is to show how a designer works. If it’s just to say that “evolution can’t produce that”, then you’re making an argument from ignorance.”

    That actually isn’t the task, though I understand the confusion. The task is simply to identify if an organism is better explained as a result of design than evolution or chance. In the case of an irreducibly complex organism, then yes, evolution can’t produce it, which of necessity leaves ID as the best explanation for apparent design.

    The mechanism by which such a system was put tohether is interesting, but it is the following question not the preceding. It would be easy to satisfy your requirement by making up some bullshit about theoretical assemblers, but we’re not going to do that, and it’s unnecessary.

    Just as I don’t need to know how a car motor works to recognise that it was designed by skilled engineers.

    “Two things. First, that’s not what’s meant by explanatory power. ”

    I did get a bit carried away. I think I covered ‘explanatory power’ in variously different ways. (It’s also 2 in the morning, but that’s my fault. :D) I apologise for my looseness of literacy.

    To keep it simple. I find that ‘it looks designed because it is dseigned’ to have significantly more explanatory power than ‘it looks designed because it’s tricky like that’.

    “Second, while it is besides the point on ID, evolutionary theory isn’t a theory of chance.”

    I was fairly clear on this, when I said ‘Abiogenesis, and subsequently Evolution.’

    Evolution might not generally rely on chance (except for mutations, and irreducibly complex systems), but Abiogenesis does. And without abiogenesis, evolution could never have happened.

    That was the crux of my point.

    “One scores much higher than the other and the person gets in. Is that chance? Of course not.”

    It does if they picked answers at pure random. But I’ll accept it anyway as an example. I have no problem with Natural Selection. Creationists were writing about it before Darwin did, and I think it was Joseph in the book of Genesis that gave us our first application of Artifical Selection.

    “If you don’t have a means of describing and detecting that guidance, then you’re not doing science.”

    There is actually a Design Inference Criterion. And I’m fairly certain that you yourself would be able to distinguish between a mountain and a skyscraper.

    @ Nerd

    “Irrelevant bother if you aren’t scientific and don’t have a scientific theory. Which you don’t. It is a religious idea until you show otherwise with scientific evidence.”

    Bemusing thought. What’s your reasoning behind that? Is fishing considering automatically religious until scientifically proven otherwise?

    I think I’d like you to show me why you think it isn’t science, since I’ve already explained that ID covers and posits nothing supernatural or religious. If religious people like it more than irreligious, well religious people like the Big Bang too. It has no bearing on it’s scientific merit.

    “Anything published under a web-site that describes the babble is being inerrant, like ICR and AIG, are not science. Do keep up.”

    I actually can’t figure out what you’re saying here, other than you will automatically assume that anything the Discovery Institute publishes is wrong. Interesting sense of rationality you have. And you seem to think we’re running a race of some kind? Not sure I get that one.

    @ David

    “Well, let’s see. Do houses reproduce? Do baby houses inherit characteristics from mommy houses?”

    I won’t be too mean about this, but I’m sure you’ve heard of Berra’s Blunder? You’re mocking your own side.

    “And if you believe in a scientific hypothesis, you’re doing it wrong.”

    Thus why evolutionists have been warned against saying ‘I *believe* in evolution’ I imagine.

    But are you suggesting that people can’t believe in a hypothesis? I would suggest that what you are trying to say is that belief does not substitute evidence. I heartily agree. I do not believe the evidence is sufficient to infer evolution. (Macro-evolution to be precise.)

    “You’ve had a very, very superficial look at it. Every one of those “peer-reviewed” papers was published under highly suspicious circumstances. I recommend digging through the Pharyngula archives.”

    Yes I heard. They were published by IDers.

    “Fun thing is, it’s exactly what the theory of evolution predicts – and this has been known since the early 20th century. As always, cdesign proponentsists simply don’t understand what they’re talking about.

    A stone arch is irreducibly complex: if you take one stone out, the whole thing falls to pieces. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t built piece by piece. The trick is the scaffold.”

    I see. And the scaffold for the chance generation of multiple interconnected organelles and system is?

    And no, the theory of evolution didn’t. Do I really have to find the quote from Darwin about the eye? His explanation was simply that it has to be reducible. Because an irreducibly complex system is precisely something that evolution cannot overcome, the statistical chances involved would require an Improbability Drive.

    It’s been quite openly admitted among evolutionists that an irreducibly complex system would falsify evolution. The trick is getting them to accept something as irreducibly complex.

    “Then how does it explain stupid design? Why are vertebrate eyes the wrong way around when cephalopod eyes show that there’s nothing inherently impossible about eyes that are the right way around?”

    Hahaha, is that the ‘backwards wired’ thing? You really should google that, since I have no desire to upbraid you. Suffice it to say that our eyes were well-designed.

    More importantly, ‘bad design’ would still be design. ID never made the assumption that a designer would be perfect in its design. Bad design would seem more indicative of a subjective intelligent than a uniform natural force. But that’s merely a subjective judgment on my part.

    “If I had the time I could literally go on for hours.”

    Please do, I have no objection.

    “What if reality really does suck? Do not try to make an argument from consequences. You will regret it.”

    I doubt I would, but I have no interest in it in any case, since it seems irrelevant.

    “So does the theory of evolution. If it has no function at all, why hasn’t it been lost long ago? ”

    You’re kidding right? It was considered a useless vestigial organ that served no purpose. People went on about that for ages when I was a kid. I’m certain you know what vestigial organs are right?

    How about Junk DNA? That was considered to be perfectly useless, but simply had no need to be discarded.

    “Wasn’t God supposed to be inscrutable, ineffable?”

    I’m not Catholic.

    “Is that like Catholic purgatory?”

    Some what. You serve your time. I’m not sure what is supposed to happen after that, in Jewish lore. If I accepted it, I would assume resurrection in the last days.

    “I forgot to address this. Materialism is actually not a criterion for science. Ockham’s Razor is.”

    Ockam’s Razor is a philosphical tool. Materialism is an a priori assumption as made perfectly clear by Lewontin. (I’ll allow you to google, but I can quote him if you like.)

    “There are trigger phrases that predictably make you post certain things, as if you had no control over that. Why is that?”

    Because we’re all predictable human beings following a predictable script. You think this entire thread offers something new for me? :)

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    However, as noted, evolution has previously been prohibited by a court as unlawful teaching, which makes my essential point.

    No it doesn’t. Science is taught in science class. Where is your science?

    I think I’d like you to show me why you think it isn’t science,

    That has been explained to you already. But, it is up to you, the person claiming ID is a science, to prove that assertion. The easiest way to to cite the peer reviewed scientific literature. You know, journals with names like Nature and Science, et al. You haven’t proved your case, only asserted it, so *POOF*, dismissed as nonsense.

    than you will automatically assume that anything the Discovery Institute publishes is wrong.

    Yep, prima facie evidence there is a religious basis, from the About section of the DI website:

    Because it denies the reality of God,

    Ergo, religious based, not scientific based, therefor everything they say and publish must be subjected to strict skepticism, and treated as religious fuckwittery until proven otherwise. Welcome to science.

    Sorry DM, I missed his citation to the DI.

  40. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Mudz, the easiest way to prove your designer is show conclusive physical evidence for it. There isn’t any.

    Also, <blockquote>material you are responding to</blockquote> makes it easier to follow you. And,<a href = “url of link”>words describing link</a> can be used for links.

  41. mudz says

    “The easiest way to to cite the peer reviewed scientific literature.”

    http://www.discovery.org/a/2640

    “Because it denies the reality of God,”

    http://www.discovery.org/about.php

    “Religion and Public Life. The worldview of scientific materialism has been pitted against traditional beliefs in the existence of God, Judeo-Christian ethics and the intrinsic dignity and freedom of man. Because it denies the reality of God, the idea of the Imago Dei in man, and an objective moral order, it also denies the relevance of religion to public life and policy. Our program on Religion and Civic Life defends the continuing relevance of traditional religious faith to public life within a pluralistic democracy. Specifically, it seeks to defend the importance of Judeo-Christian conceptions of the rule of law, the nature of man and the necessity of limiting the power of government. Thus, it also seeks to protect religious liberty, including its public expression in pluralistic democracies.”

    It said that materialistic science denies the reality of God (as well . Not the DI accepts it. It’s actually a very easy mistake to make because of the tone in which we read it, so I don’t hold it against you.

    If you want to make a religious assumption, that is your right. But it isn’t empirically supported. Though I’ll agree DI looks very religion-supportive. You can complain if you like.

    And my mother took me to her research lab since I was a child. I’ve had my introduction. But thank you, anyway. :)

  42. mudz says

    Mudz, the easiest way to prove your designer is show conclusive physical evidence for it. There isn’t any.

    The universe is physical and it is evidence. Design in nature is physical evidence of a designer.

    If you’re not convinced by it, that’s entirely up to you. I don’t think there’s a need for ID to feel constrained by your impatience though. Lots of things in science are not conclusive, and this is the biggest, most difficult field of inquiry in all history.

    (And thanks for the tag tip. I tend to forget about those.)

  43. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The universe is physical and it is evidence.

    All that is explained by science, so no imaginary designer/creator is needed except in your delusional mind. That is Parsimony, which always removes evidence stupornatural from science. Your phantasm isn’t needed for anything.

  44. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gack, previewed to check the link, but not the wording. #50 should read

    That is Parsimony, which always removes [tdhe non-physical] stupornatural from science.

  45. says

    mudz #48

    The universe is physical and it is evidence.

    It is physical, yes. But evidence of what?

    Design in nature is physical evidence of a designer.

    Nonsense. Things form patterns because they are all bound by the same laws of nature. We are hardwired to perceive patterns because it was useful to our survival. None of that requires any sort of “designer”.

    Do you realize you’re puffing away with stuff that hasn’t counted as serious argument for generations? You really do need to learn some real science if you want to make a scientific case for your beliefs.

  46. chigau (違わない) says

    How can there be design without a designer?
    or is there a Design Committee?

  47. vaiyt says

    It said that materialistic science denies the reality of God (as well . Not the DI accepts it. It’s actually a very easy mistake to make because of the tone in which we read it, so I don’t hold it against you.

    Come on, this is simple logic. “Denying the reality of God” assumes that god is a reality to begin with!

    Not to mention they immediately follow with a declaration that they want Judeo-Christian religion in public policy.

    Either you’re extremely dense, or deceitful.

    The universe is physical and it is evidence. Design in nature is physical evidence of a designer.

    The physical existence of the universe is evidence for the physical existence of the universe. You’re assuming.

    “Design requires a designer” is just semantics. “Design” has another meaning, “the way things are organized”, which is the meaning used when scientists talk about design in life. That kind of design doesn’t need a designer, unless you think there’s someone going around making every snowflake and crystal formation out there.

    If you’re not convinced by it, that’s entirely up to you. I don’t think there’s a need for ID to feel constrained by your impatience though. Lots of things in science are not conclusive, and this is the biggest, most difficult field of inquiry in all history.

    What inquiry there is in ID? It already starts with the conclusion! It’s not like someone looked at life and suddenly thought “hey, it looks like someone made this stuff”. There was a bunch of people who already believed god made everything, and THEN they started trying to coat it in sciency talk.

    The reason people are throwing Kitzmiller v. Dover is because it showed the ID movement was just recycling creationist arguments verbatim.

  48. chigau (違わない) says

    Maybe the Creator and the Designer are two different Entities.
    or Committees.

  49. Amphiox says

    The universe is physical and it is evidence.

    Indeed. Evidence against design.

    Design in nature is physical evidence of a designer.

    You see something in nature and you arbitrarily declare it to be a design. Then you arbitrarily declare that it requires a designer. Circular reasoning.

    DEMONSTRATE with evidence that this thing you THINK is designed actually IS designed. No other argument you make is relevant in any way until you do this.

  50. raven says

    The universe is physical and it is evidence. Design in nature is physical evidence of a designer.

    This is a simple assertion without proof. That is all you have?

    Hitchens law: An assertion without proof or data may be dismissed without proof or data. You are wrong.

    BTW, there is a lot of design in nature. We even know how and why this design comes about. Evolution is a sloppy, haphazard but ultimately very effective…designer.

    If you’re not convinced by it, that’s entirely up to you.

    Creationism lost in the area that matters the most a century ago, intelligent educated adults. It survives as a superstition among a few toxic fundie xian groups.

  51. raven says

    mudz lying:

    You know, I believe you could all have avoided being so confused if you weren’t so determined to conflate ID with creationism.

    You know you are dealing with a fundie xian troll when their first sentence is a flat out lie.

    ID is just another word for creationism. They IDiots themselves don’t make any secret of that. Most of their talks are aimed at and given in fundie churches and jesus this and jesus that feature prominently.

    The Dishonesty Institute is funded by xian Dominionist money, staffed by almost all fundie xians, and they all are creationists.

  52. Ichthyic says

    there must be a distinct lack of chew toys, since Mudz fails from his very fist paragraph in his very first post:

    ID postulates no designer.

    the letters “I” “D”…. what do they stand for again?

    intelligent… design.

    if ID doesn’t propose a designer, then indeed the design is random, which makes it…

    evolution.

    Mudz defeats himself before he even gets started.

    great job.

  53. Ichthyic says

    And my mother took me to her research lab since I was a child

    …and sat you in the corner and told you to stop crying.

  54. Ichthyic says

    Design in nature is physical evidence of a designer.

    no, what you deem “design” is based on appearances… to you.

    that only indicates what your perceptions are, nothing more.

    If I look at a cloud and see a sheep…

    does that mean the cloud is really a sheep?

    how would I be able to determine it isn’t?

  55. says

    The trick is finding non-human ID.

    The problem with Intelligent Design is that it proposes no way to do this. Even now in your reply you kept on with the design inference – which is super, but doesn’t actually make for a scientific explanation.

    I believe there’s a whole list of irreducible mechanisms they’ve been studying in nature.

    As David pointed out above, irreducible complexity is a prediction of evolutionary theory. Nobel Prize winning geneticist Hermann Muller first wrote about the phenomenon in 1918, calling it interlocking complexity, and describing how such systems could come about.

    The logic of it is quite simple. Imagine an organism has a mutation that is merely advantageous to the creature. As advantageous mutations tend to do, such an advantageous mutation would spread through the population of subsequent generations. Later, in one of those subsequent generations, a new mutation occurs that makes that original mutation necessary.

    You’d probably be better off just perusing the publications rather than asking me, since I’m still reading.

    If you’re still reading, then how do you know that the papers have anything significant in them? I wouldn’t mind if you’ve just read the abstracts, or read a book that was an overview of ID where it laid out the findings. At least then, that number might mean something. By contrast, the palaeontologist Donald Prothero has authored over 200 papers alone. 50 papers really isn’t that impressive. But it could be that there’s something in those papers that’s significant. Do any of the papers, for example, give a mechanism for how the designer works?

    I find that ‘it looks designed because it is dseigned’ to have significantly more explanatory power than ‘it looks designed because it’s tricky like that’.

    Evolutionary algorithms are used by engineers and computer scientists in order to come up with solutions that they themselves couldn’t solve. Is the product of using evolutionary algorithms design? Darwinian evolution is a design algorithm. What we see in nature is designed! As Dan Dennett points out the reasons between what nature has and what we as products of humanity are made for the same reasons.

    But, again, the design inference has no explanatory power as it offers no mechanism. How does the designer work in nature? If we don’t know, we cannot test for it, and hence the designer doesn’t have a mechanism.

    Evolution might not generally rely on chance (except for mutations, and irreducibly complex systems), but Abiogenesis does.

    Abiogenesis is an unknown quantity at this stage – how can we say that it’s chance when we don’t know how it started? I’d be willing to wager that there will be selection processes involved in early abiogenesis, that the process will be capable of building structure and information. Why wouldn’t it?

    There is actually a Design Inference Criterion. And I’m fairly certain that you yourself would be able to distinguish between a mountain and a skyscraper.

    How does this inference translate into a mechanistic understanding of life? If you don’t answer this, then you’re making my point for me. It doesn’t matter how often you say “it really looks designed” as it doesn’t address any of the conceptual and epistemological concerns that such an inference has.

    This design inference doesn’t make for a scientific theory. Without being able to make predictions about what role designers have, there’s no ability to put any of the tests for design into action. Anyway, I wrote previously on this problem so at the risk of repeating myself further, please read that to try to see where I’m coming from. You say that I see where you’re coming from, now can you try to see where I am coming from?

  56. says

    From that link:
    “We still don’t know how it is a designer would work, let alone be able to test for it, and how that fits into all that is known about the history of life. It’s not so much that it’s right or wrong, but irrelevant. The general hypothesis will never get a designer as it is too vague to fit into a scientific understanding of life.”

  57. Amphiox says

    Evolution might not generally rely on chance (except for mutations, and irreducibly complex systems), but Abiogenesis does.

    1. Mutations (yes, even mutations) do NOT entirely rely on chance. The only truly random part about random mutations is that you cannot predict, pre-emptively, whether any particular mutation will be beneficial, neutral, or detrimental. That is what scientists mean when they say “random mutations”, that and that alone. Every other aspect of mutations is governed by the laws of chemistry and contingency.

    2. Irreducibly complex do not require chance. Using ID’s own definition, as provided by Behe, they are, in fact inevitable consequences of unguided evolution by natural selection of random mutations. It takes intelligent design to AVOID irreducible complexity and PREVENT a developing system from becoming irreducibly complex. Human designers try to avoid making irreducibly complex systems as much as possible.

    3. Abiogenesis does not rely on chance. It relies on the laws of chemistry. We have several working hypotheses for Abiogenesis at the moment. The number of those hypotheses that rely heavily on chance is ZERO.

    So the only part of the blockquoted statement that is not abjectly wrong is “),”.

  58. Amphiox says

    And I’m fairly certain that you yourself would be able to distinguish between a mountain and a skyscraper.

    We can also rather easily distinguish a skyscraper from a redwood. Only one of the two is designed.

    But the analogy is false and dishonest to begin with. Neither mountains nor skyscrapers self-replicate with heritable variation. We only know skyscrapers are designed because 1) we already know who the designers are and what these designers are capable of designing, and 2) we already know that skyscrapers CANNOT evolve (because they do not self-replicate with heritable variation).

    If skyscrapers could self-replicate with heritable variation, the design inference goes out the window immediately.

  59. Amphiox says

    The problem with Intelligent Design is that it proposes no way to do this.

    And if it did it would actually be useful. Even if ultimately wrong, the study of it would hold promise in helping advance human knowledge and produce spin-off applications. Astrobiologists certainly would be intrigued.

    This is the hallmark of scientific theories, the ability to self-examine by proposing testable hypotheses. In doing so, even flat-out wrong theories contribute to the advancement of knowledge and help humans approach the truth. Flat earth theory, phlogiston, luminiferous ether, all did this.

    All of these are more useful and more correct than “intelligent” design.

  60. Anri says

    Heaven is logical because spirits would live in a spiritual environment. And it’s also more logical that God would reward the faithful, than simply eternally damn the wicked

    No, actually, it’s much more logical that an all-powerful being who loved everyone would would reward everyone, not just the faithful.
    Also, I doubt you can make a useful distinction between death and a perfect heaven. Both are equally endless, changeless, and featureless.

    . . .

    More to the point at hand – would you make the point that any mind capable of designing the universe would be complex enough to itself require a designer?
    Or would you state that such a mind need not be especially complex – that is, that complex systems can be created by simpler processes?

  61. mudz says

    Come on, this is simple logic. “Denying the reality of God” assumes that god is a reality to begin with!
    Not to mention they immediately follow with a declaration that they want Judeo-Christian religion in public policy.

    I would agree that their About page makes your case, since it would take very little effort to ask them to change it, but I actually believe it legally doesn’t.

    And I believe it is religious liberty, and Judeo-Christian values that they’re arguing for. Many atheists have done the same thing. Dawkins for example calls himself a ‘cultural Anglican.’

    (Mudz) The universe is physical and it is evidence. Design in nature is physical evidence of a designer.

    (vaight)The physical existence of the universe is evidence for the physical existence of the universe. You’re assuming.

    You seem to have made a sort of grammatical error. Physical existence is evidence for physical existence. And design is evidence of design. If design persists in physical existence, then there exists physical evidence of design.
    Limiting your language to exclude contrary argument will not persuade me, vaight.

    ““Design requires a designer” is just semantics. “Design” has another meaning, “the way things are organized”, which is the meaning used when scientists talk about design in life. That kind of design doesn’t need a designer, unless you think there’s someone going around making every snowflake and crystal formation out there.”
    You’re confusing design with ‘apparent design’. Design does mean that, but it also presumes an organiser.

    And snowflakes and crystal formations are examples of low information content, as I’ve read it. It does not meet the requirements of an intelligent design criterion, which requires complexity and high specificity. Crystals, for example are just an accumulation of mineralisation.
    Which is why the criterion is a useful tool in discerning intelligent design, rather than intriguing natural patterns.

    What inquiry there is in ID? It already starts with the conclusion! It’s not like someone looked at life and suddenly thought “hey, it looks like someone made this stuff”. There was a bunch of people who already believed god made everything, and THEN they started trying to coat it in sciency talk.

    I could agree with this. Techincally you are confusing ID with Creationism, but I’ll allow this for clarity and the following:

    In fact I would like to make clear that I believe ID was originally motivated because Creationism was stalled for legitimacy, and people that might have otherwise been working in Creationism decided that ID was a better first step, as it put their religious beliefs entirely on the outside of science. That’s my belief. (I don’t know whether it remains true now, but that’s how I believe it started.) Motivations are entirely irrelevant to the program itself. (Or else one might be forced to deny gravity since Newton was motivated to understand God and His work.)

    In fact, I think the motivation would be entirely praiseworthy, and proof that those arguing for God are entirely amenable to reason. Science said that the supernatural was unacceptable, ‘alright’ they said ‘here’s an entirely non-supernatural non-religious proposal, instead.’ Seems entirely fair to me.

    This overlapping relevance of ID and Creationism as it pertains to Christians like myself, can lead to a little bit of confusion.

    What I find amusing, and I’ve said this before, is that since ID is absolutely non-religious in its program, then those who are making a religious-based objection would seem to be the ones operating from a religious bias. (As well as lack of logic.)

    Saying that ID is a religious program because of it’s high relevance to theological and philosophical questions is actually about as tenable as claiming the Big Bang is a religious theory because it does the same thing. Which is why ID doesn’t need to pay any attention to you. I do, but only because I feel it’s important to clarify these things as much as possible.
    Since I support both Creationism and ID (not all theists do either), I tend to call on the relevance of both to support my position. Much as an evolutionist might call upon physics and geology as well as biology.

    So, with that said, let’s continue with the assumption that Creationism and ID are much the same thing where I’m concerned as a Christian. They both support my position, and I support them both for that reason. You’re right. Christians already had our answer, and we already had our designer. God created the heavens and the earth.
    We’ve never had to defend this, until objections were raised. It only makes sense that if we are challenged scientifically, then we would defend ourselves scientifically. You cannot complain that creationists or Christians argue from entirely non-scientific grounds if your goal is to prohibit them from pursuing the relevant scientific program. You’re just trying to stack the deck, and it’s frankly quite juvenile.

    @ Amphiox

    You see something in nature and you arbitrarily declare it to be a design. Then you arbitrarily declare that it requires a designer. Circular reasoning.

    I understand your objection, but you’ve missed my reasoning. I said that if something was designed then it had a designer. Just like if something was created, it had a creator.

    Ascertaining whether or not there is design in nature is entirely what the ID program is all about. It’s trying to find the cause, the supportive evidence. There is no prior assumption in science that they of necessity will succeed in finding it, which is why design is a hypothesis.
    I believe they will be successful, but that’s only my belief. There are other Christians who disagree.

    @ raven

    This is a simple assertion without proof. That is all you have?

    An exercise of logic, actually. Not your fault. Other people seem to have made that mistake too.

    Hitchens law: An assertion without proof or data may be dismissed without proof or data. You are wrong.

    Mudz’ law: Prove it.

    BTW, there is a lot of design in nature. We even know how and why this design comes about. Evolution is a sloppy, haphazard but ultimately very effective…designer.

    That’s an interesting assertion. I have no objection.

    Creationism lost in the area that matters the most a century ago, intelligent educated adults. It survives as a superstition among a few toxic fundie xian groups.

    I didn’t realise theories were refuted by losing popularity. Interesting how you put a 100 year cap on it. Because I suppose you would anticipate me bringing up Newton.

    To answer your contention, I believe, as you stated above, that you need to support your claim. All the Christian creationists I know are intelligent, educated adults. I know evolutionists that are only adults. (Wonderful people, nonetheless.)

    @Ichthyic

    there must be a distinct lack of chew toys, since Mudz fails from his very fist paragraph in his very first post:

    the letters “I” “D”…. what do they stand for again?
    intelligent… design.
    if ID doesn’t propose a designer, then indeed the design is random, which makes it…

    Uncharitable assumption. But let me clarify, ID proposes that a designer(s) exist, but does not identify who or what the designer could be.

    …and sat you in the corner and told you to stop crying.

    Possibly! :D

    If I look at a cloud and see a sheep…
    does that mean the cloud is really a sheep?
    how would I be able to determine it isn’t?

    I would suggest examining the differences between a sheep-cloud, and the sheep we’ve all come to know and love. Possibly do some research into the sort of environments sheep are likely to inhabit, as well as their ability to fly.
    @ Kel
    <blockquote? If you’re still reading, then how do you know that the papers have anything significant in them?
    Hahaha, I don’t! I didn’t come here in order to defend why ID is better than evolution. I only came to help you guys distinguish between creationism and ID, and while I’m at it, establish the value it has as a program. Not whether it’s correct.

    The logic of it is quite simple. Imagine an organism has a mutation that is merely advantageous to the creature. As advantageous mutations tend to do, such an advantageous mutation would spread through the population of subsequent generations. Later, in one of those subsequent generations, a new mutation occurs that makes that original mutation necessary.

    I’m enjoying your responses so far, but I’m afraid I don’t follow the logic of this one. Let me take a crack:
    Interlocking complexity is where an advantageous mutation predicts that it will subsequently produce another random mutation that will make it’s own existence necessary in order to produce that mutation.
    This sounds theological in nature. I won’t make fun of it, but could you please clarify? I can’t imagine that this is truly what you meant.

    50 papers really isn’t that impressive

    No it’s not. Fortunately I wasn’t trying to impress you, just establish that scientific validity of ID.

    Do any of the papers, for example, give a mechanism for how the designer works?

    Why would it? I’m afraid you’re making Dawkins mistake in asking for us to explain the origins of the builder as well as the house.

    Evolutionary algorithms are used by engineers and computer scientists in order to come up with solutions that they themselves couldn’t solve. Is the product of using evolutionary algorithms design? Darwinian evolution is a design algorithm. What we see in nature is designed! As Dan Dennett points out the reasons between what nature has and what we as products of humanity are made for the same reasons.

    That’s very interesting. I’m not sure that I can validate evolution by invoking designed machines performing designed tasks, but I like it anyway. But ID is looking for intelligent design in nature, not machines. (Though those computers are another example of ID.)

    Abiogenesis is an unknown quantity at this stage – how can we say that it’s chance when we don’t know how it started? I’d be willing to wager that there will be selection processes involved in early abiogenesis, that the process will be capable of building structure and information. Why wouldn’t it?

    I agree, it’s an unknown quantity. Many theories have been put forth, but are either statistically invalid (chance assembly of chemicals, or amino acids, for example, to produce the first cell) or the supposed environmental conditions on earth wouldn’t allow life.

    So if it’s otherwise an unknown quantity, then it’s entirely a baseless assumption to suppose it did happen. I would say that means it’s chances are therefore zero, but all you can do is hope and wager, as you have done.
    In the meantime, as a Christian, I find other explanations far more compelling and likely, and with a bit of historical testimony to back it up too.

    How does this inference translate into a mechanistic understanding of life? If you don’t answer this, then you’re making my point for me. It doesn’t matter how often you say “it really looks designed” as it doesn’t address any of the conceptual and epistemological concerns that such an inference has.
    This design inference doesn’t make for a scientific theory. Without being able to make predictions about what role designers have, there’s no ability to put any of the tests for design into action. Anyway, I wrote previously on this problem so at the risk of repeating myself further, please read that to try to see where I’m coming from. You say that I see where you’re coming from, now can you try to see where I am coming from?

    I believe I do. And I don’t think you entirely understand my position, yet, but you seem to be getting there.

    I made no argument on the basis of it looking really designed. The teleological appraisal of design simply shows that the notion exists. The argument that ID is using is essentially just striking off possibilities one by one, when it comes to naturalistic explanations, and seeing if intelligent design is therefore the only remaining sensible answer.
    The design inference is a tool, ID is itself the theory.

    @ Amphiox

    1. Mutations (yes, even mutations) do NOT entirely rely on chance. The only truly random part about random mutations is that you cannot predict, pre-emptively, whether any particular mutation will be beneficial, neutral, or detrimental. That is what scientists mean when they say “random mutations”, that and that alone. Every other aspect of mutations is governed by the laws of chemistry and contingency.

    Actually, I always been very curious about mutations. Although saying that mutations is governed by the laws of chemistry and contingency, explains nothing except that chemicals behave chemically and do stuff as they do.

    And this becomes partially philosophy. Such as the idea that everything in the universe is pre-ordained, because atoms can react and only react in certain ways, etc.
    However, the very fact that we cannot predict a mutation, makes it random, unless we utterly understand why it mutates, and why it mutates precisely as it did (something a little more explicit than radiation damage). If we examined a DNA molecule for example, would we be able to precisely predict when and which base will mutate?

    I’ve always wondered why a nucleotide base would transform so neatly into another. Can G turn into any the others? Why those? Why not something completely useless? Why not disappear into energy?

    I would actually love for someone to give me an explanation of mutations, even an evolutionary one.

    2. Irreducibly complex do not require chance. Using ID’s own definition, as provided by Behe, they are, in fact inevitable consequences of unguided evolution by natural selection of random mutations. It takes intelligent design to AVOID irreducible complexity and PREVENT a developing system from becoming irreducibly complex. Human designers try to avoid making irreducibly complex systems as much as possible.

    I honeslty don’t know how you acquired this convinction. Irreducible complexity is where you have a tight system that becomes non-functional as soon as you take one part of it away. An irreducibly complex organism is something that cannot be evolved in graduation, and would require a phenomenal cosmic chance to arrive at all the right mutations at the right time. Chances on the order of lead turning into gold.

    3. Abiogenesis does not rely on chance. It relies on the laws of chemistry. We have several working hypotheses for Abiogenesis at the moment. The number of those hypotheses that rely heavily on chance is ZERO.

    So the only part of the blockquoted statement that is not abjectly wrong is “),”.

    Statistical likelihood of abiogenesis = chance.

    You have to prove that it was a chemical occurrence or even a possibility in order for it to rely on the laws of chemistry. And I’m fully aware that you have multiple hypotheses. Saying that no chance was required is about as impressive as telling me that evolution must have happened because we’re here.

    Also, I believe “),” is incorrect grammar. But I can’t be held responsible for your decisions.

    We can also rather easily distinguish a skyscraper from a redwood. Only one of the two is designed.
    But the analogy is false and dishonest to begin with. Neither mountains nor skyscrapers self-replicate with heritable variation.

    I’ll try to make this clear. I was not proposing that either mountains or skyscrapers self-replicate. Neither do houses or cars. It’s entirely irrelevant as to whether they were designed.

    @ Anri

    No, actually, it’s much more logical that an all-powerful being who loved everyone would would reward everyone, not just the faithful.
    Also, I doubt you can make a useful distinction between death and a perfect heaven. Both are equally endless, changeless, and featureless.

    Presuming that he loves everyone, and that his love meant that he would reward everyone. Both are philosophically contestable.

    God after all, hates what is wicked. And anyone who’s read the bible should be fully aware he has no problem with blowing up entire cities. And regardless, you still supported my statement that heaven is more logical than hell (eternal damnation version, anyway).

    The distinction between death and a perfect heaven is that in the first, you are dead, in the second, you are alive, forever. And a spirit, woot!

    That’s a useful distinction, but it’s not the important one you were making. Let me say that a) I’m don’t believe I’m going to heaven, as I’m hoping to be resurrected on earth.

    B) I don’t believe that heaven is featureless or changeless. I get the impression that heaven is much more fascinating even than earth. And God is a rather dynamic person.

    You’re misled by a common stereotype, which tends to be earth-centric. As if all the angels do is sit on clouds and wait for something to happen down here. Earth might not be the most important thing going on in the universe.

    More to the point at hand – would you make the point that any mind capable of designing the universe would be complex enough to itself require a designer?
    Or would you state that such a mind need not be especially complex – that is, that complex systems can be created by simpler processes?

    Hahaha, Dawkin’s contention. But you added a very good bit on the end.

    There are several possibilities, but I’ll just go with my current conviction so as to play fair; which is essentially that God is currently complex and intelligent.

    The thing is, while I can observe and evaluate the chances of life arising on earth, and evolving, as all this operates within the observable natural universe, I have no idea how to evaluate God.

    I have no idea if he started out complex or simple. I have no idea even if he started out intelligent, though I presume so. And most importantly, I have no idea of the conditions in which God originally existed.

    Our universe is based on laws. It’s impossible to know whether anything we could identify as natural laws even existed with the advent of God.
    God doesn’t yield to the same assumptions of biology, because he’s not biological (as far as I know.)

    What may be impossible on Earth over 3.5 billion years, may be entirely possible over an infinity of time in whatever environment God existed in.

    It’s a really interesting, and a really difficult question.

    Which is why philosophy tangles with it so much. Does God exist because he has to? Or does he exist by chance? And how?

    I understand that you’re trying to draw a connection between hypothetical (unspecified) beginnings of God, and Evolution, but they belong to entirely different sets. I have no philosophical objection to evolution, it simply is unconvincing in context of the data we have about the observable universe. Other people, such as yourself, disagree.

  62. mudz says

    “I would say that means it’s chances are therefore zero, but all you can do is hope and wager, as you have done.”

    Sorry, I meant *wouldn’t.

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Physical existence is evidence for physical existence.

    Nope, it is solid and conclusive evidence, as is required by science. If you don’t have physical evidence, you aren’t doing science. You are doing delusions, illusions, and magic.

    just establish that scientific validity of ID.

    There is no scientific validity of ID. You haven’t cited one peer reviewed journal, just made unevidenced assertions. your word *POOF* is dismissed as fuckwittery. And here’s a hint. People of honesty and integrity either cite the literature, or shut the fuck up. Which appears to leave you out.

    It’s entirely irrelevant as to whether they were designed.

    Then your argument is irrelevant.

    “Design” has another meaning, “the way things are organized”, which is the meaning used when scientists talk about design in life.

    That isn’t what you talk about. And you know that. You don’t use science.

    In fact I would like to make clear that I believe ID was originally motivated because Creationism was stalled for legitimacy,

    Nope, ID came about because SCOTUS said creationism was religion and couldn’t be taught in science classes. Here’s a link to PBS Nova Judgment Day, which talks about why ID was declared a religious idea in no uncertain terms in federal court. Learn something before you declaim ignorance.

    In fact, I think the motivation would be entirely praiseworthy, and proof that those arguing for God are entirely amenable to reason.

    No, god is only presuppositional. There is no reason to invoke imaginary deities, and you must show conclusive physical evidence for there to be one, evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural, origin.

    I’ve said this before, is that since ID is absolutely non-religious in its program,

    Unevidenced assertion, *POOF* dismissed by the evidence found in the Judgement Day video. Totally religious in origin, and totally religious as science doesn’t accept ID.

    Saying that ID is a religious program because of it’s high relevance to theological and philosophical questions is actually about as tenable as claiming the Big Bang is a religious theory because it does the same thing.

    More lies, showing your dishonesty. ID is religious. You haven’t shown otherwise.

    hey both support my position, and I support them both for that reason. You’re right. Christians already had our answer, and we already had our designer. God created the heavens and the earth.

    Except your deity is imaginary, it doesn’t exist until you provide conclusive physical evidence for it.

    You cannot complain that creationists or Christians argue from entirely non-scientific grounds if your goal is to prohibit them from pursuing the relevant scientific program.

    No, what we say is that there is no science of intelligent design, as it isn’t scientific, and never will be. You haven’t done the necessary work to make it scientific, and just claiming it is carries no weight with science. You either play by the rules of science or you aren’t scientific. And if you posit imaginary deities, you must prove they are real with scientific evidence.

    There is no prior assumption in science that they of necessity will succeed in finding it, which is why design is a hypothesis.

    Actually, you are wrong again. The presupposition is that a designer is needed. That is why it isn’t scientific. No designer is needed by science, as the design doesn’t exist.

    but I’ll just go with my current conviction so as to play fair; which is essentially that God is currently complex and intelligent.

    No, your diety is imaginary. You haven’t shown it exists, only presupposed it exists.

    God doesn’t yield to the same assumptions of biology, because he’s not biological (as far as I know.)

    Your designer had to interact with matter, which means it could be detected by science. But, I know it will disappear into the stupornatural shortly.

    may be entirely possible over an infinity of time in whatever environment God existed in.

    Now the presupposition of eternal deities. Gee, what’s next? Nothing but presuppositions all the way down. That isn’t and never will be science, where evidence, not presuppositions, rule.

    Does God exist because he has to? Or does he exist by chance? And how?

    It only exists as a delusion in your mind. No presuppositions allowed. Show evidence or shut the fuck up.

    it simply is unconvincing in context of the data we have about the observable universe.

    Fixed that for you. Your deity is presupposed and doesn’t exist. You can’t use it until you prove it exists. Welcome to science, not fuckwittery.

  64. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, meant to make the last blockquote om #71 cross out the un in unconvincing. Borked it.

  65. Amphiox says

    I’ll try to make this clear. I was not proposing that either mountains or skyscrapers self-replicate. Neither do houses or cars. It’s entirely irrelevant as to whether they were designed.

    And I’ll try to make this clear.

    Because houses, cars, mountains and skyscrapers do not self-replicate, they exist in a category ENTIRELY DIFFERENT from redwoods, bacteria, and humans. As such, whether or not they are designed is IRRELEVANT to the question of whether or not redwoods, bacteria, and humans are designed.

    And to even try to bring up such a ridiculous, irrelevant analogy is a stupid and dishonest argument.

  66. Amphiox says

    I honeslty don’t know how you acquired this convinction.

    From the scientific literature.

    Irreducible complexity is where you have a tight system that becomes non-functional as soon as you take one part of it away.

    And the scientific literature has repeatedly demonstrated that such systems evolve through unguided natural selection of random mutations ALL THE TIME, and in fact, is almost inevitable in any system of a sufficient number of parts.

    Indeed, it requires intelligent intervention to PREVENT a sufficiently complex system from automatically changing from a non-irreducibly complex system to an irreducibly complex system as more parts are added. And indeed, the vast majority of human design failures occur because someone FAILED to do this, missing the critical error in which a previously non-irreducibly complex system was turned into an irreducibly complex system by the ill-planned addition or removal of a new part.

    An irreducibly complex organism is something that cannot be evolved in graduation,

    FALSE.

    and would require a phenomenal cosmic chance to arrive at all the right mutations at the right time.

    Irrelevant. As chance is not required to produce such systems. Stepwise natural selection does it all the time.

    Chances on the order of lead turning into gold.

    No chance is required to turn lead into gold, only the laws of nuclear chemistry.

  67. Amphiox says

    Ascertaining whether or not there is design in nature is entirely what the ID program is all about.

    No it is not. And you can tell that just be examining their literature.

    There is NOTHING in it, NOTHING, about ascertaining whether or not there is design in nature.

    There is ONLY attempts (all failed) to demonstrate that something cannot have evolved. And then they just jump to the assumption that if something cannot have evolved then by default it MUST have been designed.

    All circular reasoning.

    It’s trying to find the cause, the supportive evidence.

    No it’s not. They have had over 20 years now and have not presented a single shred of evidence. They have not even presented a single proposal for an experimental design to look for evidence.

  68. Amphiox says

    God doesn’t yield to the same assumptions of biology, because he’s not biological (as far as I know.)

    The assumptions of biology are the assumptions of science.

    The assumptions of science are the assumptions of reality.

    If God is real then it will yield to those assumptions.

    If it does not yield to those assumptions then it is not real.

  69. Amphiox says

    I’ve said this before, is that since ID is absolutely non-religious in its program

    The telling typo from the ID movement’s original and seminal publication.

    cdesign proponentists.

    Puts paid to that pathetic lie.

  70. mudz says

    Hahaha, this is like trying to argue the Trinity doctrine with Catholics. Scratch that, since there are plenty of Catholics happy to doubt Trinity.

    I’d like you guys to understand that I’m participating here simply because I’m bored. I wouldn’t waste your time trying to upset me with computer text if that’s what some of you are actually trying to do (I say this to give you the benefit of the doubt in your ability to use logic), and deliberately wallowing in ignorance or dogma hurts only you. For me, I’m finding the conversation quite informative.

    I will honestly confess @ Nerd, I feel no desire to engage with your re-assertions, since I feel I have already dealt with them quite satisfactorily. I believe all you need to do is to go back over my comments, until you get a good understanding, but I may sum it up later, anyway, if you’re patient.

    @ Amphiox

    You’re looking for the wrong connections. I’m not explaining evolution, I’m explaining design.

    And they all belong to the category of material existence. I believe it was you that made an analogy of evolutionary algorithms being employed in computer systems. That quite clearly shows that we even have the ability to design evolution, a naturalistic concept. Intelligent Design quite clearly exists.

    You seem to think that design is impossible to detect in nature, and yet we do it all the time, the difference being we know the source.

    If a dude builds a house out of trees, we can quite clearly see design, even though the material is exactly the same. He used what would otherwise was a natural object, to construct an designed ‘artificial’ object.

    As previously stated, design is apparent in nature, as no-one contests. Whether it’s an illusion or representative of reality is a valuable question. You believe you have the answer already, so do I, but our answers differ. Therefore a scientific method is required in order to help bridge this.

    http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/evolve_irreducible.html

    I believe this makes my point. It explains that irreducibly complex systems, like design, is only apparent, and that in fact they are reducible after all. That there was a stepwise gradation, which means that it has a history of reduction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complexity#Reducibility_of_.22irreducible.22_systems

    This explanation makes more sense, in terms of hitch-hikers. I do wonder what the chances are though, of arbitrary hitch-hikers coming together to perform such a useful function, and then the previously useful functions they hitchhiked on disappeared?

    But this is probably something I would ask ID myself, and do a little research before offering a contention. I believe it’s a perfectly valid theory, to the best of my knowledge.

    That evolution would be expected to create irreducibly complex systems as a matter of course was predicted all the way back in 1918, as a matter of fact.

    I’ve made a bid to contend that in fact it wasn’t, but I would like you to show me the source of your conviction here. I’ll admit that I am surprised that this is now being contested.

  71. mudz says

    @Amphiox

    Just seen your additional replies. It made me laugh. :D

    But I’ll be nice and try once more:

    1) If it isn’t evolved, then design is the reasonable answer for an apparently designed object. That’s simple logic. You may not like it, but that’s how logic works.

    2) Not everything in the universe is biological.

    3) You’re arguing from a typo?

  72. says

    I’d like you guys to understand that I’m participating here simply because I’m bored.

    Not even 24 hours and they’re already preparing their excuses.
    *sigh*
    Chew toys ain’t what they used to be.

  73. Koshka says

    If it isn’t evolved, then design is the reasonable answer for an apparently designed object. That’s simple logic. You may not like it, but that’s how logic works.

    I am pretty sure that is not how logic works but people are talking science. If it isn’t evolved you need to say why. You can’t just say it is apparently designed so voila it is designed.

    A magician apparently makes a dove appear from thin air does not mean magic is the reasonable answer. Science attempts to explain. It does not simply say ‘fuck that, I can’t understand that. Therefore God/aliens did it’.

  74. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As previously stated, design is apparent in nature, as no-one contests.

    Actually, if nature was designed, it had a bad designer. Your assertion is unevidence, hence *POOF* dismissed as fuckwittery. There is no agreement, you are pretending one.

    Not everything in the universe is biological.

    And your deity doesn’t exist.

    Whether it’s an illusion or representative of reality is a valuable question

    Nope, just fuckwittery, as there is no design, as there is no deity.

    This explanation makes more sense, in terms of hitch-hikers.

    Except that concept has not been well defined, just like your imaginary deity isn’t well defined. You have nothing but ambiguity, and science requires precision, accuracy, and well defined hypotheses. You have nothing.

    Still no evidence for your imaginary deity, the first thing you must show evidence for to have a scientific theory.

  75. Amphiox says

    If it isn’t evolved,

    Evidence required to demonstrate this claim.

    then design is the reasonable answer for an apparently designed object.

    And you pretend you’re not using circular arguments.

    What pathetic intellectual dishonesty indeed.

    That’s simple logic. You may not like it, but that’s how logic works.

    Someone either doesn’t understand what “simple”, “logic”, “how”, and “works” mean, or is blatantly lying about them.

  76. raven says

    mudz lying some more:

    Ascertaining whether or not there is design in nature is entirely what the ID program is all about.

    Another lie. That’s all they have.

    This one is basic.

    Intelligent Design says they are trying to detect god’s handiwork by looking at nature. It says so right in the name, Intelligent Design which implies an Intelligent Designer. They sometimes claim it isn’t necessarily jesus but these days, they usually don’t bother and just call the Designer jesus, the fundie version. Even that is a lie.

    Intelligent Design was thought up by a lawyer, Phillip Johnson to try to do an end run around the Supreme court decision outlawing the teaching of creation by a name change. It didn’t work, failing at Dover. Johnson has since said there is no theory of ID.

    This troll is really stupid.
    1. He doesn’t even know what Intelligent Design is. Which BTW, isn’t new at all. It predates xianity, having been thought up by the ancient Greeks.

    2. Of course he has less than a grade school knowledge of biology. Probably home schooled by religious kook parents determined to keep him ignorant or a xian private school they pay to do the same thing.

    Light workout for the troll kicking squad. They really aren’t making trolls as well as they used to.

  77. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gee, wasn’t five or so years ago Dumbski said he would publish his paper on specifically defining irreducible complexity? And *POOF*, nothing since. Almost like it is afraid of being precise….

  78. raven says

    We already know where and how life came from and how it looks today.

    Evolution.

    In practice, the so called IDiots don’t bother at all looking for evidence of god in nature.

    They spend virtually all their time attacking evolution. Because we already figured out that life’s diversity is due to natural processes.

    The largest group, the Dishonesty Institute, spends over 90% of their money attacking evolution and trying to spread the fundie perversion of xianity around.

  79. Amphiox says

    You’re arguing from a typo?

    If you are not familiar with the significance of this typo, then you are not qualified to commenting AT ALL about intelligent design, and you should go away and educate yourself before coming back and making any more of a fool of yourself.

    But I will humor you one last time and explain it.

    You claimed that ID has nothing to do with religion.

    The typo comes from the ID movement’s book, ‘Of Pandas and People’. It turns out, however, that the book was originally a religiously inspired creationist text, and all the ID people did was replace every mention of “creationist” in the text with “design proponent”. However, they were sloppy with their copy-paste and screwed up, leaving that tell-tale typo.

    AFTER the courts declared creationism to be a religious idea and barred it from being taught in science classrooms, the ID people started claiming ID was not religiously motivated, and tried to sneak “Of Pandas and People” into high schools as a biology text.

    The typo exposes their lies and hypocrisy, just as it exposes yours.

    ID is nothing more than a religious movement, old-school creationism gussied up in sciency sounding language in order to get around the establishment clause preventing the teaching of religious ideas in science classrooms.

    Also do some research on the Wedge Document, the ID movement’s private internal communications that pretty much explicitly spells out the religious motivation behind their strategy.

  80. Amphiox says

    Life is most decidedly NOT “apparently designed”. The more detail you look at the more obvious it is that it was not the product of any sort of process with foresight, like design, but instead the product of a process that works without foresight, only on the immediate situation at any given time, such as evolution.

    This is OBVIOUS in every aspect of living organisms.

    Any child can tell the difference between a skyscraper and a tree, or an airplane and an eagle, or a SUV and a horse.

    Any child.

    Living things are OBVIOUSLY not designed.

  81. raven says

    dumb troll:

    then design is the reasonable answer for an apparently designed object.

    An assertion without proof again. This is incredibly stupid.

    It’s also just wrong.

    We don’t guess or assert things in science.

    We gather data and prove them. ID fails on many levels. It failed at Dover because it isn’t science. They had no data whatsoever, just claims without proof, all of which involved the fundie god somewhere.

    You get nowhere just making stuff up. The world spends close to $1 trillion USD a year on science R&D. It’s hard work requiring intelligent and educated people and huge amounts of money. Since ID isn’t science but religion, they don’t even bother to try.

  82. Amphiox says

    God doesn’t yield to the same assumptions of biology, because he’s not biological (as far as I know.)

    The troll admits that God is dead.

    Excellent. A small step in the right direction.

  83. raven says

    God doesn’t yield to the same assumptions of biology, because he’s not biological (as far as I know.)

    More idiocy.

    1. Which god? There are thousands at least.

    2. The evidence that any of them exist is nonexistent.

    3. It’s irrelevant anyway. Supposedly, Intelligent Design nicely allows the Designer to be advanced UFO aliens. In practice even that doesn’t work. Who designed those UFO aliens? It just tosses the question back one or reiterations.

    4. At it’s base, ID is just an another in a long line of attempts to prove that a god exists. It has so far failed. No one has ever been able to prove that “god” exists and that is after several thousand years of trying. It’s probably never going to happen, one reason being that “god” never existed.

  84. Amphiox says

    God doesn’t yield to the same assumptions of biology, because he’s not biological (as far as I know.)

    Out of all the various conceptions of god out there:

    1) Most of them are described as distinct and separate from the external environment, ie they homeostase
    2) Most of them have some form of organized structure.
    3) Most of them have a tradition of manipulating and using energy, ie they have a metabolism.
    4) Many of them have a life story describing different stages, ie they grow.
    5) Most of them have a tradition of altering course, changing their minds, or developing new powers over time, ie they adapt.
    6) Most of them have a tradition of listening to prayers, rewarding supporters, punishing enemies, and being swayed by sacrifice, ie they respond to stimuli
    7) Most of them have a tradition of producing at least one offspring, ie they reproduce

    Homeostasis, organization, metabolism, growth, adaption, stimulus response, and reproduction of course are the definitional hallmarks of biological entities.

  85. vaiyt says

    I would agree that their About page makes your case, since it would take very little effort to ask them to change it, but I actually believe it legally doesn’t.

    You can believe all you want, doesn’t make it true.

    And I believe it is religious liberty, and Judeo-Christian values that they’re arguing for. Many atheists have done the same thing. Dawkins for example calls himself a ‘cultural Anglican.’

    Let’s review the words again, because you seem to think one time isn’t enough.

    “The worldview of scientific materialism has been pitted against traditional beliefs in the existence of God, Judeo-Christian ethics and the intrinsic dignity and freedom of man. Because it denies the reality of God, the idea of the Imago Dei in man, and an objective moral order, it also denies the relevance of religion to public life and policy.”

    This is not advocating for religious liberty. It’s advocating for Judeo-Christian religious values to preside over public policy. Your insidious attempt to equate “religion” with “Christianity” is also noted, and dismissed.

    You seem to have made a sort of grammatical error. Physical existence is evidence for physical existence. And design is evidence of design. If design persists in physical existence, then there exists physical evidence of design.
    Limiting your language to exclude contrary argument will not persuade me, vaight.

    The existence of the universe is existence that the universe exists. It’s not evidence of an intelligent being having poofed it into existence.

    You’re confusing design with ‘apparent design’. Design does mean that, but it also presumes an organiser.

    What you’re saying makes no sense in my language, where we use different words to refer to the two forms of “design”.

    Design as “manner of organization” does not presume an organizer unless you think someone personally puts every little thing where they are. Everything that exists has a “manner of organization”, and if everything is designed, then there’s no way to distinguish designed and non-designed things, making the whole point moot. And that’s what any scientist worth their salt is talking about when they talk about “design” in nature.

    And snowflakes and crystal formations are examples of low information content, as I’ve read it. It does not meet the requirements of an intelligent design criterion, which requires complexity and high specificity. Crystals, for example are just an accumulation of mineralisation.
    Which is why the criterion is a useful tool in discerning intelligent design, rather than intriguing natural patterns.

    Supply a definition of “specificity”, then explain at which level we draw the line between “not designed” and “designed”. Your personal gut feeling of what is too complicated to understand is not a scientific criterion to separate design and non-design.

    I could agree with this. Techincally you are confusing ID with Creationism

    Because they’re the same thing, which you would verify if you followed any of the links given to you.

    In fact I would like to make clear that I believe ID was originally motivated because Creationism was stalled for legitimacy, and people that might have otherwise been working in Creationism decided that ID was a better first step, as it put their religious beliefs entirely on the outside of science. That’s my belief. (I don’t know whether it remains true now, but that’s how I believe it started.)

    If that was their purpose, they failed, simply because they couldn’t stop pressuposing a deity before even gathering the data to see if it warranted such an hypothesis.

    Motivations are entirely irrelevant to the program itself. (Or else one might be forced to deny gravity since Newton was motivated to understand God and His work.)

    Motivations may be irrelevant, but content isn’t. The content of ID “research” pressuposes a personal deity as the designer, and most of their arguments rely on that designer being Yahweh.

    In fact, I think the motivation would be entirely praiseworthy, and proof that those arguing for God are entirely amenable to reason.

    You’re confounding the trappings with the substance. Simply coating pressupositionalism in new words doesn’t count as reason. You need evidence and good arguments, of which IDiots have neither.

    Science said that the supernatural was unacceptable, ‘alright’ they said ‘here’s an entirely non-supernatural non-religious proposal, instead.’ Seems entirely fair to me.

    But the proposal isn’t non-supernatural! It starts with the assumption that a supernatural entity pooped the universe into existance because the universe exists!

    What I find amusing, and I’ve said this before, is that since ID is absolutely non-religious in its program

    Bald assertion against evidence to the contrary.

    You’re right. Christians already had our answer, and we already had our designer. God created the heavens and the earth.

    Then don’t come here with this “reason” bullshit.

    We’ve never had to defend this, until objections were raised.

    Sorry to threaten your monopoly on explaining how the world works, but our product is just better.

    It only makes sense that if we are challenged scientifically, then we would defend ourselves scientifically.

    Except what you’re doing is not science. Science starts with the data and follows with hypotheses to be tested. ID starts with the conclusion then fishes data that agrees with it. You’re doing it bass-ackwards.

    You cannot complain that creationists or Christians argue from entirely non-scientific grounds if your goal is to prohibit them from pursuing the relevant scientific program. You’re just trying to stack the deck, and it’s frankly quite juvenile.

    We certainly are trying to stack the deck against cargo-cult “science” and pressupositionalism.

    3) You’re arguing from a typo?

    LOOK THE TERM UP. “Cdesign proponentsists” isn’t just any typo. It’s a specific typo that arose because your beloved ID institution used search-and-replace to turn a creationist book into an ID book.

  86. Amphiox says

    There is overlap between the features one should expect in evolved systems and the features one should expect in designed systems, but there are also some distinctive differences.

    Just a few:

    Evolved systems manifest a pattern of diversity that is exclusively composed of perfectly nested hierarchies. Designed systems will only produce a pattern of diversity in perfectly nested heirarchies if the designer deliberately chooses to do so, and is willing to ignore several principles of good design, in order to keep it so.

    Life on earth manifests a diversity pattern that is a single, perfectly nested hierarchical tree.

    In evolved systems, examples of imperfect, bad or incomplete adaption always show the hallmarks of being restricted by historical contingency. In designed systems, examples of imperfect, bad or incomplete adaption only sometimes shows the hallmarks of being restricted by historical contingency, and more frequently demonstrate limitations or imperfections in the designer.

    All known examples of imperfect, bad or incomplete adaption in living organisms on earth show the hallmarks of being restricted by historical contingency. If any of them are also demonstrations of limitations and imperfections in the designer, we don’t know, because design “theorists” have never even tried to describe their designer or assign potential limitations or imperfections to it.

    Adaption in evolved systems is most common of the “just good enough” variety. Adaption in designed systems can often be excessively good, over-engineered, and redundantly supported, due to the designer applying foresight.

    Adaptions observed in life on earth are almost always of the “just good enough” variety. Over-engineered biological systems are almost unheard of, and what few examples exist have so far always turned out to be due to historical contingency from a recent change to a less demanding environment.

    Designed systems will frequently manifest functionality that benefits the designer at the expense of the designed. Evolved systems will never manifest functionality that those not primarily benefit the evolved system itself.

    Life on earth has almost never been observed to manifest functionality that does not benefit the individual organism primarily. What few exceptions that do exist are almost all exclusively the result of manipulation by humans (intelligent designers)

    Excessively complex systems with wasteful and unnecessary parts commonly accumulate in evolved systems due to the lack of foresight and the “just good enough” rule. In designed systems excessive, wasteful and unnecessary complexity tends to be reduced as much as the designer is able to. Simplicity is the hallmark of good design.

    Life on earth is full of excessively complex systems full of wasteful and unnecessary parts.

    Life on earth is not “apparently designed”, it is quite obviously apparently not designed.

  87. raven says

    “The worldview of scientific materialism has been pitted against traditional beliefs in the existence of God, Judeo-Christian ethics and the intrinsic dignity and freedom of man. Because it denies the reality of God, the idea of the Imago Dei in man, and an objective moral order, it also denies the relevance of religion to public life and policy.”

    WTF is this idiocy.

    1. Scientific materialism doesn’t exist. This is a term used by creationists only. They try to conflate science with atheism by using it. Science has nothing to do with religion.

    2. There is no such worldview as “scientific materialism”.

    3. The real fascists in our society are the fundies also known as christofascists. Most of them are xian Dominionists who openly hate the US government and want to destroy it.

    This is a real gem.

    it also denies the relevance of religion to public life and policy.

    Under US law, the US constitution, religion has never had any legal relevance to public life and policy. That separation of church and state thing.

    This troll is dumb even by creationist standards.

  88. Amphiox says

    Another one:

    Information transfer in evolved systems is predominantly and originally vertical. Horizontal information transfer mechanism have to first independently evolve and are limited to small amounts of information at a time. In designed systems there are no restrictions in information transfer, either vertical or lateral.

    In life on earth, the predominant mode of information transfer is vertical. Horizontal information transfer is not uncommon, but is limited in degree to at most a few genes at a time. Horizontal information transfer at the level of organs and organ systems is completely unheard of.

  89. raven says

    troll lying:

    You cannot complain that creationists or Christians argue from entirely non-scientific grounds if your goal is to prohibit them from pursuing the relevant scientific program.

    More WTF stuff. Cthulhu is this guy stupid.

    goal is to prohibit them from pursuing the relevant scientific program.

    Which never happened. And never will. There are no science police kicking down church doors looking for underground research facilities.

    The US churches take in around 90 billion dollars a year. A lot. There is nothing preventing them from spending it on scientific research. It’s a free country after all.

    In practice they spend more or less zero of that $90 billion on scientific research and/or to find evidence of the gods’ existence. They already know they won’t find it.

    I’m done for now. This is just some not very bright kid trolling. He’s all over the place and the idiocy was amusing for a few minutes. It’s now a boring waste of time.

  90. Amphiox says

    Wasn’t it the mathematician R.A. Fisher who proved, around 1938, that evolved systems would create the appearance of irreducability?

    Hermann Muller first demonstrated how irreducible complexity evolves in 1918.

    http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/2007/02/26/irreducible-complexity-explained-in-1918/

    Since IC did not exist as an idea in support of creationism/ID (the modern movement of which did not even exist until the 1950s), Muller was not looking to counter creationist claims. He was simply applying evolutionary theory in his normal scientific work, and the idea of irreducible complexity just fell out of it.

    Fischer’s main contribution was more or less inventing the modern mathematics of statistics, which proved, numerically and quantitatively, that the probabilities underpinning natural selection and random mutations are completely reasonable and plausible in terms of producing complex adaptions (as well as basically enabling the entire field of population genetics to exist).

    Creobot IDiot trolls who try to use probability arguments against evolutionary theory don’t realize that the entire field of statistics, and the concept of a quantifiable probability in the first place, was essentially invented for the purpose of testing the theory of evolution in the 1930s and 1940s, and the VERY FIRST THING it was used for was to show that the probabilities underpinning evolutionary mechanisms WORKED.

  91. mudz says

    Amphiox
    2 October 2012 at 11:57 pm
    There is overlap between the features one should expect in evolved systems and the features one should expect in designed systems, but there are also some distinctive differences.
    Just a few:
    Evolved systems manifest a pattern of diversity that is exclusively composed of perfectly nested hierarchies. Designed systems will only produce a pattern of diversity in perfectly nested heirarchies if the designer deliberately chooses to do so, and is willing to ignore several principles of good design, in order to keep it so.
    Life on earth manifests a diversity pattern that is a single, perfectly nested hierarchical tree.
    In evolved systems, examples of imperfect, bad or incomplete adaption always show the hallmarks of being restricted by historical contingency. In designed systems, examples of imperfect, bad or incomplete adaption only sometimes shows the hallmarks of being restricted by historical contingency, and more frequently demonstrate limitations or imperfections in the designer.
    All known examples of imperfect, bad or incomplete adaption in living organisms on earth show the hallmarks of being restricted by historical contingency. If any of them are also demonstrations of limitations and imperfections in the designer, we don’t know, because design “theorists” have never even tried to describe their designer or assign potential limitations or imperfections to it.
    Adaption in evolved systems is most common of the “just good enough” variety. Adaption in designed systems can often be excessively good, over-engineered, and redundantly supported, due to the designer applying foresight.
    Adaptions observed in life on earth are almost always of the “just good enough” variety. Over-engineered biological systems are almost unheard of, and what few examples exist have so far always turned out to be due to historical contingency from a recent change to a less demanding environment.
    Designed systems will frequently manifest functionality that benefits the designer at the expense of the designed. Evolved systems will never manifest functionality that those not primarily benefit the evolved system itself.
    Life on earth has almost never been observed to manifest functionality that does not benefit the individual organism primarily. What few exceptions that do exist are almost all exclusively the result of manipulation by humans (intelligent designers)
    Excessively complex systems with wasteful and unnecessary parts commonly accumulate in evolved systems due to the lack of foresight and the “just good enough” rule. In designed systems excessive, wasteful and unnecessary complexity tends to be reduced as much as the designer is able to. Simplicity is the hallmark of good design.
    Life on earth is full of excessively complex systems full of wasteful and unnecessary parts.
    Life on earth is not “apparently designed”, it is quite obviously apparently not designed.

    This is a very good reply, so I’ll address it.
    Your contention:
    1) Evolution would leave a lot of crap around. And would only evolve to the point that necessity dictates to fulfil whatever need it is fulfilling.
    2) Design can have overcharged functionality. Design is perfect.

    A few things. Sex, intelligence, altruism, appreciation of beauty, art, poetry, music, sexual dimorphism.
    None of these things are necessary. We could have happily been asexual little amoebas in the ocean, there was no need to go further. They’re beneficial but unnecessary.
    The eye. It doesn’t need to be as good as it is, and some species have better or worse eyes, and still survive.
    Also. Perfection of design assumes a perfect designer, so you are inferring God (that dseigns perfectly). This is a theological argument. There are many that have made the argument that God is a lazy worker. So the contention goes nowhere.
    Every single species on earth is over-engineered. None of them had to exist at all. Bacteria is quite sufficient.

    Evolved systems will never manifest functionality that those not primarily benefit the evolved system itself.

    Life on earth has almost never been observed to manifest functionality that does not benefit the individual organism primarily. What few exceptions that do exist are almost all exclusively the result of manipulation by humans (intelligent designers)

    How about male spiders that get themselves eaten to feed the female spiders?
    Altruistic behaviour, for example. And are humans not supposed to be natural? Aren’t our brains the product of evolution? So why did evolution evolved tendencies to suicide and psychopathy among our population.

    I believe you may have made a mistake about your own theory. Evolution is not supposed to benefit individual organisms, it’s supposed to benefit the species at large, or the ‘selfish genes’.
    Nonetheless, I appreciate the informative nature of your response.

    I’ll address everyone else in general since it just seems to be a general hue and cry of ‘LIES, all LIES’. It’s amusing, but it’s starting to lose it’s charm. In my experience, the liars are always the first to suspect others of dishonesty. I’ve given you no reason to think I’m dishonest, I’m quite happy to say when I’m wrong. Disagreeing with me doesn’t automatically mean anything about my character. But it’s all up to you guys. There honestly is no reason for you guys to keep it up, all you’re doing is disappointing my initially high expectations I had of this forum.

    Yeah, I mentioned I was bored, because I really truly don’t want you guys to waste your time trying to get a rise out of me. This conversation simply isn’t important enough for me to have an emotional attachment. I don’t mean that as a slight, it’s just the circumstances. If I feel like there’s nothing further to be gained for discussion, then I’ll simply go to another forum. That’s why you’re better off trying to engage me like intelligent people, rather than mobbing to and fro.

    1. Scientific materialism doesn’t exist. This is a term used by creationists only. They try to conflate science with atheism by using it. Science has nothing to do with religion.

    That’s an extremely telling response. You’ve managed to say:

    A) Science isn’t based on materialism.
    B) Materialism is related to atheism.
    C) Atheism is religious.

    But here’s the quote I hinted at previously, by Lewontin. The fact that there are people trying to avoid associating materialism with science is peculiar, since if I was an atheistic or a materialist, I’d just go ‘yeah, so?” Like this guy.

    ‘We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    – Richard Lewontin

    And, also, I’m not American.

    And if religion has no legal relevance (strange since the first thing people do when they enter court is swear on the bible), then why would freedom of religion be in your constitution?

    Religion may not control policy (maybe in the UK it does, certainly Christianity did, once upon a time), but it certainly has relevance even in America.

    If I’m not mistaken, you have Catholic schools and hospitals. You guys had a big fuss about Obamacare forcing Catholic hospitals to fork up the money for procedures that went against their religion and conscience.

    – Why Don’t Churches Have Science Programs?

    1) Churches are churches. They’re more concerned with religious matters, as far as I know.

    2) Possibly they do, anyway. Not all religions or churches advocate Creationism or ID. But I believe ICR and DI are getting funding from somewhere, though it’s technically possible that non-religious people are contributing.

    Roman Catholics support evolution. There’s really not much need for them to help out there.

    3) DI, ICR, as well as whichever other research groups, do exist. Why are you concerned about the non-existent ones?

    And it’s not the lack of funding I care about, it’s simply the larger expression of this thread. Public and legal repression. Why atheists and secularists are so concerned is intriguing though baffling, since I’ve never been concerned about universities handing out degrees for astrology. Do you guys must find non-materialism threatening in some way?

    – Hermann Muller

    Although this link you gave me doesn’t show me his paper or his work, it sounds entirely feasible. I believe that would provide a basis upon which evolution produced irreducibly complex organisms. (Though I would have to check Behe’s work to see his definition. Because it’s still talking about stepwise gradated evolution, which still means there is historical reducibility, as I said before.)

    But, I’ll accept the theory. If you can prove this took place. It does give an interesting alternate possibility.

    And do we really care who ‘invented’ statistics? Creationists ‘invented’ modern scientific inquiry back when it was called ‘natural philosophy’.
    And I believe that in science, we concentrate on accuracy, rather than whoever posted first. If a statistic is wrong, it doesn’t matter how fortuitous it was invented in the first place. Such as the archaeopteryx, discovered shortly after Darwin, turns out not to be as compelling as once thought.

    I’ll do some reading before I check back. That way, I’m not simply doing this all off the top of my head. 

  92. vaiyt says

    Also. Perfection of design assumes a perfect designer, so you are inferring God (that dseigns perfectly). This is a theological argument. There are many that have made the argument that God is a lazy worker. So the contention goes nowhere.

    Are you sure you want to go that route? Prove that God exists and is an incompetent asshole?

  93. Ichthyic says

    Possibly do some research into the sort of environments sheep are likely to inhabit, as well as their ability to fly.

    iow, actually do some science.

    so, let’s do some!

    OK, you have a hypothesis: all materially observable phenomena are designed.

    how do you REJECT that hypothesis?

    because that’s what you would do, as a scientist.

    what’s that you say?

    ID doesn’t ever try to reject it’s own idea?

    hmmm.

    can YOU reject it?

    well?

  94. Ichthyic says

    1) Evolution would leave a lot of crap around.

    yes, because optimization would be a goal oriented process, and evolution is not.

    And would only evolve to the point that necessity dictates to fulfil whatever need it is fulfilling.

    poor phrasing.

    do you understand the concept of fitness at all?

    if not, suggest you start with that first.

    it’s rather obvious you don’t understand even the basics of either intelligent design OR evolutionary theory.

    and, if you’re wondering why then, people are even bothering to respond to you, you might consider constructing an alternate hypothesis to: “it must be because I’m a super genius!”

  95. Ichthyic says

    Ya teach ‘em how to

    and look what happens.

    someone in here is teachable.

    I wonder if you actually grasp who?

  96. Ichthyic says

    None of these things are necessary. We could have happily been asexual little amoebas in the ocean

    you mean, that your ignorance shorts you on knowing anything about.

    those of us who actually study these things, otoh, actually do understand why sex evolved.

    even have tested multiple hypotheses regarding the evolution of sex.

    can you name even one of these, I wonder, without google to help you?

  97. says

    Interlocking complexity is where an advantageous mutation predicts that it will subsequently produce another random mutation that will make it’s own existence necessary in order to produce that mutation.
    This sounds theological in nature. I won’t make fun of it, but could you please clarify? I can’t imagine that this is truly what you meant.

    No, that’s not it at all. Mutations accumulate over time, and mutations later down the line can alter an organism just as much as mutations earlier. It’s just that the later mutations will modify the already modified organisms (think vertical, not horizontal), so later mutations can change what earlier mutations caused. Some of those mutations might enhance the earlier mutations to the point that the earlier mutation will become fixed.

    Think of it this way: imagine a mutation that allowed for better extraction of oxygen from the environment. Such a mutation would increase fitness and thus get propagated through future generations (simplifying for the sake of example). Now imagine a mutation that enables better endurance but requires more oxygen from the blood. Both have an advantage. But now you’re left with a situation where the first mutation is now necessary as the organism won’t be able to get its oxygen needs from the unmutated allele. First it was only advantageous, but it latter became necessary through a subsequent mutation.

    Understand now?

    Hahaha, I don’t! I didn’t come here in order to defend why ID is better than evolution. I only came to help you guys distinguish between creationism and ID, and while I’m at it, establish the value it has as a program.

    If you don’t know the content of the papers, how can you say it has value as a program? I’m saying that in and of itself, any paper published doesn’t mean that there’s value in the research. There’s plenty of papers published conerning alt med, many of which show positive effects. But when put under more rigorous testing (gold standard, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials with large groups) those effects go away. It doesn’t stop alt-med proponents from claiming scientific validity, but it does mean that in and of itself getting published is no big deal.

    What journals were they published in? How many citations has each paper gotten? What has been uncovered? These are the questions concerning the validity of the research program, it’s no good saying there are papers without knowing their content or their scientific relevance.

    just establish that scientific validity of ID.

    Saying “papers exist” doesn’t in and of itself establish the scientific validity of a concept. It’s what’s in those papers that matter. If you don’t know that, then you shouldn’t try to cite them.

    Why would it? I’m afraid you’re making Dawkins mistake in asking for us to explain the origins of the builder as well as the house.

    This is why I think that you don’t understand where I (or anyone else here) is coming from. I’m not asking about the origins of the builder, I’m asking how the builder did it.

    With houses, they lay the foundations, erect the scaffolding, lay the wiring and the plumbing, construct the floors, walls, roof, etc. If you were to say “the house was wished into existence by the builder”, you wouldn’t actually have a theory of how houses came to be. All you would have is a conjecture, and no matter how many times you say “A builder did it”, you don’t have an explanation. If you want to make ID a science, then you need to have ID explain how it is the builder works. Otherwise, how can we know that a builder was involved at all?

    But ID is looking for intelligent design in nature, not machines.

    So how does ID do that? This is the issue at hand. If ID doesn’t give us testable mechanisms, then there’s no way of being able to detect design.

    now can you try to see where I am coming from?

    I believe I do.

    I honestly think you’ve misunderstood what I’m saying. If you think otherwise, please state my argument back for me in order to show that you do understand what I’m saying. I’ll do the same for you. In the mean time, please read the comment I linked for you.

    And I don’t think you entirely understand my position, yet, but you seem to be getting there.

    Your argument, as I see it, is that it’s a reasonable inference to make between apparent design and a conscious designer. Such that since there is apparent design in nature, intelligent designer(s) would be a sensible explanation in order to account for what we see around us. Furthermore, the lack of good naturalistic explanations for apparent features of nature makes ID the “only game in town” so to speak. That is, certain features like Irreducible Complexity would easily be explained if they were a product of conscious design as they don’t seem to be able to come about through blind forces.

    How was that?

    The argument that ID is using is essentially just striking off possibilities one by one, when it comes to naturalistic explanations, and seeing if intelligent design is therefore the only remaining sensible answer.

    There are two problems with this approach.

    First, doing this way makes ID nothing more than an argument from ignorance. It’s indistinguishable from saying “we don’t know”. It’s what we say in the absence of any meaningful answer.

    Second, this approach is always doomed to fail as we can never rule out all naturalistic explanations as there’s no way we can exhaust all potential naturalistic explanations to be able to rule them out. We didn’t know 300 years ago how it is that solar systems formed, yet 200 years ago came a good candidate. 200 years ago we didn’t know how species came about, but 150 years ago came a good candidate. 100 years ago we didn’t know how universes form (or that they did form), but 75 years ago came a good candidate.

    This approach will never get to a designer, as the designer will always be in the gaps of our knowledge.

    The design inference is a tool, ID is itself the theory.

    But ID is not a scientific theory, as it offers no mechanism. If you disagree, just answer me two questions please:
    1. what did the designer do?
    2. how did the designer do it?

    If you don’t have answers for either, then you don’t have a scientific theory. SETI works because we know about the use of information and transmission of radio telescopes, SETI has a mechanism by which the designer acts that would make the design inference reasonable. What does ID have?

  98. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The eye. It doesn’t need to be as good as it is, and some species have better or worse eyes, and still survive.

    This is a perfect example of why you lost the argument before you started. This is OPINION. Your OPINION is not evidence, nor is it science, nor will it ever be. It is fuckwittery until you provide EVIDENCE to back it up. You could have a perfect post where you say nothing but link to the EVIDENCE to show you are right. Evidence is found in the peer reviewed scientific literature. Which you don’t understand, but we do. Which is why you lost before you started.

    Still no evidence for your imaginary deity. It’s only a figment of your imagination.

  99. Owlmirror says

    And do we really care who ‘invented’ statistics?

    You didn’t actually read what was written, did you?

    Creationists ‘invented’ modern scientific inquiry back when it was called ‘natural philosophy’.

    So are you acknowledging here that scientific inquiry does not support creationism?

    And I believe that in science, we concentrate on accuracy, rather than whoever posted first. If a statistic is wrong, it doesn’t matter how fortuitous it was invented in the first place.

    How fortuitous it is, then, that biostatistics and population biology supports evolution, and has not been proven wrong.

    Such as the archaeopteryx, discovered shortly after Darwin, turns out not to be as compelling as once thought.

    “Compelling”, towards what conclusion?

  100. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Mudz, you sound like you are proselytizing, not arguing science. You are proselytizing if you:
    1) Presume a deity without showing conclusive and indisputable evidence it exists.
    2) Presume your holy book is inerrant without showing indisputable evidence it is.
    Both presuppositions are tossed out without evidence, as Christopher Hitchens wisely said “that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”. If you can’t evidence your presuppositions you must drop them. These presuppositions should be removed from your posts until you can evidence them.

    Science relies upon evidence. These are the observations and facts published in the peer reviewed scientific literature. There the evidence will win the day for competing hypotheses. Not how the argument is presented.

    Religious discussion relies on testament. The sincerity of the speaker. As noted with the Hitchens quote, your sincerity is irrelevant compared to the evidence you bring to the scientific argument. Evidence comes from something other than your opinion. Your OPINION is worthless in a scientific argument unless you can support that OPINION with scientific evidence. Which is done via links to the peer reviewed literature. Keep in mind that anything from a creationist web site is not scientific, and the DI, is a creationist web site. Watch the Nova program Judgement Day I linked to above for background on that fact. Your OPINION otherwise doesn’t refute the evidence and legal opinion.

    This is how science works (notice the links to evidence). Lenski is running a long term evolution experiment with e-coli. The e-coli feed on glucose, although they can feed on citrate under certain conditions. The media the e-coli was low in glucose, and high in citrate. The bacteria could grow, but very slowly. After 33,000 generations, one strain developed the ability to metabolize citrate, and grew quickly. When this was investigated at the DNA level the method of how it happend was exposed, since they had the historical samples for that line of e-coli. Random mutation, gene duplication, gene migration, and over replicatation of the citrate transport gene resulted in the ability to metabolize citrate, exactly as would be predicted by evolution. If a designer did it, all those steps would be expected to happen in fell swoop. Your designeer doesn’t exist. You lose.

  101. raven says

    Mudz, you sound like you are proselytizing, not arguing science. You are proselytizing if you:

    1. Troll is god botting.

    2. Troll is Gish galloping. Just posting lots of lies and logical fallacies sequentially and hoping something sticks. Without even noticing or caring that none of it does.

    It’s all dishonest and a waste of time. He isn’t capable much less even reading anything we write for understanding.

    Have fun if this amuses you, but don’t expect anything intelligent. The troll doesn’t do intelligent.

  102. Owlmirror says

    [Going back to the top]

    Because if I, a Christian who believes in YEC

    Wait, what?

    You believe that the entire universe is 6000 years old?

    Why do you believe something so stupid?

    Do you actually know anything about cosmology and/or geological dating systems?

      Radiometric Dating : A Christian Perspective
    http://asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html

    many creationists aren’t subscribers to ID

    If creationism is a subset of ID, then all creationists do necessarily subscribe to ID.

    Peer pressure. Since 95% of my friends are atheists and agnostics, and I do not attend a kingdom hall or church (I think non-denominational Christian would be most accurate at this point), my beliefs are held against the popular opinion of my peers. So my creationism is counter-peer pressure.

    Peer-pressure in your formative years. Since you are certain that 95% of your current friends are wrong, you don’t consider them to be your peers, but rather your inferiors.

    Out of curiosity, in order to be a serious opponent that merits debate, is a creationist forced to agree with the assumption that:
     
    A) There are fossils that represent transitional evolution.

    Not an assumption; a conclusion. Creationists would have to understand what paleontologists describe as being transitional organisms, rather than having confused ideas about what they are are arguing against, which are their own misinterpretations of the science.

    http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/use_and_abuse_of_the_fossil_record_the_case_of_the_fish-ibian/

    Abiogenesis, and subsequently Evolution, is statistically valid.

    No creationist has demonstrated any problems with statistical validity with evolution or abiogenesis as proposed by actual scientists.

    Why are those necessary requirements?

    It’s necessary to understand what it is you’re even arguing about.

    You’re just asking creationists to agree with evolution.

    We’re asking creationists to accept the terms and concepts used by evolutionary biologists. Creationists often argue against confused and incoherent ideas of what they think evolution is, or what evolutionary biologists and other scientists argue.

  103. Amphiox says

    Such as the archaeopteryx, discovered shortly after Darwin, turns out not to be as compelling as once thought.

    Another flat out falsehood.

    Archeopteryx is actually MORE compelling that was once thought, now that we know more about it. When it was first discovered, attempts were made to shoehorn it into a sort of linear progression/ladder of progress type of straight line evolution from reptiles to birds.

    But of course we now know that evolution doesn’t work like that, and instead transitional forms appear as members of adaptive radiations.

    And the new information on Archeopteryx, along with all the other feathered theropods we have found, turns out to fit the pattern of an adaptive radiation exactly.

  104. Amphiox says

    Creationists ‘invented’ modern scientific inquiry back when it was called ‘natural philosophy’.

    Lilies can grow from turds, drawing on the turd for nutrition.

    Doesn’t say anything whatsoever with respect to the intrinsic value of the turd.

  105. Amphiox says

    And I believe that in science, we concentrate on accuracy, rather than whoever posted first. If a statistic is wrong, it doesn’t matter how fortuitous it was invented in the first place.

    IF.

    (It isn’t.)

  106. Amphiox says

    Perfection of design assumes a perfect designer, so you are inferring God (that dseigns perfectly). This is a theological argument. There are many that have made the argument that God is a lazy worker.

    If a designer is lazy, then the pattern of imperfections observed in its designs would betray evidence of that laziness.

    The pattern of imperfections observed in living things on earth does NOT betray any evidence of laziness in a designer. It betrays evidence of imperfections as a result of HISTORICAL CONTINGENCY and nothing else.

    Evolution predicts that imperfections in adaption will always betray a pattern of historical contingency. This is a positive prediction of evolutionary theory that matches the observed reality.

    For design to be compatible with this observed pattern of imperfections solely and completely as a result of historical contingency would require a designer that is not lazy, but perversely diligent, who deliberately and unnecessarily creates imperfections that perfectly mimic the pattern of historical contingency. In other words the designer HAS to be a trickster who DELIBERATELY designs EVERYTHING to appear as if they evolved with ZERO foresight.

    A designer who DELIBERATELY wants humans to believe that its designs were not designed, but deliberately evolved.

  107. vaiyt says

    I only came to help you guys distinguish between creationism and ID,

    You’re assuming that we need help. We understand your point, we just don’t agree with it.

    Creationism is ID is creationism. It’s the same fucking people, making the same fucking sloppy argument from ignorance (we don’t know, therefore God Designer! Even if we actually DO know!) and false dichotomy (if Evilution is wrong, then the only alternative is God Designer!), dressed in cargo-cult sciency words.

  108. Amphiox says

    The design inference is a tool, ID is itself the theory.

    ID is not a scientific theory.

    To qualify as a scientific theory, it is necessary to produce testable hypotheses.

    ID does not do this.

    It is not a scientific theory.

    Specifically, a scientific theory is required to provide a description, in detail that is examinable in practical terms of what its subject (in this case, life on earth) should look like if it is correct, as well as an equally detailed description of what its subject should look like IF IT IS NOT CORRECT.

    This allows scientists to go and make that practical examination and compare what is ACTUALLY OBSERVED IN REALITY with what the theory says it should look like.

    There is a way that design theory can do this. And in fact, actual, legitimate scientific fields that investigate design do this. (Examples thereof are forensics, archeology, and SETI)

    And that way is simple. Describe a designer.

    Every legitimate scientific theory begins with a proposed hypothetical description of the designer, IN DETAIL. It provides what it thinks the designer is capable of, and what it is not, and what the designer might have tendencies to prefer and not prefer. From this, and only this, is it possible to infer what to look for to determine if something was designed by this designer what what to look for to determine if something was NOT designed by this designer.

    Capabilities. Limitations. Motivation.

    All three MUST be described, in terms specific enough to make real world specific predictions, for you to have a legitimate scientific theory of design.

    You don’t have to start of right. But you HAVE to start with a ballpark estimation, which you can then refine as further data comes in.

    But ID has consistently and deliberately AVOIDED providing any description of its proposed “designer” at all.

    And by this we know that ID is NOT a scientific theory, and its proponents have no intention whatsoever of ever making it one.

  109. Amphiox says

    1) Evolution would leave a lot of crap around.

    It does. This is an established fact.

    And would only evolve to the point that necessity dictates to fulfil whatever need it is fulfilling.

    It does. This is an established fact.

    2) Design can have overcharged functionality. Design is perfect.

    Design can and does have overcharged functiionality without having to be perfect. The Spirit and Opportunity rovers are overengineered. They are not perfect. The London Bridge is overengineered. It is not perfect.

    A few things. Sex, intelligence, altruism, appreciation of beauty, art, poetry, music, sexual dimorphism.
    None of these things are necessary.

    Sex is necessary for all the organism that do reproduce sexually, in the environment those organisms need to survive in. Exactly as evolution theory predicts. Try to actually LEARN ABOUT THE TOPIC before pontificating about it and revealing your vast ignorance.

    Intelligence is necessary for the survival of the organisms that possess it.

    Altruism is absolutely necessary for the survival of humans in the environment in which humans evolved in.

    Appreciation of beauty, art, poetry and music are creations of human minds. Humans are intelligent designers. These things can well be considered to be intelligently designed. By humans.

    Sexual dimorphism is absolutely necessary for those organisms that demonstrate it to survive in the environments that they are required to survive in.

    Again, try to EDUCATE YOURSELF on these subjects before pontificating about it and embarrassing yourself.

    The eye. It doesn’t need to be as good as it is, and some species have better or worse eyes, and still survive.

    Exactly as evolution theory predicts. Every individual organism has an eye that is only as good as it needs to be for that organism. None of them have an eye that is better than it needs to be for that organism to survive, even though better eye adaptions exist and could have been used by an intelligent designer for them.

    Also. Perfection of design assumes a perfect designer, so you are inferring God (that dseigns perfectly).

    I never said anything about assuming a perfect designer. Nearly all intelligent designs over-engineer, whether they are perfect or not.

    Every single species on earth is over-engineered. None of them had to exist at all. Bacteria is quite sufficient.

    Ask a bacterium to try to survive in the niche in which a lion survives in, and it will fail quite spectacularly.

    You are deliberately twisting the meaning of “over-engineered” in a very transparently dishonest fashion.

    It’s rather pathetic.

  110. ChasCPeterson says

    I do not attend a kingdom hall

    Red flag!
    This person was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness.

  111. hotshoe says

    I do not attend a kingdom hall

    Red flag!
    This person was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness.

    Thanks for pointing that out. I was trying to remember why the phrase “kingdom hall” set off alarms in my head …

    Too bad that mudz wasn’t able to leave behind the habit of believing religious lies when xe left behind the habit of worshipping with hir fellow JWs.

    That is assuming mudz is telling the truth about no longer attending, which is a pretty big assumption.

  112. Ichthyic says

    @kel
    Your argument, as I see it, is that it’s a reasonable inference to make between apparent design and a conscious designer. Such that since there is apparent design in nature, intelligent designer(s) would be a sensible explanation in order to account for what we see around us.

    FWIW, that’s what I got too, exactly.

    which is why I asked him what he would do with clouds that look like sheep.

  113. Amphiox says

    In fact, it is imperfect designers that will over-engineer.

    The act of over-engineering is an admission of imperfect understanding by an imperfect engineering. Unable to predict all the potential challenges its design may be forced to encounter, the designer over-engineers to compensate for its inability to anticipate all eventualities.

    A completely perfect designer, with perfect knowledge of all possible eventualities, does not need to over-engineer, except as a whim.

  114. Amphiox says

    Indeed a perfect designer, with complete omniscience and omnipotence, is capable of making its designs into anything it wants. It can make its designs imperfect, if it wants, on whim. It cam make its designs appear to be evolved, if it wants, on whim.

    The acts of the perfect designer can only be predicted if its motivations are completely predictable, which would mean that it does not have free will.

    A perfect designer that has free will can do absolutely anything and thus its activities cannot be distinguished from anything else. Its actions cannot be predicted and its existence cannot be tested. As such a concept of a perfect designer is completely unscientific in all respects.

  115. Owlmirror says

    Something I was reminded of, because I think the phrase “irreducible complexity” is being used in more than one sense above, and by IDiots in general:

    The point is that Berlinski’s definition of IC is far more restrictive than Behe’s. Thus, systems that are IC in Behe’s sense are known to exist but are not inaccessible to Darwinian mechanisms. Systems that are IC in Berlinski’s sense are inaccessible to Darwinian mechanisms, but are not known to exist.

    from How Anti-Evolutionists Abuse Mathematics, by Jason Rosenhouse

  116. says

    That’s been my experience talking with creationists. There’s almost no point in bringing up IC as Behe defined it, nor in bringing up evolutionary accounts of how such systems could come about, as appealing to IC is little more than putting a sciency-sounding term to mean that something looks really complex. It’s the use of terminology that has changed, not the standard creationist objection that something doesn’t look like it could come about by evolution. Behe was precise, but mistaken. Creationists, on the other hand, use the term without understanding its significance – they only see “evolution defeater argument”.

  117. says

    which is why I asked him what he would do with clouds that look like sheep.

    I guess if one were to engage in special pleading, a legitimate case could be made that clouds (like constellations) are entirely an artefact of the mind, while sheep are complex multi-functional systems with purposes to various aspects. In other words, an ID-proponent would be right in distinguishing between sheep-shaped clouds and sheep as different expressions of the design inference.

    The question over design, however, breaks down not in that design is an illusory feature of nature, but that the argument to design either breaks down from disanalogy, or that it’s too nondescript to be useful. For the former, a human designer might fashion a weapon through manipulating a stone, but a tiger grows its teeth and claws organically. Since we know the relationship between DNA and the expression of organism, we know that it’s nothing like how a conscious designer goes about things.

    On the latter, and where ID fails spectacularly, is that from what we do know about the organising forces of life, we don’t have any particular role for a designer. Is the designer like Craig Venter as a genome programmer? Or perhaps the designer was like Charles Darwin, forging nature through artificial selection. The nondescriptness of that life must have a builder because it looks built doesn’t really work if we cannot say what the builder actually did. The inference just doesn’t make sense.

    In this respect, the argument can only be a comfort for those who choose not to examine the argument carefully, as any superficial plausibility the argument may have had was utterly obliterated by David Hume.

  118. David Marjanović says

    Well, let’s see. Do houses reproduce? Do baby houses inherit characteristics from mommy houses?

    I won’t be too mean about this, but I’m sure you’ve heard of Berra’s Blunder? You’re mocking your own side.

    I’ve never heard of it, probably because I didn’t grow up in an an English-speaking country. I have no idea how I’m mocking my own side here.

    I brought this up because evolution is descent with heritable modification – houses don’t reproduce, so they don’t descend or inherit; therefore, evolution is out of the question for them a priori.

    And if you believe in a scientific hypothesis, you’re doing it wrong.

    Thus why evolutionists have been warned against saying ‘I *believe* in evolution’ I imagine.

    But are you suggesting that people can’t believe in a hypothesis? I would suggest that what you are trying to say is that belief does not substitute evidence. I heartily agree.

    Good.

    I do not believe the evidence is sufficient to infer evolution. (Macro-evolution to be precise.)

    Heh, that’s not precise at all. Where’s the cutoff? What reason is there to think that macroevolution is anything other than accumulated microevolution?

    You’ve had a very, very superficial look at it. Every one of those “peer-reviewed” papers was published under highly suspicious circumstances. I recommend digging through the Pharyngula archives.

    Yes I heard. They were published by IDers.

    Yeah, by journal editors who were IDers and basically circumvented peer review…

    I still recommend digging through the Pharyngula archives. :-)

    Fun thing is, it’s exactly what the theory of evolution predicts – and this has been known since the early 20th century. As always, cdesign proponentsists simply don’t understand what they’re talking about.

    A stone arch is irreducibly complex: if you take one stone out, the whole thing falls to pieces. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t built piece by piece. The trick is the scaffold.

    I see. And the scaffold for the chance generation of multiple interconnected organelles and system is?

    Different in every instance.

    There are pretty close analogs to the stone arch I mentioned. I’m thinking of the preopercular bone in the skull. Functionally, it used to be part of the gill lid, but a smaller gill lid makes it easier to sweep the head from side to side like a crocodile, so when our last common ancestor with Tiktaalik lost the gill lid, it gained a new way of feeding that needs less energy than, say, sucking lots of water in. The preopercular ended up being a lot smaller than before. Its neighbors, the squamosal and the quadratojugal, ended up meeting under it. That’s what we see in Acanthostega, Ichthyostega, Whatcheeria, Pederpes and the like, where the preopercular is a small sliver of bone that lies on top of its neighbors. Well, such a bone is pretty useless. An animal slightly closer to us than Whatcheeria and Pederpes lost it without suffering disadvantages.

    If you take the preopercular out of a normal “fish” head, you leave a gaping hole in the skull. The preopercular was a scaffold that allowed the squamosal and the quadratojugal to meet.

    And no, the theory of evolution didn’t. Do I really have to find the quote from Darwin about the eye?

    Uh, please do find that quote. And then read the next several pages.

    Then how does it explain stupid design? Why are vertebrate eyes the wrong way around when cephalopod eyes show that there’s nothing inherently impossible about eyes that are the right way around?

    Hahaha, is that the ‘backwards wired’ thing? You really should google that, since I have no desire to upbraid you. Suffice it to say that our eyes were well-designed.

    Upbraid me. Explain how it’s a good idea that the light has to first cross a layer of blood vessels and nerves and then the light-sensitive cells to reach their far end, when cephalopods do without that and therefore lack a blind spot.

    Unrelated: our eyes don’t correct for chromatic aberration, except in a really crude way – only 4 % of our color receptors are the type with the blue absorption maximum, so we rarely see that our eyes don’t correct for chromatic aberration.

    More importantly, ‘bad design’ would still be design. ID never made the assumption that a designer would be perfect in its design. Bad design would seem more indicative of a subjective intelligent than a uniform natural force.

    Point taken.

    If I had the time I could literally go on for hours.

    Please do, I have no objection.

    But I do – unfortunately, I don’t have time.

    So does the theory of evolution. If it has no function at all, why hasn’t it been lost long ago?

    You’re kidding right? It was considered a useless vestigial organ that served no purpose. People went on about that for ages when I was a kid. I’m certain you know what vestigial organs are right?

    I’m not kidding at all. There’s always a cost in growing and maintaining stuff, so losing it is always an advantage unless, obviously, having it is an even greater advantage. When something useless hasn’t been lost, there are only two possible reasons: 1) the necessary mutations haven’t appeared yet or haven’t become fixed in the population yet; 2) it’s part of an irreducibly complex system. Option 1) implies that not much time has passed since it became useless. Option 2) is a bit difficult to imagine: our notochord is needed to trigger the development of the vertebrae and stuff, but once the vertebrae have formed, the notochord is destroyed.

    How about Junk DNA? That was considered to be perfectly useless, but simply had no need to be discarded.

    Wrong. It’s useless (no more than 20 % of your genome could possibly have a function), and losing it would bring small advantages (faster genome replication and therefore cell division; smaller cells and therefore more efficient metabolism), but there’s no mechanism that could recognize it and cut it out. It can only be lost by random deletion mutations, and that’s often not faster than the rate at which new junk accumulates.

    I forgot to address this. Materialism is actually not a criterion for science. Ockham’s Razor is.

    Ockam’s Razor is a philosphical tool. Materialism is an a priori assumption as made perfectly clear by Lewontin.

    Except that Lewontin’s quote is full of shit. :-| If he really believes materialism is an a-priori assumption, he knows painfully little about science theory. It’s not that we can’t allow a divine foot in the door; it’s that we have no reason to assume that there’s a divine foot anywhere.

    The universe is physical and it is evidence. Design in nature is physical evidence of a designer.

    If you’re not convinced by it, that’s entirely up to you.

    No, no, no. That’s not how it works.

    As long as you can answer the question “if I were wrong, how would I know?” all the way down, you’re doing science. As soon as you can’t answer it anymore, as soon as you retreat to (paraphrasing) “we’ll have to agree to disagree” or (quoting) “if you’re not convinced by it, that’s entirely up to you”, you’re not doing science anymore.

    However, the very fact that we cannot predict a mutation, makes it random, unless we utterly understand why it mutates, and why it mutates precisely as it did (something a little more explicit than radiation damage). If we examined a DNA molecule for example, would we be able to precisely predict when and which base will mutate?

    I’ve always wondered why a nucleotide base would transform so neatly into another. Can G turn into any the others? Why those? Why not something completely useless? Why not disappear into energy?

    Disappearing into energy would violate all sorts of physics. G and all other bases can, however, be hydrolyzed off (I told you DNA falls apart when kept in water, and you didn’t react), and then the repair enzymes can fail to bump into that exact spot (leaving a gap) or can fail to put a new G there (as opposed to another base).

    G can also react with oxygen to give 8-oxo-G, which can’t bind to A (IIRC). Oxygen is like religion, it poisons everything.

    Bases directly turning into other bases doesn’t happen, for chemical reasons, except:
    – C hydrolyzes into U and ammonia. (One more way DNA falls apart when kept in water.) Now, U looks like T, so if that isn’t repaired before the next round of replication or RNA synthesis, the polymerases will put a C in the strand they’re building, instead of a T (or U in RNA). That’s why T is used in DNA instead of U: it’s a U with a methyl group on, so there’s an enzyme that cuts every U it can find out of DNA, and then the repair enzymes (hopefully, sometime) put a T there because there’s a C in the opposing strand.
    – Except that’s not always a solution. Putting methyl groups on bases is a way of gene regulation, so it occurs a lot. When methylated C hydrolyzes, you get a T, and then you have to hope that the right side of the mismatch between T and T gets repaired.

    That’s all chemistry. It, and what “radiation damage” can mean, is explained in Wikipedia at length.

    An irreducibly complex organism is something that cannot be evolved in graduation

    In that case you’ll have to look very hard for examples. None that has been offered so far is actually one.

    Also, I believe “),” is incorrect grammar.

    What? No. The sentence the parenthesis is in, if indeed it is in a sentence (as opposed to a whole sentence or several being in a parenthesis of their own), still needs to make sense if the parenthesis is taken out.

    And for the more pictorially inclined:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZdCxk0CnN4

    Imagine, I can’t watch that in Germany. Some dumbass must have used copyrighted music in it.

    The telling typo from the ID movement’s original and seminal publication.

    cdesign proponentists.

    It’s not a typo, it’s a failure of mouse movement; and you misquote it, it’s cdesign proponentsists.

    In changing Of Pandas And People to ID, somebody highlighted all instances of “creationists” and pasted “design proponents” over them. In this particular instance, the person only got “reation”, not moving the hand far enough right that Word would highlight the entire word, and pasted “design proponents” over only that part. Result? Cdesign proponentsists.

    It’s the missing link between creationism and ID. It was part of the evidence in Kitzmiller v. Dover.

    I’d like you guys to understand that I’m participating here simply because I’m bored.

    Not because you, like, want to learn, or something?

    Life on earth has almost never been observed to manifest functionality that does not benefit the individual organism primarily.

    Uh, only if you include reproduction in those benefits.

    Such as the archaeopteryx, discovered shortly after Darwin, turns out not to be as compelling as once thought.

    :-) Explain what you mean, please. I know old Archie fairly well, so this could become an interesting discussion.

    Do you mean the fact that Archie isn’t alone anymore, that she’s now surrounded by large numbers of very similar animals on all sides?

  119. Menyambal --- Sambal's Little Helper says

    Berra’s Blunder? I’d never heard of it either, and after a bit of Googling, don’t regard it as a blunder. He was saying that as car designs change over time, so we see fossils change over time. To accuse him of blundering in not realizing an intelligent designer was involved with cars is being petty—he knew that, and was probably asking why an intelligent designer would need many steps to make the current animals.

    I’m a sometime designer/inventor/engineer, and I have no trouble at all seeing that evolution has occurred. One of my strengths is reverse-engineering, which involves figuring out how things were made, and it is obvious to me that the species we see have grown into place, just as a plant grows into its place/pot/rocky niche.

    There is no intelligence in the design of species or animals. There is also precious little intelligence in the design of most machines. As Berra was saying, most are built from the previous version, and as he doesn’t say, most have to survive in the marketplace.

    Nobody sets out to build the best possible car from scratch, they set out to build the best-selling car they can make with the tools and knowledge that they have. Then, the next year, they improve on that design as the market requires, to the limits of their ability. It’s a lot like artificial selection in cattle breeding, they want what’s popular so it sells, and damn what’s intelligent.

    If you look at the development of jet aircraft, for example (Bill Gunston is the best author there), you will find that engines went through fads and phases, with people busy screwing things up in the most unintelligent fashion. Overall improvements happened, and to a most amazing extent, but Frank Whittle didn’t build a high-bypass axial-flow on Day One.

    So unless the intelligent designer of ID isn’t much more intelligent than a leopard hunting gazelles, or a gaggle of marketing men, he’s a product of your own intelligence, or lack thereof.

    David Marjanović, you once again have my admiration.

    Speaking of detecting design, here’s a fun game:

    Go over to say, http://boards.4chan.org/s/, where there are lots of pictures of allegedly-attractive women wearing little-to-no clothing, and see if you can detect which ones have had cosmetic surgery, and which ones are all natural. If you are lucky, there will be a bimbo thread, with breast implants, puffed lips, piercings and tattoos, as well as layers of makeup, fake tans and hair removal.

    My point is that most of us can tell something natural from something fake, unless the faker has tried really hard to make things look natural, and has not screwed it up. We may have trouble telling whether implants are present or not, and devote hours to studying the subject, but we know piercings and tattoos are not natural. And when we see a watch on a woman’s wrist, we know it didn’t grow there, any more than the watch that Paley found grew on the heath.

    If you say that the woman wearing the watch looks just as designed as the watch, you have the burden of showing evidence, mechanism or a designer. I will point out that the woman grew from a single cell over a twenty-year span, as her ancestors grew from single-celled organisms, whereas the watch is a machine that was assembled from machine-made parts.

    (I will also say that the woman’s female ancestors were shaped, in part, by sexual selection, and that she, herself, has been selected for her appearance as attractive by current standards. So there is some “intelligence” in her design, so to speak, although you’d never guess it by reading the comments on 4Chan.)

  120. Ichthyic says

    an ID-proponent would be right in distinguishing between sheep-shaped clouds and sheep as different expressions of the design inference.

    incorrect.

    both design inferences are equivalent.

    just because one is a sheep and the other a cloud makes NO difference.

  121. Ichthyic says

    breaks down not in that design is an illusory feature of nature

    but… it IS.

    if you want to differentiate between the appearance of design, and an actual construct, i suggest using beaver dams as an analogy.

  122. Ichthyic says

    Upbraid me. Explain how it’s a good idea that the light has to first cross a layer of blood vessels and nerves and then the light-sensitive cells to reach their far end, when cephalopods do without that and therefore lack a blind spot.

    ah yeah, there was a release from AIG a couple years back claiming vertebrate eyes NEEDED the occlusion.

    it was hilarious.

    I think it was even covered on Pharyngula, but I’m sure you can find it in google.

  123. Amphiox says

    Hahaha, is that the ‘backwards wired’ thing? You really should google that, since I have no desire to upbraid you. Suffice it to say that our eyes were well-designed.

    Backwards wiring. Unnecessary blind-spot. Failure to correct of chromatic aberration. Extremely stupid storage of essential building components and instructions (putting one photoreceptor gene on the X chromosome – does the designer hate men?). Vulnerability to retinal detachment. Ludicrous paucity of color photoreceptors (if we’re talking about “our” as in human eyes).

    Let’s put it this way. If the vertebrate eye is well designed, then the cephalopod eye is not. If the cephalopod eye is well designed, then the vertebrate eye is not. Either way you have bad design.

    But it is worse that just bad design. It is internally inconsistent bad design. Bad design could be produced by a bad designer, but in that case the specific manner in which the designs are bad should fall into a pattern that tells us something about the designer’s limitations. But in the case of the cephalopod and vertebrate eyes, the question that hangs unanswerable is: why would a designer who made the mistakes we see in the vertebrate eye also avoid those same mistakes in the cephalopod eye, while simultaneously making a whole slew of OTHER mistakes in the cephalopod eye that it DID NOT MAKE in the vertebrate eye? What kind of designer is that perverse?

  124. Amphiox says

    And no, the theory of evolution didn’t. Do I really have to find the quote from Darwin about the eye?

    You mean the rhetorical quote he made that preceding the paragraph in which explain, in exquisite step by step detail, EXACTLY how an eye could evolve?

    That there are IDiots out there still stupid and dishonest enough to even think about using this pathetic piece of quote-mining in an argument is mind-blowing.

    Pathetic.

    Oh, and Darwin, you know, died in 1882. Evolutionary theory has advanced quite a bit beyond what Darwin knew.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA113_1.html

  125. Amphiox says

    Explain how it’s a good idea that the light has to first cross a layer of blood vessels and nerves and then the light-sensitive cells to reach their far end, when cephalopods do without that and therefore lack a blind spot.

    It has been suggested that the order of layers in vertebrates has the advantage of putting the nutrient supply, the blood vessels, closer to the light sensitive cells, allowing them to more rapidly recycle used up photoreceptors, and therefore preventing vision from bleaching out in very bright light when not in water, which apparently cephalopods are vulnerable to.

    However, even if true, then this just means that it is the cephalopod eye that is badly designed in this aspect.

    And a truly intelligent and omnipotent designer could have solved the problem in any number of other ways without having the accept a blind spot. Like, for example, by making blood transparent.

  126. Amphiox says

    There is of course much more that needs to be explained regarding eyes that just how they arose.

    There is also the question of diversity of eyes. Why are there so many different types of eyes?

    And then there is the distribution of that diversity. Why do insects have compound eyes, but vertebrates have camera eyes? Why are there cephalopod AND vertebrate eyes, so similar superficially, and so different in the details? Why does the nautilus have a pin-hole camera eye while its close relatives have lenses (and a lense would do a nautilus a world of good in its dim environment, too)?

    Design “theory” offers no explanation for any of these questions. Nor can it even explain how an eye arose. (Saying ‘it was designed’ is NOT explaining HOW it arose)

    Evolution can easily explain all of them.

  127. says

    Ichthyic, what would be the difference between a beaver dam and a bat’s sonar system? The point I was trying to make was that the structure and function we see in organisms isn’t an artefact of our mind – it’s there, while the structure we see in a cloud dissipates when we take into account our pattern recognition. The only illusory aspect when it comes to nature is making a teleological rather than a teleonomic inference.

  128. Anri says

    Presuming that he loves everyone, and that his love meant that he would reward everyone. Both are philosophically contestable.

    Um, ok, I suppose you could believe in a religion that supposes god doesn’t love everyone.
    Of course, that’s not Christianity, in which that is one of the, if not the, central tenet.

    If you wish to argue that perfect, eternal love would be expressed in some form of indifference or punishment rather than reward, be my guest.

    God after all, hates what is wicked. And anyone who’s read the bible should be fully aware he has no problem with blowing up entire cities. And regardless, you still supported my statement that heaven is more logical than hell (eternal damnation version, anyway).

    The fact that god is willing to destroy the innocent kinda argues against him being a perfectly good being, doesn’t it?
    Or does your definition of perfect good include punishing the innocent? Is that more of your philosophically contestable love in action?

    And I am arguing that both heaven and hell, are put forth by Christianity, are incoherent concepts.

    The distinction between death and a perfect heaven is that in the first, you are dead, in the second, you are alive, forever. And a spirit, woot!

    That’s a useful distinction, but it’s not the important one you were making. Let me say that a) I’m don’t believe I’m going to heaven, as I’m hoping to be resurrected on earth.

    So there is no final judgement and so forth?
    No final (re?)creation or a perfect place?

    B) I don’t believe that heaven is featureless or changeless. I get the impression that heaven is much more fascinating even than earth. And God is a rather dynamic person.

    If heaven changes, was it not perfect before the change, or not perfect after?
    If god changes, was he not perfect before the change or not perfect after?
    If both are equally perfect, what can you describe as change?
    Someone in a perfect place can’t have any memory, as there is no way to distinguish one eternal stretch or perfection from another. They can’t have any emotional changes, as feeling more good then perfect is impossible (by definition) and feeling less good than perfect is impossible for the perfect (again, by definition). They can’t experience anything new, as that experience would have been lacking before they did so, marking them less than perfect. They can’t have any identity, as they have no memory, no emotion, and no experiences.
    That’s not materially different from death in any way I can determine.
    (I don’t have to book in front of me, but I seem to recall Umberto Eco nailing it pretty well at the end of The Name of the Rose.)

    You’re misled by a common stereotype, which tends to be earth-centric. As if all the angels do is sit on clouds and wait for something to happen down here. Earth might not be the most important thing going on in the universe.

    You are incorrect.
    I do not believe the (theoretical) inhabitants of heaven ‘wait’ for anything, as they have perfect knowledge, perfect understanding, and no events to pass time with. You’re misled by a common stereotype, that heaven is just like earth, but ‘best’ in some ineffable way.
    A truly eternal, perfected place full of eternal perfected souls must be utterly static, as nothing is left to do, or learn, or think, or feel, or understand. If any of these things are not totally fulfilled and completed, the place is not perfect.

  129. Ichthyic says

    Ichthyic, what would be the difference between a beaver dam and a bat’s sonar system?

    you’re looking at this from the wrong direction.

    the relevant question is:

    what is the apparent difference of design between the two?

    since both appearances are only based on projection of our own design detection system, the answer is:

    none.

    this is why the design inference fails. it is entirely projectory in nature to begin with.

    which is why I said you need to distinguish between “design” and “construct”

    that a beaver dam looks designed to me is based on my own projections of design. It is by definition illusory.

    that a beaver dam IS a construct can be determined by observation and experiment.

    that a bat’s sonar will look “designed” to me to be perfect for navigating in a dark world is a projection.

    whether it is a construct is directly testable, just like the dam.

    in the case of the dam, experiment and observation reveals it to be a construct.

    in the case of the sonar, not.

  130. Ichthyic says

    You’re misled by a common stereotype, that heaven is just like earth, but ‘best’ in some ineffable way.

    as opposed to the reality…

    lol

  131. Ichthyic says

    If any of these things are not totally fulfilled and completed, the place is not perfect.

    what happens if the very struggle for understanding itself is somehow a needed part of perfection?

    the very idea than one could numerate and generalize the concept of perfection, an entirely subjective thing to begin with, is an exercise in wasted energy.

  132. Rodney Nelson says

    Anri #146

    Um, ok, I suppose you could believe in a religion that supposes god doesn’t love everyone.
    Of course, that’s not Christianity, in which that is one of the, if not the, central tenet.

    Calvinism posits that the Christian god loves only a few people and the rest can go to Hell, quite literally.

  133. Menyambal --- Sambal's Little Helper says

    Suffice it to say that our eyes were well-designed.

    Suffice it to say that our eyes were not well-designed.

    Actually, it doesn’t suffice, so let me say that I’ve been wearing glasses since I was eight years old, and currently have mine perched on the end of my nose so I can see this computer screen. I’ve also had to wear safety glasses many a time, used a microscope to see small stuff, a telescope to see far away, stumbled over my cat in the dark, and been blinded by sweat. I’ve seen the blood vessels in my eyes when the lights were just right, and played games with my blind spots. And I have astigmatism.

    Do I really have to find the quote from Darwin about the eye?

    Yes, you have to find it, IN THE ORIGINAL, and read the paragraphs after it.

    Seriously, you just made a mockery out of your self, your life, your side, your case and this discussion.

    Kel:

    … the structure we see in a cloud dissipates when we take into account our pattern recognition. The only illusory aspect when it comes to nature is making a teleological rather than a teleonomic inference.

    Which is the pattern recognition that the religious crowd have had hammered into them since forever. EVERYTHING is God’s work, therefore animals show God’s hand, obviously.

    A beaver dam, by the way, is poorly designed. All the little guys do is put sticks wherever they hear water trickling. (They also manage to drop trees on themselves, and take on trees they can’t finish.)

    Let’s see … various drivel about us having the wrong ideas about religious matters even though most of us know more about religion than most people …

    And my eyes hurt.

  134. says

    Ichthyic, didn’t I make that distinction in #136 where I highlighted the argument from disanalogy? After all, even the most ardent creationist understands where babies come from, but the contention surrounding order is not dissolved by the origins. ID proponents, I think do have at least some recourse to say that there’s something that needs explanation. The mistake they make is to think that the design argument holds as a default, as they spend all their effort dreaming up ways that evolutionary theory is inadequate, rather than setting about turning the design conjecture into a scientific hypothesis. They fall down because the design argument Is Indistinguishable from making an argument from ignorance (and for most creationists, it’s an argument from personal incredulity). There’s nothing stopping the possibility of a designer playing a role in life on earth, it’s not scientifically detectable at this stage.

  135. says

    Menyambal, I agree that such reasoning can definitely be passed on through religious education. One striking study on promiscuous teleology (the Panglossian view on nature) tends to go away in non-fundamentalist children by about age 12, while it persisted among those from fundamentalist homes. My goal with my argument, however, was to avoid any particular thinking on the subject and instead try to present the argument in its best possible form and see what warrant such an argument has. As ID proponents highlight, poor design is still design. Focusing on the powers of a perfect creator isn’t going to rule out other creators, yet the design argument is vacuous and wrong even when it comes to a finite designer.

    I’ll be unequivocal, ID is vacuous nonsense that only seems plausible if one doesn’t look at it too hard. And in all the evidence that’s been uncovered throughtthought natural sciences, there’s nothing to indicate any guiding intelligence at work. I do agree, though, with Dan Dennett when he claims that talk of the illusion of design can give a misleading picture of evolution. There are distinctions to be made between structures and functions in organisms and of artefacts of our own mind’s making – but they do not support ID even though ID proponents try to claim ownership of that distinction.

  136. Ichthyic says

    ID proponents, I think do have at least some recourse to say that there’s something that needs explanation

    and I completely and vehemently disagree.

    I also think you fall into the same trap they do.

  137. says

    I’m not entirely sure what that trap is. (Otherwise I would be able to avoid it.) How do I fall into it, and how can it be avoided?

  138. Anri says

    Rodney Nelson:

    Calvinism posits that the Christian god loves only a few people and the rest can go to Hell, quite literally.

    True.
    But, from my experience with long, drawn-out arguments with Pharyngula’s own unlamented in-house Calvinist, what little I know of the sect suggests to me that it’s like the Christian Scientist faith: not really very much like mainstream Christianity.

    So, you’re not wrong by any means, and if mudz claims to be a Calvinist, then what they believe is punishment enough, I don’t feel the need to pile on.

    . . .

    what happens if the very struggle for understanding itself is somehow a needed part of perfection?

    Because that leaves one in the rather silly position of arguing that their world is perfect… and will be improving by next week. If there is some higher level of attainment to aspire to, by improving, it seems kinda odd to argue that perfection has been attained.
    In other words, it puts one in the position of arguing that a perfect world must be forever lacking.

    the very idea than one could numerate and generalize the concept of perfection, an entirely subjective thing to begin with, is an exercise in wasted energy.

    Well, I’m having fun playing around with it. If you don’t care to, that’s fine and I don’t blame you for feeling that way at all. Not that you need my permission, but feel free not to waste any further energy on the topic, then.

  139. Owlmirror says

    But, from my experience with long, drawn-out arguments with Pharyngula’s own unlamented in-house Calvinist, what little I know of the sect suggests to me that it’s like the Christian Scientist faith: not really very much like mainstream Christianity.

    It’s a bit tricky trying to figure out how “mainstream Christianity” should be defined, because the bible contains almost every sentiment you can imagine, and its opposite, and Christians may recall one verse or sentiment at different times and with different priming. Should “mainstream Christianity” be defined as being the intersection of dogmas of the Christian sects with the most adherents, or as what most Christians say that they believe?

    I do recall flummoxing heddle a bit by pointing to a Pew poll that showed that most people who call themselves Christians are not dogmatic.

    So, you’re not wrong by any means, and if mudz claims to be a Calvinist,

    As noted above, mudz appears to be a Jehovah’s Witness, which is consistent with not having been taught about hell, and with belief that the wicked will be destroyed (#28, #37).

  140. Menyambal --- Sambal's Little Helper says

    … the bible contains almost every sentiment you can imagine, and its opposite, and Christians may recall one verse or sentiment at different times and with different priming.

    QFT. It’s very confusing.And like some version of insanity.

    As for evolutionists, and even the engineer/designers I was babbling about upthread, it takes some effort to avoid verbally anthropomorphizing processes and materials. I can say something like “Water seeks its own level” and “Sheet metal doesn’t like compound curves”, or, even (as I said yesterday), “That shelf has to be that high”. It’s the way we talk, and when we say “Rabbits evolved”, it sounds like there’s a guiding spirit, especially to a person who believes in a great and guiding spirit.

    Words are messy, sometimes, and much of science is getting a clear and un-equivocal expression down on paper. I recall a discussion of the discovery of the living coelecanth that hinged on the word “supposed”. It was supposed to be extinct, and the scientists meant that their supposition was incorrect, while the creationists interpreted it as something from a vampire movie, with the scientists reeling in horror as reality crumbled before them, sobbing “You belong dead.”

    Anyhow, many a discussion here has hinged on varying interpretations of words and terms. I just meant to say that Owlmirror is entirely correct, and one has to be very careful when talking to Christians.

  141. Anri says

    It’s a bit tricky trying to figure out how “mainstream Christianity” should be defined, because the bible contains almost every sentiment you can imagine, and its opposite, and Christians may recall one verse or sentiment at different times and with different priming. Should “mainstream Christianity” be defined as being the intersection of dogmas of the Christian sects with the most adherents, or as what most Christians say that they believe?

    This is very true – a very real dilemma. It’s a bit like the trouble we have with arguing against Libertarianism – everything negative we bring up to any particular Libertarian always seems to coincidentally only ever be a part of what those other people calling themselves Libertarians believe.

    I have heard it said that the Bible is pretty much the West’s ultimate Rorschach Test.

  142. mudz says

    As promised, I went away and read some stuff on Irreducible. I seem to have gotten it right, that Michael Behe’s definition is not that it is logically impossible for an Irreducible System to come into existence via non-designed means (like the spontaneous emission of particles and energy from quantum vacuum in a wonderfully precise way).

    I tried to read all of your replies (not easy to find time to do so), but I apologised that I skimmed a little at the end since you guys seemed to be discussing theology and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I would quite happily identify myself as a JW (and I was curious to see what reponse it would garner), the only reason I don’t know if it’s an honest statement is because I don’t attend a Kingdom Hall or go door-to-door. I’ve been a huge fan of the original Bible Students movement, as I am from Luther’s early activity and all the others that made intellectual integrity a priority.

    So if you guys wanted to take some pot-shots at JWs while I’m here (assuming I haven’t meanderd onto anoth site as is my wont), go for gold. Apparently it’s quite common, even if I don’t quite understand the reason. Well, not one I like anyway, since the only explicit explanation is Jesus telling me that people from the world will always hate Christians for being Christians. So it’s warming and disconcerting to see it in real life action. It’s hard to credit people with really being like that. I hope you guys aren’t so bad, though. =)

    Anyhow, the only reason I came back was to sum up ID, but I guess I’ll reply to the very many comments you guys have made as well. (Some of you I might skip over, simply because there doesn’t seem to be anything constructive to be gained.)

    @Amphiox

    Sex is necessary for all the organism that do reproduce sexually, in the environment those organisms need to survive in. Exactly as evolution theory predicts. Try to actually LEARN ABOUT THE TOPIC before pontificating about it and revealing your vast ignorance.

    It seems that people have a point when they say that evolutionists make a business out of pointing to things and say that it evolved, and that it being there proves evolution. You’re making another circular argument very closely related to Natural Selection. It has the virtue of being true without actually making a relevant point.

    Sex is necessary for organisms that need sex?

    Somehow I’m not surprised. According to evolution (or abiogenesis if you like) life on earth
    did not begin with a male and a female. That’s more a creationist style conviction.

    So unless you think the very first self-replicating molecule, protein, RNA, magic alien seed, or what have you, spontaneously aroes
    co-existing with a female (or male) companion, then it is evident that asexuality is perfectly sufficient for survival. Which was the argument of ‘sufficient design’.

    This is not an argument against the evolution of sex. This is simply a response to the charge that all life is ‘just good enough’.

    And to whoever it was before, no, I have read absolutely no evidence to support how sexual dimorphism evolved. Feel free to link me anything you like.

    @ Amphiox

    “In fact, it is imperfect designers that will over-engineer.”

    I can only assume you’re not a big car enthusiast. You should watch a drag race sometime.

    @ David Marjanović

    “I still recommend digging through the Pharyngula archives. :-)”

    When I have the time, I guarantee I will. :)

    “Uh, please do find that quote. And then read the next several pages.”

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v16/n4/eye

    That covers the issue. But I’ll do it anyway.

    “To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. (Darwin 1872)

    Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound. (Darwin 1872, 143-144)”

    (From talkorigins, since I couldn’t be bothered searching my copy of the book.)

    That makes my original point. Darwin said that it was a super complex eye that appeared to be, probably what we’d call irreducible complexity today, but then he goes on to say that it must have be reducible somehow anyway, and proposed (according to talkorigins) three pages worth of theories on how it might have occurred.

    He was not arguing for how evolution created irreducible structures, he was arguing for how they weren’t actually irreducible after all, that that it could be achieved by gradual step-wise evolution.

    Whether he was right, is of course, another issue entirely, which is taken up with Behe and Irreducible Complexity today.

    “Upbraid me. Explain how it’s a good idea that the light has to first cross a layer of blood vessels and nerves and then the light-sensitive cells to reach their far end, when cephalopods do without that and therefore lack a blind spot.

    Unrelated: our eyes don’t correct for chromatic aberration, except in a really crude way – only 4 % of our color receptors are the type with the blue absorption maximum, so we rarely see that our eyes don’t correct for chromatic aberration.”

    I love your attitude. But it’s not my nature to upbraid someone for not happening to read the same articles as I. :D (There are many evolutionary articles that I haven’t read. Though I plan to over the course of my life.)

    Here’s a few links.

    http://creation.com/mueller-cells-backwardly-wired-retina-v-dawkins

    http://creation.mobi/is-our-inverted-retina-really-bad-design

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v4/n1/retina-design

    I don’t think those are the ones I originally read, but they should cover it adequately. It looks like there’s been some discussion with Pharyngula before on this.

    “But I do – unfortunately, I don’t have time.”

    Hahaha, I understand. I’m sure I’ll come across them all eventually anyway. :D

    “I’m not kidding at all. There’s always a cost in growing and maintaining stuff, so losing it is always an advantage unless, obviously, having it is an even greater advantage. When something useless hasn’t been lost, there are only two possible reasons: 1) the necessary mutations haven’t appeared yet or haven’t become fixed in the population yet; 2) it’s part of an irreducibly complex system. Option 1) implies that not much time has passed since it became useless. Option 2) is a bit difficult to imagine: our notochord is needed to trigger the development of the vertebrae and stuff, but once the vertebrae have formed, the notochord is destroyed.”

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090730-spleen-vestigial-organs_2.html
    http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/sci_cult/evolit/s05/web1/bfremstad.html

    It’s nice that you guys have come to terms with it now, but the fact is, you guys said it was useless (to generalise, I’m sure you personally did no such thing), and ID and even I (who had no concept of ID or the evolution controversy, since I was like 10 years old), intuitively knew (or had the conviction) that it wasn’t possibly useless. Why else would it be there? My 10 year old mind reasoned.

    How about Junk DNA? That was considered to be perfectly useless, but simply had no need to be discarded.

    “Wrong. It’s useless (no more than 20 % of your genome could possibly have a function), and losing it would bring small advantages (faster genome replication and therefore cell division; smaller cells and therefore more efficient metabolism), but there’s no mechanism that could recognize it and cut it out. It can only be lost by random deletion mutations, and that’s often not faster than the rate at which new junk accumulates.”

    I understand there is still controversy around the concept of Junk DNA, the ENCODE results, as well as definitions of functionality and what-not.

    So let me just put it this way. I predict that most if not all of the genome will be shown to have useful function in the human body.

    You say that no more than 20% can possibly have function, which is true to evolutionary thought. So here’s a decent test (even though I think it slants in my favour considerably.)

    If there is found to be over 50% confirmed functionality (as in, a useful activity), then I would say the predictive power of evolution is nigh useless with DNA (I’m allowing a large 30% leeway due to the difficulties involved with this sort of prediction, and our current scientific ignorance of DNA). Whereas if it exceeds 90% (since we arguably already have 80), then I would take that as an absolute confirmation of the predictive power of ID and Creation. (Anything in between would be a sliding scale, obviously.)

    This puts it in my favour simply because it’s pretty damn hard to absolutely confirm that something doesn’t have a function in these instances (though I guess that was the evolutionary or Darwinian position). But if it rules in my favour, then it doesn’t matter. And if it doesn’t, I have nothing to falsify the Junk DNA position with.

    It’s also in my favour because arguably 80% function has been detected, but I’m willing to make the definition of function a little more constrained: useful activity, rather than just activity (or DNA binding).

    Me –

    Ockam’s Razor is a philosphical tool. Materialism is an a priori assumption as made perfectly clear by Lewontin.

    David –

    Except that Lewontin’s quote is full of shit. :-| If he really believes materialism is an a-priori assumption, he knows painfully little about science theory. It’s not that we can’t allow a divine foot in the door; it’s that we have no reason to assume that there’s a divine foot anywhere.

    Well, see, this bothers me in a whole different way.

    Richard Charles “Dick” Lewontin (born March 29, 1929) is an American evolutionary biologist, geneticist and social commentator. A leader in developing the mathematical basis of population genetics and evolutionary theory, he pioneered the application of techniques from molecular biology such as gel electrophoresis to questions of genetic variation and evolution.
    In a pair of 1966 papers co-authored with J.L. Hubby in the journal Genetics, Lewontin helped set the stage for the modern field of molecular evolution.

    From your comment I can infer that either he is a great liar, or hopefully incompetent at science theory. And this is one of the most prominent and important evolutionary scientists ever.
    Again, you can draw conclusions for yourself, here. But you can see what I mean. The best you can do is disavow him, and look where that gets you.

    “As long as you can answer the question “if I were wrong, how would I know?” all the way down, you’re doing science. As soon as you can’t answer it anymore, as soon as you retreat to (paraphrasing) “we’ll have to agree to disagree” or (quoting) “if you’re not convinced by it, that’s entirely up to you”, you’re not doing science anymore.”

    Okay. If you were wrong, and the whole universe was actually just the fevered dream of some cosmic divine bladder, how would you know?

    I believe science is always a limited process, or else it wouldn’t work. Experiments only work usefully because we eliminate all other variables.

    We don’t truly know how gravity works, we just know what its effects are, and we can hypothesise about it. I’m going to take a guess and assume that that big lab they set up to detect gravity waves, has not managed to detect gravity waves.

    We don’t know if it’s made up of particles, contorted space-time, oscillating strings, or invisible cosmic beetles that push everything around.

    But despite all this ignorance, we can still concentrate science on the areas we can work with so far. And that’s how we got space-flight. (As well basically everything else. Basketball games wouldn’t work otherwise.)

    That’s all chemistry. It, and what “radiation damage” can mean, is explained in Wikipedia at length.

    I did actually wiki it right after that comment. I tend to write my comments conversationally, rather than pre-meditated. It seems more honest to confess ignorance when ignorant, rather than going to lengths to assume all-knowingness specifically for a post.

    No, why would I react that DNA falls apart in water? I read about it when looking up stuff about DNA dating, and dinosaur soft tissues and the like. How long can DNA last, in various conditions, such as standing water.

    There are proteins that are specifically designed to protect their squishy innards from water because it stuffs them up.

    And I thought nuclear reactions were based on the idea of mass disappearing into energy. (Though I admit ‘disappearing’ was misleading.)

    All I remembered about mutation, was that cosmic rays were supposed to produce it, and I remember in the ‘Seven Daughters of Eve’ book (mitochondrial eve), that the ddue saw a chart where there was a super-imposition of two bases on the same spot in the analysis (50% ‘strength’ each, or something) which is how he inferred mutation.

    So that always put the image of one base turning into another (alchemy anyone?). Besides transcription errors that is.

    But yes, it looks like there’s many complex ways it could happen.
    I have an ‘Intro to Bio-Chemistry’ book, but I haven’t found time to read it yet. I kind of cheat by just debating with evolutionists instead. :D

    Thank you for the quick intro though. And was that a Hitchens quote? :P

    And sorry, I can’t watch youtube. Well, technically I can, but my internet cap is small and fragile, and I need it for downloading books. :D

    “I’d like you guys to understand that I’m participating here simply because I’m bored.”

    Not because you, like, want to learn, or something?

    Sheesh, forget I said it. I was trying to do you guys a favour, so you could save your vitriol for someone who might care.

    And actually no, I didn’t come here to learn, but I always love the opportunity. I came because some people genuinely seemed to be getting confused by the ID and Creationism conflation that you guys keep putting forward. I was reading comments like ‘don’t they believe the earth is 6000 years old?’ Which they don’t. Not even all creationists do, since that’s YEC in particular. (Though really it’s <10,000)

    So I came here, because the people on this blog, which I assume existed primarily to clear up confusion and clearly discuss the facts, are screwing their own buddies with pointless propaganda. That bothers me, because it means you guys are being dishonest with your own supporters and friends.

    The rest of this, is simply for my own benefit. A chance to learn something more from evolutionists, as you say. You’ve been uniquely constructive in this sense. I’m mostly learning some more about how evolutionists prefer to light torches and throw pitchforks. I’ve never seen creationists attempt to abuse an evolutionist in this manner, so it’s fortunate I’m long inured to internet rage. Isn’t it peculiar how no matter what the subject is, people behave in exactly the same way all over the net? We could be talking about politics, sports, animal rights, global warming, alien abductions, or online fiction or games, etc, yet people delineate themselves into all the same categories so precisely. Sociologists must have a field day with it.

    Life on earth has almost never been observed to manifest functionality that does not benefit the individual organism primarily.

    Uh, only if you include reproduction in those benefits.

    Are you replying to me, or that dude in the quote? That wasn’t me. That’s someone else you’re replying to. =) I must have failed to blockquote it, I apologise.

    :-) Explain what you mean, please. I know old Archie fairly well, so this could become an interesting discussion.
    Do you mean the fact that Archie isn’t alone anymore, that she’s now surrounded by large numbers of very similar animals on all sides?

    Oh, I’m sorry, I haven’t read enough to give an interesting discussion of this, since I never considered it a big deal. All I know is this:

    1) Archaeopteryx was shortly discovered after Darwin. It was considered a huge validation of his predition, because the bird was a half reptile, birdy looking thing.

    2) Never seemed like a problem to me. After all we have the platypus and the dolphin, which exhibit horrible hybrid traits, and that’s never created an issue. I’ve never found an issue with it myself, since it never says in the bible that God didn’t create a reptile looking bird. Even if it was a hybrid.

    3) Scientists now firmly categorise it as belonging to the avian family, not reptile. So it is no longer a hybrid, or common ancestor of birds and reptiles.

    I would have loved to have an engaging discussion otherwise, if I had anything to talk about. But it just seemed like a non-issue to me. But feel totally free to share anything you like with me, I enjoy your contributions enough that I would probably remember to check back here.

    But here’s a link anyway, which seems to give a cursory glance at it. You’d probably have more luck googling.

    http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org/v15i11n.htm

    @Menyambal — Sambal’s Little Helper

    Thank you, that was quite an interesting reply.

    Generally, I would respond by saying, that you’ve found ways to take intelligent design and compare it to natural processes. Whereas the point of ID is to look at what we term natural, and compare it to comparative examples of intelligent design.

    The fact that we can see that piercings and tattoos are not natural, is an exact example of the design inference, an observation without even the benefit of the scientific method.
    Whether the girl herself is designed, is of course the question, and whether or not we all once intuitively believed she was, people obviously differ on the subject now.

    To everyone in general:

    This is really why the ID program is a good one. Someone made a comment before to the effect of ‘how do I know it’s a valid program, if I haven’t read it’s papers’. Well,

    A) I have read some of the papers, not all.

    B) I’ve also never read a paper on mars colonisation. But I still think it’s a damn good idea. (Well, interesting, anyway.)

    C) I am not an ID scientist, so I’m not here primarily to explicate their views. But I think the ability to detect design, or the ‘hand of God’ if you like, in nature, would be an extremely interesting and powerful thing. More power to them.

    And that’s it. That’s the entire sum of what ID means to me. There is no good reason to say, ‘no, you can’t have that program, because the questions are dumb’. Obviously there are people who think it’s not dumb at all. There’s all sorts of kooky theories countenanced in science.

    So if you object to this one, because in your eyes it’s making a case for God, or whatever deity or designer offends you (I imagine that if the institute was run by Pangenesis people, we would not have this issue), then it is you that is proceeding on a theological basis, and an objection to consequence, and all sorts of things that have nothing to do with science.

    You’ve taking a single issue, and run all over the place with it, crying foul and lunacy and horrible immorality, all of which have no basis in fact. That’s a terrible representation of what you believe to be science.

    When evolution was proposed, by contrast, Churches and religions were extremely cosy, they swarmed to it. They were taken by the new theory as much as anyone else. The primary objectors to evolution were other scientists.

    So, for you guys to object so strongly even to the existence of this program, makes you far worse than any perceived slight that religion or Christianity has done to science.

    Mechanisms

    If I recall correctly, someone made an issue about the mechanisms of design. This seems to be a prevalent objection so I’ll humour you.

    In fact, if I recall right, you listed a whole bunch yourself (whoever you are. I can’t be bother scrolling back.)

    1) A House

    Stuff = Nails, concrete, bolts, ramset, nailgun, handsaw, skillsaw, framing timbers, insulation, gas pipes, electricity etc, etc.

    Mechanisms = Carpentry, Tiling, Carpeting, Weather-proofing, etc, etc.

    This is intelligent design. (And I’m assuming that’s the sort of mechanism you were talking about). We all know it exists. It’s a confirmed phenomenon. Intelligent Design is sort of like Natural Selection. It takes an obvious fact, and turns it into useful science.

    To address this another way. It is not necessary to know the mechanism in order to identify design. I’ve given an example of this before, but I’ll give another.

    If I was an alien that just dropped out of the sky one day, and made friends with Arthur Dent, I might find myself in a situation like this (since people who write science books apparently love making obnoxious fictional scenarios, I thought I’d add mine):

    I pop a car hood and look at the engine. I go: “Wow, this is amazing Arthur! How does it work? Is it an animal, is it alive?”

    Arthur – “Nup. Engineer did it.”

    (Followed by a dazzling explication of design, and how natural processes could not produce this car, and also that Arthur had personally observed the mechanical construction of such a car.)

    Me – “Oh, wow. Okay, so how did Engineer do it?”

    Arthur then explains the mechanisms involved with making a car.

    That’s two stages. Identifying a mechanism of design would help you see what designs are possible, but an identification of design does not require an immediate understanding of the process. (Also notice how scientific inquiry like, didn’t stop, or anything.)
    Final example.

    It’s like when scientists were trying to figure how a particular construction method that Greeks used for their walls, or the Japanese for their double-fold samurai swords.

    However, before the scientists figured out that the Greeks could heat and melt stone (which raises other questions) there was still no doubt that a wall was a wall, and a sword was a sword. You can still easily identify the exhibition of design.

    Or some rubric peasant looking at a drawbridge. He might be at acomplete loss to explain what mysterious mechanism exists in the gatehouse to raise and the lower the bridge, but nonetheless, he can see that one must exists, and that the bridge was designed to be lowered and raised for military purposes. (I’m sure even peasants knew how winches and the like worked, but it’s an example.)

    Anyway, to get back to you Menyambal –

    Berra’s Blunder. It was precisely because the guy was trying to show natural selection by invoking what is clearly intelligent design. What it sort of implies is that if we used his method, we would be constantly mistaking intelligent design for nature.

    Whether the marketers said, ‘people really love this, or really love that’, they still were going about this intelligently and with design.

    You might get an analogy for natural selection if say, you produce a hundred different types of cars, and then after a while, citizens eventually selected for the more popular cars. And then, more of those cars were subsequently produced.

    Still highly amusing, since it just shows that intelligent design can operate for the same principles that natural selection is supposed to cover, especially since the people selected for superior car designs due to their own intelligence (or maybe they like shinier cars).

    But in this case, which is just a ‘lineage’ of cars, that engineers built in response to what I guess we could call ‘environmental concerns’, is just an example of intelligent design coupled with goal-oriented awareness. They wanted to make cars that sold better.

    It just is not a good idea to use intelligent design to show natural selection, especially if your goal is to disprove intelligent design (as existing in nature).

    @ Amphiox

    Let’s put it this way. If the vertebrate eye is well designed, then the cephalopod eye is not. If the cephalopod eye is well designed, then the vertebrate eye is not. Either way you have bad design.

    A) I’m sure you’re aware we exist in two different environments.

    B) My pencil and pen are both designed. My pencil can make marks that can be erased or used upside down, my pen can’t. This is not because of bad design. You could even say that the pen was better designed, even though the pencil has more functionality.

    C) Another way to explain: I have a telescope and my grandfather owns binoculars. Because his binoculars cannot see as clearly as far as my telescope, doesn’t not constitute an example of binoculars being badly designed.

    All the human race could probably survive quite well even if we were all half-blind. A superior design, does not make another design bad.

    After all, both vertebrates and cephalopods have both survived to present day have they not?

    You mean the rhetorical quote he made that preceding the paragraph in which explain, in exquisite step by step detail, EXACTLY how an eye could evolve?

    Yes, precisely that one. Refer to above. You’re assuming I made the argument that Darwin said it couldn’t evolve. I did not. It’s a common mistake evolutionists seem to make. I’ve provided links.

    And again, I can’t afford to watch youtube. Although if this the vid where that chick off the ‘Natural History’ program talks to Dawkins, I’ve seen it. Unimpressed. He explained nothing.

    And a truly intelligent and omnipotent designer could have solved the problem in any number of other ways without having the accept a blind spot. Like, for example, by making blood transparent.

    Well, we’ll wait for you to invent transparent blood then. Assuming that we’re talking about God here, what’s with your arbitrary inventions?

    You also do know that the eye is very active? Minor movements and the like. There may be an advantage to keeping the eye active, and a blind spot helps facilitate that.

    Most people don’t even know they have a blind spot, so functionality does not seem decreased.

    and therefore preventing vision from bleaching out in very bright light when not in water, which apparently cephalopods are vulnerable to.
    However, even if true, then this just means that it is the cephalopod eye that is badly designed in this aspect.

    I’m trying to think of a good way to put this, but you’ve put me in a bit of a bind.

    You keep trying to pull cephalopods in as a useful comparison to human or verterbrate functionality. Cephalopods are marine animals, squids and the like.

    Cephalopods are not meant to be out of the water. If they are, they’re already screwed for the job. Marine animals are designed for the water.

    I do not put all-terrain road capability on a rocket.

    @ Anri

    The fact that god is willing to destroy the innocent kinda argues against him being a perfectly good being, doesn’t it?
    Or does your definition of perfect good include punishing the innocent? Is that more of your philosophically contestable love in action?

    Considering that the major event Christianity predicts is the destruction of most life on earth, I feel it’s safe to say that God does not mince around.

    If you think that God loving everyone, no matter what, and only ever doing nice things for them, well then it’s up to you whether you believe I’m a Christian.

    And what made you think they were innocent? It was quite clear that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and flooded the earth, because of the devastating immorality.

    God punishes the wicked. It’s perfectly conceivable that he destroys or has destroyed innocent people in collateral (though I can’t think of any) that’s not the same as punishment, as it’s certainly nothing to do with heaven and hell.

    Which is the main point here. If God has the power to resurrect the dead, or send their spirits to heaven or wherever he likes, then as far as God is concerned, killing a man is the equivalent of blowing up his car. The one that He gave him.

    This is of course, my personal opinion about value. God certainly seems highly sympathetic to suffering, but he’s not Santa Claus. He makes the big decisions.

    Abraham went through a whole issue about this, destroying the innocent thing. You should have heard of it.

    “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? (24) Suppose there are fifty righteous men in the midst of the city. Will you, then, sweep them away and not pardon the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are inside it? (25) It is unthinkable of you that you are acting in this manner…” – Genesis 18: 23+

    And of course, Abraham continues to bargain down to ten.

    And God sent his angels to rescue Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah before blowing them up.

    What I find interesting is that many if not all atheist arguments I’ve ever heard, has its first form somewhere in the bible. It just tends to be a less eloquent rendition of Satan’s challenges. So there’s nothing new under the sun here. And nothing particularly amazing. We’re already several thousand years out of date with our ‘new’ philosophical arguments, and we’re in the process of answering them with the behaviour of the race as a whole.

    The final sum of things is this. God created everything, including human morality and outrage. He can do whatever he likes. The fact He is wise and compassionate are things for which we should be profoundly grateful. If He wasn’t, it truly would suck to be atheist at any time. As it is, he’s completely allowed you the choice to deny him. And you will at the very least get one life for free.

    If heaven changes, was it not perfect before the change, or not perfect after?
    If god changes, was he not perfect before the change or not perfect after?
    If both are equally perfect, what can you describe as change?

    You’re insertion of perfect is pointless. Adam was perfect, yet he sinned. So did Satan and a whole bunch of angels.

    I know the Church has a historical fondness for making philosophy out of aesthetics, but I’m not a subscriber. Jehovah is a person, Heaven is a place. ‘Perfect’ means whatever the heck you want it to mean in a context. If I have a perfect beard, I could still shave it off and have a perfectly smooth chin.

    This is just semantics in motion.

    They can’t experience anything new, as that experience would have been lacking before they did so, marking them less than perfect. They can’t have any identity, as they have no memory, no emotion, and no experiences.

    Yes you’re highlight why I don’t believe God is literally omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, because it creates a static experience which negates intelligence.

    I have no idea where the heck your notion of perfect came from, but it’s not a part of any of my philosophy. Perfection is at best a subjective ideal that depends entirely upon the goal.

    I do not believe the (theoretical) inhabitants of heaven ‘wait’ for anything, as they have perfect knowledge, perfect understanding, and no events to pass time with. You’re misled by a common stereotype, that heaven is just like earth, but ‘best’ in some ineffable way.

    You believe the inhabitants of heaven are theoretical, but you are propounding on their atributes with great confidence.

    I don’t believe heaven is like earth. I have no idea what heaven is like, except that it is in someway a richer experience than earth (I don’t recall the scripture). I certainly don’t think they have trees and rivers and stuff, if that’s a stereotype that I’m unaware of.

    All I know about heaven is certain references in the bible. I know that God and the angels hold court. I know that they live there. I know that it’s described as the ‘third heaven’ (as opposed to the sky, and space, I presume), and that it’s a spiritual realm (that’s actually an assumption since I can’t remember a scripture to that effect).

    And I know that they were around before the earth, and that they come down here at least occasionally. And that we are important in that we’re performing a Hitch-hikian experiment for them, to determine the question of God’s authority, and our ability at autonomy. Or generally, can Satan turn us away from God? But otherwise, our civilisation is somewhat less significant than the heavenly civilisation, which only a few of us will get to join. We are fulfilling our role in respects to them, not the other way around. The fact that they (or God) do anything for us is an undeserved generosity, since we’ve never done anything to earn it.

    Now I’m just going to link a few Irreducible Complexity links to you guys in general for your reading pleasure:

    http://www.arn.org/docs/behe/mb_mousetrapdefended.htm

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/id-defined/

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/ (Haven’t read this one, but it looks like complete coverage, so I recommend it.)

    http://www.discovery.org/a/3408 (About Irreducible Complexity)

    (If I missed out on someone’s well intentioned and meaningful reply, I apologise. That was a lost of posts to cover, and I’m involved in a few sites, I tend to forget who is where.)

    Cheers,

    Mudz

  143. Mad Indian says

    I honeslty don’t know how you acquired this convinction. Irreducible complexity is where you have a tight system that becomes non-functional as soon as you take one part of it away. An irreducibly complex organism is something that cannot be evolved in graduation, and would require a phenomenal cosmic chance to arrive at all the right mutations at the right time. Chances on the order of lead turning into gold.

    OK, So you are using Circular reasoning here. You first claimed that eye is a Irreducible complex structure. “Then” you are claiming that Irreducible Complex structure sill have no prior step by defn. . And thats the Problem. The first is a statement without Proof and the second one is just a defn with no actual relevance in proving your point!

    BTW, who told you eyes are perfect and indicates Intelligent design? I am a doc and I can give you a hundred reasons(from field of vision to visual acuity) as to why it cant be a intelligent design- may be a very stupid idiot’s design, which means someone idiotic enough to have designed the eye in the present form must have been too stupid to design it in the first place!

  144. Mad Indian says

    However, the very fact that we cannot predict a mutation, makes it random, unless we utterly understand why it mutates, and why it mutates precisely as it did (something a little more explicit than radiation damage). If we examined a DNA molecule for example, would we be able to precisely predict when and which base will mutate?

    Actually we actually “can” predict mutation, provided you can measure the “exact” composition of the internal environment at the time of the mutation or to be more precise, DNA replication, but such a “measuring” requires much more advances in science than what is presently available for the Humans.

    Cheers….

  145. Mad Indian says

    God after all, hates what is wicked

    Then he should not have created the wicked, meaning he dint create the wicked, which means he is not the creater of everything and NO, he should have known whether something he created is wicked or not, as it he is supposedly “omnicient”

    And anyone who’s read the bible should be fully aware he has no problem with blowing up entire cities

    And Bible is full of fairy tales and there is no evidence to support it is true other than Bible’s own claims to its truth.

    And regardless, you still supported my statement that heaven is more logical than hell (eternal damnation version, anyway).

    Regardless of that, it still makes the claim that God is all loving statement wrong, as no all loving god will create Hell in the first place. Also, no all loving god will have created earth in the first place, “if” he thought earth was full of suffering. And no “omnicient” God would have created something imperfect like Humans and wanted it to be perfect, but I think you would have heard all of these arguments from other athiests and this has nothing to do with the topic

    Anyway, one distressing trend I have noticed in India is that even my colleagues who are doctors by professions(and are xtians by belief) are not ready to accept the validity of evolution. They are fighting with me that Creationism is more valid than Evolution:facepalm:.

  146. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This is of course, my personal opinion about value. God certainly seems highly sympathetic to suffering, but he’s not Santa Claus. He makes the big decisions.

    Of course, it only happens in the delusion in your mind, as your deity only exists there. You haven’t shown otherwise, so your presuppositions of existence are false. That is the problem with creationist/IDiots. They can’t provide conclusive physical evidence that their deity/creator/designer exists anywhere other than in their imagination.

    All of what you consider as creation is explained by science. Whereas you can’t explain how your deity came to be….

  147. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    I would still like to know jow any xtian knows their god crested everything instead of Zeus or Odin. There is no proof either way.
    Oh, and holy wall o’ text Batman! (Mudz from upthread)