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Oct 24 2012

Thanks, Discovery Institute!

Evolution News & Views, the DI’s Pravda, did something good for a change: they alerted me to the availability of BBC 2′s show, Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell. Here it is!

Of course, you can see why the DI would like this video, since it uses all their favorite buzzwords like “complexity” and “machines” to describe processes in the cell. And it’s true that the cell is complex and contains complex machinery, but that, as I’ve been trying to get through to them for years, does not imply that they did not evolve, because evolution routinely generates complex machines. The evolutionary explanations given are not “spin”, as the DI explains, but good answers for the origin of these processes.

One major caveat: the star of this show is the CGI animation of the molecular activity of the cell, and as usual, it portrays everything as excessively linear and deterministic, and the necessary omission of water from the animation grossly skews the chemistry. One of the scientist narrators, Bonnie Bassler, does briefly explain that everything is stochastic, with molecules bouncing about randomly rather than zooming through empty space directly to their destination. But otherwise, it is a nice basic and rather cartoony overview of what goes on in a cell.

71 comments

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  1. 1
    otrame

    Two things. That is not how you spell Tennant. And I love it when he uses his native accent.

    ^^^^^^^^^
    Why, yes, I am fangirling. I do that sometimes. I’m a complex person.

  2. 2
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Why, yes, I am fangirling. I do that sometimes. I’m a complex person.

    Right there with you.

  3. 3
    adrianchan

    Still my favourite Doctor ever.

  4. 4
    Larry

    Cells are more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.

  5. 5
    Owlmirror

    Cells are more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.

    No, that’s time.

    Cells are more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly slimy wimey stuff.

    HTH!

  6. 6
    Glen Davidson

    They even call it “design” at one point. Which is fine, really, much as one could say “the design of that snowflake.”

    But they certainly make the IDiots whine about “assumptions,” or whatever they choose to call sound inferences. And they even point out evolutionary reuse, something those bozos have never explained with respect to the absurdities to which it is done, let alone why a designer-God would trouble with reuse at all.

    Glen Davidson

  7. 7
    Ing

    So molecules bounce randomly against eachother and only strong bonds made by that interaction remain driving reaction? In other words its random action+natural selection

  8. 8
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Yay! David Tennant! The best Harry Potter villain!!

    Also he was some doctor in some show about police boxes, but whatever.

    (I am just kidding, David Tennant will always be MY doctor. He’s the doctor that made me love the Doctor!)

  9. 9
    pentatomid

    Watched it the other night. I quite liked it. And I’ll add my voice to the ‘Yay, David Tennant’-crowd. He will probably allways be my favourite Doctor!

  10. 10
    madtom1999

    Fantastic bit of work but… a black virus?
    Also a bit melodramatic-scared the shit out of my 10 year old daughter

  11. 11
    JohnnieCanuck

    The reference to a ‘nuclear machine’ really stood out for me. I wonder if they left it in like that, on purpose.

  12. 12
    Menyambal

    Hey, Disco ‘Tute! The mechanisms and design you see in the video are products of an intelligent mind, alright, the mind of the animator. The people who talk are are using shortcuts and comparisons in their descriptions, also. But the biggest artifact of an alleged intelligence is coming from you and your perceptions.

    There is plenty of use of words like “random” and “bumping”, which you ignore. There are even animations of clumps bouncing about. Just because the animators didn’t choose to show an hour of Brownian motion and electrostatics (thanks, David M.), you decide everything is all controlled.

    Well, when the big cats in Africa go hunting, they miss nine out of ten of their intended prey, but we don’t see that in our nature vids, we see them streaking out and killing. To get the truth, we have to read.

    But you Disco ‘Tute guys, you watch a hour-long video presented as public infotainment, and you decide that it accurately represents the pinnacle of science information. Well, that’s a step up from assuming your Bible is the source of all knowledge.

  13. 13
    DLC

    The biggest error in that video is, it doesn’t show the little tiny angels pushing everything around, which is clearly how god makes things happen. Man, do I have to do all the deep thinking myself!?
    Pft!

  14. 14
    A. R

    ARGH!!! Virology and immunology fail! Probably due to the target audience though.

  15. 15
    glwilson1

    P.Z. says, “…because evolution routinely generates complex machines.” Good grief. Apparently he isn’t following the literature. Empirical studies using real organisms (i.e. Lenski et al.) can’t get bacteria to evolve a single completely novel protein. It would be refreshing to be presented with actual evidence instead of unfounded pronouncements that “evolution routinely generates complex machines”. Give me any evidence (empirical evidence not theoretical) that any complex machine evolved from scratch. That means the ancestors that begat the organism possessing the complex machine did not have that machine nor the genetic information encoding it.

  16. 16
    Ing

    @Glwison1

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon-eating_bacteria

    You’re welcome

    Also you’re an idiot.

  17. 17
    myeck waters

    Dear glwilson1:

    If you want to come into a room full of people who actually know a fair bit about evolution and show them they’re wrong, you should try learning about evolution yourself first.

    Because what you just did was very, very stupid.

  18. 18
    Menyambal

    glwilson1, it happens that I was just brushing up my engineering resumé, and thinking of a machine I once designed. Part of it was a change from what went before, but most of it was the same—what I did was substitute a square shaft for a round one, in the part that was the support for a round hole—but all the rest was the same, including the material the shaft was made from and the way it was fastened to the unit.

    My point is that it was a fairly complex machine, and little I did was the most radical step anyone had done to it in its development. By any standard, that machine, made of steel, had evolved, stepwise, from its earlier models and from similar machines.

    Which is to say that machines evolve gradually, they don’t spring full-blown from the forehead of an inventor. You can look at historical airplanes, cars, motorcycles or railroad trains, and you will see that. Henry Ford used bicycle parts to make a “horseless” carriage, he didn’t invent the wheel from scratch and then go directly to Formula One.

    This engineer is telling you that the evolution of machines really isn’t a product of intelligent design. It lurches along, driven by fads and market forces, much like selective breeding, and like natural selection and animal evolution.

    I’m an engineer, I know design and development, and I have absolutely no problem with what PZ wrote. (And no, it isn’t because I am a blind follower of PZ.) Evolution in the natural world works, it’s simple, it produces complex “machines”, and it explains *everything*.

    Now you explain/show why evolution cannot possibly work, and we’ll get you a Nobel Prize.

    And if you can explain why you think popping in here with the same tired stuff we’ve refuted a thousand times, and just blurting out a statement with nothing as evidence, is going to change our minds, I’d appreciate it. That kind of nonsense may have convinced you, but it doesn’t work on intelligent folks.

  19. 19
    Ichthyic

    Empirical studies using real organisms (i.e. Lenski et al.) can’t get bacteria to evolve a single completely novel protein.

    you mean, those same organisms that evolved a unique ability to process citrate?

    those organisms?

    yeah, you know chuckles, you might want to actually READ the work you reference before you reference it.

  20. 20
    John Morales

    Huh, just caught it.

    Further to Ichthyic’s comment, I note PZ has posted here multiple times about the Lenski experiment.

    (Here is the first one, from back in 2008: Historical contingency in the evolution of E. coli)

  21. 21
    Amphiox

    Give me any evidence (empirical evidence not theoretical) that any complex machine evolved from scratch.

    The theory of evolution predicts that complex “machines” evolve stepwise from PRECURSORS.

    The theory of evolution actually states that complex “machines” do NOT, and will NOT, evolve from scratch.

    If there was actually evidence that a complex “machine” evolved from “scratch”, that evidence would be evidence AGAINST the theory of evolution.

    And the lack of such observations is evidence FOR evolutionary theory.

    That means the ancestors that begat the organism possessing the complex machine did not have that machine nor the genetic information encoding it.

    Evolutionary theory states that this does not happen. Evolutionary theory states that the ancestors that begat the organism possessing a complex “machine” SHOULD have a precursor of that complex machine, and SHOULD have the genetic information encoding that precursor, and that the precursor should in fact be VERY SIMILAR to the descendent, and modified in ONLY SMALL WAYS, at each ancestral step.

    Thus in your ignorance you have asked evolutionary theory to provide something with EVOLUTIONARY THEORY STRAIGHT OUT STATES SHOULD NOT BE FOUND.

    Please go educate yourself on what evolutionary theory ACTUALLY SAYS before commenting again and making an even bigger fool out of yourself.

  22. 22
    Adam

    Lol, I loved the video. I don’t know a lot about genetics and evolution, I’m a bit of a lay-man, but I’m absolutely dumbfounded as to how this could ever be used as evidence for intelligent design from a single god. You clearly see here that the cell fights desperately for it’s survival, whilst the virus works really fucking hard to infect the cell. I specifically liked the anthropomorphisms like “counterfeit key” and “distress signalling”. It begs the question though, why did this god make the cell so good at keeping itself secure, to then so cruelly create a virus that was really good at breaking past those mechanisms in a way that appears to be a very real struggle.

    Why is god working so damn hard against himself to get the virus inside the cell? Then to only put more work in to make sure the virus doesn’t make it? I don’t understand how someone can sit down and justify that to themself, it seems very very apparent that what ever it was that caused this epic battle to ensue, certainly had opposite goals. I could probably understand if there were two gods involved. One creating the virus and the other working on the human cell (in a Zoroastrian-esque duo-theism), but this really makes Yahweh seem a little ridiculous and psychotic if- eh… hmmm, I guess the bible already does a good job of that.

  23. 23
    John Morales

    Why is god working so damn hard against himself to get the virus inside the cell?

    Free will.

     

     

     

    (Yes, that’s snark)

  24. 24
    Adam

    Lol,

    well if the bible gives any clues to what the nature of god may be, perhaps he both wants a virus to invade cells and wants to stop viruses from invading them at the same time.

  25. 25
    myeck waters

    John Morales #23

    Free will.

    Now explain Subscriber Trunk Dialing.

  26. 26
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    glwilson1, you should learn how science works. You make the claim evolution can’t happen, and your imaginary deity didit, you must provide conclusive physical evidence your imaginary deity exists, evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. And not one godbot/IDiot/creobot has done so in all the years that Pharyngula has been in existence. Which implies said deity doesn’t exist. That tells me something, and should tell you something if you can get your head out of your presuppositional ass.

  27. 27
    osmosis

    well if the bible gives any clues to what the nature of god may be, perhaps he both wants a virus to invade cells and wants to stop viruses from invading them at the same time.

    And if it doesn’t?

  28. 28
    Menyambal

    Maybe the viruses have iron chariots.

  29. 29
    Amphiox

    Why is god working so damn hard against himself to get the virus inside the cell?

    Remember, this god is a pre-adolescent child.

    And what pre-adolescent child hasn’t played at sandbox war, pitting different armies of its toys against each other?

    Either that, or he was callosotomized in the aftermath of one of his tussles with Baal, and now his right brain knows not what his left brain is doing.

  30. 30
    glwilson1

    Menyambal, Your analogy is a good one. You correctly pointed out that your machine was designed by you (an intelligent designer) and that you substituted a square shaft for a round one. You made many statements that reveal that machines are intelligently designed. You also mentioned market forces which is a good parallel to natural selection (Ernst Mayr used the analogy as well) but selection selects; it doesn’t invent. Some automotive engineer invented airbags, market forces selected them as a good design feature to keep producing. I understand the concept of co-option. But as you go back through evolutionary time, certain protein machines can’t be modifications of precursor proteins having some other function, because you eventually come to a point when there isn’t a precursor protein to modify. At some point it has to be from scratch, even if you think that all proteins descended from a single protein. There are limits to modification of existing proteins as well. Read http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/10/are_we_reaching065671.html.
    A deeper look at Lenski’s work reveals that the paraded Cit+ mutants aren’t an example of the evolution of a truly novel protein (he knows that!). The gene for an anaerobic citrate transporter was already in E. coli. E. coli amplified it and hooked it to promoters that are turned on in aerobic conditions. This is gene amplification and rearrangement of existing information. Don’t think ID folks don’t understand mutation and natural selection. We do. I was a lab tech in a molecular biology lab for two and half years and I learned a lot about mutation and selection on a daily basis. But we also have good empirical reasons to think that there are limits to genetic change in the absence of Intelligence.
    Regarding nylonase. This new catalytic ability was due to point mutations that altered the active site of an already existing enzyme which enabled it to break down nylon which is very similar to the substance that it originally broke down.

  31. 31
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Don’t think ID folks don’t understand mutation and natural selection. We do.

    No you don’t. You don’t understand a million or so scientific papers backing evolution, and essentially zero unrefuted papers backing your presuppistion of your imaginary designer. You lose due to abject ignorance.

    This new catalytic ability was due to point mutations that altered the active site of an already existing enzyme which enabled it to break down nylon which is very similar to the substance that it originally broke down.

    And this isn’t new by duplication, mutation, and natural selection how? Only by ignoring the evidence in favor of phantasms.

  32. 32
    Amphiox

    A deeper look at Lenski’s work reveals that the paraded Cit+ mutants aren’t an example of the evolution of a truly novel protein (he knows that!).

    It is the evolution of a novel TRAIT. And it arose in exactly the manner in which the theory of evolution predicts that novel traits SHOULD ARISE, by the repurposing of already existing precursor parts.

    The gene for an anaerobic citrate transporter was already in E. coli. E. coli amplified it and hooked it to promoters that are turned on in aerobic conditions. This is gene amplification and rearrangement of existing information.

    Not just a rearrangement, an INCREASE. The aerobic promoter + citrate transporter gene complex was NEW INFORMATION that previously did not exist. A NEW COMBINATION, a NEW PATTERN. Just as “To be or not to be” was NEW INFORMATION even though the words “to” and “be” already existed long before Shakespeare was born.

    Don’t think ID folks don’t understand mutation and natural selection. We do.

    No you don’t. And they don’t. At least not by the words they write. It’s either that or they, and you, are deliberately lying and misrepresenting what evolution theory actually says.

    I was a lab tech in a molecular biology lab for two and half years and I learned a lot about mutation and selection on a daily basis.

    You should have paid more attention in class then, if your comments here are anything to go by.

    But we also have good empirical reasons to think that there are limits to genetic change in the absence of Intelligence.

    Those limits are accounted for and included in modern evolutionary theory, and in fact they make specific predictions about the kinds of things we should observe in naturally evolved lifeforms. And THOSE ARE EXACTLY THE THINGS WE DO OBSERVE.

    Regarding nylonase. This new catalytic ability was due to point mutations that altered the active site of an already existing enzyme which enabled it to break down nylon which is very similar to the substance that it originally broke down.

    And that again is EXACTLY WHAT EVOLUTIONARY THEORY says should usually happen when a new ability arises. EVERY NEW PROTEIN/GENE/ENZYME arises through the modification of pre-existing precursor proteins/genes/enzymes, all the way back to the first single (or handful) or early, simple, crude proteins/genes/enzymes, the origin of which is the topic of Abiogenesis theory, and not evolution.

    And that STILL makes nylonase a NEW protein, with a NEW function.

  33. 33
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    glwilson1, still no evidence presented by you that your imaginary deity/creator/designer actually exists. This isn’t a minor flaw you can ignore. It is a major flaw in your “scientific” theory that must be refectified prior to your “theory” being considered anything other than religious presupposition. As was pointed out in Kitzmiller v. Dover, where ID was deemed a form of creationism.

    And real evidence is found elsewhere than you OPINIONS.

  34. 34
    Amphiox

    But we also have good empirical reasons to think that there are limits to genetic change in the absence of Intelligence.

    No organisms ever evolved the ability to fly to and survive on the moon. Because there are indeed limits to genetic change in the absence of intelligence (there are limits to genetic change in the PRESENCE of intelligence too, but that is another issue entirely).

    This is precisely what evolution theory predicts should be the case.

    There are lots of things which DON’T EXIST in biology. Things which even relatively incompetent human designers can design and build EASILY. They don’t exist because there are indeed limits to genetic change by unguided evolutionary mechanisms. Evolution theory PREDICTS that they should not exist, and lo and behold, they DO NOT.

    Whereas design theory, particular the flavors that posit an omnipotent, omniscience, omnibenevolent single designer, has absolutely no good or coherent explanation for why some of these things do not exist.

  35. 35
    Amphiox

    If fact, even the very first protein arose from a precursor, because life did not begin with proteins.

    There is no protein in existence on this planet that arose novel and spontaneous without precursors. ALL came into being through stepwise modifications of previous proteins, and new proteins are constantly being produced by stepwise alterations in existing proteins.

    This is what evolutionary theory actually says about how new proteins arise. The moment someone comes along asking for evidence for a “novel” protein arising without precursors, that someone proves, instantly, with their own words, that they don’t know anything at all about what evolution theory actually says (or they do know and are lying), regardless of what sort of education or background they claim to have.

    If you ask that question, it means you don’t understand evolution.

  36. 36
    Worldtraveller

    ooh, lookey there, glwilson1 has one of them new fangled goalposts with the fancy spinning rims on the wheels.

    Wait ’til the NFL get their hands on one of those!

  37. 37
    Ichthyic

    but selection selects; it doesn’t invent

    the hell you say. Go back and figure out WHY Mayr used market forces as an analogy, moron.

    all you’re doing is spewing out random phrases with no knowledge of what any of them actually MEAN.

    is this what passes for knowledge on your planet?

  38. 38
    Ichthyic

    A deeper look at Lenski’s work reveals that the paraded Cit+ mutants aren’t an example of the evolution of a truly novel protein (he knows that!)

    why don’t you at least admit what it IS?

    do you even KNOW?

    go on, I’m waiting.

  39. 39
    Ichthyic

    This is gene amplification and rearrangement of existing information.

    the empire state building and your car use a lot of the same materials and information, but one is a rearrangement of the other.

    yet, you would have us believe them the same.

    really?

    will you loan us your car to test your hypothesis that it is essentially no different than a 100 story building?

  40. 40
    Ichthyic

    aww the video is gone?

    why for?

  41. 41
    Ichthyic

    *grmble*

    friggen’ DMCA crap.

  42. 42
    Ichthyic

    Don’t think ID folks don’t understand mutation and natural selection.

    Not evidenced by your post, so I can only conclude from this statement that you are in fact, lying instead of ignorant.

    I believe this to be the case for others, like Jonathan Wells as well, who deliberately lie about biology and evolution on a near constant basis, even though he has a PhD in Molecular Biology from Berkeley.

    So, your choice. You can either admit your ignorance, or embrace being a liar.

  43. 43
    glwilson1

    Ichthyic,
    “the empire state building and your car use a lot of the same materials and information, but one is a rearrangement of the other.” Yes, the materials are indeed the same, but no one expects those same car materials to naturalistically self-assemble themselves into the empire state building. The last time I checked architects and construction workers were involved in process.

  44. 44
    Ichthyic

    The last time I checked architects and construction workers were involved in process.

    and the last we looked at natural processes, selection and drift were involved in the same way.

  45. 45
    glwilson1

    Dear Ichthyic,

    I’m neither ignorant nor a liar. I just don’t have the kind of blind faith that you have in naturalistic processes to build complex biological machines.

  46. 46
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    but no one expects those same car materials to naturalistically self-assemble themselves into the empire state building.

    Unless, of course, the mechanical equipment to facilitate the construction is already present and you are ignoring fact refuting your idiocy again.

    Not one citation to show your deity/designer/creator isn’t imaginary. You can’t build to the hypothesis stage without such evidence, and you know that. Where the fuck is your evidence? Same place as your honesty and integrity I suspect, in the toilet.

  47. 47
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m neither ignorant nor [and] a liar. I just don’t have the kind of blind faith that you have in naturalistic [delusional godbots] processes to build complex biological machines.

    Fixed that for you. You are the one with the delusions and faith, not us. Where is the solid and conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity? PUT UP OR SHUT THE FUCK UP IF YOU HAVE HONESTY AND INTEGRITY. We both know you don’t have honesty, integrity, and the evidence.

  48. 48
    Ichthyic

    I’m neither ignorant nor a liar. I just don’t have the kind of blind faith that you have in naturalistic processes to build complex biological machines.

    sorry, really you set yourself up for there only being a choice between the two.

    either retract this:

    Don’t think ID folks don’t understand mutation and natural selection.

    and embrace your ignorance, or else embrace being a liar.

    it’s really that simple.

  49. 49
    Ichthyic

    I just don’t have the kind of blind faith

    ah, there’s your problem.

    It actually requires that one OPEN one’s eyes to see how selection has shaped the diversity we see.

    then it doesn’t require faith, either.

  50. 50
    glwilson1

    I grant I have faith. But it is reasonable; not blind. If God were directly testable, He would be natural and by definition He is supernatural. However, I know He exists the same way I know architects and builders (that I have never seen or met) exist. The highly specified complexities and genetic information in living cells is way more sophisticated than anything man-made. I also know that information only arises from intelligence (computer algorithms don’t count because the programmer’s intelligence is involved but hidden. Try getting good software without a programmer).

    “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

  51. 51
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But it is reasonable; not blind.

    No, it is blind. Where is your conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity? That changes it from blind to real. No evidence, blind. Evidence, real.

    If God were directly testable, He would be natural and by definition He is supernatural.

    Nope, your deity is natural as if it is the designer, it is interacting with the natural world. If it is totally stupidnatural, you can’t prove, and it is delusional to presume, its existence. You will always lose the rationality argument due to parsimony, which shows there is no difference with as stupornatural deity as without one. Blind faith is all you have. Nothing but presupposition, not evidence. So begone liar and bullshitter. Come back when you have real evidence…

  52. 52
    Ichthyic

    If God were directly testable, He would be natural and by definition He is supernatural.

    by definition then, your faith in God is blind.

    if you open your eyes, your god is not there.

  53. 53
    Amphiox

    I’m neither ignorant nor a liar. I just don’t have the kind of blind faith that you have in naturalistic processes to build complex biological machines.

    Latest IDiot starting to sound like that odious liar texpip. Hmm….

    We have directly observed naturalistic processes produce simple pre-biological machines.

    We have directly observed naturalistic processes take complex biological machines and make them even more complex.

    The inference that naturalistic processes can therefore, step by step, slowly create a complex biological machine from a simple pre-biological machine thus requires no more faith than the inference that one can make 100 by continually adding 1′s.

    And it is a TESTABLE inference, one which is continually tested and tested again day after day.

    On the other hand, to go from “not convinced that naturalistic processes can produce complex biological machines” to “and therefore only an intelligent creator could have done it” DOES require a leap of blind faith.

  54. 54
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    glwilson1:

    I grant I have faith. But it is reasonable; not blind.

    By virtue of the very definition of your “faith”, you are blind. Knowledge without evidence, remember. You assert that god exists, yet you’re doing so with absolutely NO proof. That’s not reasonable.
    If someone told me they believe in ogres and hold that belief on faith alone, with zero evidence, that would not be a reasonable belief to have. Holding a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence is UNreasonable.

    Tell me, why don’t you believe in Zeus?

  55. 55
    Amphiox

    I grant I have faith. But it is reasonable; not blind. If God were directly testable, He would be natural and by definition He is supernatural.

    The DEFINITION of “reasonable” is “subject to testability”. If God is not directly testable then faith in God is NOT REASONABLE.

    If God created nature, then God must AFFECT NATURE in the act of creating it. If God can AFFECT NATURE, then God MUST at least in part, be natural, and therefore testable.

    However, I know He exists the same way I know architects and builders (that I have never seen or met) exist. The highly specified complexities and genetic information in living cells is way more sophisticated than anything man-made.

    Except of course, that that is NOT the way we know human architects and builders exist. No one has ever looked at an unknown piece of human construction or design and then concluded “aha! Because I see this, I know human beings must exist”. The opposite has ALWAYS been true. We ALREADY KNOW humans exist and what humans are capable of. And every time we have seen an unknown example of human construction or design we conclude “we KNOW human beings exist and we KNOW what human beings are in general capable of, and this new thing we observe is CONSISTENT with what we KNOW humans are capable of, and therefore we infer that humans created it”.

    And human beings are the MOST sophisticated designers about which we have direct observable evidence. When we observe something more complex than humans are capable of designing, the proper evidence-based inference is that that complex is thing is NOT designed, because it is TOO COMPLEX TO BE DESIGNED.

    The posit anything else is to trust in blind faith that a designer more sophisticated than human beings actually exists.

  56. 56
    Menyambal

    glwilson1:

    Menyambal, Your analogy is a good one. You correctly pointed out that your machine was designed by you (an intelligent designer) and that you substituted a square shaft for a round one.

    Thanks for calling me an intelligent designer, but you are entirely missing the point. I did not design the machine, I simply changed one part, which could easily have happened by accident in the assembly shop—if someone had grabbed square stock instead of round stock—and the improvement would have been retained. What I did was indeed intelligent design—because I thought it through (I considered a triangle shaft in there)—but it was the only instance in that machine, and it could have happened by accident, and it was pretty much the minimum possible change in anything other than size.

    You made many statements that reveal that machines are intelligently designed.

    No, I didn’t.

    You also mentioned market forces which is a good parallel to natural selection (Ernst Mayr used the analogy as well)

    Thank you.

    …but selection selects; it doesn’t invent.

    Quite true. Mutation invents, then “selection” eliminates bad inventions.

    Some automotive engineer invented airbags, market forces selected them as a good design feature to keep producing.

    Airbags, yeah, they rate as intelligent design, but Henry Ford didn’t invent them. They are related in function to seatbelts, and to padding, and they are made from fabric and driven by explosives. It’s a new combination to perform an old function better. And the market hated them, it took regulations to get them in place.

    I understand the concept of co-option.

    Do you, now?

    But as you go back through evolutionary time, certain protein machines can’t be modifications of precursor proteins having some other function, because you eventually come to a point when there isn’t a precursor protein to modify. At some point it has to be from scratch, even if you think that all proteins descended from a single protein.

    I understand that proteins are built from amino acids, and amino acids are found floating in space, even.

    As for machines, many can still be classed as hammers, for instance, or cutting tools, both of which trace back to stone tools, and those to a rock. In simple steps, too.

    There are limits to modification of existing proteins as well.

    Yes, yes there are limits—can you describe them and show the mechanism?

    But in evolutionary terms, each viable protein is a new starting place, and each viable animal is a new starting place. Modifications and variation happen all the time, and selection has a vast over-population to work on. Nobody is expecting an elephant to change into a goldfish, but nobody expects an elephant to give birth to its own clone, either.

    You seem to be expecting scientists to go back to a fossil, made of stone, and dig out its DNA and show you the exact function of each and every amino acid. I’m just an engineer, but I know that stone fossils don’t have much DNA, and nobody yet knows how to interpret DNA that well, yet. But the guys who can use DNA to tell you who your daddy is, seem to be making great progress, and that progress is away from intelligent design.

  57. 57
    Amphiox

    Yes, the materials are indeed the same, but no one expects those same car materials to naturalistically self-assemble themselves into the empire state building.

    That is because we know that the empire state building does not self-replicate with heritable variation.

    Because it does not self-replicate with heritable variation we know, automatically, that it cannot evolve.

    If on the other hand we found out that the Empire State Building actually could self-replicate with heritable variation, then we would NOT in fact, be able to rule out the possibility that it naturalistically self-assembled through the process of evolution, unless we knew, A PRIORI, that it was in fact designed because we already knew who the designer was and how he did it.

    Design CANNOT be inferred, ever, unless you already have a description of the expected designer and evidence that this designer does exist.

  58. 58
    Ichthyic

    I understand the concept of co-option.

    liar.

  59. 59
    Amphiox

    But as you go back through evolutionary time, certain protein machines can’t be modifications of precursor proteins having some other function, because you eventually come to a point when there isn’t a precursor protein to modify.

    At that point, the precursor is a molecule that is NOT A PROTEIN.

    At some point it has to be from scratch, even if you think that all proteins descended from a single protein.

    Not from scratch, but from the laws of abiogenetic chemistry.

    The point being that when we get that far back, the original precursor becomes something that does not have to be complex, does not have to be specified (not that “specified” actually means anything beyond a mealy-mouthed deliberate ID lie), does not have to be sophisticated, and whose origin thus does not require calling upon something as unwieldy as an intelligent designer to explain.

  60. 60
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    glwilson1:

    However, I know He exists the same way I know architects and builders (that I have never seen or met) exist.

    This is silly. You take gods existence on faith. You’re asserting that you take the existence of architects and builders on faith as well?

    Do you go to a restaurant and take it on faith that there are people in the kitchen cooking your food?

    Do you go to the supermarket and take it on faith that *someone* delivered the produce?

    You really want to go the route of “I don’t see the person do this task, therefore I’m taking it on faith”?
    You really think there’s no evidence of architects, builders, kitchen staff, or delivery drivers?

    (ISTR construction sites often have signs with the name of the business erecting the building. It would be nothing to research the company to find out information about the people involved in its construction. You can’t do that with god. The only hotline to god conveniently exists in the heads of believers.)

  61. 61
    Amphiox

    However complicated you think the original precursor has to be, an intelligent entity capable of designing and then manufacturing it must be even more complicated.

    If it is hard to imagine how such a precursor could arise “from scratch”, it is even harder to imagine how a monumentally even more complex and “specified” intelligent designer of such a precursor could arise from scratch.

    If you posit that your complex specified intelligent designer did not arise from scratch but from some other process, then you have explained nothing. You have simply tried to explain life and complexity by positing life and complexity by another name, ie designer.

    If you posit that your complex specified intelligent designer did not have to arise from scratch because it was always there, then why not just posit that the original precursor was similarly always there? The simpler a thing is, the easier and more believable to imagine it to have been always in existence, or to have spontaneously come into existence.

    And no matter how you slice it, an intelligent designer is MORE COMPLEX and MORE SPECIFIED than anything it designs.

    Intelligent design theory thus explains nothing and never will and never can.

  62. 62
    Amphiox

    …but selection selects; it doesn’t invent.

    More echoes of the odious liar texpip from this latest IDiot troll.

    Hmm…..

  63. 63
    Ichthyic

    More echoes of the odious liar texpip from this latest IDiot troll.

    yup.

    Hmm…..

    could be. wouldn’t put it past him.

    still, these clowns get their ridiculous ideas from similar places (AIG for example), so it isn’t unreasonable to think it’s just a coincidence.

  64. 64
    Ichthyic

    continuing and earlier point…

    if you open your eyes, your god is not there.

    Do you understand what I mean by that?

    If you look, you do not see the God you describe, anywhere. Moreover, you do not see verifiable evidence of any action taken by any deity you define in the natural world, anywhere.

    so, no direct evidence of any deity, and no INDIRECT evidence of any deity.

    which architects and builders, even if you have not met one or seen one, you have plentiful INDIRECT evidence of their existence, and can hypothesize how they interact with the world through those effects.

    with your god, you have… nothing.

    Where CAN you go with that?

    well?

  65. 65
    Amphiox

    still, these clowns get their ridiculous ideas from similar places (AIG for example), so it isn’t unreasonable to think it’s just a coincidence.

    When faced with a choice between malignancy and incompetency, always bet first on incompetency, eh?

  66. 66
    Menyambal

    glwilson1:

    no one expects those same car materials to naturalistically self-assemble themselves into the empire state building.

    Really, nobody expects that? Gosh, it’s good you popped in to tell us that.

    Speaking of popping in, I know there is a hell of a lot of difference between making a baby and building a motorcycle.

    The last time I checked architects and construction workers were involved in process.

    Yes, but the construction workers are dumber than hell, design-wise, and the architects still work within limits.

    I just don’t have the kind of blind faith that you have in naturalistic processes to build complex biological machines.

    Neither do we.

    If God were directly testable, He would be natural and by definition He is supernatural.

    No, by your assumption he is supernatural. The bible clearly states that he walked in the garden in the cool of the evening.

    The highly specified complexities and genetic information in living cells is way more sophisticated than anything man-made.

    So you assume it was made by a god that we are made in the image of? Wouldn’t that make it just a little better than what we can do?

    And, when you look at it, DNA looks like it was cobbled together by a bunch of drunken ducks.

    I also know that information only arises from intelligence

    Wrong, of course. Here’s an instance: A jet engine, firing its exhaust out into open air, forms what are called “shock diamonds” in the jet. The number of those diamonds is the same as the Mach number of the exhaust jet as it leaves the engine. That information could be measured and calculated in many intelligent ways, but it’s right there in the nature of the event, no intelligence required, except counting. Now, before you babble about aircraft designers, I’ll tell you that the very same phenomenon occurs in rivers, at the tail end of rapids—I’ve seen it and surfed it—and in water flowing down a flat surface. The number arises from nature.

    By the way, calling DNA “information” doesn’t make it information. That’s like the guys who claim that natural laws require a lawmaker—the fact that a rock that’s just sitting there will continue to sit there, doesn’t require an omnipotent creator.

    “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

    But it isn’t clearly seen, except to your faith. Scientists, and anyone else who isn’t working in blind faith, sees mit differently. The important thing is, all scientists are seeing the same thing. If you take Romans 1:20, and show it around, various Christians will place different meaning on it, and people of other faiths will tell you it is wrong. But every scientist will tell you it doesn’t apply to the real world. Every scientist.

    ====

    You want intelligent design in nature? I suggest you look at sexual selection, then. Every time an animal chooses a mate, however consciously or instinctively, it is making a design decision with the very best of its intelligence aimed at making a better baby.

    When you look at a potential partner, and say, “Our babies will be smart and beautiful”, you are intelligently designing your offspring. Every critter that makes a choice has done the same intentional design.

    Sexual selection is natural intelligent design.

  67. 67
    Ichthyic

    When faced with a choice between malignancy and incompetency, always bet first on incompetency, eh?

    ayup.

  68. 68
    Amphiox

    I also know that information only arises from intelligence

    On the contrary, intelligence rarely, if ever, produces new information at all.

    Intelligence primarily filters and classifies pre-existing information.

    Information itself is almost always produced by naturalistic processes.

  69. 69
    Ing

    I also know that information only arises from intelligence

    Forensic blood splatter analysis

    Discuss

  70. 70
    Forbidden Snowflake

    I know He exists the same way I know architects and builders (that I have never seen or met) exist.

    Romans 1:20

    Seems like your “reasonable” faith not only lead you to the conclusion that a super-designer exists, but also to the conclusion that the super-designer happens to be deity of the religion most prevalent in your culture.
    Or was that second step a leap of that blind faith you disparage?

  71. 71
    Ichthyic

    Forensic blood splatter analysis

    Discuss

    Have you seen the new season of Dexter yet?

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