* The Thomas-ReMine Debate Is Complete (0 replies)
lpetrich2003-04-13 19:20:52
I'm posting my announcement here because I don't know where a good place for it is; it's not YEC, and it's not explicitly "Intelligent Design".

Here is one of that debate's home pages. Walter ReMine has just submitted his final contribution, the final one of the debate. The subject:

"Comparisons of molecules (proteins, DNA) of various species provide independent and compelling support for the hypothesis of biological macro-evolution"

It seems to me that Dave Thomas has made a much more reasonable case than Walter ReMine, who liked to wander all over the place without really explaining what his "Message Theory" was. ReMine often seemed to me to not really understand what he was talking about, and he has apparently spent a sizable amount of time working in a quote mine.
* Daniel Schwabauer's "Troubled House" (0 replies)
Wesley R. Elsberry2003-01-10 18:05:34
Troubled House, a play by Daniel Schwabauer

Reviewed by Wesley R. Elsberry

People like playing "what-if" games.  Hypotheticals appear in arguments regularly to test the boundaries of application.  Daniel Schwabauer tries his hand at a "what-if" game in his three-act play, "Troubled House" (http://www.troubledhouse.com/TH.SCRIPT.final.pdf, last accessed 2003/01/09).  It is useful to enumerate the conjunction of "what-if" conditions that this play comprises:

What if an agnostic biology professor doubted the suffiency of evolutionary theory to account for the diversity and history of life on earth?

What if that agnostic professor were enamored of antievolutionary literature?

What if journalists goaded students into falsely claiming that the professor's doubts were religious in nature and that he was attempting to bring religion into the science classroom?

What if an academic inquisition were launched to accuse the professor of blasphemy against science and decline to renew his teaching contract?

What if those persecuting the professor had no answer whatever to classic antievolutionary chestnuts like "natural selection has never been observed and cannot be measured", "there are no clearly transitional fossils", "genetic information cannot  increase by evolutionary processes", and "evolution has no mechanism of change"?

What if the professor's old mentor turned out to be the most clueless of dogmatic, atheistic Darwinists around?

What if the student body were interested in "evidence against evolution" to the extent of attending hearings and starting a riot concerning the issue?

What if the professor's moral sense leads him to repudiate a "statement of faith" in Darwinism rather than recant his doubts and hang onto his job?

What if the professor's love interest, otherwise on the brink of marrying him, decided that she could not stand to leave her own academic position to go with him?


This very special set of hypothetical circumstances gives rise to Schwabauer's script.  Schwabauer's script is obviously patterned as an inverse of Lawrence and Lee's "Inherit the Wind".  The allusions of "Inherit the Wind" are overt enough as an indictment of the McCarthy era, but this aspect of the original work does not seem to have been taken into account in Schwabauer's derivation.

The result is a predictable morality play based on some of the fears common to conservative fundamentalist Christianity.  The venue is an "ivy-league university".  Journalists, represented here by students writing for the campus newspaper, are conniving manipulators who make William Randolph Hearst look like a saint.  The campus atmosphere is depicted as crushingly anti-religious.  The protagonist is a quietly stalwart agnostic, and examples of Christians whose intellectualism and cowardice dilute their faith are thrown into the mix.

"Troubled House" as a set piece borrows much from the earlier one-act play by Schwabauer and intelligent design advocate John Calvert, "The Rule" (http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/TheRule.PDF, last accessed 2003/01/09).  Act two of "Troubled House" is a re-worked version of "The Rule".  While in "The Rule", the protagonist explicitly mentions "intelligent design" and espouses easily recognizable assertions from the ID literature, "Troubled House" avoids having its protagonist even say the word "design".  All explicit mention of "intelligent design" instead comes from the inquisitors -- and I use the term advisedly, since "inquisition" is what Schwabauer prominently features on his home page for this play.

The inquisitorial nature of the "hearing" on possible misconduct by the protagonist is premised upon a general acceptance of philosophical naturalism by the administration.  The panel consists of the humorless dean of the university (it says she is humorless right there in the dramatis personae, as if we could not tell by the dialogue Schwabauer stuffs into her mouth), an emeritus professor of life sciences (who plays the inverse role from the William Jennings Bryan character of "Inherit the Wind"), the dean of the college of religious studies (who illustrates the lapse from real religious belief that sophisticated study of religion often implies to fundamentalists), and a mathematics professor who professes to be Christian but refuses to show any sign of it to the panel.  Points of logic brought up by the protagonist are passed over, points of procedure are broken by the "prosecutor", and no one even hints that the assertions made by the protagonist concerning evolution demonstrate considerable ignorance of the available evidence and state of the science.

The protagonist offers a number of claims during the course of the proceedings, and as mentioned above, none of them are effectively countered in the script.  He defines science as "empirically verifiable knowledge".  He asserts that evolutionary biology has offered no effective mechanism for change.  He asserts that natural selection has never been observed or measured.  He asserts the "all genetic change is a loss of information" argument.  ID advocate Jonathan Wells's arguments on four-winged fruit flies and peppered moths are treated as factual.  (Although, of course, Wells receives no credit here for those arguments.)  The 'panda's thumb' is asserted to simply be a "spur" with no pretensions to thumb-hood.  The Cambrian explosion is cited as a difficulty, and he asserts that no "clearly" transitional fossils exist.  Of course, any halfway clued-in lurker in this debate could supply the missing rebuttals to all these supposedly unanswerable ojections.  But cluelessness in the opposition is apparently just one of the hypothetical conditions in force here. Some years ago, I had the opportunity to remonstrate with a proponent of education in evolutionary biology for her over-optimistic imaginary debate with ID advocate Phillip Johnson (http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=67lv1r%24t3i%241%40news.tamu.edu&output=gplain, last accessed 2003/01/09).  It seldom comes about that participants on either side have it all their way when put to face-to-face discussion with the other side.  The incompetence of the inquisitors in Schwabauer's play takes us ever further away from anything like verisimilitude.

The protagonist refuses to go through with an offered compromise, and thus loses his job and his love interest.  The "compromise" is for him to read a prepared statement, which is actually a statement of faith in the completeness and accuracy of Darwinian evolution.  His point is to say that truth requires anyone to say "I don't know" when it comes to evolution.  Certainly there are unknowns in evolutionary biology, but any evolutionary biologist is likely to come up with a far different list than the ones which the protagonist is urging as reasons to doubt.

It's certainly the case that the protagonist is personally ignorant of much.  He is thrilled that a student on campus asks to borrow some of his books expressing the "doubt" he espouses toward evolution.  In the play, he is falsely accused of biblical evangelism, but his real evangelical calling is for a generalized ignorance masquerading as moral fortitude.  In the end, only lip service is paid to the concept of looking at the empirical evidence.

I think that we can count on ID advocates pushing for student groups to perform this extended work of propaganda.  But as with most propaganda, I suspect that its value as entertainment will remain low.

The "study questions" at http://www.troubledhouse.com/study.html are notable for their absence of examination of the claims made in the play.  Although Schwabauer claims that his site gives a brief introduction to "both sides of the controversy", I see remarkably little accurate information about evolutionary biology given there, and rather a lot of what ID advocates claim evolutionary biology is.  There are no links to sites which argue whether ID claims are valid, such as TalkDesign, TalkReason, and Antievolution.Org, or even those which take the part of mainstream science, such as The TalkOrigins Archive or the National Center for Science Education.

Schwabauer sells manuscript copies for $6 each, and charges a $60 royalty for performances.

Wesley

* Phillip E. Johnson's "Darwin on Trial" (0 replies)
Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-07 00:58:23
I have an extended critique of this book at this page.
* William A. Dembski's "The Design Inference" (0 replies)
Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-07 00:47:12
There are a number of critical reviews of Dembski's "The Design Inference".

Review by Ellery Eells

Review by Wesley R. Elsberry

Review by Fitelson et alia

Review by Richard Wein
* Roughgarden's "Evolution's Rainbow" (0 replies)
Wesley R. Elsberry2004-05-16 07:05:37
This is based upon an interview with Roughgarden. I'm working on getting a review copy of the book. While not an ID book (yet), the general Darwin-bashing tone argues for it getting some attention here.

Let me start this off with a quote from Charles Darwin:

Quote

I have been struck with the likeness of many of the half-favourable criticisms on sexual selection, with those which appeared at first on natural selection; such as, that it would explain some few details, but certainly was not applicable to the extent to which I have employed it.  My conviction of the power of sexual selection remains unshaken; but it is probable, or almost certain, that several of my conclusions will hereafter be found erroneous; this can hardly fail to be the case in the first treatment of a subject.  When naturalists have become familiar with the idea of sexual selection, it will, as I believe, be much more largely accepted; and it has already been fully and favourably received by several capable judges.

(Descent of Man, preface)


And now let's look at this news story that has as its focus a "challenge" to sexual selection.

Lunch with the FT: Rainbow warrior

Quote

"If you have a theory that says something is wrong with so many people, then the theory is suspect," says Joan Roughgarden, looking up from her Caribbean chicken salad. "It is counter-intuitive that nature should have done such a bad job - or, if you prefer, that God should have made so many mistakes."

The theory in question is Charles Darwin's theory of sexual selection; the "mistakes" are homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals - anyone who does not fit into the neat categories of heterosexual male and female.

By challenging the great 19th-century naturalist, Roughgarden, a professor of biological sciences and geophysics at Stanford University, is making waves in academia and beyond. The implications, not only for science but also for society, could be profound. After all, you don't need to be versed in the Origin of Species to share Darwin's twin assumptions that, broadly, the purpose of sex is reproduction and that females select mates on the basis of genetic characteristics or traits.


Being versed in Darwin studies would mean that one would know that instead of Origin of Species one should be looking at Descent of Man for Darwin's full explication of his theory of sexual selection. And when one looks there, does one find that sexual selection is founded strictly upon the two "assumptions" identified above? No, one does not.

The first assumption, that the sole purpose of sex is reproduction,  is simply absent from Darwin's work, so far as I can determine. Someone may have advanced that notion, but until I am presented with the particular passage from Darwin that confirms it I will remain unconvinced of the veracity of the claim that it is Darwin who advanced it. To this end, I have examined etexts of both Origin of Species and Descent of Man and have satisfied myself that such a passage is not to be found within these works.

Let's look at how Darwin framed sexual selection.

Quote

We are, however, here concerned only with sexual selection.  This depends on the advantage which certain individuals have over others of the same sex and species solely in respect of reproduction.  When, as in the cases above mentioned, the two sexes differ in structure in relation to different habits of life, they have no doubt been modified through natural selection, and by inheritance limited to one and the same sex.

(Descent of Man)


There is no dependence given here by Darwin on sex itself having the purpose of reproduction, as represented by Roughgarden. Instead, Darwin presents sexual selection as a function of differential reproductive success -- which says nothing about what the "purpose" of sex itself is.

What of the second assumption identified by Roughgarden, that of female choice? That certainly is part of Darwin's theory of sexual selection. The problem lies not in what Roughgarden provides here, but in what she omits. Sexual selection as explicated by Darwin also concerned how the traits found in the males affected male-male interactions.

Quote

When the two sexes follow exactly the same habits of life, and the male has the sensory or locomotive organs more highly developed than those of the female, it may be that the perfection of these is indispensable to the male for finding the female; but in the vast majority of cases, they serve only to give one male an advantage over another, for with sufficient time, the less well-endowed males would succeed in pairing with the females; and judging from the structure of the female, they would be in all other respects equally well adapted for their ordinary habits of life.  Since in such cases the males have acquired their present structure, not from being better fitted to survive in the struggle for existence, but from having gained an advantage over other males, and from having transmitted this advantage to their male offspring alone, sexual selection must here have come into action.  It was the importance of this distinction which led me to designate this form of selection as Sexual Selection.

(Descent of Man)


Not only does Darwin recognize male-male interactions here, but he emphasizes the importance of these in his development of the theory of sexual selection. That seems a rather glaring oversight on Roughgarden's part.

Consider this from the same interview with Roughgarden:

Quote

Her alternative paradigm, presented in Evolution's Rainbow, starts with evidence that the natural world is more sexually diverse than usually appreciated. For example, about a third of the species of tropical fish swimming over coral reefs change sex at some point during their lifetime. The conclusion, she says, is that our tendency to divide creatures into neat piles labelled "male" and "female" is mistaken.


It's funny how Roughgarden positions herself as breaking new ground in discussing diversity of sexual habits. It becomes especially funny when one peruses both Origin of Species and Descent of Man and finds the many discussions of hermaphroditism, gender change, and parthenogenesis contained therein.

Further on in the article on Roughgarden, we find this:

Quote

Roughgarden isn't suggesting an overhaul of Darwin's theory of sexual selection - she is proposing demolition and redevelopment. Her explanation is that Darwin was wrong to regard sex as solely a matter of reproduction. It also has a social role. Thus homosexual behaviour, she says, is a way of building same-sex relationships and strengthening the position of an individual within a group. Far from being an anomaly, she says it is widespread and useful.


It would appear that strawman construction and demolition is not only useful for career-building, but also seems to be lucrative, if book royalties amount to anything. Compare the grandstanding that comes through this text to Darwin's own assessment of sexual selection quoted up at the top of this post. The comparison is not favorable to Roughgarden.

Roughgarden's thesis of the social utility of homosexuality should properly be considered as complementary to Darwin's theory of sexual selection rather than as a supplanting alternative theory. For while Darwin did not treat characters like homosexuality directly, there is nothing within what Darwin actually wrote on the topic that would exclude  social behaviors of this sort from the general framework of sexual selection. But that, of course, would not give Roughgarden the iconoclast status that she apparently seeks.
* A recent review of Steve Fuller's "Science" (0 replies)
Dr.GH2011-10-04 12:04:25
There is a rather good review (meaning that Fuller's book gets trashed) written by Tuomas Manninen (Philosophy, Arizona State University). It is on-line at "Metapsychology."
* "The Wedge Update" (1 replies)
Wesley R. Elsberry2002-12-09 18:12:01
Hartwig's "Darwinian Resolution"

Mark Hartwig responds to the AAAS anti-ID resolution with the following:

Quote
Placed side-by-side with other public statements, the resolution and op-eds show how widespread Darwinist anxiety has become. [1] More importantly, however, they also reveal why Darwinists are losing ground: namely, because they are misleading their supporters.


How are supporters being misled?

Quote
In his op-ed for the Beacon Journal, Leshner attributed the ID movement’s success to “a sophisticated marketing campaign based on a three-pronged penetration of the scientific community, educators, and the general public.” This echoes a key theme of ID foes, which says the ID movement is succeeding by duping the public with shrewd tactics and a big-bucks marketing campaign.

Such claims are a great way to rally the troops: “Don’t worry boys, they’re just shooting blanks.” But they’re also a great way to get those troops mowed down, due to cockiness and lack of preparation.

Imagine someone repeating Leshner’s claim in a public forum. It would be a small matter to show that the balance of marketing power lies with the Darwinists. Indeed, the byline for Leshner’s piece in the Beacon-Journal notes that his organization “has 134,000 members serving 10 million scientists worldwide and publishes the weekly journal Science.”

[details of the marketing plan for the Evolution TV series skipped - WRE]

With the financial and talent resources that the Darwinist establishment has at its disposal, anyone repeating Leshner’s claim in a public forum is likely to end up looking foolish or disingenuous.


Note carefully what Hartwig does not do: he does not show that the claim in question is false, but rather engages the tu quoque fallacy.  AAAS has a lot of members and sends them information, sure, but what has that got to do with the issue of whether ID's success is due to marketing or to content?  Where is it that Leshner misleads?  It appears to me that the person looking foolish or disingenuous is likely to be the one who had to use tu quoque in order to have the semblance of a response.

Next up, Hartwig tries again on another issue:

Quote
The same is true for anyone who tries to defend the notion that there is no evidence against evolution and that ID success is a matter of deception and style rather than substance. Darwinist leaders have repeated these claims for years, arguing that dissent is unreasonable and should be banished from science classrooms. Such tactics are an easy mark for ID proponents, who have responded by publicizing scientific evidence against naturalistic evolution, by documenting the pervasiveness of egregious errors in biology textbooks’ treatment of evolution, and by doggedly insisting that debate be based on facts and reason rather than alleged motives.


And again Hartwig fails to touch the issue, which is whether ID advocacy has any content of its own.  Even Hartwig can't name any, for his list is composed entirely of negative arguments concerning evolutionary biology and meta-arguments about debating style.

Again, where is it that Leshner misled anyone?  Hartwig certainly develops no argument that such was the case.

Wesley
* More stupidity from the mind of the master (2 replies)
Tom Ames2004-02-10 16:08:27
OK, this is just too much.

Dembski is posting a blog (""Unfinished Thoughts") and for the life of me I can't tell whether he's being disingenuous or stupid.

He writes:
Quote

Koza spoke on "biologically inspired computation." He is one of the key people in the field, and every few years edits a book whose title begins with Genetic Programming . . . (he's now up to Genetic Programming IV: Routine Human-Competitive Machine Intelligence, which appeared last summer).   In example after example, he described setting up a fitness/objective function and then seeking an optimal solution for it. 

Interestingly, however, in all his examples the fitness/objective function always remained fixed. I therefore approached him after his talk and asked him whether he knew of any research in evolutionary computation that also changed/evolved the fitness/objective function in the search for an optimal solution to a computational problem. He replied no.

I found this quite interesting since the Darwinists claim that one of the things that gives added power to Darwinian evolution is the fact that environmental fitness is dynamic rather than static, changing, for instance, in response to evolving organisms (this is supposed to be a key factor in evolving irreducibly complex biochemical machines). Yet such coevolving fitness landscapes, which I don't deny occur in biology, are absent from evolutionary computation.

The Darwinist might want to interpret this difference thus: "Isn't it amazing that nature has given us a form of natural evolutionary computation which varies its fitness/objective functions and which therefore makes biological evolution that much more powerful than it is in silico? Just wait until computer scientists capture this feature of biological evolution. Just think of how much more powerful evolutionary computation will be then."

My own view is rather different. The fact that fitness/objective functions that vary over time are not employed in biologically inspired computing, especially after all these years of genetic algorithms hype, tells me that they are not the key to solving interesting engineering problems. And if they can't do it in the engineering context, there's no reason to think they can do it in biological contexts.

(emphasis added)

Is he daft? "The Darwinist" might think no such thing.

Try to transcend your parochial, sectarian worldview for a second, Bill, and think.

What makes evolutionary computing work? It solves a problem.

What happens when the fitness function is allowed to change during the course of the evolution? The problem changes.

So if I am an engineer who wants to solve a problem should I use a procedure in which the problem is allowed to vary? Uh, no.

The fact that engineers don't incorporate every phenomenon in evolutionary biology into their code says not a #### thing about the relevance of those feature to real world evolution.

Seriously, is this guy capable of stringing two thoughts together? Or is he just so infatuated with the sound of his own shrill voice that he doesn''t bother looking at the meaning of what he says?

* INTELLECTUAL CURRENTS: Intelligent Design Finds F (0 replies)
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* ACADEMICS consider "intelligent design" museum ta (0 replies)
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* KANSAS class calls intelligent design "pseudoscie (0 replies)
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* CREATIONISM proponents already in classrooms (0 replies)
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* CHAT with JW's Sophia Maines and Scott Rothschild (0 replies)
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* NORTH Kansas City students mull evolution, intell (0 replies)
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* NAS exchange on ID (0 replies)
Wesley R. Elsberry2003-11-22 00:15:12
Responses to "Intelligent Design and that Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy"

The National Association of Scholars published an opinion piece by Paul Gross on "intelligent design". Gross pulled no punches, and showed that ID displays many of the well-known signs of "crank science". This did not endear him to our friends at the Discovery Institute, who wrote several lengthy responses and one short sneer. The PDF linked above has those responses, some letters of support for Gross, and the response by Gross to cap it off. It all comes to about 45Kbytes.
* PROFESSOR of new creationism course criticized fo (0 replies)
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* Flogging the flagellum to death (0 replies)
Bebbo2003-02-18 07:37:03
Dembski has posted the same article to ARN and ISCID:

http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=13;t=000620

http://www.iscid.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=000300

This links to his response to a piece by Kenneth Miller. All the same stuff we've seen before: Dembski looking for a God of the gaps in the flagellum.

--
Dene
* Phil Johnson on Boy Scouts and Evolution (0 replies)
niiicholas2003-04-14 01:38:47
Well, famed antievolutionist demagogue Phil Johnson took the opportunity to try to spread his message to the Boy Scouts.  Speaking as an Eagle Scout I find the whole thing intensly annoying, but that's another story.

From NMSR.org:

Quote

Phillip Johnson on Boy Scouts and Evolution ...

In the March 2003 issue of Touchstone magazine (Vol. 16, No. 2), leading "Intelligent Design" spokesman Phillip Jonhson writes "If it is important to the Boy Scouts that their members be and remain believers in God, then they need to make some effort to protect the
boys under their care from the predictable effects of the teaching of evolution, that 'universal acid,' to use Daniel Dennett's classic phrase, which has dissolved the religious faith of so many. Perhaps there should be a merit badge for understanding the evolution controversy, including knowledge of the truth about the Haeckel
embryo drawings, the Cambrian explosion, and the peppered moth story .... For now, the law may allow the Boy Scouts to exclude atheists and homosexuals, but is it right for them to do so? That question will trouble the Scouts continually until the culture is persuaded again that God really is our creator rather than merely a
product of the human imagination, and that he cares about what we do sufficiently to build a moral code into the bedrock of reality."

Source: http://www.touchstonemag.com/docs/issues/16.2docs/16-2pg16.html


There are a number of dumb things in this article, but it would have behooved PJ to actually do some reading on the history of the Boy Scouts before spouting off.  But this is PJ we're talking about, he's still repeating Wells' errors on the peppered moth etc...

The Boy Scouts were founded by Robert Baden-Powell.  See here for an extensive webpage on him and the history of scouting:

http://www.pinetreeweb.com/homepage.htm

Now, Robert's father was:

The Rev. Baden Powell, F.R.S.,  
Savilian Professor of Geometry,
Oxford University

...and he lived from 1796-1860.  "F.R.S." means "Fellow of the Royal Society", and yes, this means he was well aware of Darwin and his Origin of Species.  Baden-Powell senior even contributed a positive review:

Quote

Source:
http://www.pinetreeweb.com/bp-father.htmsource

Professor Baden Powell wrote on mathematics, physics, theology and philosophy and fought for the principle acknowledging scientific advances were compatible with Christian religion. Following Darwin's "Origin of Species" in 1859, he contributed one of seven essays in "Essays and Reviews," 1860. This was violently attacked, and the authors denounced as being inspired by "the Evil One himself." "There was some expectation of him becoming a Bishop, before Essays and Reviews were published" (letter from his widow to her nephew 20.8.1909)


Further down on the page we have:

Quote

Science and Religion: Baden Powell and the Anglican Debate, 1800-1860 by Pietro Corsi was published by the Cambridge University Press in 1988. The publishers describe the context of this debate and the content of Corsi's research in the Cambridge University Press online catalogue:

Science and Religion assesses the impact of social, political and intellectual change upon Anglican circles, with reference to Oxford University in the decades which followed the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. More particularly, the career of Baden Powell, father of the more famous founder of the Boy Scout movement, offers material for an important case-study in intellectual and political reorientation: his early militancy in right-wing Anglican movements slowly turned to a more tolerant attitude towards radical theological, philosophical and scientific trends. During the 1840s and 1850s, Baden Powell became a fearless proponent of new dialogues in transcendentalism in theology, positivism in philosophy, and pre-Darwinian evolutionary theories in biology. He was for instance the first prominent Anglican to express full support for Darwin’s Origin of Species. Analysis of his many publications, and of his interaction with such contemporaries as Richard Whately, John Henry and Francis Newman, Robert Chambers, William Benjamin Carpenter, George Henry Lewes and George Eliot, reveals hitherto unnoticed dimensions of mid-nineteenth-century British intellectual and social life.


& here is quote of what Baden Powell senior had to say about Darwin:

Quote

"Just a similar scepticism has been evinced by nearly all the first physiologists of the day, who have joined in rejecting the development theories of Lamarck and the Vestiges; and while they have strenuously maintained successive creations, have denied strenuously maintained successive creations, have denied and denounced the alleged production of organic life by Messrs. Crosse and Weekes, and stoutly maintained the impossibility of spontaneious generation, on the alleged ground of contradiction to experience. Yet it is now acknowledged under the high sanction of the name of Owen (British Association Address 1858), that 'creation' is only another name for our ignorance of the mode of production; and it has been the unanswered and unanswerable argument of another reasoner that new species must have originated either out of their inorganic elements, or out of previously organized forms; either development or spontaneous generation must be true: while a work has now appeared by a naturalist of the most acknowledged authority, Mr. Darwin's masterly volume on The Origin of Species by the law of 'natural selection,' - which now substantiates on undeniable grounds the very principle so long denounced by the first naturalist, - the origination of new species by natural causes: a work which must soon bring about an entire revolution of opinion in favour of the grand principle of the self-evolving powers of nature."

source



And Darwin wrote in a letter:

Quote

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/ce/3/part9.html

"Henslow [says he]... will go a very little way with us [in accepting the Darwinian theory of evolution], but brings up no real argument against going further. He also shudders at the eye! It is really curious (and perhaps is an argument in our favour) how differently different opposers view the subject... Baden Powell says he never read anything so conclusive as my statement about the eye!" (Darwin to Charles Lyell Feb. 15, 1860)


Anyway, this is Baden Powell's father, not the founder of scouts himself.  Baden Powell jr. was a military man, not a scientist, and never said much about Darwin one way or the other, although:

Quote

source

    In Chapter 6 of his book Rovering To Success, Powell addressed "irreligion" and atheism.  He clearly opposed the attacks upon religion expressed by many atheists and the divisiveness it caused.  He believed that nature showed evidence of God and that religion was essential for happiness.  He marveled, as so many religionists have, at the amazing workings of the eye.  B-P wrote, "Ask Mr. Atheist who it was who invented and made that wonderful machine?"  

    Curiously, Charles Darwin, whose observations of nature led him to embrace agnosticism, also marveled at the complexity of the eye, though came to believe its development would be explained by natural selection.  Darwin actually acknowledged B-P's father in the introduction to The Origin of the Species and wrote in a letter, (Rev.) "Baden Powell says he never read anything so conclusive as my statement about the eye!"   Indeed, Darwin's theory had been embraced and defended by the senior Baden Powell; yet, the only reference B-P made to Darwin in his writings was to use him as an example to boys that even those who did poorly in school could become successful scientists.

B-P's view of God was much more inclusive than most.  He always told the scouts that they needed to be tolerant and respectful of others' differing religious beliefs.  God, he said, is "a vast Spirit of Love that overlooks the minor differences of form and creed and denomination and which blesses every man who really tries to do his best, according to his lights, in His service."

    B-P's writings show a broad appreciation of culture and diversity and a deep desire to develop strong, moral character in the world's young men.  He staunchly maintained that chivalry and self-sacrifice were the basis of religion and this was necessary in scouting.


Heh.  Here's the Darwin quote from B-P jr:

Quote

http://old.jccc.net/~mbrownin/badenp/bp_boy.htm

"Is it not true that both Newton and Darwin, founders of the scientific method, were both regarded as blockheads by their school teachers?



Hmm, I guess other people have made my connections before:

Quote

http://www.lib.calpoly.edu/infocomp/modules/09_treat/Ic7.html

Boy Scouts
Letter to the Editor
Los Angeles Times January 18, 1998.

Re Jan. 13 letters concerning atheism and the Boy Scouts: Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, once stated emphatically in response to the question of religion, a quotation of the philosopher Carlyle. "The religion of a man is not the creed he professes, but his life—what he acts upon and knows of life and his duty in it. A bad man who believes in a creed is no more religious than a good man who does not." Lord Baden-Powell’s father was a professor and a great friend and admirer of Charles Darwin, and at one time had been reported to the bishop of London for heretical preaching, and so he was acutely aware of the tyranny of religious zealots. I would point out that most Nazi troops in World War II were Lutherans or Roman Catholics and very probably none were atheistic Boy Scouts!

--Alex Sheppard Reseda



A discussion at a scouting forum:
http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewAllPosts.asp?userID=905&p=14
* Intelligent Design good for evolution? (4 replies)
kurt2005-09-23 14:52:22
I am a bio teacher and a huge fan of evolution.  I integrate it throughout my curriculum and am psyched to the collegeboard adopt a new design centered on evolution (which any biology class that makes sense has to be).  We discuss intelligent design and creationism and the reasons why people may choose to reject scientific discoveries.  

Having had many conversations on this awesome topic, I often wonder whether allowing students to make the choice of accepting ID might not be such a bad idea.  Of course, recognizing that there is no evidence for it whatsoever and it obviously must be taken on faith, is it wrong to let them hang on to ID?  

Although I truly enjoy discussing religion (I'm an atheist), my goal is not to convince students that god or spirits or whatever don't exist, but rather to let them see the difference between science and faith, and to allow them to accept both.  ID seems like a good compromise.  

I think the important thing is for them to see what a beautiful perspective of life's history we have discovered.  Evolution is cool, and I want them to see it.  If I make it a choice between science and religion, then I am guaranteed to lose many of them.  I could  say that what looks like its random mutations could be directed by a higher power, but we'll never know because it wil always appear random to us.  This is true and I certainly don't need to buy into that, but do I really care if they do?   They will still have a true knowledge of evolution and may find a way to reconcile it with their personal beliefs.
* Yes, we have no bananas (1 replies)
Tom Ames2003-01-10 15:02:34
For your amusement. From Grace Bible Church.

Quote
Let me give you a simple example. Anything showing complex design demonstrates that there is a designer. When you see a house, you know there was a house builder. When you see a painting, you know there was a painter. Even the atheistic evolutionist does understand this because in their quest for finding life beyond earth they using radio-telescopes trying to find some pattern in what they are picking up. They are looking for design in order to prove an intelligent designer.

What would you say if I took a can of soda and told you it was the result of billions of years of evolution. That the magnetic properties of the metal drew the metal atoms together in such a way that they formed a cylinder with a bottom, and then after millions of years a brown, sweet liquid formed inside. After more millions of years a top formed with lid that could open easily. Then after more millions of years it became colored, in this case, with red, gold and white in such a way that it read in English, "Diet Dr. Pepper" and "12 FL OZ." That sounds pretty foolish doesn't it, and even more so if I added that thousands of these soda cans evolved and then arranged themselves in rows of 3 by 2 with a plastic material forming around their tops so six of them can be carried at a time.

But consider what people believe about something like a banana. The outside is a biodegradable wrapper that changes color according to the condition of what is inside. Green is too early, Yellow is just right and Black is too late. It has a "pop top" and seems so that it can be easily opened and still protect the contents from contamination. You can eat this even if your hands are dirty - perfect for boys and men! Its shape is perfect for the human hand and mouth, and if you hold it correctly, it even bends toward you for easy consumption. Nutritionists tell us that the contents of a banana are one of the best foods for humans. It is easily digested and provides the body with energy as well as vitamins and minerals. The banana also contains seeds inside it which can grow into a banana tree and then produce more bananas. Try planting a soda can and see what grows! The banana is infinitely more complex than a can of soda and demonstrates the design of a wise creator, yet many people willingly ignore the obvious to claim it is the product of the chance mixing together of molecules in chemical reactions over millions and millions of years. It is more plausible to get the soda can by evolution than a banana - hence a good name for a banana is "The Atheist Nightmare."

* ID *is* "God of the Gaps" after all (2 replies)
niiicholas2002-12-20 21:02:53
Over at the ID network's response to the AAAS resolution:

[url=http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/ResponseToAAAS.htm#Reason 6 text]Here if the internal spaces don't muck it up[/url]

...it is written:

Quote

6. The AAAS claim that a design inference is not testable is simply disingenuous. An inference of design is testable. Many scientific disciplines test for design every day, including routine testing of radio and light waves for alien intelligence by the SETI program.

   If ID is not testable and thus "non-scientific," then neither are several other disciplines currently held to be scientific. For example, in the SETI program, researchers are testing patterns in light and radio waves from outer space for non-human alien intelligence. ID and SETI both use the same design detection methodology. How could the SETI enterprise be considered scientific if its design detection methods are not scientifically valid? If design cannot be falsified, how can the AAAS consider it to be false? The AAAS claim that a design inference is not testable is refuted every day by countless design detection experts whose livelihood depends on design detection (e.g., forensic scientists, arson and crime investigators, cryptologists, archaeologists and SETI researchers).

   How does one "test" a design inference? A pattern or system that yields an inference of design must satisfy all of three criteria. If it cannot, then a design inference is not warranted (i.e., design is rejected as an explanation).

  • First, the pattern must exhibit apparent design - something that appears to be "specified." A specification is a pattern that has been configured for a purpose or that conveys some meaning or message that is independent of the significance of the individual events that make up the pattern. For example, the pattern "DESIGN" appears designed because it reflects meaning that is independent of the significance of each of the six letters that comprise it. DNA has the same characteristic.

  • Second, there must be no adequate natural explanation for the pattern. It cannot be a pattern that is required to appear by the operation of natural law. For example, a salt crystal and a river channel are regular patterns that can be explained by natural law (electromagnetism, gravity, erosion, moving water, the natural terrain). However, the precise sequence of the genetic symbols in "message bearing" DNA are not dictated by any known law.

  • Third, the pattern must be sufficiently complex that its arrangement by chance and law alone is statistically improbable. As mentioned above, the chance formation of the necessary DNA sequence for the first cell would appear to be statistically impossible.

       These general criteria are used in the analysis of patterns in all design detection sciences - archaeology, forensic sciences, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. They are deemed adequate to test for design in those sciences. Why not in evolutionary biology? No scientific rational has been provided for accepting design detection methodologies in these other historical sciences and rejecting them in evolutionary biology.

    [italics original]


  • Point #2 looks like GOTG to me...

    There are lots of other problems here but this was particularly clear IMO.
    * Dover, PA School Board (4 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2004-12-06 22:07:15
    The Dover, Pennsylvania school board has adopted a policy concerning the teaching of evolution.

    Quote

    The Science Department teachers researched and recommended to the administration the science book, Biology (Prentice Hall) as the textbook for our High School Biology class.  The Dover Area School District adopted, approved, and purchased 220 copies of the teacher-and administration-recommended book.

    The district also received as a donation 60 copies of Of Pandas and People and the book is now listed as a reference book in the curriculum.  It is not a required text, but in an effort to present a balanced curriculum the book is made available to all students who wish to review the book.

    The Biology curriculum was also updated to include the following statement:

    “Students will be made aware of gaps/problems in Darwin’s Theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to Intelligent Design. The Origins of Life is not taught.”

    The Assistant Superintendent in charge of curriculum development, Mr. Baksa, in coordination with the Science department teachers, the district solicitor, and the School Board has developed the following procedural statement to use in implementing the new Biology curriculum language.  The following will be read to all students:

             “The state standards require students to learn about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and to eventually take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

             Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it is still being tested as new evidence is discovered.  The Theory is not a fact.  Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence.  A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

             Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view.  The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students to see if they would like to explore this view in an effort to gain an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.  As is true with any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind.

             The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life up to individual students and their families.  As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses on the standards and preparing students to be successful on standards-based assessments.”



    (Source: http://www.dover.k12.pa.us/doversd/cwp/view.asp?A=3&Q=261852 , as of 2004/11/19)
    * ON teaching intelligent design (0 replies)
    NULLNULL
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    * Why Intelligent Design Fails (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2004-07-21 18:57:43
    Why Intelligent Design Fails

    A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism


    Edited by Matt Young and Taner Edis

    http://www2.truman.edu/~edis/books/id/

    Buy directly from Rutgers University Press on-line and get a 20 % discount and free shipping (see below)

    "This book is a readable and devastating scientific analysis of intelligent design creationism. . . .unlike ID's proponents, these authors have done the real science that deflates the claims of intelligent design. Their work deserves the respect of everyone with a say in what is taught in public school science classes." -- Barbara Forrest, co-author of Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design

    "A terrific book that explores, fairly and openly, whether proponents of ID have any scientifically valid gadgets in their toolbox at all. . . .accessibly written throughout and an invaluable aid to teachers and scientists." -- Kevin Padian, Professor and Curator, University of California, Berkeley, and President, National Center for Science Education

    "'Intelligent-design theory' makes extravagant claims, but refuses to come up with even a small fraction of the evidence needed to sustain them. Why Intelligent Design Fails brings together clear and devastating arguments by true scientists, which will convince perceptive and fair-minded readers that 'intelligent design' belongs to the history of propaganda, not to the achievements of science." -- Norman Levitt, Author of Prometheus Bedeviled: Science and the Contradictions of Contemporary Culture

    Is Darwinian evolution established fact, or a dogma ready to be overtaken by the next scientific revolution? Today, a comparatively sophisticated group of Darwin-deniers have coalesced in the "intelligent-design" movement, arguing that the molecular machines in cells cannot be assembled by natural selection, and that the information in our universe cannot be generated by mindless processes. They have even claimed to detect design in complex structures by rigorous mathematical means.

    In Why Intelligent Design Fails, a team of scientists call on their expertise in physics, biology, computer science, and archaeology to examine intelligent design. They take design claims at face value, without attempting to rule out the hypothesis of a designed universe just because of its supernatural overtones. They consistently find grandiose claims with no scientific merit. The questions intelligent-design advocates raise have largely already been answered, or else mainstream scientists have been making excellent progress on them with a Darwinian, naturalistic approach.

    After an overview of intelligent design and its intellectual context, Why Intelligent Design Fails moves on to biological claims concerning common descent, and the arguments of Michael Behe. Contributors show how the notion of "irreducible complexity" does not challenge Darwinian evolution, explaining how mainstream science comfortably accounts for examples of biochemistry, bacterial flagella, and bird wings.

    Intelligent-design advocates, however, have ambitions beyond overturning Darwinian thinking in biology. So the authors examine the information-based arguments of William Dembski. They discuss thermodynamics and self-organization, the ways human design is actually identified in fields such as forensic archaeology, how real complexity theory thoroughly undermines Dembski's notions, how research in machine intelligence indicates that intelligence itself is the product of chance and necessity, and the misunderstandings of the no-free-lunch theorems propagated by Dembski. The book closes with an investigation of cosmological fine-tuning arguments said to show that the universe was designed for humans, and reflections on the place of the intelligent-design movement at the fringes of mainstream science.

    Intelligent design turns out to be a complete scientific mistake, but also a useful contrast highlighting the amazing power of Darwinian thinking and the wonder of a world filled with complexity without design.

    The chapters are authored by Taner Edis, Matt Young, Gert Korthof, David Ussery, Ian Musgrave, Alan Gishlick, Niall Shanks, Istvan Karsai, Gary Hurd, Jeffrey Shallit, Wesley Elsberry, Mark Perakh, and Victor Stenger.

    Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung is the author of No Sense of Obligation: Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe http://www.1stBooks.com/bookview/5559. He is a former physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and now teaches physics at the Colorado School of Mines. Taner Edis http://www2.truman.edu/~edis/ is an assistant professor of physics at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, and the author of The Ghost in the Universe: God in the Light of Modern Science http://www2.truman.edu/~edis/books/ghost/.
    Buy at a 20 % discount and get free shipping from Rutgers University Press by ordering on-line!

    (See below.)

    Preface http://www2.truman.edu/~edis/books/id/preface.html

    Reviews http://www2.truman.edu/~edis/books/id/reviews/
    ISBN: 0-8135-3433-X 240 pp., illustrated with figures and tables.

    --------------------

    To reiterate online ordering information:

    Rutgers University Press (20% off!):
    http://165.230.98.36/acatalog/__1147.html

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    * God and the Explanatory Filter (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2003-01-16 21:57:40
    God and the Explanatory Filter

    Quote
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    Subject: God and the Explanatory Filter
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    God and the Explanatory Filter

    Dembski's Explanatory Filter (EF) is intended to distinguish regularity, chance and design.  Dembski claims that the filter does not register false positives for design, though it is susceptible to false negatives.  When we apply the EF to God we get some interesting results.

    The filter has three stages, first a check for regularity, second a check for chance and third a check for design.


    1 First Stage - Check for Regularity

    If something is due to regularity then it is the outcome of the working of the laws of the universe.  Since God is the creator of the universe it is not possible for God to be due to regularity.  I am sure that all believers would agree that God is not a product of the laws of the universe.

    2 Second Stage - Check for Chance

    For something to be due to chance the probability of it happening by chance must be greater than Dembski's Universal Probability Bound (UPB).  This is 1 in 2 ^ 500, equivalent to 1 in 10 ^ 150, or 10 ^-150.  This equates to 500 bits of information.  Evaluating the probability of God is not easy.  There are two possibilities: God is simple or God is complex.

    2.1 God is Simple

    If God is simple, then God does not contain a lot of information.  Low information corresponds to high probability, so a simple God would be more probable than the UPB.  In this case the EF would assign God to chance.  I do not think that there are many believers who would agree that the existence of God is due to chance alone.  This incorrect result might indicate a problem with the assumption that God is simple or else it might show a problem with the Explanatory Filter.

    2.2 God is Complex

    God is complex, but how complex relative to the UPB?  This question is dependent on how much information God contains. God is omniscient, knowing everything; a very large amount of information indeed. However we can put a lower limit on the information contained in God. Given that God wrote the Bible, the minimum amount of information is the amount contained in the Bible. God knows more than is in the Bible; knowing less is not possible.

    Looking at one of my Bibles, I find that it has about 30 characters per line, 56 lines in a column and two columns per page. The Old Testament contains 840 pages and the New Testament 240 pages. A total of 1080 pages.  This is 30 x 56 x 2 x 1080 = 3628800 characters. For simplicity let us take the number of possible characters as 30, 26 letters plus space and some punctuation.  Therefore by the standard probability argument the likelihood of the Bible having arisen by chance is 1 in 30 ^ 3628800. Remember that this is an upper bound, God is less probable than this because he contains more information than is in the Bible.

    Working out the numbers, 1 in 30 ^ 3628800 is a probability of 1.8 x 10 ^ -3628942.  This is less than the UPB of 10 ^ -150 with a good margin for error.  Hence the EF does not assign God to chance at this stage.

    This is a better result.  God is not due to chance, which is in agreement with the opinion of all believers.  I will proceed on the assumption that God is complex.


    3 Third Stage - Check for Design

    3.1 Look for a Specification

    The third stage starts by looking for an independent specification. God certainly has a specification, scripture.  Given that God is specified then God is again not a result of chance: the EF assigns low probability non-specified events to chance.  Again this is a good result indicating that God is indeed specified.  Had God not been specified then the EF would have indicated chance which we have already rejected in 2.1.

    3.2 Design is Detected

    At the third stage the EF says that if something is both complex and specified then it is due to design.  God is both complex, by 2.2, and specified, by 3.1.  Hence the EF says that God is due to design. Remember also that Dembski claims that the EF does not show false positives for design so this result is supposed to be reliable.  Of course the EF says nothing about the nature of the designer, it merely asserts the presence of intelligent design.


    4 Conclusions

    I think all believers would agree that God did not arise from either regularity or chance.  However by Dembski's definition of design only regularity, chance and design are allowed -- Dembski defines design as everything which is neither regularity nor chance.  With this definition of design it is inevitable that the Explanatory Filter decides that God is designed.

    Given the wider aims of the ID movement it is amusing to see that Dembski's Explanatory Filter appears to give support to the atheist argument that God was designed by humans.  I am more inclined to think that either the EF is flawed or that this is an example of a false positive for the EF.
    * Antievolutionism in Singapore (0 replies)
    budak2005-12-10 01:26:41
    Dear Pandasthumbers,

    First of all, thanks for creating this great site (along with talkorigins.org) and the lively discussions on the main board and in the forum.

    I am not a professional scientist, just an amateur who grew up immersed in creationist environments but found them hollow while becoming an evolutionist via the Wallacean route (i.e. biodiversity and biogeographical studies of the Malesian region – I keep freshwater fishes and plants from this part of the world and keep track of the region's habitats, species distribution and ecological issues on my blog at: http://budak.blogs.com/the_ann.....html).

    Recently, in Singapore (which most of you probably know through draconian social laws coupled with official enthusiasm about the life sciences), a letter to the leading newspaper sparked a short debate which continued online on my blog and another individual. The main links are here:

    http://budak.blogs.com/the_ann....nd.html

    http://noself.blogspot.com/2005....02.html

    The creationist in question hasn't made up his mind on whether he is old or young earth, but his main lines of assault are via the supposed improbability of abiogenesis as well as the supposed conclusion of forensic science that an intelligence (he disingenously separates the notion of non-human intelligence and supernatural causes to avoid the theistic accusation) can be detected in the functional complexity of life (using examples from cellular chemistry and DNA origins). His definition of science is akin to Philip Johnson's.

    With no real training in biochemistry, I can only address the logical, philosophical and deductional aspects of his arguments, which seem to me extended expositions based on incredulity, ignorance and outright hostility to materialistic science. My request here, if you could spare some time, is that you could assess the points (from both sides) and provide us some feedback and leads on their soundness. I am not intending to have the last word on the matter, as the good doctor has already proclaimed 'victory'. Neither do I seek to convert him. A clear, objective evaluation of the issues raised for the benefit of genuinely disinterested individuals reading the discussion is what I am for.

    Thanks and regards,

    Budak
    * INTELLIGENT design's long march to nowhere (0 replies)
    NULLNULL
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    * Stop codon thievery (0 replies)
    efvinson2002-05-30 08:41:26
    A very recent example of a "stop" codon being
    sometimes coopted for another use is the subject of two papers and a "perspective" (1-3) in the 24 May 2002 issue of Science. These all are reporting on the "new" amino acid "pyrrolysine", which is coded for by the (usually) stop codon UAG in a certain methanogenic archaeon's mRNA. To quote from (1):
    Quote

    The way in which pyrrolysine is encoded bears striking parallels to the encoding of the 21st amino acid, selenocysteine. Selenocysteine is found in Archaea, eubacteria and animals, including mammals . Both nonstandard amino acids are encoded by the RNA nucleotide triplets (codons) that signify a command to stop translation of mRNA into protein (UGA is the "stop codon" encoding selenocysteine). The notion that at least 22 amino acids are directly encoded by the nucleotide sequence of mRNA reflects the greater richness of the genetic code than is apparent from the standard textbook account.

    Originally, the coding problem was defined in terms of how the 20 common amino acids could be specified by four RNA nucleotides. As the triplet nature of the genetic code began to unfold in the early 1960s, it might have been tempting to speculate that some of the 64 possible codons encoded the many rare amino acids found in proteins. However, it became clear that 20 is the correct number of amino acids, and that the great majority of nonstandard amino acids are created by chemical modifications of standard amino acids after translation. In 1986 came the surprise discovery that the nonstandard amino acid selenocysteine is directly specified by the genetic code and is not created by posttranslational modification. Selenocysteine is now joined by pyrrolysine, and together these two amino acids demonstrate that the genetic code can be expanded by redefining the meaning of a stop codon.   {references omitted}




    Reference (1) goes into some depth, with references, as to how the stop signal is subverted in the case of selenocysteine, the only other non-canonical amino acid known to be specified by the code and not built by modification after translation. In the selenocysteine case, only a minority of the UGA codons are used to code the amino acid: most are still stop codons. Signals elsewhere in the mRNA determine which. It is still unknown just hoe the UAG coding pyrrolysine works, however.

    (1) Atkins JF, Gesteland R. Science 2002 May 24;296(5572):1409-10
    (2) G. Srinivasan et al., Science 296, 1459 (2002).
    (3) B. Hao et al., Science 296, 1462 (2002).
    * DI reviews Texas textbook choices (0 replies)
    niiicholas2003-07-22 19:42:58
    http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/TexasPrelim.pdf

    Yee ha, mostly more of the same.

    Random observations:

    1) Several typos in quotes of textbooks, presumably introduced by the DI author (aka Wells and/or a lackey)

    2) Miller-Urey: DI attempts to establish via repeated assertion that (a) a neutral prebiotic atmosphere is established and (b) that the miller-urey experiment absolutely doesn't work in such conditions.  Neither is particularly true, and if (a) is even mildly wrong then (b) is very wrong.

    2.5) I should like to find out if this paper really is trustworthy or if there is something wrong with it.  It pretty much says that a neutral atmosphere *can* produce abundant amino acids, which AFAIK has been denied by Stanley Miller and collegues.

    ===========
    F. Hanic, M. Morvova and I. Morva

    Thermochemical aspects of the conversion of the gaseous system CO2-N2-H2O into a solid mixture of amino acids. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. Vol.60, 2000, pp. 1111-1121. I.F.: 0,607.

    Abstract
    Conversion of the gaseous mixture CO2(g)+N2(g)+H2O(g) to a solid amino acid condensate in an electric discharge plasma has high efficiency of the energy transfer from the different plasma components
    into chemical processes. The basic activation process is activation of the N2 metastable electronic state, followed by formation of NCO* and ONñNCO free-radicals and generation of many reactive radicals. These radicals help to overcome the high activation energy of thermal dissociation of N2 to N (950 kJ=9.846 eV).

    The major product is a statistical polycondensate containing the amino acids: arginine, lysine, histidine, methionine, glycine, alanine, serine and aspartic acid. This information was obtained by
    comparing the IR spectra of the products with reference IR absorption spectra of pure components. Identification of the individual amino acids in the solid product was performed by HPLC, when samples
    were dissolved using 6MHCl applied at 100°C for 24 h. Properties of the condensate were estimated using thermogravimetric analysis. Small amounts of oxamidato complexes and oligo pyrrole structures are formed on the electrode surface giving the surface catalytic properties. The gas cleaning process has practical applicability (production of useful fertilizers, reduction of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere) and may also contribute to explanation of the origin of life on Earth.
    ===========





    3) Peppered moths.  Same ol', same ol'.  Very selective citation of sources as usual.  Disturbingly, though, one quote from a textbook appears to have bought into the press accounts:

    ==========
    Peter H. Raven & George B. Johnson
    Biology, 6th edition (2002)

    DI says:
    The lengthy account in the text retells the classical story. Although a student who reads all the way to the end of the account learns that scientists are now reconsidering the story and that "wherever the moths rest during the day, it does not appear to be on tree bark" (p. 447), such important information should be discussed in the body of the account and not merely tacked on as an afterthought.
    ==========

    ...yet another instance of a highly garbled and second-hand version of Majerus' comments making it into respected print as the new default position.  But, cripes, except for tree bark, the only things for moths to rest on are the ground, which is right out, or leaves.  If they rest underneath branches, which seems like the most likely most common spot, this is still tree bark, and still lichened tree bark at that.  Undoubtedly some rest under leaves, but the actual expert consensus, from Kettlewell to Majerus, has not changed.  Majerus (2002) explicitly endorses Kettlewell's opinion on resting positions, "underneath the larger boughs of trees, less commonly on trunks").  And the most recent Majerus data on resting positions supports this:

    exposed trunk   - 6
    unexposed trunk - 6
    trunk/branch joint - 21
    branches        - 19

    (Notably the DI bit says that the resting position of peppered moths was only discovered in the 1980's...sigh)

    Hooper and favorable reviews thereof prominently mentioned, the skeptical reviews from the experts are not...

    3.5) The Raven & Johnson quotes including a mini-rebuttal of ID are interesting, though, they're not taking the controversy lying down...

    4) Haeckel.  Richardson's later work not mentioned, nor the complexities about when and why Haeckel put out various drawings.  The DI continues to make use of tactical ambiguity about "early" stages vs. "earliest" stages, what exactly "close resemblance" means, and obfuscation over whether or not (a) all vertebrate classes should be equally similar (a flabbergasting strawman) or whether similarity should follow the accepted phylogeny of vertebrates (the actual theory).  The latter is admirably addressed in Gishlick's review of Icons:

    http://www.ncseweb.org/icons/figure08.jpg


    The similarities in obfuscational terminology are so similar to Wells' that he almost has to be the author.

    5) DI criteria cleverly put n/a for many books on specific topics.  If the treatment of embryos in Campbell 2003 is similar to that for Campbell 1993, then Wells just totally left them out because they use photos but also discuss the differences between mammals and birds at the blastula stage.

    6) Unfortunately the DI is able to jump on several more-or-less blatant errors in the history of science (e.g., that the flat earth was a popular idea in the 1400-1500's).  They do overcorrect and try and leave the Roman Church blameless for what happened to Galileo, and implying that house arrest was the most serious threat he faced from the inquisition, which is dubious.

    7) Finally, the DI does pick the probably-best textbook (Campbell, or actually Campbell and Reese in the 6th edition) as their least-worst pick, so on the off-chance that the Texas board picks Campbell for some course or other, be prepared for DI crowing.  However, Campbell is pretty much a college biology text, and is probably a bit much for anything except A.P. Bio, so perhaps its selection is unlikely.
    * What about Russia? (1 replies)
    RussoEnt2005-04-21 04:55:36
    Hi there
    what do u think about Russia and russian entertainment web-portals?

    tnhx
    * ISCID Brainstorms needs money to get better (0 replies)
    Bebbo2002-12-21 07:25:48
    Seems that ISCID feels money is necessary to get improved constributions to the Brainstorms forum:

    http://www.iscid.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=000262

    Overthrowing materialism doesn't come cheap I guess!

    --
    Dene
    * An Inordinate Fondness for Flagella (1 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2004-02-17 18:46:34
    Dembski's Response to WSJ Article on "intelligent design"

    Quote
    Design theorists have known all along about microsyringes and other supposed evolutionary precursors to irreducibly complex systems like the bacterial flagellum.


    This raises some questions. The first is whether the statement is true. I don't recall any ID theorist, and certainly not Dembski, discussing T3SS's when the topic of flagella arose prior to Larry Moran's encounter with Dembski in Toronto on March 7, 2002. If Moran's mini-lecture filled in this gap in the knowledge of "ID theorists" then much would be explained. Even Dembski appears to acknowledge the lack of discussion of T3SS's in ID argumentation in STILL SPINNING JUST FINE: A RESPONSE TO KEN MILLER, where he says this:

    Quote
    If the biological community had even an inkling of how such systems arose by naturalistic mechanisms, Miller would not -- a full six years after the publication of Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe -- be lamely gesturing at the type three secretory system as a possible evolutionary precursor to the flagellum. It would suffice simply to provide a detailed explanation of how a system like the bacterial flagellum arose by Darwinian means. Miller's paper, despite its intimidating title ("The Flagellum Unspun") does nothing to answer that question.


    A Google search for "microsyringe" coupled with either "intelligent design" or "irreducible complexity" turns up nothing by any "ID theorist".

    If the statement that "ID theorists" have known all along about "microsyringes" and so forth is true, then the question becomes, "Why didn't they discuss those issues when discussing bacterial flagella?" For folks who love to quote Darwin to their purpose, they seem loath to demonstrate that they embrace the point by example:

    Quote
    Darwin himself would have agreed: "A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question."


    Source: NO FREE LUNCH

    If "ID theorists" did know all along about "microsyringes". etc., then the obvious implication is that they weren't interested in achieving a "fair result" when they chose not to reveal this knowledge to their readers.

    My thanks to Ian Musgrave for noticing this bit of rhetoric on Dembski's part.

    Wesley
    * General Wells reviews (0 replies)
    niiicholas2003-05-05 23:01:02
    General Wells reviews:

    A PowerPoint presentation by Tony Hiatt for the 2003 HASTI (Indiana Science Teachers) Convention
    Icons of Evolution
    A Critical Review
    by Tony J. Hiatt
    HASTI 2003
    http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/pap.tony.pdf
    * Vagueness and Explanatory Constraints (1 replies)
    niiicholas2003-01-19 00:48:17
    I was thinking about posting this on this ISCID thread, and then I thought, "why bother?" Besides I am too busy to start a big debate.

    Here is the thread, started by Mike Gene:

    Topic: Brainstorming Lessons
    link to thread

    I quote the end of RBH's post:

    Quote

    If Mike Gene's reference to an "attempt to squelch discussions of design until we first extract a data base of definite information (i.e., actual mechanisms, identity of design, etc.)" means that speculation or questions about the mechanisms of design and the nature, identity, and/or properties of the designing agents ought to be out of bounds, then I think it is he who draws the wrong conclusion from the account of OOL he gives in the OP. I'll give him another example to think about.

    Wegener's 1915 hypothesis of continental drift was not accepted for nearly five decades because there was no known mechanism by means of which continents could be propelled across the earth. There were suggestive data that it had occurred - e.g., geographical form matches across seas, distributions of fossils, and so on - but no mechanism, and hence no broad acceptance. It wasn't until the 1960s, when actual drift rates could be measured and a plausible mechanism for drift was offered that it became broadly accepted. (I have stood in the valley at Thingvellir, in Iceland, where the mid-Atlantic Ridge crosses the island, and have seen the lasers that measure the drift rate as the North American Plate drifts west and the Eurasian Plate drifts east. It is an eerie feeling to be there, knowing that.)

    That example suggests ID itself ought not squelch questions and speculations about mechanisms and designing agents. No matter how many entries there are in the CCF, absent testable hypotheses about how they came to be IC, it will be merely a marginally interesting list of biological oddities and a set of targets for enterprising graduate students in molecular biology.

    RBH


    I agree that it is ID that is squelching hypotheses, namely the details in origins scenarios that make them testable (strengthenable or weakenable, not always strict true/false).

    There is nothing wrong with going out on a limb and proposing hypotheses with specifity that goes beyond the data; this is how science proceeds into the unknown. This is why OOL researchers propose specific hypotheses, test them, and then revise -- e.g. RNAworld has become pretty well supported as a stage preceeding the origin of modern life, but difficulties in prebiotic syntheses of RNA are provoking studies of RNA precursors, e.g NA or PNA "worlds".

    The way science does *not* proceed is by maximizing vagueness, e.g. "a designer did something somewhere sometime for unhypothesized reasons by unhypothesized means". With ID, not even the laws of physics are considered legitimate constraints on the hypothesized IDer(s). I would argue that every successful (e.g. archaeology/forensics) or viable (e.g. SETI) "ID-detecting" discipline has hypothesized far more details regarding the IDer(s) than any hypothesis put forward by Mike Gene or anyone else in the ID movement.

    The problem with ultravague hypotheses is that they are explanatorily unconstrained; the problem with an unconstrained hypothesis is that there is no objective way to strengthen it or weaken it by consideration of further data.

    E.g., with Mike Gene's front-loading via mutational bias idea (leaving aside questions of what the actual biases are, which Art and others will have to work out), it seems to me that front-loading via evolution is approximately the most difficult and clumsy possible way to design something that I can think of. It would be like trying to type with your elbows even though you had fingers. Trying to get to, say, multicellularity through a nonspecific mutational bias would be rather like trying to convert from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution via a bias in the replacement frequencies of various letters.

    Such a conversion could be accomplished either by intelligent or algorithmic selection of specific letters (in the case of biology we should convert this analogy to natural selection's *documented* ability to sweep specific beneficial nucleotide substitutions to fixation in the population, to avoid the usual Dawkins-METHINKS debates) -- but if these capabilities are in play, what's the point of the mutational bias? The mutations will happen slightly slower without the bias (well, assuming that the necessary mutations are those included in the bias, which seems completely unsubstantiated to me), but they will happen sooner or later and then can get selected. (In the case of an IDer, they would presumably not even bother with waiting for the mutations and just design straight-up whatever they wanted to design).

    Do these considerations have any weight in weakening Mike Gene's hypothesis? Only if you hypothesize some things about the designer, which Mike Gene does not, because his hypothesis is basically "someone frontloaded something for no specified reason" and thus considerations of efficiency, effectiveness, etc. (even though these are often invoked by Mike Gene and others in support of ID in other situations) will just be brushed aside as "we don't know anything about the IDer".

    IMO, this "unconstrainedness" of ID-movement "hypotheses" is their central weakness. This is a problem that supernatural hypotheses have, but is common to "superpowerful but unspecified aliens" "completely unspecified designer(s)", etc., as well. ("Unspecified natural processes" falls in the same boat, BTW) None of them predict or explain anything without further details. Full exhaustive detail is not necessary, but a least enough detail to make us expect some pattern in the data that we wouldn't otherwise expect, and which could be weakened by other patterns, is what it takes to get started.

    Vagueness will insulate an idea from refutation but will also doom it to the land of non-explanation.

    End of Saturday Night Sermon,
    nic


    [edit: cross-posted to II evo board:

    Vagueness and Explanatory Constraints
    http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?s=&postid=791441#post791441

    ]

    * Flogging the flagellum to death (1 replies)
    Bebbo2003-02-18 07:45:36
    Dembski has posted the same article to ARN and ISCID:

    http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=13;t=000620

    http://www.iscid.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=000300

    This links to his response to a piece by Kenneth Miller. All the same stuff we've seen before: Dembski looking for a God of the gaps in the flagellum.

    --
    Dene
    * CSICOP ID Panel (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-31 21:33:37
    I'll be on a panel to discuss "intelligent design" at CSICOP's Fourth World Skeptics Conference, June 21, 2002, in Burbank, California.

    The panel will be moderated by Massimo Pigliucci.  Other panelists are Kenneth Miller of Brown University, William Dembski of the Discovery Institute's Center for Renewal of Science and Culture, and Paul Nelson, also of the DI CRSC.

    My abstract for my set 15-minute presentation was printed in the conference program, so it's public knowledge now.

    Quote
    Title of talk: "Beyond the 'wedge': Intelligent design, science, and culture

    Abstract: The "intelligent design" movement is primarily coordinated by the Discovery Institute's Center for Renewal of Science and Culture (DI CRSC). While the highest-profile activity of the DI CRSC so far has been its anti-evolutionary activism, its long-term goals are far more ambitious. As promulgated in the "wedge" document, early versions of the DI CRSC web site, and seen in the actions of the Fellows of the CRSC, no less than the re-definition of science itself is intended. Despite statements that ID is primarily a scientific research program, the fact is that  most of the effort of the CRSC Fellows is directed into political action. While scientific justification was one of the primary goals outlined in the "wedge" document, this area remains little-developed and apparently has been abandoned.  The current and projected activities of the DI CRSC indicate that the next 25 years will be filled with more confrontation with mainstream science.


    Links:

    CSICOP

    CSICOP Fourth World Skeptics Conference

    The DI CRSC "Wedge" document

    I would appreciate comments on things to bring up during the panel session.
    * FAITH & values (0 replies)
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    * Defining "Anti-evolution" (3 replies)
    Michael2002-06-01 22:24:40
    Sometime what a first might seem a simple question in the end can start lengthy philosophical debates and turn out not to be so simple after all.

    Consider Michael Behe.  His views are often classified as a variety of evolution denial.  

    There can be no doubt that he rejects the modern understanding of the process of evolution.  I believe that a convincing case has been made that he has done so due to religious motivations.  Many biologists have also taken him to task for a lack of understanding of evolutionary biology as well.  If the above is to be considered correct than Behe has a lot in common with the YEC Henry Morris whose views are clearly motivated by religious beliefs.

    But Behe differs from Morris in an important way.  Behe accepts that he shares a common ancestor with a chimp.  Thus he can be said to accept some form of evolution beyond the "microevolution" only proposed by most special creationists.  So can he be said to "accept evolution"?  Should the term "evolutionist" be restricted to those who accept most mainstream scientific ideas about evolution?

    Behe clearly thinks that God outright created "irreducibly complex" structures and thus arguably can be classified as a type of creationist.  (And "creationist" here is not merely being used for those who believe in some sort of creator like Theodosius Dobzhansky.)

    People in the context of the evolution/creation debate have not been using terms like "evolutionist" or "creationist" in the same way.  This can often result in misunderstandings or talking past each other.  It would be a good thing if some some sort of understanding of where to draw the lines in the sand.

    So who is an evolutionist?
    Who is a creationist?
    Who is an anti-evolutionist?

    One might note that this sort of arguments can considered analogous to the splitter-lumper debates in systematics.  Sometimes sensu lato or sensu stricto are added to a name of a taxon to make it clear if that taxon is being defined as a splitter would define it or as a lumper would define it.  So maybe if agreement is not readed we can say that Behe is an evolutionist s.l. but not an evolutionist s.s.  That would be a fairly ugly "solution."
    * INTELLIGENT design is a mixed-up creation Intelli (0 replies)
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    * Dembski on publishing houses (1 replies)
    Tom Morris2004-09-02 03:22:40
    Hi all,

    I found a quote recently from Dembski talking about how he published one of his books through Cambridge University Press but then changed publisher, presumably so he could avoid the problem of anyone telling him that his theories are a load of bunk.

    Anyone know where it is?

    Thanks.
    * ABRAMS at the eye of the evolution storm (0 replies)
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    * Intelligent Designer / Stupid people (4 replies)
    KingsFisher2005-10-01 12:05:29
    I'm not going to fool myself into thinking that I have more brains or a better education than most people within these forums, but I've noticed that everyone seems to be missing a rather simple fact regarding the Bible. The Old Testament was written literally thousands upon thousands of years ago. A time when people had little scientific knowledge if any. If evolution was part of God's plan, explaining it to the people of that time (Thousands and thousands of years ago) would have been pointless because it was far beyond thier ability to understand. Did the people of those times have the ability to comprehend the enormity of space or even numbers that reached into the billions? The answer is no. The Bible wasn't written to combat science, it was written to educate the people of this earth about their God. Attacking a paragraph in ancient text about creation with modern science is a rediculas waste of time. Whether evolution is proven or not won't make the Bible any less credible.
    * Meyer 2004 (3 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2004-08-26 16:17:46
    From http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000430.html :

    Quote


    Review of Meyer, Stephen C. 2004. The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 117(2):213-239.

    by Alan Gishlick, Nick Matzke, and Wesley R. Elsberry

    [The views and statements expressed here are our own and not necessarily those of NCSE or its supporters.]

    "Intelligent design" (ID) advocate Stephen C. Meyer has produced a "review article" that folds the various lines of "intelligent design" antievolutionary argumentation into one lump.  The article is published in the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.  We congratulate ID on finally getting an article in a peer-reviewed biology journal, a mere fifteen years after the publication of the 1989 ID textbook Of Pandas and People, a textbook aimed at inserting ID into public schools.  It is gratifying to see the ID movement finally attempt to make their case to the only scientifically relevant group, professional biologists.  This is therefore the beginning (not the end) of the review process for ID.  Perhaps one day the scientific community will be convinced that ID is worthwhile.  Only through this route -- convincing the scientific community, a route already taken by plate tectonics, endosymbiosis, and other revolutionary scientific ideas -- can ID earn a legitimate place in textbooks.

    Unfortunately, the ID movement will likely ignore the above considerations about how scientific review actually works, and instead trumpet the paper from coast to coast as proving the scientific legitimacy of ID.  Therefore, we would like to do our part in the review process by providing a preliminary evaluation of the claims made in Meyer's paper.  Given the scientific stakes, we may assume that Meyer, Program Director of the Discovery Institute.s Center for Science and Culture, the major organization promoting ID, has put forward the best case that ID has to offer.   Discouragingly, it appears that ID's best case is not very good.  We cannot review every problem with Meyer's article in this initial post, but we would like to highlight some of the most serious mistakes.  These include errors in facts and reasoning. Even more seriously, Meyer's paper omits discussion or even citation of vast amounts of directly relevant work available in the scientific literature.

    [...]

    * Evolution of Antibiotics (0 replies)
    JxD2003-01-11 08:42:29
    Quote
    Mol Biol Evol 1990 Sep;7(5):399-406
     
    Evolution of isopenicillin N synthase genes may have involved horizontal gene transfer.

    Landan G, Cohen G, Aharonowitz Y, Shuali Y, Graur D, Shiffman D.

    Interdisciplinary Program for Fostering Excellence, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel.

    The isopenicillin N synthase genes from three fungal species, three Gram-positive species, and one Gram-negative bacterial species share an unusually high sequence similarity. A phylogenetic analysis was carried out to determine which type of evolutionary scenario best accounts for this similarity. The most plausible scenario is one in which a horizontal gene-transfer event, from the prokaryotes to the eukaryotes, occurred at a time close to the divergence between the Gram-positive and the Gram-negative bacteria.

    Quote
    Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 1990 Sep 22;241(1302):164-9

    Sequences of isopenicillin N synthetase genes suggest horizontal gene transfer from prokaryotes to eukaryotes.

    Penalva MA, Moya A, Dopazo J, Ramon D.

    Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas del C.S.I.C., Madrid, Spain.

    Evolutionary distances between bacterial and fungal isopenicillin N synthetase (IPNS) genes have been compared to distances between the corresponding 5S rRNA genes. The presence of sequences homologous to the IPNS gene has been examined in DNAs from representative prokaryotic organisms and Ascomycotina. The results of both analyses strongly support two different events of horizontal transfer of the IPNS gene from bacteria to filamentous fungi. This is the first example of such a type of transfer from prokaryotes to eukaryotes.

    Quote
    J Mol Evol 1996 May;42(5):537-42
     
    Phylogenetic analysis of the isopenicillin-N-synthetase horizontal gene transfer.

    Buades C, Moya A.

    Departamento de Genetica, Facultad de Biologia, Universidad de Valencia, Spain.

    A phylogenetic study of the isopenicillin-N-synthetase (IPNS) gene sequence from prokaryotic and lower eukaryotic producers of beta-lactam antibiotics by means of a maximum-likelihood approach has been carried out. After performing an extensive search, rather than invoking a global molecular clock, the results obtained are best explained by a model with three rates of evolution. Grouped in decreasing order, these correspond to A. nidulans and then to the rest of the eukaryotes and prokaryotes, respectively. The estimated branching date between prokaryotic and fungal IPNS sequences (852 +/- 106 MY) strongly supports the hypothesis that the IPNS gene was horizontally transferred from bacterial beta-lactam producers to filamentous fungi.

    For more bibliography on IPNS, see: http://metallo.scripps.edu/PROMISE/IPNS.html among others.
    * KU pulls intelligent design course (0 replies)
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    * Premodern birthing mortality rates (4 replies)
    passionlessDrone2005-05-05 11:32:08
    Hello friends.  Despite how well our bodies work, the notion that they were designed by an omnipotent and benevolent entity has always struck me as ridiculous.  

    I wonder if anyone has good data on what percentage of females died during childbirth before the advent of modern sanitation.  Even today there are places where that value is grotesquely high.  

    In a common sense approach, this seems like the most obvious evidence that the human body was not designed by an entity generally thought of as God (i.e., omnipotent and benevolent).  What all powerful, loving entity would create humans that frequently died in the process of giving birth?  

    Take care.
    pd
    * ARN's moderation policies (13 replies)
    ExYECer2002-12-10 23:46:58
    Moderator 4 (aka Jack F) has decided to ban me for two weeks for posting the following message on an off topic board at ARN

    Quote

    I'll lose interest in ARN soon, but have followed some posts that I was interested in before I decided to quit. But I happened to see this post by Mike B.

    I was threatened with removal after two postings, one which asked why YXCs post was spam and one that simple said I agreed with Douglas, XYCs post should stay because it brought up interesting points for discussion on Dembski's overly repetitive arguments. I then suggested a new direction for the thread to focus of Dembski's limiting the definintion of Direct evolution and IC.

    Tell Mike B, I formally left ARN (had my membership removed) because I could ignore a lot from Jazz, but not this hair trigger threat to ban me simply because I was in agreement with another poster. In none of my posts did I call call Jazz out as a horrible moderator, then everything I post there after gets deleted.

    Mike B, know what you are talking about before you criticize another poster for being disgruntled. I did not highjack a single thread (ala DNAunion and his obsession with Julie/Wolf), nor did I make joking threats (ala CML). Or post little sidetracking quips (ala Jazz himself on
    several posts).

    RB


    Jack responded that

    Quote

    I just deleted a post from XYC. He posts a note from RB slamming the site.


    Funny how Moderator 4 seems to consider RB's response to be 'slamming the site'.
    * The Media Gets It Right on ID (0 replies)
    Moderator2005-02-02 00:58:34
    The "Intelligent Design" of a Monkey Trial: A Case of Hidden Agendas

    Quote

    To understand the significance of these "monkey trials," one must look beyond the legal decisions to the hidden agendas.  This long view is crucial, especially now with school districts in 40 states under attack by creationists and with the reelection of an evangelical president who wears his religion on his political sleeve and who believes that "God did create the world."


    Quote

    Much of the Discovery Institute¹s funds are spent maintaining a stable of authors who write creationist books for the popular press. William Dembski, whose sobriquet is "God's mathematician," is arguably the Wedge¹s leading intellectual. His book, the Design Inference, is the screed most often cited, but least read or understood, by letter-to-the-editor writers attacking evolution. But even Dembski's agenda is recoverable from the labyrinth of his text. He writes, "Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory."
    * Do the Calculation! (6 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-06 02:25:59
    I would like to announce the availability of the "Finite Improbability Calculator".

    The Finite Improbability Calculator is a tool for exploring the very small probabilities encountered in applying some of the formulas in William Dembski's "No Free Lunch" to biological phenomena. Some basic functions are implemented, such as factorial, change of base, permutation, and combination. Further, several of the formulas found in section 5.10 of "No Free Lunch" are implemented.

    I did this as an aid to my own analysis of Dembski's work, and realized that others could benefit from it as well. The routines are specifically made so that they handle very large and very small numbers without causing floating-point overflow or underflow errors.

    Comments are welcome.
    * INTELLIGENT design front quiet so far (0 replies)
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    * THE Evolution of a Darwin Show (0 replies)
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    * Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (1 replies)
    Chuck2006-01-23 10:06:09
    This has probably come up at this site before but I thought I'd throw it out there for anyone who hasn't discovered it yet.  The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a wonderful, humorous stab at the Intelligent Design Movement.  It's been around for awhile, and from the looks of the website, it has attracted a healthy following.  Just thought I'd share...

    http://www.venganza.org
    * CONTROVERSIAL course will not be taught at U. Kan (0 replies)
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    * Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism (11 replies)
    niiicholas2003-07-22 20:51:13
    Da next book:

    Quote

    NEW AS OF 22 July 2003
    <> Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing. [22July03] Table of contents, introduction, and list of contributors to edited collection by William Dembski, due out with Intercollegiate Studies Institute early spring 2004.


    http://www.designinference.com/

    Looks like some old stuff, some new.  Chances of actual biology being included: less than Dembski's UPB.

    Link to table of contents and Dembski's intro:
    http://www.designinference.com/documen....rib.pdf
    * Fighting pop-pseudoscience with pop-science (0 replies)
    nameinuse22004-12-09 17:59:07
    Hi guys,

    I'd like your comments on something I wrote during a lengthy debate at another board.  The debate arose from the Dover decision and the population of this other board is very diverse general audience.  There are a lot of ID supporters there.  There is one guy there who seems to believe in evolution but not the big bang(!)  I should mention that this other board is well, odd.  If you are offended by profanity or ... well, lets just say this board prides itself on the offensive in all its forms.  So keep in mind the target audience I was addressing.  They have a warped sense of humour (as do I which is why I love it there).  

    I'm thinking of turning what I wrote into a proper essay or pop-science piece.  I figure if ID's wide support has been due to a couple of pop-pseudoscience books, why not fight back with pop-science?

    Anyway, here it is.
    * EF/DI & "the lust for certainty" (5 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-12-13 10:07:02
    Paul,

    I'm not sure that John is disagreeing with Kitcher.  Kitcher is talking about postulates, things that are assumed to be true for some line of inquiry.  Rarefied design as an inference, though, is something that some people assert can be concluded from particular premises.

    The problem with a postulate of the sort that Kitcher discusses, though, is that someone like Paul Nelson will come along and claim that what is being argued is theology and not science (as your 1997 NTSE talk set forth).

    If "postulating an unobserved Creator" were as generally productive as "postulating unobserved particles" has been in physics, I don't think that we would be having this sort of discussion now.  Postulating unobserved particles has led to specific hypotheses and experiments aimed at producing empirical data which would bear on whether outcomes based on the existence of those heretofore unobserved particles are actually there.  So far in ID, though, there is no similar push to test the postulate: once the unobserved Creator is postulated, no evidence concerning whether that Creator exists is sought after or solicited.

    But I wonder if this is going far afield from the topic of the first post.

    Have readers of Dembski really been "thrown" by the "reliability issue"?  Is it the critics who have the "lust for certainty"?  I don't think so.

    Let's revisit some history.  Back in 1998, Dembski published his book, "The Design Inference".  Before TDI came out, though, Dembski had a short piece published in "First Things" which discussed what TDI would be about.  Here's a snippet of that article:

    Quote
    Biologists worry about attributing something to design (here identified with creation) only to have it overturned later; this widespread and legitimate concern has prevented them from using intelligent design as a valid scientific explanation.

    Though perhaps justified in the past, this worry is no longer tenable. There now exists a rigorous criterion—complexity-specification—for distinguishing intelligently caused objects from unintelligently caused ones.

    (Source: http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9810/dembski.html)


    This claim has not been explicitly retracted.  It is echoed in the pages of "No Free Lunch" (p.6, IIRC).  It sure looks like a claim concerning certainty to me.

    In that initial post, Dembski writes:

    Quote
    I argue that we are justified asserting specified complexity (and therefore design) once we have eliminated all known material mechanisms. It means that some unknown mechanism might eventually pop up and overturn a given design inference.


    This seems to me to be inconsistent with, if not contradictory to, the earlier claim.  Perhaps, though, you have a different perspective that can accommodate both the "untenable worry" claim and the later admission that Dembski's "design inferences" can be overturned with additional knowledge.

    Until such time as we get a statement from Dembski that the "untenable worry" claim is retracted, though, I think the critics are completely correct to hammer on this point.  Else we have the apparently inconsistent stance that the critics responding to the "untenable worry" claim are mistaken because application of the EF/DI is fallible, coupled with the continued use of the "untenable worry" claim whose basis is that application of the EF/DI is infallible for distinguishing intelligently caused objects.

    Quote
    This is known as having your cake and eating it. Polite society frowns on such obvious bad taste.


    Wesley
    * About the Designer (0 replies)
    m1isaak2002-12-13 22:09:48
    A premise of intelligent design is that we know nothing about the Designer.  Therefore we cannot predict qualities of design (such as optimization) based upon supposed qualities of the desiger (such as omniscience).  This is true; we cannot infer conclusions based on the unknown.  However, the IDists assert that the design of life is now established.  And we know a lot about life.  If we provisionally accept design, we can base inferences on life and begin to say things about the Designer.

    IDists seem reluctant to take this step.  Yet it is a logical -- I would say inevitable -- extension of their research.  And it is perfectly in line with their stated goal (e.g., "to see purpose in nature", from the subtitle on ISCID Forums home page).  If IDists will not undertake this line of investigation, it is up to us to do so.

    So, what are some aspects of life that could indicate qualities of the Designer?  Here are a few that come to mind:

    - Pain and suffering.  The "problem of evil" has been around for millennia.  Intelligent Design theory requires we address it.

    - Suboptimal processes.  Some designs appear jury-rigged or otherwise inefficient.

    - Profligate variety.  There is much more variety in the world than is apparently necessary.

    Since the question of suffering is the most interesting of these, my focus will be on it.

    What does suffering tell us about the Designer?  To begin, we can say that it must either be deliberate or incidental.  If incidental, it may arise either because the Designer doesn't care or can't do anything about it.  The case where an aspect of life is incidental is perhaps less interesting, since it says basically that the aspect isn't designed after all.  That could explain suboptimal processes, but for the other aspects, it seems to contradict the premise that life is designed.  The suffering and the variety that we see in life are fundamental.  They are part of the complexity that IDists claim as evidence for design in the first place.  In fact, many of the design examples that IDists use, from bomardier beetles to flagella to the immune system, either contribute to the suffering or are defenses that would be meaningless without it.

    There are still apologists who claim that suffering is not part of design.  A common claim is that suffering is the result (via the Fall of Adam) of having free will.  This claim, however, is vacuous rationalization.  Adam did not choose to redesign cobras to put poison into their fangs.  Free will does not make infants die of malaria.  No, suffering is an integral part of life, and is as much designed as life is.

    So Design Theory implies that the Designer deliberately planned for people to suffer.  What sort of Designer does that imply?

    One possibility is that the Designer is simply evil.  This hypothesis, however, is contradicted by the observation that there is a great deal of pleasure to be found in the world, too.  Thus Design Theory must reject the hypothesis of a purely evil God.  For the same reasons, however, Design Theory must reject the hypothesis of a purely good God.

    Another possibility is that there is more than one designer, and that different designers are responsible for different lifeforms and/or different aspects of life.  Multiple Designers Theory was introduced by RBH on ISCID on 28 September 2002.  (http://www.iscid.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=000172)  It explains such things as predador/prey and host/parasite arms races, intermittent interventions, and different solutions to a common problem.  It also has a venerable tradition in religions.  The designers may be dualistic, as in Zoroastrianism, or polytheistic, as in Celtic and Scandinavian tradition.

    A somewhat related hypothesis is that the Designer's character is inconstant.  This hypothesis is expressed in the article, "God Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder" in The Onion (http://www.theonion.com/onion3716/god_diagnosed_bipolar.html).  This article is satire, but Design Theory forces us to take the idea seriously.

    It might still be argued that suffering is an unavoidable consequence of a greater good.  To some extent, this is certainly the case.  Pain, for example, often gives warning that allows us to avoid serious injury.  Still, much suffering would seem to be avoidable. Smallpox and polio have caused a great deal of suffering in the past, and yet the planet has been virtually free of them for the last few decades.  Could the designer simply not have created them in the first place?  Other more complex banes of humanity, including salmonella, onchocerciasis, and malaria, appear just as unnecessary.

    It is possible that design is as inscrutible as the designer.  As expressed by Pope:

    Quote
    All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
    All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
    All discord, harmony not understood;
    All partial evil, universal good;
    And spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite,
    One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.
    [Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, i, 289-294]


    This philosophy, that suffering is good for reasons we can't understand, contradicts the premise that purpose can be found in nature.  It claims that not only is the designer unknown, but so is the design.  If we accept Design Theory, we must reject this position and assume that design has implications.

    Pope's view of an inscrutible purpose to design is the only way I can see to allow anything close to a traditional designer into Design Theory.  However, in the process, it makes Design Theory useless.  It is worth noting that Pope's view is compatible with evolution, but Dembski's The Design Inference contradicts its first two lines.  Design theory is more compatible with multiple designers or an unconstant designer.
    * Intelligent Design jargon explained! (2 replies)
    niiicholas2002-12-20 01:10:56
    Intelligent Design jargon explained!
    By Casey Luskin
    http://www.ideacenter.org/idjargon.htm

    Lesse, by my count there were 3-4 terms discussed and none were significantly clarified...basically "trust me, ID is for real".
    * A Sober Sighting (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2003-02-15 06:33:34
    Students build skills at conference

    Quote
    The keynote speaker of the event was Elliot Sober, a professor from the University of Wisconsin. Sober is a nationally recognized professor who is known for his work regarding the philosophy of biology. Sober gave a speech on scientific philosophy, titled, “Intelligent Design is untestable. What about Natural Selection?”  Sober was the only professor to give a presentation, with the rest of the presentations being put on by students.
    * Information. ID versus non-ID (4 replies)
    ExYECer2003-01-11 16:56:49
    I started a separate thread to keep the original thread about survival of the least appetizing on track per suggestion of Irving.
    Irving suggested that Noel was looking for a real demonstration but I believe the issue was

    Those who want Darwinism to be true must demonstrate that random incremental change and selection can increase information.

    And ev and others have shown that in principle mutation and natural selection are sufficient to increase information in the genome. Experiments in real life are more complicated but SELEX experiments are the next step to show that in 'real life' mutations and selection can be shown to increase information in the genome.

    Hi Noel,

    you state

           
    Quote

    Those who want Darwinism to be true must demonstrate that random incremental change and selection can increase information. Should they be able to do this, which is doubtful, it still does not follow that everyone would opt for their explanation.
    That is a very simple demonstration and various experiments and simulations have shown that this is indeed the case
    ev: Evolution of Biological Information

           
    Quote

    The ev model quantitatively addresses the question of how life gains information, a valid issue recently raised by creationists [32] (Truman, R. (1999), http://www.trueorigin.org/dawkinfo.htm) but only qualitatively addressed by biologists [33]. The mathematical form of uncertainty and entropy implies that neither can be negative, but a decrease in uncertainty or entropy can correspond to information gain, as measured here by Rsequenceand Rfrequency. The ev model shows explicitly how this information gain comes about from mutation and selection, without any other external influence, thereby completely answering the creationists
    Evolution of Biological Complexity

           
    Quote

    In order to make a case for or against a trend in the evolution of complexity in biological evolution, complexity needs to be both rigorously defined and measurable. A recent information-theoretic (but intuitively evident) definition identifies genomic complexity with the amount of information a sequence stores about its environment. We investigate the evolution of genomic complexity in populations of digital organisms and monitor in detail the evolutionary transitions that increase complexity. We show that because natural selection forces genomes to behave as a natural ``Maxwell Demon'', within a fixed environment genomic complexity is forced to increase.
    In fact as I have argued elsewhere, the fourth law of thermodynamics as proposed by Dembski is imho nothing more than a reformulation of the second law of thermodynamics for a closed system. When realizing that in open systems, entropy can decrease/information can increase and that in evolution it is the environment which infuses information into the genome through selection, and we realize that information increase is not that hard to realize.

    Source

    Others have comment on this
    Victor J. Stenger and Here

    found via this link

    Adrian L. Melott

    Common objections are that ev somehow smuggled in information and although noone really seems to have shown that there is any smuggling done, increase of information of course requires 'smuggling in information' just as selection 'smuggles in' information from the environment into the genome.
    I would be interested in any evidence that the information was pre-coded.
    * Schneider v. Strachan (0 replies)
    niiicholas2003-07-05 16:19:19
    Here's a post I wrote that I'm archiving:

    I was reading recent comments on the Schneider/Strachan discussion, and it suddenly occurred to me that the arguments of both authors are a bit beside the point.

    To wit, the mod posted,

    Quote

    Well, if you take notice, Strachan has taken Schneider to task, and it is far from clear whether Schneider has shown much of anything. [...] He's got a Ph.D. in the field and is an expert in both genetic algorithms and neural networks. He deserves to be taken seriously.


    And similarly Micah or someone at ISCID went to the trouble of putting Strachan's modified METHINKS-type simulation up on the web, here:

    http://www.iscid.org/vignere/vete.php
    http://www.iscid.org/vignere/vignere-text-evolution.php

    ...so clearly someone thinks that Schneider's paper draws a conclusion that is worth debating.

    Here is my question: isn't the central question "Can evolution increase 'information' in the genome?" or something similar?  

    It seems to me that, if this is the question that people are interested in, Schneider's simulation is pretty small potatos.  At most it was a modified 1984 computer program that showed that variation and selection for binding strength could produce strong binding, with the interesting side-conclusion that binding strength has an interesting information-theoretic property such that information measures Rfreq and Rseq ended up matching.  This information amounted to a few bits per binding site.  Schneider threw into his paper some incindiary anti-ID remarks and has similarly promoted the paper, so it has gained attention in ID circles.

    But really, is the proposition "evolution can increase 'information' in the genome?" really in any doubt at all?  I mean, Dembski himself (see Intelligent Design, for example), argues that chance alone can produce small amounts of specified information, and that selection can preserve these small amounts.  The only reason that this process can't build up to produce large amount of specified information, i.e. complex specified information (CSI), is basically irreducible complexity (IC).

    Perhaps people will cite Dembski's supposed "Law of Conservation of Information", but that is similarly said to apply only to CSI, not mere SI.  One could additionally argue that the information that increases in genomes is gathered from the environment (so no "conservation" is being violated) although I think that this is a fairly confused position: IMO information can't really be said to "exist" until it is encoded somewhere.

    Apart from Dembski's admission, we have reams of evidence in biology for the creation of new genes by duplication and modification of old genes, which I think would have to be intepreted as increases in information on any reasonable definition.  Behe similarly concedes such processes (e.g. hemoglobin), he just objects when it comes to IC.

    The only people would I can think of who've really asserted that evolution really can't increase information in the genome are Phil Johnson and creationists such as Spetner.

    So, what's the big deal?

    Cross-refs:
    An Evaluation of "Ev"
    http://www.iscid.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-6-t-000384.html

    Mod quote:
    http://www.iscid.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-18-t-000001-p-19.html
    * Leiter, Beckwith, & van Dyke (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2004-03-19 15:13:05
    Brian Leiter reviews a book review:

    Harvard Law Review Embarrasses Itself

    This received some attention in the blogosphere:

    Remind me...

    The discussion prompted me to post the following:

    Greg berates Leiter for not taking account of William Dembski's contributions and a few citations. Leiter's comments, though, exclude Dembski, since Leiter was discussing scientists, and Dembski is not in that class of people.

    Dembski's ideas have been tried and found wanting. Greg is invited to peruse http://www.antievolution.org/people/wre/papers/eandsdembski.pdf for a long examination of the arguments made by Dembski.

    The citations Greg lists likewise show no glimmer of a positive scientific program for "intelligent design". At most, they do something toward criticism of current evolutionary biology. The paper which Greg says cites Behe and Dembski favorably simply includes them in lists of citations documenting that opinions differ.

    Greg could try to argue that I'm "uninformed" or "unread" on the topic of "intelligent design". Greg would be wrong, but he could try.

    "Intelligent design" is subset creationism. It's the same old hoary chestnuts long used past their sell-by dates by young-earth creationists, stripped of explicit references to God and the bible. (Leiter's remark about lawyers and PR agents was right on the mark, IMO.) Behe's "irreducible complexity" is the "what good is half a wing?" argument updated to "what good is half a flagellum?" Dembski's "specified complexity" is the "evolution is too improbable" argument with extra mathematical notation and propositional logic. Both are strictly negative arguments against the sufficiency of evolutionary theory to account for all the phenomena of life's history and diversity. Saying that someone else is wrong doesn't mean that one thereby has a theory.
    * Elliott Sober on ID and probability reasoning (5 replies)
    Tom Ames2003-01-03 12:24:40
    I just read a fascinating analysis of the structure of ID's probability argument [Sober, E. (2002), "Intelligent design and probability reasoning." Int. J. Phil. Rel. 52:65-80].

    In his paper, Sober argues that the ID movement relies upon a probabilistic analog of modus tollens. Modus tollens is a deductively valid argument of the form:
    If X then Y
    ~Y
    -------------
    (therefore) ~X

    The relevant probabilistic analog of this would be the argument: "if a theory X says that Y is improbable, and we observe Y, then we should conclude that the theory is probably false." (This is not deductively valid.) ID makes this into an argument against naturalistic evolution by arguing that some feature (the vertebrate eye, or "irreducible complexity" in general) is improbable under naturalistic laws, and that therefore those laws can be rejected as the sole mechanism for generating that feature.

    Sober describes why observing a low probability event does not necessarily provide evidence against the corresponding theory. One example he gives is taken from Richard Royall's wonderful book Statistical Evidence -- A Likelihood Paradigm. Suppose you are brought an urn, and you want to test the hypothesis that it contains 2% white balls. Is drawing a white ball evidence against this hypothesis? If you know that there exist two urns, one containing 2% white balls and the other containing 0.0001% white balls, drawing a white ball is actually evidence in favor of the hypothesis that the urn contains 2% white balls!

    This example highlights the need to discuss evidence in comparative terms. You observe an event (such as the existence of the vertebrate eye) that has a low probability under theory X. But it is crucial to know the probability that that event would occur under theory Y as well, if one is to distinguish between them.

    How probable is the vertebrate eye or the bacterial flagellum under ID? We do not know. Furthermore, there is a concerted attempt by the ID movement to avoid any committment that would allow such a probability to be calculated, even in principle.

    I highly recommend this paper to anyone who finds the probabilistic arguments of the ID movement as annoying as I do. Sober does an admirable job of undercutting the basis of Dembski and Behe's major claims.
    * The Multi-Design Inference (1 replies)
    lpetrich2003-01-19 01:45:45
    Taken from two postings in the thread "The Multi-Design Inference" over at the Internet Infidels.

    This is an inference that multiple designers had designed some entities; this is a natural extension of Dembski's "Design Inference". And it is an inference often made about human designers.

    This is an essential part of efforts to detect forged signatures; handwriting styles are individualized, and a close examination of a signature may reveal whether it was written with an imperfect imitation of someone else's style.

    Handwriting analysis has also been useful in archeology; by that means, it was shown that the various Mycenaean Linear B tablets had been written by several scribes, each of whom had written several tablets.

    Such stylistic analyses have been used in other fields; much of the debate about the authorship of various parts of the Bible has been based on stylistic analyses -- characteristic vocabulary, preoccupations, etc. More recently, the Unabomber was identified when someone recognized some familiar styling in the text of his manifesto.

    Applying that to the world of life, one concludes that if many features had been designed, then there had likely been more than one designer. Camera-like eyes are sometimes pointed to as examples of design, but those of vertebrates have one characteristic architecture and those of cephalopods have another. So could there have been a separate designer for each? Charles Darwin himself, in his creationist years, had concluded that Australia's distinctive fauna might suggest that "there had been two Creators at work."

    Likewise, predator-prey relationships suggest multiple designers, one for the predators and one for the prey, because predators are adapted for finding and catching prey, and prey are adapted for avoiding and resisting predators. Multiple food-chain levels suggest additional designers. Thus, in a grass-deer-wolf food chain, with deer eating grass and wolves eating deer, the grass, deer, and wolves had had separate designers.

    Host-parasite relationships are a close analogue of predator-prey relationships, with parasites being adapted to live off of their hosts and hosts being adapted to resist their parasites. Thus, in this example, the wolves can be afflicted with fleas, heartworms, and distemper viruses, adding yet another designer to the list.

    In an attempted rebuttal, Walter ReMine has claimed to have demonstrated that there had only been one designer, but I've yet to see his "proof".

    The multi-design inference must be an embarrassment for the Intelligent Design movement, because it goes against the theological predilections of many of its participants. However, I doubt that those like the Raelians would be terribly bothered by a multi-design inference.

    However, it must be conceded that single superpowerful designer can imitate several less-powerful designers. But the trouble is that such a hypothesis tends to lack falsifiability; for sufficiently powerful designers, it would be difficult to rule out hypotheses like creation with apparent age, like Philip Gosse's Omphalos hypothesis.

    Also, there is a parallel to the single-powerful-designer hypothesis in Biblical criticism.

    Among present-day scholars, the favorite hypothesis of the authorship of its first five books is the JEDP hypothesis, which posits four separate sets of authors, each with a characteristic vocabulary and preoccupations.

    The traditional hypothesis, however, is that all those five books had been written by Moses and only Moses, and its present-day defenders maintain that he had repeatedly switched stylistic gears as he wrote.
    * Discovery Institute responds to Project Steve, sor (2 replies)
    niiicholas2003-02-20 02:10:10
    [cross-posted to t.o. and AE]

    The release of this *can't* be accidental.  I don't think the DI has ever published a random "let's restate our same old arguments for no explicit reason" article like this.  But "Media Advisory on Evolution Controversies" is a particularly oblique term methinks.

    And any mention of the Stevolutionists is conspicuous by it's absence.

    Perhaps they've been getting a few skeptical calls from press people?

    http://www.discovery.org/viewDB....am=CRSC
    ===============
    Media Advisory on Evolution Controversies

    Discovery Institute
    Press Release
    February 19, 2003
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Contact: Mark Edwards, 206-292-0401 x 107 medwards@discovery.org

    As you report on controversies over evolution and intelligent design, here are some facts you might find useful:


    1. There is a growing scientific controversy over Darwinian evolution.

    a) Today there are critics of Darwinian evolution within the scientific community, including biologists at mainstream American universities. In 2001, more than 100 scientists including scholars at such institutions as Yale, Princeton, MIT, and the Smithsonian signed a public statement announcing that they were "skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." [A complete list of these scientists can be found in A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.]

    b) Because of the scientific critics of Darwin's theory, it is misleading to present the modern controversy over Darwinian evolution as a simplistic battle between "science" and "religious fundamentalists." Accurate reporting on this issue should do justice to the complexities of the real situation, not resurrect stereotypes from the fictional movie Inherit the Wind.


    2. It is constitutional and legal for teachers to teach about the scientific controversies surrounding Darwinian evolution.

    a) The courts have frowned upon raising religious objections to evolution in science classrooms, but these legal restrictions are irrelevant to discussions of scientific controversies over evolution.

    b) According to law professor David DeWolf, co-author of the leading law review article about how to teach the evolution controversy legally, there is absolutely no constitutional problem with acquainting students with scientific criticisms of Darwin's theory currently being made by scientists. [See David DeWolf et. al., Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science, Or Religion, Or Speech? Utah Law Review (2000)].

    "Teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction."
    - U.S. Supreme Court, Edwards vs. Aguillard Ruling (1987)


    3. The failure of biology curricula to discuss the weaknesses as well as the strengths of Darwin's theory is attracting increased criticism from educators, scientists, and the general public.

    a) According to biology professor Scott Minnich of the University of Idaho, Darwinian evolution has become "the exceptional area that you can't criticize" in science education, something he considers "a bad precedent." In his view, we need to "teach it more, and teach it critically."

    b) According to a 2001 Zogby Poll, an overwhelming majority of Americans (71%) believe that "biology teachers should teach Darwin's theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it."

    c) Recent scientific reports have shown that some of the most common scientific proofs for Darwin's theory that are cited in high school and college textbooks are now widely known to be flawed, notably Haeckel's embryos and the Peppered Moth experiments [see linked NY Times' articles].


    4. Federal education policy as articulated by Congress now calls for an balanced approach when teaching about controversial scientific topics such as evolution.

    a) In the Conference Report to the landmark No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Congress clearly advised states to provide for the balanced treatment of controversial scientific issues like evolution. According to Congress, "where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society." (This language originally came from Sen. Rick Santorum , R-PA, and is sometimes called The Santorum Amendment.)

    b) U.S. Senator Robert Byrd (Dem-WV) expressed the sentiments of many lawmakers when he declared that "it is important that students be exposed not only to the theory of evolution, but also to the context in which it is viewed by many in our society. If students cannot learn to debate different viewpoints and to explore a range of theories in the classroom, what hope have we for civil discourse beyond the schoolhouse doors?" [Congressional Record, June 13, 2001]

    5. Darwin himself would have likely agreed to a 'teach the controversy' approach.

    In The Origin of Species Darwin wrote: "A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question."


    Conclusion
    Can teachers discuss the scientific controversy over Darwinian theory? Yes, in fact, good education demands it.

    About Discovery Institute

    Discovery Institute is non-profit, non-partisan policy and research organization on issues from transportation to technology to tax policy. In science education, it supports a "teach the controversy" approach to Darwinian evolution. Its Center for Science and Culture has more than 40 affiliated biologists, biochemists, physicists, philosophers and historians of science, and public policy and legal experts, most of whom also have positions with colleges and universities.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Discovery Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy think tank headquartered in Seattle dealing with national and international affairs. The Institute is dedicated to exploring and promoting public policies that advance representative democracy, free enterprise and individual liberty. For more information visit Discovery's website at http://www.discovery.org.

    Please report any errors to webmaster@discovery.org
    ===============
    * Dembski, natural selection, & math (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-09-18 03:38:03
    William Dembski has offered a very interesting piece concerning what he believes needs to be demonstrated to show that natural selection is a sufficient causal explanation for some system.  See it on the ISCID Brainstorms board.

    The basic gist is relatively straightforward, though the notation looks a bit overblown.

    Dembski starts with an analogy to demonstrating common ancestry of two lineages X and Y, whose initial states X_0 and Y_0 are actually the single common ancestor of all derived X_n and Y_n.   Dembski asserts:

    Quote
    In the best circumstance, each such X(i) and Y(j) must be explicitly exhibited and any arrows of causation connecting two organisms must produce small incremental changes that are highly probable on the basis of the Darwinian selection mechanism. The more intermediates that are missing from this picture and the more handwaving and just-so story-telling to describe the arrows of causation, the more problematic the evolutionary explanation.


    It should be noted that common ancestry is not dependent upon the mechanism of natural selection being operative at every step, or indeed at any step.  Dembski's scenario completely ignores the evidence of molecular biology in applying sequence comparisons, which is largely based upon the evidence of the X_n and Y_n extant organisms, rather than X_0, Y_0, or any intermediates, since the molecular data from long extinct organisms is generally not available for anlaysis.  Nor does natural selection eschew incorporation of "large" changes, should such change have an adaptive advantage for the bearer.  It is well-developed in the evolutionary literature that "small" changes are more likely to have an adaptive advantage than "large" changes, and thus we should expect more "small" changes to be observed in lineages undergoing selection.  But that doesn't limit natural selection to *only* using "small" changes, as Dembski seems to imply above.  These departures Dembski takes from the biological reality of inferring common ancestry of lineages suggest that Dembski's approach is problematic.

    As G.G. Simpson pointed out, intermediates are always missing, except where they are found.  Let me point out  what should count as a non-problematic example of common ancestry of two lineages, Globigerinoides trilobus and Orbulina universa.  A very good plate appears in the paper by Pearson et alia.

    Quote
    Pearson, P.N.; Shackleton, N.J.; and Hall, M.A., 1997.  Stable isotopic evidence for the sympatric divergence of _Globigerinoides_trilobus_ and _Orbulina_universa_ (planktonic foraminifera).  Journal of the Geological Society, London, v.154, p.295-302.


    Figures from this paper are reproduced on the web in this page by Don Lindsay.

    Pearson et alia adduce other evidence than what Dembski has offered in his argument.  They examine stable isotopic evidence to show that the divergence of G. trilobus into O. universa occurred sympatrically.  This also has a bearing on the sufficiency of the evolutionary account of common ancestry of these two species.  Notably, though, Pearson et alia do not invoke natural selection as the sole mechanism of change in this divergence.  The fact of the divergence is an issue separate from the underlying mechanism.

    Dembski's underlying analogy for the remainder of his argument concerning the sufficiency of evolutionary explanations for IC systems excludes relevant classes of evidence, unnecessarily invokes a particular process as needed to be demonstrated, and ignores actual biological practice in showing common ancestry of lineages.  This, to say the least, is an inauspicious beginning for the remainder of his argument.
    * Evolution's Sexy Death (0 replies)
    johndcal2004-06-09 01:50:14
    Will the theory of evolution die a sexy death?

    Or are sex and death proof of evolution?

    See
    "Death, Sex, and Evolution"
    at
    Faith & Reason Ministries
    http://www.faithreason.org/
    * ADDING ID could hurt college odds (0 replies)
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    * EVOLUTION v. intelligent design (0 replies)
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    * Optimality arguments & theological themata (1 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-17 19:19:04
    In this ARN forum topic, the issue of arguing concerning optimality was raised.  The person bringing this up cited Dembski, but several of his ideas seem to stem from Paul Nelson's presentation back at the 1997 NTSE conference.

    Basically, ID advocates object to optimality arguments by biologists when these venture into the realm of contrasting natural mechanisms with supposed supernatural mechanisms.  Paul Nelson made the observation that such argumentation presupposes certain "theological themata".  Nelson also asserted that in order to argue that some state observed in nature was sub-optimal, one would have to reliably know what the absolute optimal state was, and calculate an optimality deficit figure.

    I responded to Nelson's assertion that knowledge of absolute optimality was a necessary part of a sub-optimality argument some time ago on the talk.origins newsgroup.  The response can be seen here, but the essential message is that a valid sub-optimality argument can be warranted on a strictly relative basis, with no need for absolute optimality to be known.

    I also responded to William Dembski's essay on optimality argumentation, pointing out several problems in his argumentation.  Dembski's essay is here, and my response is here.

    * WHEN it comes to creationism and evolution, I bel (0 replies)
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    * TEACHERS can walk a creative middle road (0 replies)
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    * Creationist Replies (1 replies)
    jasonparker2004-09-24 09:39:31
    A creationist book…i saw it in another forum, creationists there were referancing from this source, i started to read it and the transitional fossil section is what i looked for. http://www.harunyahya.com/refuted1.php
    * INTELLIGENCE, design and Shakespeare (0 replies)
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    * DARWIN on Trial (0 replies)
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    * Banned IDists at ARN (11 replies)
    Bebbo2002-12-21 09:50:18
    Quote (dayton @ Dec. 21 2002,08:54)
    So what happened to get mturner, Genie, and Chris banned at ARN?  Did some thread that I missed go down in flames?  Does anyone know?

    I've also been wondering about Chris and Genie, but I didn't know mturner had also been banned. It looks like they've got rid of Mod 4 (aka jazzraptor). Curiouser and curiouser.

    --
    Dene
    * Creation from absolute ignorance (0 replies)
    maurice.mccarthy2003-07-24 16:18:58
    Hi to all,

    I'm a new member and an amateur philosopher.

    I think therefore thinking is. Minimally, I know that I brought it forth and it exists in that sense. I experience it's existence. To know that anything is then it must be experienced in some sense. Whether it is real or not may be another matter. I can doubt that I exist but can it be doubted that thinking exists?

    If thinking does not exist then it cannot produce knowledge of nor have any true relation to reality and, since all hypothesis is produced by thinking, then all science is dead in the water - at best it could describe but not predict. Successful prediction guarantees the genuine hold by science upon reality itself.

    Science is the application of thinking to observation. Then if thinking exists then, ultimately, knowledge and reality must coincide. Granted this is already highly contentious - we are exactly at De Anima III.5 (430a10-26), the most heavily disputed 16 lines in all Western philosophy:

    "But since in all nature one thing is the material for each kind (this is what is in potency all the particular things of that kind), but it is something else that is the causal and productive thing by which all of them are formed, as is the case with an art in relation to its material, it is necessary in the soul to that these distinct things be present; the one sort is intellect by becoming all things, the other sort by forming all things, in the way an active condition such as light does, for in a certain way light too makes the colors that are in potency be at work as colors.  This sort of intellect is separate, as well as  being without attributes and unmixed, since it is by its thinghood a being-at-work, for what acts is  always distinguished in stature above what is acted upon, as a governing source is above the material it works on. Knowledge, in its being-at-work, is the same as the thing it knows, and while knowledge in potency comes first in any one knower, in the whole of things it does not take precedence even in time. This does not mean that at one time it thinks but at another time it does not think, but separated it is just exactly what it is and this alone is deathless and everlasting (though we  have no memory, because this sort of intellect is not acted upon, while the sort that is acted upon is destructible), and without this nothing thinks."   -   On the Soul, Joe Sachs, Green Lion Press, 2001, p142-3.

    Greek - Scholastic vocabulary - Sachs

    hyle (timber) - matter - material
    dynamis - potential - potency
    energeia - actual - being-at-work
    ousia - substance - thinghood

    (This last is "a way of being that belongs to anything which has attributes but but is not an attribute of anything, which is also separate and a this (Metaphysics 1028b 38-39, 1029a 27-28)." Sachs p201.)

    The dynamis of knowledge is observation, the energeia is thinking. Traditional dispute over the passage is whether the activity is something merely human or extra-human. If thinking exists whether or not 'I' do then the answer is both.


    Assume for a moment that thinking is the permanent, deathless and everlasting being and therefore this generates all reality, simultaneously with the possibility for finite knowers to cognise that reality. How could the creation of the world possibly proceed?

    There is no dynamis, nothing, no material to be designed. It has to be creation from absolute ignorance. Thinking on its own is ignorant. The only thinghood is that of thinking itself.

    If thinking puts forth its own being into a many, who have the possibility to be knowers because there are others to be known. This many form a community around the hub of thinking. Now this next point is the most speculative that I'm putting forth here. Let a community be a relation between mutually dependent existents, i.e. one die, the community dies - the very existence of each is dependent upon the existence of the others (you'll see why soon).

    Now break the communal relation. Either the existents become separately independent or they become mutally exclusive but remain dependent (I can think of no other possiblities). The idea of separation between independent existents is better known as space and mutually exclusive dependency is necessarily a sequence or the idea of time.

    This is sure to sound too far-fetched but you may well have read last december's Scientific American with the cover story on Fotini Markopoulou. She generates space and time by placing human beings upon the nodes of a network. A network is the mathematical abstraction of community.

    Best wishes
    Maurice
    * The Blind Leading the Blind (17 replies)
    niiicholas2003-04-04 23:50:11
    As Commentary has once again indulged Berlinski's meanderings around evolutionary theory (they never appear to run out of purple ink for his prose), I am starting a thread to discuss him, accumulate links, etc., perhaps eventually have a FAQ.

    Eye-evolution specific, or general picking of nits, as there are many to pick with Berlinski and he sure loves doing it to the Darwinists...


    First, background links on Berlinski and his writings:

  • In the ID-files section of AE.
  • The Discovery Institute bio and articles list.


    Recent articles under discussion:
  • Has Darwin Met His Match? David Berlinski, Commentary, December 1, 2002
    (Berlinski on ID and evolution; full-text must be purchased, but his section on the eye is hosted by the DI under The Vexing Eye)

  • The many letters in response to Berlinski were originally online here at Commentary's website but now are not (although you can purchase them here). However, we do have:

  • The subset of responses from DI fellows
  • Some of the critics' responses online at Talk.Reason

    And then:
  • A Scientific Scandal
    (Commentary.  April 1, 2003: On the 1994 paper by Nilsson and Pelger on eye evolution, and the usage thereof.  Online at the DI with a few typos and weirdly-formatted equations)

    Older articles:
  • Keeping an Eye on Evolution
    (Berlinski reviews Dawkins Climbing Mount Improbable and comments on eye evolution at length) (also hosted by the DI)

    And the famous:
  • The Deniable Darwin
  • Denying Darwin: David Berlinski and Critics

  • * Does Science Point to God? (11 replies)
    niiicholas2003-04-08 23:41:28
    [note, the thread title is wrong as Glenn points out, it should be "Wiker".  I am officially dumb.]

    Just came across this:

    Does Science Point to God?
    The Intelligent Design Revolution
    By Benjamin D. Wiker
    Crisis Magazine

    URLs:
    Crisis link

    DI link

    * Thread of the day: Art on Silverswords (0 replies)
    niiicholas2003-01-13 23:05:54
    Hey,

    Ever see a thread/post and said "Hey!  That thread/post is so good it should be recorded for posterity"?  I have.

    Here is an example.  Art wrote a great post, with pics, over on this ARN thread:

    http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=13;t=000568

    ...on how the widely divergent Silversword alliance clearly demonstrates how Jonathan Wells is wrong about RM-NS and morphological "macroevolution".

    Art's post repeated below
    =========
    Quote
    Originally posted by Geoff:
    [qb]...
    Seriously, so yours and Charlie's examples show, in my limited understanding, that at least different, apparently viable types at least, can be produced by changes in developmental genes within the species.  So, to that extent, I guess Wells is indeed wrong.

    Perhaps the next line of defense would ask for examples of really macroevolutionary morphologic changes via this route (or even mere speciation of a less impressive type).  I personally am really more interested in changes beyond the production of intraspecific types.

    But you guys did indeed answer the assertion that Wells made and that I then posed -- and I accept your answers and those of others (like Mike B) with thanks.

    Regards,

    Geoff[/qb]
    Hi Geoff,

    About your question as to possible known correlations between mutations in developmentally-important genes and macroevolutionary events, I submit the following for your consideration.  

    First, another accursed pubmed abstract (that need not be read in detail - instead, just note that some of the genes mentioned are the same as those you have agreed represent developmentally-important ones in which non-lethal mutations are known):

     
    Quote
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2001 Aug 28;98(18):10208-13

    Accelerated regulatory gene evolution in an adaptive radiation.

    Barrier M, Robichaux RH, Purugganan MD.

    Department of Genetics, Box 7614, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.

    The disparity between rates of morphological and molecular evolution remains a key paradox in evolutionary genetics. A proposed resolution to this paradox has been the conjecture that morphological evolution proceeds via diversification in regulatory loci, and that phenotypic evolution may correlate better with regulatory gene divergence. This conjecture can be tested by examining rates of regulatory gene evolution in species that display rapid morphological diversification within adaptive radiations. We have isolated homologues to the Arabidopsis APETALA3 (ASAP3/TM6) and APETALA1 (ASAP1) floral regulatory genes and the CHLOROPHYLL A/B BINDING PROTEIN9 (ASCAB9) photosynthetic structural gene from species in the Hawaiian silversword alliance, a premier example of plant adaptive radiation. We have compared rates of regulatory and structural gene evolution in the Hawaiian species to those in related species of North American tarweeds. Molecular evolutionary analyses indicate significant increases in nonsynonymous relative to synonymous nucleotide substitution rates in the ASAP3/TM6 and ASAP1 regulatory genes in the rapidly evolving Hawaiian species. By contrast, no general increase is evident in neutral mutation rates for these loci in the Hawaiian species. An increase in nonsynonymous relative to synonymous nucleotide substitution rate is also evident in the ASCAB9 structural gene in the Hawaiian species, but not to the extent displayed in the regulatory loci. The significantly accelerated rates of regulatory gene evolution in the Hawaiian species may reflect the influence of allopolyploidy or of selection and adaptive divergence. The analyses suggest that accelerated rates of regulatory gene evolution may accompany rapid morphological diversification in adaptive radiations.
    Now, consider three plants from the group (pardon my taxonomical crudeness here) mentioned in this abstract:    ,
     ,
    and
     .  

    It doesn’t take much of an eye to see stupendous morphological differences, easily dramatic enough to qualify as possibly macroevolutionary in nature.  Of course, this could only be if it could be shown that these plants share a common ancestry.

    And indeed it can be so shown.  By a standard that even the staunchest YECer accepts, it can be strongly concluded that each of these (as well as other members of the Silversword alliance) share a common ancestry.  This is because, the vast morphological differences aside, they are interfertile.  As interestingly, for a number of other reasons (biological, geographic, historical, and molecular), it can be safely concluded that these vastly-different plants diverged from a common ancestor that looked something like

    .

    Reflect, now, on the abstract.  In this study, evidence for positive selection of alleles (that must have arisen via mutation - this follows from the natural history of the different genera) of developmentally-important genes - genes involved in flower structure and evolution - was described.  While it’s not a videotape, it stands as evidence of the sort that Wells claims does not exist - namely, that changes in developmentally-important genes are important in macroevolutionary progressions.

    (Keep in mind that among the dramatic morphological differences that are seen in these examples are ones that involve floral structures.  Also, while others might argue with me, I would claim here that the range of morphologies shown in this post exceeds the range seen in placental mammals - just to give readers an idea of the scope of the differences.)

    (These images, and many others, can be found at the Silverswords link given above.)
    =========

    (Hint: Hit "reply with quote" in UBBs to get access to the formatting)
    * PBS Firing Line Debate, 1997 (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2005-02-09 10:35:54
    REVIEW OF PBS' FIRING LINE CREATION/EVOLUTION DEBATE

    John Forester provides detailed notes on the Firing Line debate.

    Quote

     This two-hour debate was presented on the Public Broadcasting System program
    Firing Line in December, 1997. The moderator was Michael Kingsley.

     For the proposition that evolutionists should acknowledge creation were:
     William F. Buckley, Jr., conservative author
     Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry
     Philip E. Johnson, professor of law
     David Berlinskey, writer on mathematics and religion.

     Against the proposition were:
     Barry Lynn, minister and attorney, director of American's United for
     Separation of Church and State.
     Eugenie Scott, anthropologist, CSICOP fellow and director of Center for
    Science Education
     Michael Ruse, professor of philosophy
     Kenneth Miller, professor in cell biology.


    Transcript of the debate

    On an antievolution site, with some graphics added.
    * Request for Elsberry and Shallit (0 replies)
    scordova2005-06-26 22:03:36
    Dear Wesley and Jeffrey,

    William Dembski has released two papers on his website.  Since you all have written critiques of his work in the past, I would be interested in any critiques of his latest work.  


    http://www.designinference.com/documen....ces.pdf

    http://www.designinference.com/documents/2005.06.Specification.pdf

    Thanks,

    Salvador Cordova
    * AMNH 2002/04/23 (2 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-06 02:31:29
    I was able to attend the event due to good timing on other travel.  

    Eugenie Scott moderated.  William Dembski and Michael Behe presented on "intelligent design" and were questioned by Robert Pennock and Kenneth Miller.

    Dembski used a lot of negative argumentation in his presentation.   One of the parts which wasn't so negative included his capsule example of specified complexity as needing a long message and an independent pattern to match it.  Dembski invoked the bacterial flagellum as an example of specified complexity in biology.  He floated the claim that the only known examples of successful co-option come from human engineering.  He touted section 5.10 of his book, "No Free Lunch", as giving the probability calculations needed to find "horrendous" probabilities of getting a flagellum.  While Dembski had a section of his talk devoted to talking about "arguing from ignorance", it did not seem to me that he actually disposed of the issue.  Dembski reiterated the claim that design is a notion belonging to statistics and complexity theory.  And to top things off, Dembski even repeated his claim that there is a room at the Smithsonian devoted to artifacts known to be designed but for which no purpose is known.

    Of course, there is no such room, which can be confirmed by contacting the Smithsonian, as Jeff Shallit has done.  There was once an exhibit (1980-81) with one display case in which some artifacts were displayed.

    I have to wonder why it is that if design is properly a statistical and complexity theoretic notion, why hasn't Dembski published his "design inference" in that literature.  It would seem to be a neutral ground in which to gain some credibility for the concept.  I don't think that the statisticians really care about the evolution/creation issue, so the whole thing about the "Darwinist conspiracy" should be a non-issue in that context.

    Rob Pennock tried to get Dembski to commit to saying what sorts of things can be taught if one accepts "intelligent design" by contrasting that to what science already has resolved.  Issues like the age of the earth and whether a global flood could be taught were brought up.  But Dembski dodged making any stand on these issues, saying that his stance is that "design" is detectable.  I think this showed that Dembski is simply evasive on these points which might lose the ID movement the support of YEC fellow-travelers.  Others have opined that this showed Dembski's fortitude in refusing to grant Pennock any points.

    Miller tried to get Dembski to state when the intelligent designer had to infuse the "specified complexity" seen in various events mentioned by Dembski and other ID advocates.  Did the origin of life 3 billion years ago indicate an intervention by the intelligent designer?  Maybe, maybe not was about the extent of Dembski's reply.  For the bacterial flagellum, the Cambrian explosion, the emergence of various animal groups, "maybe, maybe not" was the sum total of Dembski's stance.  The specified complexity might have been input at the origin of the universe, and subsequent examples would have to be examined in detail.  ID could thus be compatible with some form of Deism, or an interventionist theology, but doesn't seem to have any way within it to decide between the two.

    Michael Behe gave his usual talk on "irreducible complexity", including some discussion of mousetraps.

    Ken Miller presented a four-step logical argument based upon things that Behe has said in the past.  Behe stated flatly that the second point was something he had never said, but Miller was able to pop up the full quote and citation showing that Behe had, indeed, said just that.  Miller then proceeded to show that for each of three biological systems that Behe has used in the past (the blood clotting cascade, the bacterial flagellum, and the eukaryotic cilium) that functional systems with fewer parts do exist.  Behe was caught flat-footed by Miller's citation of work from 1969 documenting that dolphins and whales lack Hagemann factor from their blood clotting cascade.  "I feel sorry for the dolphins," said Behe.  "There's no need to feel sorry for the dolphins," said Miller, "they are doing just fine."  Take away 40 proteins from the bacterial flagella, or 80% of the system, said Miller, and you still have a fully functional Type III secretory system.  Behe objected that these were not exactly the same proteins, but Miller countered that in each case they were quite similar with high sequence similarity in conserved regions.  For the eukaryotic cilium, Miller presented the case of cilia from eel sperm, that are missing several parts found in other cilia, but which are still fully functional.

    One criticism of Miller's presentation would be that Behe kept saying that Miller was not taking into account Behe's full argument.  I think that Behe would have a point here if he could just cite the places where he had retracted the claims that Miller did critique.

    Pennock made an incredibly telling point, in that neither Behe nor Dembski would reduce "irreducible complexity" to an independent and objective criterion that would not require Behe to pass judgment on whether a system was actually IC or not.  Pennock proposed that the use of knockout experiments could establish what is or is not IC.  Behe said that this would be a good place to start, but that he would reserve judgment.

    Each of the participants was asked to give a URL.

    Kenneth Miller

    Rob Pennock

    Michael Behe

    William Dembski

    Eugenie Scott
    * PROFESSOR of New Creationism Course Criticized fo (0 replies)
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    * Replacing Dembski's "specification" (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2003-11-12 08:04:00
    Jeff Shallit and I have a topic on replacing Dembski's notion of specification in the appendix of our long paper critiquing William Dembski's ideas . (See Information Theory, Evolutionary Computation, and Dembski's "Complex Specified Information".)

    In the article, we note a number of problems with "specification" as given by Dembski. Our replacement, specified anti-information (SAI), does not have the drawbacks that we note for specification. SAI is grounded in algorithmic information theory and can be considered an application of the universal distribution. (See the original article by Kirchherr, Li, and Vitanyi.)

    Some of our colleagues reading the drafts of our long paper back in 2002 were non-plussed: why did we attempt to "rescue" the notion of specification with a replacement? The answer is that we felt that some positive statement needed to be made rather than making an entirely negative critique. Dembski's examples resonate with readers, so we felt that a non-Dembskian approach was needed to show that the examples could be dealt with in a rigorous way, but that the further conclusions about intelligent agency that Dembski urges were unsupported.

    SAI accomplishes both these goals. SAI is easy to apply to problems that can be reduced to a bit-string representation, as Dembski has done for some of his examples. SAI also warrants a far weaker implication than intelligent agency as a cause: an event with high SAI is likely caused by a simple computational process. Elsewhere in the article, we discuss the ubiquity of natural computational processes. There is no "design inference" that can be based upon SAI, just a "simple computational process inference".

    * Help with a research paper (0 replies)
    CaptRuss2005-02-26 14:16:08
    I'm starting a research paper for my Sociology class. The research is to understand, who becomes a Creationist, why, where you’re from etc. Your help is most appreciated.

    Please give basic background:
    Age, State of residence, marital status, Education Level, Religious Affiliation, Occupation.

    What type of Creationist are you? Examples:

    Flat Earthers - believe that the earth is flat and is covered by a solid dome or firmament. Waters above the firmament were the source of Noah's flood. This belief is based on a literal reading of the Bible, such as references to the "four corners of the earth" and the "circle of the earth." Few people hold this extreme view, but some do.

    Geocentrism - accept a spherical earth but deny that the sun is the center of the solar system or that the earth moves. As with flat-earth views, the water of Noah's flood came from above a solid firmament. The basis for their belief is a literal reading of the Bible. "It is not an interpretation at all, it is what the words say." (Willis 2000) Both flat-earthers and geocentrists reflect the cosmological views of ancient Hebrews. Geocentrism is not common today, but one geocentrist (Tom Willis) was instrumental in revising the Kansas elementary school curriculum to remove references to evolution, earth history, and science methodology.

    Young Earth Creationists - claim a literal interpretation of the Bible as a basis for their beliefs. They believe that the earth is 6000 to 10,000 years old, that all life was created in six literal days, that death and decay came as a result of Adam & Eve's Fall, and that geology must be interpreted in terms of Noah's Flood. However, they accept a spherical earth and heliocentric solar system.

    Old-Earth Creationists - accept the evidence for an ancient earth but still believe that life was specially created by God, and they still base their beliefs on the Bible. There are a few different ways of accommodating their religion with science.

    Day-age creationists - interpret each day of creation as a long period of time, even thousands or millions of years. They see a parallel between the order of events presented in Genesis 1 and the order accepted by mainstream science. Day-Age Creationism was more popular than Gap Creationism in the 19th and and early 20th centuries.

    Evolutionary Creationism - differs from Theistic Evolution only in its theology, not in its science. It says that God operates not in the gaps, but that nature has no existence independent of His will. It allows interpretations consistent with both a literal Genesis and objective science, allowing, for example, that the events of creation occurred, but not in time as we know it, and that Adam was not the first biological human but the first spiritually aware one.

    Theistic Evolution - says that God creates through evolution. Theistic Evolutionists vary in beliefs about how much God intervenes in the process. It accepts most or all of modern science, but it invokes God for some things outside the realm of science, such as the creation of the human soul. This position is promoted by the Pope and taught at mainline Protestant seminaries.

    Materialistic Evolution - differs from Theistic Evolution in saying that God does not actively interfere with evolution. It is not necessarily atheistic, though; many Materialistic Evolutionists believe that God created evolution, for example. Materialistic evolution may be divided into methodological and philosophical materialism. Methodological materialism limits itself to describing the natural world with natural causes; it says nothing at all about the supernatural, neither affirming nor denying its existence or its role in life.

    Philosophical materialism - says that the supernatural does not exist. It says that not only is evolution a natural process, but so is everything else.

    Vedic Creationism
    Hinduism speaks of a very ancient earth. One book influenced by Hindu belief argues that anatomically modern humans have existed for billions of years.

    Finally, What brought you to believe what you believe?

    Your help is most appreciated.
    * Top 5 reasons ID is bunk (3 replies)
    brian.holly2005-05-27 12:06:28
    Top 5 reasons intelligent design is nonsense:

    1. Reliance on ad ignoratiam arguments. This is just the old "you can't produce an eye" by chance argument, which completely ignores the fact that evolutionary biologists have traced a clear and logical
    progression in stages from having a few light sensitive cells to having a full-blown human eye, with each stage showing an adaptive advantage. Behe tries to use the same tactic with complex proteins.This is just foolishness. Evolution hasn't explained everything yet,
    but it keeps explaining more and more.

    2. Intelligent Design fails to explain. An explanation has to explain why things are one way rather than another, but ID has no theory of what we might expect the Big Designer in the sky to do. "A magic being did it," explains nothing.

    3. Intelligent Design just pushes the problem back. The most crucial thing ID should explain is, well,  intelligence, but it leaves it wholly unexplained. Evolution has an explanation for how intelligence
    arose, starting with a few neural cells and progressing in
    advantageous stages step by step to the most complex structure known in the universe, the human brain. ID says in effect, well, let's just assume the existence of something even more complex and wondrous: a
    super-intelligence.

    4. ID is incoherent. Everything depends on the mind of the Intelligent Designer, but no coherent theory of the ID's mind is possible. By hypothesis, the Designer existed before the universe, but then where did he get his ideas for designing the universe? Ideas can have two sources: they can be derived from experience or they can
    be innate. Neither explanation could explain the where the Designer's ideas came from. And if the plan for the universe just arose spontaneously in the mind of the Designer, then that is an even greater wonder than the spontaneous big bang.

    5. ID contradicts everything we know about intelligence.
    Intelligence, by its very nature, involves storage and processing of information, and this can only be done within a physical structure. To suppose that there could have been information processing before there was any physical reality is nonsense.
    * Falsehoods on the Air (2 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2004-11-21 22:30:13
    The "Powerpoint" radio show from Atlanta, Georgia this evening was about evolution and "intelligent design". The guests included Barbara Forrest, Casey Luskin, David Schwimmer, and John Calvert. It was an interesting discussion, to say the least.

    I called in to make a comment, in response to an assertion by John Calvert that "intelligent design theory" was being used in science, referencing "design detection" methods in archeology and life sciences.

    My response:

    Quote


    I'm a theist who is a critic of the claims of "intelligent design" advocates. I'd like to focus on the claim made by Dr. Calvert that ID has theoretical content, and that the design detection methods of ID are being applied in science. Briefly, design detection in ID refers to the concept of "complex specified information" expounded by William Dembski. However, Dembski has never shown the full and successful application of his concept to any phenomenon whatsoever. No one else has, either. Dembski's design detection method is both incoherent and unworkable. It is of no value to science. This is detailed in the recent book, Why Intelligent Design Fails.



    I started off the way I did because Calvert was doing his best to cast this as a "theists vs. atheists" sort of issue.

    What was instructive was the response from the ID advocates, Calvert and Luskin.

    Calvert asserted that biochemists assume design in trying to "reverse engineer" biological systems, and thus are using "design detection" without giving ID the proper credit for what they are doing. This is, of course, so much flapdoodle. What biochemists assume has nothing to do with intervening disembodied designers and everything to do with evolutionary processes constrained by the environment. It also overlooks identifying exactly what process of "design detection" proposed by ID advocates has been unfairly denied credit... which is explicable on the view that there is no such process to be credited.

    Luskin simply asserted that I was wrong, and that Dembski had applied his concept of CSI, notably to the E. coli flagellum in the pages of Dembski's book, No Free Lunch. I'm not sure what to make of this, because I'm pretty sure that Casey and I discussed Dembski's failed methodology before. In any case, Dembski failed to fully apply his "generic chance elimination argument" to the E. coli flagellum. First, Dembski failed to give a specification for the flagellum. Second, Dembski failed to eliminate any evolutionary hypothesis of origin for the E. coli flagellum. The single hypothesis Dembski considered was one of random assembly, a thoroughly non-evolutionary proposition.

    It does show the advantage to being a guest on a show, since any sort of nonsense may be spouted with little threat of exposure. [...] I do appreciate that Barbara Forrest did note that Dembski's work, including No Free Lunch, has been extensively debunked.

    For those who still think Dembski's CSI has something going for it, check out this article by myself and Jeff Shallit.

    * INTELLIGENT design targeted (0 replies)
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    * PROPOSED Religion Class in Kansas Labels Intellig (0 replies)
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    * Pretty much no defence of ID by AAAS & others (1 replies)
    jhigbee2005-08-05 10:36:06
    [I meant to say: No defense against ID by AAAS & others]

    Yesterday I listened to a debate between Alan Leshner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and baptist bible beater Richard Land.

    Here are some irritating points Mr. Leshner made:

    1. "...Whether or not there is an intelligent designer is not a scientific question. Science is restricted..."

    2. "...Darwin did not decide yes or no about an intelligent designer..."

    3. "...I don't know if there were an intelligent designer or not... It doesn't matter, but science classes should be about science regardless of whether there was an intelligent designer or not."

    There was also a point made by religionist Land about how evolution is primarily a chance process.

    Note that Nick Matzke of the National Center for Science Education was also on the show for a time. The show can be found at:
    http://www.wamu.org/programs/dr/05/08/04.php

    Here are some problems with how the debate went:

    1. It seems to me that AAAS and maybe NCSE are taking the following weak no-testicular-fortitude approach to this whole issue: Pretend that science has nothing to say about the validity or usefulness of religions which oppress people, and religions which infuse a love of non-critical-non-rational-thought into their followers. Pretend that science is "restricted" and can only comment on things which are "testable."

    What comment can science make about non-testable myths? That the scientific method of peer review is the best method humans have come up with thus far to separate fact from fiction, and that because of this the comment science >can< make on non-testible myths is this: They have a much higher likelihood of >not< being factual because they are >not< testible and >not< peer reviewed and therefore have >no< basis in scientific theory or fact.

    Science is not "restricted." It simply remains science. And the "commenting" it can make on religion can be made not only via the above method, but also via anthropologic and social science methods. Anthropology allows a comparing of cultures. And then there's the issue of memes, and about how religion is a meme (and it's also a virus - as from Dawkins).

    2. If Mr. Leshner of the AAAS and maybe the NCSE doesn't know whether there was an intelligent designer or not, I guess they haven't been reading the key works of Dr. Richard Dawkins.

    3. Mr. Leshner of the AAAS also apparently hasn't read that (I believe?) Darwin did comment on intelligent design - although I would like to request the reference since I cannot remember.

    4. However simply relying on Darwin even if he didn't specifically comment on intelligent design, ignores the fact that there ARE highly prominent scientists who HAVE commented on intelligent design and about how it's bunk and about WHY it's bunk. It's not bunk merely because it's religion. It's bunk because, as Dawkins has shown, our feable brains CAN begin to comprehend scientific methods of very long term evolution which doesn't require the meddling of a more advanced alien.

    5. Also a glaring negative point about the debate between AAAS/NCSE and religionist Land is about how both the AAAS and NCSE reps said nothing about how natural selection is the opposite of chance. Random genetic mutation more often than not leads of bad effects. Natural selection chooses among prospective genetic transmitters, and that choosing is not random, nor is it chance. I was shocked that the AAAS and NCSE reps said absolutely nothing about this key point on Ms. Rehm's show.

    Anyway I really am verry sorry to see the national orgs who're supposed to be out there defending this whole point taking such a weak buttoxed approach . The reps of these orgs apparently aren't visiting their local libraries and they aren't reading the works of key prominent scientific figures like Richard Dawkins. And the reps apprently feel that the best way to "promote science" is to pretend that science has nothing to say about religion or whether there is an intelligent designer or not.

    The whole history of science and religion shows that as science progressed it's real satisfying answers about the nature of the universe and of existence were far more satisfying than the myths iron fistedly promulgated by religion. That is a key comment which should >not< be forgotten by the AAAS and the NCSE.

    If you have additional references on these topics please provide them as I am preparing letters for others on this issue, especially about whether Darwin actually said anything about intelligent design or not. But I realize that even if he did not maybe his contemporary helpers did. And regardless the science of evolution didn't stop with Darwin.

    Sincerely,

    Jonathan Higbee

    p.s. The claim that "Religious beliefs that are outside the limits of science may be true or not; science is silent on the issue" is also a lame & bogus & weak-buttoxed statement. Such statements serve as an enabling force for the demon haunted world. Science is not silent on religious beliefs. It strongly implies and states by it's grand history that it's method of truth finding superceds that of religion. That is a fact, and if science is about facts, then it should not be afraid to state this fact about it's history, and about the related bloody myth filled waste filled history of religion. Also there are prominent scientists who >are< commenting on religion - and that fact should not be ignored. And the fact that most leading scientists are not believers (as per a survey in Nature) is also a fact - a scientific fact even.
    * JUDGE to rule on schools' policy (0 replies)
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    * IDT vs. IDM (25 replies)
    deepred2004-12-14 03:00:54
    If you ask William Dembski what the theory of ID is, youll probably get some analogy with the idea of SETI. In short, an explanation of mathmatically deciphering between signs of non-intelligence and intelligence. And in the end youll get something like "If SETI is a geniune science why cant ID be?" But what is defined by ID proponents and what they actually do are two compeltely seperate things.

    If you see what Dembski and camp try to do youll notice they write books called "Intelligent Design the Bridge Between Theology and Science". And most recently what the intelligent design camp has done is brought stickers onto our highschool biology textbooks that read "Evolution is just a theory...". On the very recent article on the ARN homepage the headline reads "Evolution: Call a theory a theory". Proponents of ID ask that you only "Teach the controversy."

    If there is one thing proponents of ID -HATE-, it is to be categorized with Creationist. This has become very hypocritical, Creationist dont beleive evolution even occured as where ID'st say evolution could have occured but not by chance alone etc...and then again resort to the analogy of SETI. If this is trully so of ID proponents, then why do they say "Call the theory of evolution a theory?" And mark our highschool books with "Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered." If these propnents of ID are going to define ID as a perfect comparison to SETI, and a theory that doesnt denie the fact part of evolution, why are they calling -Evolution- a theory, just like any creationist? The proponents of ID when debating intelligent design are constantly attacking the idea of neo-darwinism as the explanation of evoluiton, yet what they do in the public school district and even in there own books, is consider the fact of evolution and its theory (neo darwinism) one in the samething. But why should attacking the theory (neo darwinism) of a fact (evolution), destroy the fact (evolution)? If they think this is so then they are no better than there counter part creationist.

    Critics of ID are no better in this mis-understanding, thouhg the blame can all be put on the IDst for the confusion in the first place. For example, if ID is a science in the same sense SETI is, then ID doesnt have to put forth a theory of ID like hoped for by many on this thread. For example if SETI found an intelligent signal from outerspace it wouldnt be SETI's job to understand and form a theory of the biological origins, organisms and there evolution, of the signal, in order to validate if it was made by intelligence. Theyve simply done there part in deciphering between the signs of intelligence and chance. If ID is going to keep moving forward, its proponents have to stop pretending like it needs to not just remove neo-darwinism but also evolution. They need to stop pretending like removing neo-darwinism -is- removing evolution as a whole. And if its critics are going to be correct in critizing it they must stop asking useless questions like 'what is the theory of ID?". What is the theory of SETI? Is it testable? ID shouldnt (if it is to be as Dembski defines it) seek to replace any theories of science. And it also doesnt claim to be a theory (if it is to be as Dembski defines it) of evolution. And therefore any questions of how do we test this theory is also irrelevant. Asking questions like how is ID better than Neo darwinism, is again irrelevant. They do -not-, because they -cannot- replace each other.

    This part of the intelligent design movement is maddening. Frustrating even. Ridiculous, and creates mass confusion even among its followers, or observors.
    * Avida simulation of IC evolution (12 replies)
    niiicholas2003-05-13 00:23:09
    This thread is intended to serve as a central reference for disparate net resources and discussions on this recent paper:

    Quote

    Nature 2003 May 8;423(6936):139-44
     
    The evolutionary origin of complex features.

    Lenski RE, Ofria C, Pennock RT, Adami C.

    Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.

    A long-standing challenge to evolutionary theory has been whether it can explain the origin of complex organismal features. We examined this issue using digital organisms-computer programs that self-replicate, mutate, compete and evolve. Populations of digital organisms often evolved the ability to perform complex logic functions requiring the coordinated execution of many genomic instructions. Complex functions evolved by building on simpler functions that had evolved earlier, provided that these were also selectively favoured. However, no particular intermediate stage was essential for evolving complex functions. The first genotypes able to perform complex functions differed from their non-performing parents by only one or two mutations, but differed from the ancestor by many mutations that were also crucial to the new functions. In some cases, mutations that were deleterious when they appeared served as stepping-stones in the evolution of complex features. These findings show how complex functions can originate by random mutation and natural selection.


    The pdf of the paper, and supplementary information, links to Avida, etc., are all freely online here:

    http://myxo.css.msu.edu/papers/nature2003/

    Links to discussions:

    ISCID: Nature refutes ID [?]

    ARN: The evolutionary origin of complex features

    IIDB: A-life and the evolution of "complex functions"

    t.o. thread 1
    t.o. thread 2


    Other related material:

    Pennock's role in the ID debate is well-known.  Lenski evidently wrote a letter on the NY Times' ID article:

    http://www.jodkowski.pl/ip/Letters003.html
    * How Evolutionists do things (42 replies)
    The Ghost of Paley2005-10-17 06:41:38
    Evolutionists only accept data that conforms to their pre-conceived amoral ontology and reject the rest. In discussions in the "After the Bar closes" thread I cited several papers under undermining the evolutionistic "Tree of Life" assumption of common ancestry. Evolutionists responded by citing other papers with different data, and based on nothing more than question-begging assumptions of the truth of their ontology, claimed this proved the "Tree of Life" conclusively. However, without these assumptions, such data is inconclusive and meaningless.  Only the a priori assumption of evolutionism over Christianity makes such such inferences possible. As a Christian I look at the same data and draw different conclusions than evolutionists.

    Intellegent design theory (IDT) provides an empirical basis to explain the data of functional genes. IDT has shown that similar structures are not the result of common ancestry, but merely the results of the designer's choice to use materials in the same way a human engineer would. In conjunction with my hypothesis that all "junk DNA" common to diverse organisms come from some of the organisms eating the others parsimoniously explains all of the data. Intellegent design theory and endosymbiotic exchange (eating) explains allof the data parsimoniously. Why do we need Darwinism to explain anything? Darwinism can now be relegated to the ashcan of the other amoral ontologies of the 19th century--Marxism and Freudianism.
    * CREATIONISM Course Canceled After Prof. Mocks Chr (0 replies)
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    * NPR documentary on ID (0 replies)
    Strider2006-01-28 09:45:52
    I just heard an announcement for an hour long broadcast on the local NPR station airing Sunday 1/29 at 11AM CT, hosted by Ray Suarez.  Tracking it down, I found this information:  Intelligent Designs on Evolution.  There are also links on this page to audio and a transcript.

    Sorry if this has already been posted.

    John
    * Orson Scott Card, ID, and Creation Science (8 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2006-01-25 00:18:38
    Orson Scott Card, popular SF author (Ender's Game and sequels of particular note), wrote an essay about ID and the "Darwinist" response to it.

    http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2006-01-08-1.html

    There's a discussion forum at the same site:

    http://www.ornery.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=forum;f=15

    I'll be copying my entries from threads there in this thread.
    * INTELLIGENT Design: Sound and Fury, Signifying No (4 replies)
    jasin2006-02-19 18:13:01
    Creationism and Intelligent Design theory are two separate things, but I guess you would not understand that since you have never actually studied either and are just asserting one man's opinions.
    * COURSE Debunking Intelligent Design Canceled (0 replies)
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    * LET'S teach the truth (0 replies)
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    * Spiroplasma (2 replies)
    nanosoliton2003-08-04 23:36:36
    Nic writes:

    Quote

    This page on spiroplasma:
    http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/spiroplasma/what.htm
    ...says that sprioplasmas are related to gram-positive bacteria, and have no cell wall, have a cytoskeleton and membranes with cholesterol.  This all seems to go along fairly well with Cavalier-Smith's proposed scheme for the evolution of eukaryotes as something like:

    gram-negative --> gram-positive --> early divergence from archaeabacteria --> eukaryotes



    I doubt it. Spiroplasma seems to have evolved by regressive evolution from clostridia, so they are not a step forward.  Unlike mreb and ftsz, which have actin and tubulin analogs in eukaryotes, fib has no homologs whatsoever.
    * Phylogenetic conflicts (0 replies)
    niiicholas2003-07-08 06:26:28
    A good old thread cited by a new thread by Arm.  Some good wisdom from Myrmecos:

    http://www.arn.org/cgi-bin....907;p=1

    The new thread:
    http://www.arn.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-13-t-000771-p-2.html
    * NCSE Creation/Evolution archives (3 replies)
    niiicholas2003-07-06 06:46:20
    Howdy,

    The archives of the online journal Creation/Evolution are now quite substantial; however, they are just listed by issue and are not indexed anywhere AFAIK; so, I will post links to articles that I come across that seem particularly relevant to the ID debate.

    Others should add whatever they like along similar lines...

    (I started from 1988 and went backwards BTW)

    Design, Created Kinds, and Engineering
    Francis J. Arduini

    Makes several points about the differences between (human) intelligent design and design by natural processes that I've tried to make occasionally, e.g.:

    Quote
    The Process of Intelligent Design

    The "created kinds" of modern technology have indeed evolved but in a manner quite different from living organisms. Where living organisms are constrained in their development by their evolutionary histories, machines are constrained only by the level of technology available to their designers. Design selection is based upon the unique design criteria of each individual creative act. Previous designs can be used, modified, or completely abandoned. Changes over time reflect technological advances, and such advances often manifest themselves in distinct ways.

    1. The Quantum Leap. The achievement of a new technology will show up in machines with a previous design history as completely new systems or subsystems that only minimally affect the other independent systems in the machine. For example, when the technology of turbine engines became available, aeronautic engineers began designing aircraft using jet engines, while most of the other aircraft systems were unaffected. Control systems, building materials, even most of the aerodynamic design of our first jets were almost unchanged from their cylinder-propeller-driven predecessors. These other systems did change later but only with the development of other new technologies.

    — page 21 —

    The point is not that this type of mosaic evolution is unlike that of living organisms. One need only look at Archaeopteryx to see that this is actually quite like a living organism. The point is that the design of a turbine engine is so radically different from that of a cylinder engine that one cannot possibly construct a "Darwinian history" that could evolve one from the other. Unlike the fusing of two clavicles to form a wishbone or the fraying of a keeled scale to form a feather, the turbine engine is a completely original design with complex parts and subsystems that have no homologs and often no analogs in the other design.

    Innovations in design are often unrestrained by whatever designs existed prior to them. They are therefore often revolutionary changes. Innovations in living organisms, however, do not show this type of wholesale replacement of systems. The very fact that it is possible to construct plausible Darwinian histories for living organisms, while at the same time it is impossible to do the same for our own "created kinds," is a crucial point of comparison.

    2. Contagious Technology. Living systems evolving from different directions to fill the same ecological niche often develop strikingly similar adaptations. But again, constrained by their evolutionary histories, these adaptations are formed out of the parts available, and different parts are used for similar purposes. Dolphins do look remarkably like large fish and even more like icthyosaurs. But no competent zoologist would ever confuse the three. Past the most superficial level, the differences are dramatic.

    Machines, constrained only by the level of technology of their creators, need not be so dissimilar when designed for similar functions. Grumman, Northrop, and McDonnel Douglas may be designing three individual air superiority fighters, but, if the specific design criteria so dictate, they can use the identical Pratt and Whitney engines for all three aircraft. This is not convergent evolution, but it is a fact of contemporary design.

    And once turbine engines became available for aircraft, they need not be limited to the aircraft "clade." Engineers have placed turbines into boats, automobiles, motorcyles, and the M-1 main battle tank. The organic equivalent to this would be for feathers, once evolved in birds, also to appear suddenly on bats and fl, ying squirrels or for whales, dolphins, and icthyosaurs to have gills. Needless to say, we do not see this.

    An innovation in a "created kind" is contagious between "created kinds." Physical traits (systems, technologies) are not confined within specific clades by the limitations of genetic transfer through phylogenetic descent.

    — page 22 —

    3. Extrafunctional Homology. Design engineers do tend to specialize and develop their own unique design styles. A bridge designer will often use similar designs for different bridges. A common designer should be expected to use similar designs for similar functional purposes. But what about different functional purposes?

    What engineer in his or her right mind would use the same design only slightly modified to build an aircraft and a submarine? The different functions and design criteria mandate drastically different designs for these purposes. An aircraft requires a specially designed hull to hold air pressure in; a submarine requires an equally special hull to hold water pressure out. An aircraft will normally utilize internal combustion engines, even at high altitude; a submerged submarine requires electric or nuclear power. An aircraft requires airfoils for lift; a submarine requires ballast tanks for buoyancy. The list of profound differences could go on for pages.

    But whales and bats are both air-breathing, warm-blooded, milk-giving mammals. Their design differences are quantitative, not qualitative. This cross clade similarity of design is completely unheard of in "created kinds," whether the design team consists of fifty engineers or only one.
    * ID and religion (0 replies)
    niiicholas2003-05-27 12:46:06
    A list o' quotes of ID advocates linking ID to apologetics:

    New Brown Bagger article/flier: The Horse's Mouth.
    http://home.kc.rr.com/bnpndxtr/IDBB.html
    * Public Understanding of Science (0 replies)
    niiicholas2003-04-09 01:23:39
    This comes up often in Ev/Cre debates, basically "where the press got it wrong".  I just discovered that there is whole journal devoted to the topic of science & the public:

    http://www.iop.org/EJ/S/1/NCA179192/DmgN0tbZFSW2tE2bP63lzA/journal/PUS

    E.g. here's an interesting article:

    Quote

    http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/0963-6625/4/4/002

    Newspaper coverage of maverick science: creating controversy through balancing

    James W Dearing
    Department of Communication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1212, USA

    Abstract. How do journalists portray the ideas of maverick scientists to the general public? Are mavericks portrayed as credible scientific sources? Do the stories written by journalists function to merely translate maverick theories for nonscientific audiences, or do they more often transform those maverick theories into the realm of scientific controversies? This study hypothesized answers to these questions by analysing how journalists wrote about three maverick theories: (1) a 1990 earthquake prediction, (2) an alternative theory about the cause of AIDS, and (3) cold fusion. A content analysis of 393 news articles in 26 US newspapers and a mailed survey of the journalists who wrote those stories suggest that scientific theories which are believed to be credible by a minority of scientists may be lent credibility in mass media stories, even though the journalists themselves thought that the maverick scientists lacked credibility. Implications for the communication of risk through the mass media are discussed.
    * Animal Intelligent Design? (5 replies)
    lpetrich2003-01-19 02:20:58
    William Dembski apparently believes that beavers intelligently design their dams.

    However, beavers have some sort of dam-building instinct that consists of placing sticks and mud wherever they hear rushing water, such as at an underwater speaker playing that sound. This document on beaver control warns about that, and understanding that has enabled the design of a Beaver Deceiver fence around a culvert inlet.

    I find it curious that both supporters and critics of Intelligent Design theory have said so little about the question of intelligent design by species other than Homo sapiens, because there is an abundance of seeming evidence of such design, like beaver dams, spiderwebs, and so forth. And if much of that is true intelligent design, then we have an abundance of nonhuman intelligent design right under our noses, in a sometimes very literal sense!

    Animal-intelligent-design capability is part of a lot of folklore, and many pet owners seem to think that their pets have that capability. And the reputable biologist George Romanes had offered numerous seeming examples of that capability in the late 19th cy. Only to be repeatedly ridiculed later as an example of how not to do animal-behavior research.

    Much animal behavior has been found to be a combination of instinct and simple forms of learning, though the instincts involved may be very complicated, and though instinct and learning are often closely intertwined. For example, web-building spiders know how to build their webs without being taught, and the webs they build have a stereotyped, species-specific architecture, despite their complexity. There has been some simulated-spider research that implements web building with a combination of algorithms with the form of "if you feel this configuration of nearby strands, go here".

    And much animal learning would be hard to call intelligent design on the animal's part; this includes mechanisms like

    Imprinting (Konrad Lorenz became the "mother" of some geese)
    Habituation (not responding to "meaningless" stimuli)
    Latent learning (wandering around and picking up detail)
    Classical/Pavlovian conditioning
    Instrumental/operant conditioning

    There is an exception:

    Insight learning (pausing and then implementing a solution)

    This may be called a form of intelligent designing. But it has been seen in only a few species, most notably chimpanzees. So one reasonably concludes that the intelligent-design ability is rare in the animal kingdom. And the closeness to our species of the main counterexample is consistent with what one would expect from evolutionary biology -- in fact, Wolfgang Koehler had used evolutionary biology to decide on an experimental subject for his pioneering experiments.

    And what, precisely, might Koehler's chimps have been doing? An analogy with human problem-solving suggests that they were manipulating a mental model of their solution before implementing that model. Thus, a chimp who sees a lot of crates and an out-of-reach banana may imagine crates stacked on other crates to reach that banana before actually trying to stack those crates.

    So performing intelligent design may simply be manipulating a mental model of something before building it. Thus, if I wish to build a dam across a creek, I don't get seized with an uncontrollable urge to collect mud and sticks and place it where I hear rushing water. Instead, I picture in my mind that dam and imagine where best to place it and how I'd build it.

    By contrast, intelligent-design advocates generally treat intelligent design as some sort of unanalyzable fundamental principle.

    And from the occurrence of structures that appear to be produced by intelligent design, but that are not, one obtains a powerful counterargument to the "design inference".

    One counterargument is that spiders, beavers, etc. were designed with their instincts, but that does not change how the appearance of design had been produced by a non-design mechanism. The ultimate origin of those instincts is an entirely separate question.
    * Wells doesn't review NCSE review (4 replies)
    niiicholas2002-12-20 02:11:24
    This was posted on the DI website.  

    Quote

    Alan Gishlick and the NCSE: Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing New on the Icons of Evolution

    Jonathan Wells
    Discovery Institute
    December 13, 2002

    On November 22, 2002, the National Center for Science Education posted Alan D. Gishlick’s “Icons of Evolution?: Why much of what Jonathan Wells writes about evolution is wrong” on their website.

    Gishlick’s piece is a long-winded version of a review of my book, Icons of Evolution: Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong (Regnery, 2000), that he and NCSE President Kevin Padian published in March, 2002, in The Quarterly Review of Biology. Like their review, Gishlick’s new essay is primarily an attempt to defend the icons; and like the review, Gishlick’s essay is heavily seasoned with ad hominem attacks on me. But it adds nothing substantially new to the debate.

    One point that Gishlick’s essay establishes beyond a shadow of a doubt, however, is that the icons of evolution are NOT simply textbook mistakes. In their March book review, Padian and Gishlick likened me to “kids who used to write to the letters page of Superman comics years ago” to complain about trivial typos. “Okay, kid,” they wrote, “mistakes happen, but did it really affect the story?” Apparently, Gishlick has decided that the icons of evolution are not simply mistakes that can be corrected or ignored; instead, they must be defended at all costs. Gishlick’s essay thereby reaffirms what I wrote in my response to published book reviews (including the one by him and Padian) a few months ago:

    “If Darwinists could show that my criticisms of the icons of evolution were unwarranted, or if they would stop trying lamely to defend the icons and simply replace them with better evidence, I would drop my case. But Darwinists cannot defend the icons, and they cannot afford to abandon them, so they resort to insults and smears.”

    Unfortunately for Gishlick, the cats are already out of the bag. When I lectured to biology students on a state university campus recently, their professors were incredulous when I told them that some people still defend the Miller-Urey experiment, Haeckel’s embryo drawings and the peppered myth. The NCSE’s desperate attempts to defend the indefensible are not fooling biologists in the field.

    For more information, and for my previous responses to the sorts of things Gishlick rehashes in his essay, see my postings on the Discovery Institute website, especially the following:

    “Critics Rave Over Icons of Evolution: A Response to Published Reviews” (June 12, 2002)

    “Inherit the Spin: Darwinists Answer ‘Ten Questions’ with Evasions and Falsehoods” (January 15, 2002)

    “Desperately Defending the Peppered Myth: A Response to Bruce Grant” (October 2, 2002)

    “Moth-eaten Statistics: A Reply to Kenneth R. Miller” (April 16, 2002)

    “There You Go Again: A Response to Kenneth R. Miller” (April 9, 2002)


    Funny, Bruce Grant (lots of articles linked) was originally supposed to be one of the experts who had overturned the icon, but now the foremost American expert on the peppered moth has been relegated to being a non-authority by Wells.

    Grant's most pointed comments are here:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/default.htm#mothgrant

    Too bad Wells didn't take the opportunity to attempt to rebut a review that actually had the space to debunk his arguments in the detail they deserve.

    ICONS OF EVOLUTION?
    Why much of what Jonathan Wells writes about evolution is wrong
    by Alan D. Gishlick
    http://www.ncseweb.org/icons/

    * Rarified design (0 replies)
    niiicholas2002-12-21 18:45:33
    Over on this ARN thread,

    http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=13;t=000536;p=2

    ...Joy & Mike Gene are missing JP's point.  As explanatory hypotheses in science, an unconstrained supernatural designer and an unconstrained natural designer (or an unconstrained designer of unspecified supernaturalness or naturalness) have the same problem: they have no empirical implications.  

    (I am speaking of "constraint" in terms of "explanatory constraint" here -- an omnipotent designer or super-technological designer would be all-powerful but would still be a "constrained" explanation if his actions followed a pattern motivated by a specific goals.  But an unconstrained ID hypothesis is essentially what is often called "rarified design")

    Note that the point is not that we have to know these things about the IDer ahead of time, the point is that we have to hypothesize something with some empirical implications so that we have some idea of what kinds of evidence would strengthen or weaken our confidence in the hypothesis.

    Otherwise nothing is getting explained at all, even hypothetically.

    The two major explanatory constraints that can begin to elevate design hypotheses to something above the "IDdidit" level are, I think:

    1) Designer methods/capabilities
    2) Designer goals

    ...although there may be others.  Notably, for human-design hypotheses we have a lot of evidence informing both #1 and #2, even for prehistoric cases.

    For SETI, the scientists involved are quite clearly hypothesizing that alien designers will be like us in certain minimal but ways, namely:

    1) Designer methods/capabilities: radio
    2) Designer goals: interstellar communication (with us or others)

    If either of these hypotheses is wrong, then even if the universe is teeming with intelligent life, we will not discover it through SETI no matter how much money and time are put in.  This is not a weakness but a strength: the status of the hypothesis can be fairly rigorously evaluated at any point.  Currently it is:

  • Positive evidence: none
  • Negative evidence: a little bit (nothing found with current restricted detection limits)

    As for the general likelihood of intelligent life in the universe, this can begin to be assessed if we constrain our "existence of intelligent life" hypothesis to something like "basically like human life and formed by the same processes we think created us".

    If, on the other hand, our "existence of intelligent life" hypothesis is "intelligent life of unknown characteristics formed by unknown processes" then we have no basis on which to procede and the hypothesis is relegated to the shrugworthy category of "undetectable invisible pixies exist".

    As for ID, I think that IDists do specify constraints #1 and/or #2 fairly regularly, it's just that they usually do it in passing (or even in a semi-hidden fashion) rather than explicitly, they tend to deny such specifications in public, and when an ID skeptic thinks they detect a specific hypothesis and raises counterevidence that weakens it, the IDist tends to deny that such a specific hypothesis was ever proposed.  Such vagueness may be helpful in debates, but it stands no chance of moving the ID ball towards the goal line of science.
  • * ICSID moderation policies (9 replies)
    ExYECer2003-01-13 23:11:18
    Now that the moderator at ISCID has removed my posting privileges at ISCID for no apparant reason, other than asking him not to attack me in public, I will be posting my response to Nelson on this forum. I hope that this forum will be less hostile to the scientific inquiry.
    * Dembski and Finessing Criticism (1 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2004-04-26 06:27:54
    What does it mean to finesse a criticism? The sort of scenario I am referring to is when William Dembski alters his argument but fails to note the criticism that prompted the change entirely, as if it never existed.  The particularly insidious thing about finessing criticism is that it takes a lot of background knowledge concerning Dembski's prior arguments, present arguments, and criticism of those arguments to even detect that it has happened. The casual reader of Dembski's works will have no clue that he or she has been deprived of information concerning the argument in question.

    This thread is for collecting instances of places where Dembski has engaged in finessing criticisms. Test your knowledge of what Dembski and his critics have said, and contribute entries here. I'm especially interested in examples from Dembski's latest book, "The Design Revolution". I'll lead off with one of mine shortly for an example.
    * THE Daily Dose: Creationism on the sly (0 replies)
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    * KANSAS class calls intelligent design "pseudoscie (13 replies)
    Pangloss2006-02-16 01:22:12
    Nothing is more embarrassing to a Darwinian than the logic which dictates the evolution of belief in the paranormal.
    * DESIGN vs. Darwin (0 replies)
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    * EVOLUTION debate has universities tackling intell (0 replies)
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    * John G. West Jr. (2 replies)
    niiicholas2002-12-18 12:20:34
    Here is a masterful bit of propaganda from the DI's John West (he is a political scientist, literally). Particularly annoying is the "truth is established by endless repetition" tactic used by demagogues in the media, and by IDists regarding Icons of Evolution.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-west121702.asp

    This guy oughta read the Icons FAQs:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/
    http://www.ncseweb.org/icons/
    http://www.nmsr.org/iconanti.htm

    If there was ever a bit of propaganda that deserved a refutation, it is below, so if you can't resist spending some time debunking this, CC your replies here.

    Quote

    December 17, 2002, 9:20 a.m.
    Darwin in the Classroom
    Ohio allows alternatives.

    By John G. West Jr.

    After months of debate, the Ohio State Board of Education unanimously adopted science standards on Dec. 10 that require Ohio students to know "how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory."

    Ohio thus becomes the first state to mandate that students learn not only scientific evidence that supports Darwin's theory but also scientific evidence critical of it. While the new science standards do not compel Ohio's school districts to offer a specific curriculum, Ohio students will need to know about scientific criticisms of Darwin's theory in order to pass graduation tests required for a high-school diploma.

    Ohio is not the only place where public officials are broadening the curriculum to include scientific criticisms of evolution. In September the Cobb County School District in Georgia, one of the largest suburban school districts in the nation, adopted a policy encouraging teachers to discuss "disputed views" about evolution as part of a "balanced education." And last year, Congress in the conference report to the landmark No Child Left Behind Act urged schools to inform students of "the full range of scientific views" when covering controversial scientific topics "such as biological evolution."

    After years of being marginalized, critics of Darwin's theory seem to be gaining ground. What is going on? And why now?

    Two developments have been paramount.

    First, there has been growing public recognition of the shoddy way evolution is actually taught in many schools. Thanks to the book Icons of Evolution by biologist Jonathan Wells, more people know about how biology textbooks perpetuate discredited "icons" of evolution that many biologists no longer accept as good science. Embryo drawings purporting to prove Darwin's theory of common ancestry continue to appear in many textbooks despite the embarrassing fact that they have been exposed as fakes originally concocted by 19th-century German Darwinist Ernst Haeckel. Textbooks likewise continue to showcase microevolution in peppered moths as evidence for Darwin's mechanism of natural selection even though the underlying research is now questioned by many biologists.

    When not offering students bogus science, the textbooks ignore real and often heated scientific disagreements over evolutionary theory. Few students ever learn, for example, about vigorous debates generated by the Cambrian Explosion, a huge burst in the complexity of living things more than 500 million years ago that seems to outstrip the known capacity of natural selection to produce biological change.

    Teachers who do inform students about some of Darwinism's unresolved problems often face persecution by what can only be termed the Darwinian thought police. In Washington state, a well-respected biology teacher who wanted to tell students about scientific debates over things like Haeckel's embryos and the peppered moth was ultimately driven from his school district by local Darwinists.

    Science is supposed to prize open minds and critical thinking. Yet the theory of evolution is typically presented today completely uncritically, as a dogma to be accepted rather than as a theory to be explored and questioned. Is it any wonder that policymakers and the public are growing skeptical of such a one-sided approach?

    A second development fueling recent gains by Darwin's critics has been the demise of an old stereotype.

    For years, Darwinists successfully shut down any public discussion of Darwinian evolution by stigmatizing every critic of Darwin as a Biblical literalist intent on injecting Genesis into biology class. While Darwinists still try that tactic, their charge is becoming increasingly implausible, even ludicrous. Far from being uneducated Bible-thumpers, the new critics of evolution hold doctorates in biology, biochemistry, mathematics and related disciplines from secular universities, and many of them teach or do research at American universities. They are scientists like Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, University of Idaho microbiologist Scott Minnich, and Baylor University philosopher and mathematician William Dembski.

    The ranks of these academic critics of Darwin are growing. During the past year, more than 150 scientists — including faculty and researchers at such institutions as Yale, Princeton, MIT, and the Smithsonian — adopted a statement expressing skepticism of neo-Darwinism's central claim that "random mutation and natural selection account for the complexity of life."

    Deprived of the stock response that all critics of Darwin must be stupid fundamentalists, some of Darwin's public defenders have taken a page from the playbook of power politics: If you can't dismiss your opponents, demonize them.

    In Ohio critics of Darwinism were compared to the Taliban, and Ohioans were warned that the effort to allow students to learn about scientific criticisms of Darwin was part of a vast conspiracy to impose nothing less than a theocracy. Happily for good science education (and free inquiry), the Ohio Board of Education saw through such overheated rhetoric. So did 52 Ohio scientists (many on the faculties of Ohio universities) who publicly urged the Ohio Board to require students to learn about scientific criticisms of Darwin's theory.

    The renewed debate over how to teach evolution is not likely to stop with Ohio.

    Under the No Child Left Behind Act, every state must enact statewide science assessments within five years. As other states prepare to fulfill this new federal mandate, one of the looming questions will be what students should learn about evolution. Will they learn only the scientific evidence that favors the theory, or will they be exposed to its scientific criticisms as well?

    Ohio has set a standard other states would do well to follow.

    — John West is a senior fellow of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and chair of the department of political science at Seattle Pacific University.
    * TWO Ivy presidents take stand on intelligent desi (0 replies)
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    * My ISCID classification... (3 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-12-08 00:05:34
    The ISCID moderator (John Bracht, if my sources know what they are talking about) recently posted concerning how ID critics came in 4 categories.

    Quote
    1. Open-minded skeptic: I'm interested, but not convinced.
    2. Closed-minded skeptic: Not convinced and no longer interested in being convinced. Call me only if something new develops somewhere to cause quite a commotion.
    3. Debunker: Not convinced; no longer interested in being convinced; interested only in convincing others they are wrong.
    4. Debunking Crusader: Debunking to save humanity.

    (Source: On Criticism - Four Types of Critics )


    I've asked for what category I might be classed in.  Stay tuned for the results...

    Wesley
    * Front loading and intelligent design (11 replies)
    ExYECer2003-01-12 17:36:46
    From Here

    Mike seems to have avoided addressing the real issues and instead focused on some minor issues. First of all Mike objects to me stating that his approach and Poole's approach led to the same conclusion. Mike correctly points out that I confused Poole's paper with the papers in which the link between cytosine deamination and increase hydrophobicity was made. While I thank Mike for correcting my minor error he seems to have ignored the real issue namely that he used methodological naturalism to explain the tendency of cytosine deamination to incrase hydrophobicity. In fact from the moment he defined the instance of 'front loading' his approach is indistinguishable from methodological naturalism. Neiter Mike nor others may have explained or shown how cytosine became incorporated but both work from the assumption that it was. Mike suggests that his approach allowed him to address the claim that 'an engineer would have replaced cytosine' but nothing in his approach supports this argument. All he has shown is that natural processes seem to have led to cytosome deamination and a corresponding increase in hydrophobicity. No effort was made to show that an engineer would or would not have used cytosine or would or would not have replaced cytosine. In fact Mike has made no effort to show any link between his findings and the idea of front loading. Looking back in time and then saying that it must have been front loaded because it seems to have been selected for is begging the question. Mike complains the evolutionary approach claims that it must have been chance/evolution but that is not very different from 'it must have been design'. Both are assumptions which would require some supporting evidence. The fact that cytosine deamination leads to increased hydrophobicity is no evidence of the premise that 'chance did it' nor 'an intelligent designer did it'. Mike wants to argue that different perspectives give different approaches but I'd argue that these approaches are not distinguishable from methodological naturalism. No teleology is required to explain what happened t>t_0 and no evidence of the need of teleology at t=t_0 has been provided.

    Mike does suggest that he provided a description with 'purpose' but that seems to be like painting the bulls eye around the arrow, to use a common metaphore. Mike suggests that his approach allowed him to pre-specify that deamination of cytosine increased hydrophobicity but that seems hard to imagine. The concept of evolution would also predict that if cytosine deamination were an important contributor to the increase of hydrophobicity and that if such increase would be increasing fitness that cytosine deamination events would be common.

    It has been argued that Mike's approach canm not been distinguished from methodological naturalism approach and that the findings do not help us answer the question of the presence of cytosine at instance t_0, the moment of front loading. Thus either chance/necessity or intelligent design may have been responsible for what happened at time t_0 but after time t_0 it was all methodological naturalism and not intelligent design.

    Mike suggests that since cytosine inclusion was not a frozen accident his premise may be preferable. But lets point out that Mike does not explain anything about the 'frozen design incident' thus leaving it for all practical purposes indistinguishable from a 'frozen accident'. Additionally Mike may have created a strawman of 'frozen accident' when the actual mechanisms may have been a combination of availability and selective advantages. That an engineer may exploit the same pathways that evolution may exploit also does not help us address the issue of front loading. Front loading/origins are separate from the evolution t>t_0. Mike however has not provided any evidence that the event at t=t_0 involved front loading. Mike did initially suggest that there was some problem with cytosine formation in prebiotic world which would have been a way to eliminate chance/regularity as a possibility and thus strengthening a design inference but as I have pointed out our knowledge has increased and potential and realistic pathways may have been identified.


    Mike seems to agree that from t=t0 forward evolution did play a role, so now the question is if t=t_0 requires an intelligent designer or preferably involved an intelligent designer. So far no evidence has been provided that this is the case. If Mike wants to limit his claims to just refuting Poole then his efforts may have helped towards this goal but then the issue of front loading seems irrelevant. But I would say that Mike has not shown how the engineer is in any way limited in what he/she would or would not do.

    Mike still seems to be confused when insisting that I claim that design has to be supernatural. I am pointing out that t>t_0 does not help resolving the intelligent design claim and that t=t_0 has not been addressed. You suggest that at t=t_0 some event took place without really defining the moment t=t_0, the circumstances of the event, the goals of the event. Mike merely claims that at t=t_0 there was an initial state namely cytosine was present as one of the four bases in DNA. Unless Mike wants to argue that at t=t_0 a supernatural design event took place, he has no reason to suggest that I am requiring a supernatural design.

    Mike now suggests that the existence of a 'sophisticated, universal genetic code' is positive evidence of a design event but Mike once again fails to show this to be the case. In fact no positive evidence of such a design event has been provide, merely claimed. But that sounds like a 'front loading of the gaps' explanation. Since Mike seems to agree that from this moment forward everything was fully explainable in natural terms, and no need for intelligent design was required he basically has used the data which supports common descent to argue for 'common design' without really explaining anything about this 'design'. Countless papers and hours of research have been involved in providing for and actually finding plausible pathways to explain the origins of the genetic code and none so far seem to have found any evidence of this intelligent design event, in fact what may have been a good point to place t_0 seems to have been pushed back over time from the Cambrian to the prebiotic RNA world.
    Mike wants to know what data would cause me to suspect that evolution was front loaded. This would require the following 1. Mike needs to define what the purpose or goal(s) are of the intelligent agent 2. Mike has to show that given the chaotic and unpredictable nature of the world around us, this goal can be reliably reached 3. it can be shown that natural processes without intelligent design could not have achieved the state at t=t_0 4. it can be shown that there was indeed an intelligent agent present at t=t_0.

    Mike objects to my scenarios of how cytosine may have become part of the genetic code as irrelevant but they are very relevant in understanding what happened at t=t_0. Mike does not seem to have any evidence of front loading at t=t_0 to required intelligent agent. Thus it is very relevant to show that the front loading at t=t_0 can be explained from a naturalistic perspective without the need for ID. At t>t_0 Mike and I seem to agree that it was purely natural processes at work without the need for intelligent design.

    As far as Nic's analogy, Mike may have responded but that may be far from having addressed Nic's observations. In fact I would argue that you did not even address Nic's claims.

    * ID,antievolution? (22 replies)
    nanosoliton2003-01-07 19:28:40
    I decided to join this group (among others) mostly because I suspect that there are a lot of misconceptions about intelligent design. For example, the very title of the group is called "Antievolution", and yet not only am I an IDer, but I also consider myself an evolutionist (for example, I agree with common descent as Michael
    Behe does). What intelligent design does question is the Darwinian mechanism, that it cannot adequetely explain evolution. I have been reading several ID postings on the deamination of cytosine and I wanted to discuss it in several places.

    When the DNA strand replicates, cytosine, and not thymine, pairs with the altered base. Similarly, deamination of cytosine produces uracil, which behaves like thymine. This has lead many to think that an
    intelligent designer would not have used cytosine, especially with such a high rate of deaminiation. Since one of the driving principles of intelligent design might be error correction, why use cytosine when it can easily lead to errors? The half-life for deamination at 25 degrees C is approximately 340 yr. No reactions have
    been described thus far that would produce cytosine, even in a specialized local setting, at a rate sufficient to compensate for its decomposition.

    There are three considerations that make this actually support ID rather than argue against it that I will summarize.

    One of the major points in this essay is that Hydrophobic interactions play a large role in protein folding and structure as well as alpha helix and beta sheet elongation/formation, further substantiation of this is shown from the fact that serine and not proline, which is a helix breaker, is formed after C-T transitions. So C-T transitions are used to evolve new proteins.

    This hypothesis opens the door to a testable prediction from Intelligent Design theory:

    "This hypothesis also makes a prediction that can be tested. For example, if the multicellular state was front-loaded with life's design, we would expect to find conserved, multicellular-specific proteins have crucial FLIYWVMCS residues that can explained by C-T
    transitions relative to their ancestral state."
    http://www.idthink.net/biot/deam/index.html


    We may be seeing a direction on evolution forced by intelligent design principles.
    * Who's a creationist? (1 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-09-26 10:25:36
    Quote
    Clearing up confusion requires a careful and consistent use of terms.  In this book, "creation science" refers to young-earth, six-day special creation.  "Creationism" means belief in creation in a more general sense.  Persons who believe that the earth is billions of years old, and the simple forms of life evolved gradually to become more complex forms including humans, are "creationists" if they believe that a supernatural Creator not only initiated this process but in some meaningful sense controls it in furtherance of a purpose.  As we shall see, "evolution" (in contemporary usage) excludes not just creation-science but creationism in the broad sense.  By "Darwinism" I mean fully naturalistic evolution, involving chance mechanisms guided by natural selection.

    (Source: Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial (2nd ed.), Intervarsity Press, p.4 (footnote).)


    [Fixed typo.]

    * ID threat in Nebraska (3 replies)
    Lizard2002-05-21 20:32:31
    Now IDers are putting on a full-court press to have ID taught in Nebraska K-12 schools. They are testifying before the Nebraska BOE, and the local Rationalists are scrambling to get pro-science people to testify in favor of science.

    What the ID promoters learned in Kansas, they are applying in Ohio. What they are learning in Ohio, they're applying in Nebraska. And so on and on ID strategy evolves. It's scary how relentless they are.

    It would be extremely useful to have a comprehensive anti-ID resource for activists in Ohio, Nebraska, Washington and elsewhere to go to for information, ideas, tactics, etc. Could that be part of our website?

    My organization, KCFS, sponsored a meeting of pro-science activists from 9 or 10 states about a year ago. One great project that came out of it was an "Activists' Handbook" that is in the process of being readied for the Web. I recommend that we link to it and think of other helpful content for anti-creationist activists to include.

    My $.02.

    Liz
    * NCSE Unveils Project Steve (7 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2003-02-16 15:57:13
    Evolution theory bonds scientists named Steve

    Quote
    That makes four Steves who support evolution, and there are apparently 221 other scientists who agree -- all of them named Steve.

    With tongue firmly in cheek, the Oakland-based National Center for Science Education trotted out the long list of evolution-minded Steves today at the annual convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Denver.  

    The so-called Project Steve takes satirical aim at creationists who use similar lists of scientists to lend credence to their belief in a theistic model of creation, which does include a common ancestry.

    "Creationists are fond of amassing lists of Ph.D.s who deny evolution to try to give the false impression that evolution is somehow on the verge of being rejected by the scientific community," said Eugenia Scott, executive director of the Oakland-based center. "Nothing could be further from the truth."


    See the National Center for Science Education's
    Project Steve page.

    Wesley
    * WHY Intelligent Design Flunks Science And Why It (0 replies)
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    * WHY Rational Thinkers Value the Theory of Intelli (0 replies)
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    * Does God Direct Evolution? (0 replies)
    johndcal2004-06-29 01:57:44
    A 2001 Gallup poll found that 45% of Americans agree with the statement "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so," 37% prefer a blended belief that "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process," and only 12% choose that "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process."

    The correct choice -- absent from above -- is, "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. These less advanced forms also evolved in a process of evolution dating back billions of years. There is no evidence that God directly intervened (did miracles) in the process, but neither does evolution disprove the existence of God, miracles, and His creation of a universe facilitating evolution."

    See "God, Order and Evolution" at Faith & Reason Ministries, http://www.faithreason.org/
    * STUDENTS join debate on intelligent design (0 replies)
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    * KU cancels intelligent design class (0 replies)
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    * Moon missions (2 replies)
    TheMissingLink2005-10-19 16:34:33
    All school boards should be this progressive, open minded, and concerned about the presentation of issues in a fair and balanced manor:

    http://sourflour.blogspot.com/2005....es.html



    ;)
    * Please drop in and leave a comment! (1 replies)
    Loki2005-10-23 01:37:34
    Hi!

    My friend and I have started a brief forum at http://iddiscussion.proboards58.com and I am hoping for some people to stop by and visit!

    There is no need to register, and leaving one post as a guest is more than enough! Just leave a post telling us your views on this issue, whether you're for or against Intelligent Design!

    Thank you,
    Loki
    * PROPOSED Religion Class in Kansas Labels Intellig (0 replies)
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    * Get help (3 replies)
    Shelama2005-06-29 04:41:17
    I am a firm believer in Intelligent Design and the Designer. While I stand in awe of Her imperfect designs, it is clear to me that She has some serious problems and issues, including Manic-Depressive Illness and Multiple Personality Disorder. The sooner the study of  Intelligent Design is introduced into the public schools, the sooner me might, just possibly, be able to get Her the help She needs.

    Furthermore, since Christianity and the Christian Bible have had such an enormous influence on Western civilization, history and culture, the Christian Bible should also be STUDIED (not "taught"), ... seriously, honestly, openly and critically as part of the public school curriculum.
    * IDEA center response to Project Steve (1 replies)
    niiicholas2003-02-27 19:45:43
    IDEA club (/center) responds to Project Steve in their page:

    Scientists and other Intellectuals that Doubt Darwinism and other Naturalistic Theories of Origins
    An incomplete and continually updated list


    I hadn't seen this page before, but Casey Luskin (and perhaps others...) compiled all the various lists of creationist scientists, DI list-signers, etc.  This is actually a useful service as we can see how many Steves there are in all the lists put together (note that the net is quite wide, being very much international and non-biology specific).

    At the end Luskin says there's 9 Steves in the list.  For your enjoyment, here they are (the list is in subsections but the numbers are cumulative as different lists are appended):

    Quote

    14. STEPHEN MEYER (Ph.D. in History & Philosophy of Science University of Cambridge), currently professor of philosophy at Whitworth College.

    43. STEPHEN FAWL, Ph.D. Chemistry, Napa Valley College

    106. Steven Austin, PhD Geology (Pennsylvania State University). See his biography.

    229. Stephen Brocott, Ph.D. Organometallic Chemistry (University of Western Australia). Listed on the Institute for Creation Research Creation Scientists Page.

    237. Stephen Taylor, Ph.D. Electrical Engineering (University of Liverpool). Listed on the Institute for Creation Research Creation Scientists Page.

    347. Stephen W. Deckard (Ed.D. Univesity of Sarasota), Assistant Professor of Education. See his bio on the Answers in Genesis website.

    349. Stephen Grocott, Industrial Chemist (Ph.D. (1981), University of Western Australia in the field of organometallic chemistry of optically active metal complexes), Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at an Australian University. Member of Royal Australian Chemical Institute and American Chemical Society. See his bio on the Answers in Genesis website.

    398. Stephen Huxley, Ph.D., Professor of Information and Decision Modeling at the University of San Francisco as seen in his involvement with the IDEA 2002 Conference at USF.

    454. Steven Gollmer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, Cedarville College


    In case you weren't counting:

    Number of (probable) YECs: 5

    Number of biologists = 0.  Organometallic chemistry is as close as they get...

    nic

    * Convergence (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2004-12-06 13:16:18
    Over on Ed Brayton's blog, an unnamed ID advocate was trying to claim that convergence, such as that seen between placental wolves and thylacines, posed a problem for evolution. Here's my response:

    I'm not sure what the placental/marsupial wolf example is supposed to show as a criticism of evolution. Is it really unreasonable that the niche of "terrestrial cursorial quadruped predator" would be filled in two different lineages?

    It's certain that the similarities are less "uncanny" than current antievolutionists would make them. You don't have to be an anatomist to recognize that the skulls of the two have very different shapes of bones and (of course, when talking about mammals) dentition. Yet, as recently as a conference in 2002 (IIRC), we had the spectacle of an antievolutionist opining that the two were indistingishable -- and presenting two illustrations of these animals to buttress the point. The funny thing was that it was apparent right off the bat to me that the pair were actually the very SAME illustration, with one of them flipped left to right and colorized.

    A nice page with comparison of the thylacine and wolf skulls and dentition is at http://www.naturalworlds.org/thylacine/index.htm

    Note the differences in neural foramina between the two.
    * Elsberry & Shallit on Dembski (51 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2003-11-12 08:26:56
    I'm starting this thread for discussion of the paper that Jeff Shallit and I wrote on Dembski's ideas. Since it is now known to the public, I expect some criticisms of our criticisms will be made.

    For example...

    In a thread on ARN, "Rock" gripes that we imply that we have a positive theory but that we don't expound upon it. Well, we do have a positive approach to examining bit strings that is expounded upon for a couple of pages in our appendix. This is apparently not clear when one is simply "skimming" our paper. I have also started a thread here for discussion of our specified anti-information (SAI) as a replacement for Dembski's notion of specification.

    "Rock" also complained that there was "nothing original" in our paper. It is certainly true that many of our criticisms had been expressed less formally and separately elsewhere in discussion on the Internet, but I'm not sure that that applies to all of the criticisms that we made. SAI is an application of the universal probability distribution, but the application itself is original with us.

    In his last sentence, "Rock" asks if our ideas bear closer examination than Dembski's on these matters. Clearly, I think so. We identified a number of problems in Dembski's approach that we feel are insurmountable. Our SAI addresses each of those problems.


    Please use this thread to bring attention to criticism made in other fora.
    * Biosonar and ID? (9 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-12-27 00:08:00
    From an ISCID thread:

    Cornelius G. Hunter wrote:

    Quote
    I don't think we have scientific reason or evidence to believe complex systems such as echolocation or the DNA code could have evolved.


    Hmm.  I don't think that we have scientific reason or evidence to indicate that echolocation is due to anything other than evolutionary processes.

    There are several different approaches to biosonar.  The examples of bats and odontocetes are pretty sophisticated, but those of oilbirds and honey badgers are relatively simple.  Even humans can use hearing for directional cues, as several aids for the blind demonstrate.

    So I'd like to know what, specifically, puts the dolphin biosonar system (the one I'm most familiar with) outside the scope of evolutionary process.

    Wesley

    * Sympathetic magic (2 replies)
    mark isaak2002-05-06 11:04:52
    It occurred to me that ID and sympathetic magic probably share a common psychological basis.  In sympathetic magic, it is believed that there is a link between A and B because A shares properties with B.  For example, a voodoo doll shares appearance with a person, so a link is supposed to exist between them, and harming the doll is supposed to harm the person.  (There is more to it than that, but that is enough for illustration.)

    With ID, life and machines share some properties in common, such as moving parts and a certain amount of complexity.  That is enough to suggest a link between them, which leads to the idea of designers for both.

    I think I'm overanalyzing the situation.  Probably the psychology behind ID is much more basic, and I don't need to draw in sympathetic magic.  But you wanted the bullitin board tested, so I had to write something.
    * INTELLIGENT Design is not scientific theory (0 replies)
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    * BEN Bova: Arguments for intelligent design are un (0 replies)
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    * Archdeacon Paley and the Museum of Watches (0 replies)
    lpetrich2005-02-10 07:00:04
    Archdeacon Paley and the Museum of Watches

    Let's imagine that Archdeacon Paley, of watches-need-watchmakers fame, could come to our time and visit some museum of watches and clocks and other timepieces over the centuries. He'd see:

    Sundials
    Hourglasses
    Purely-mechanical clocks and watches
    Electromechanical clocks and watches
    Purely-electrical clocks and watches

    Their displays would be:
    Analog
    Digital
    /
    Mechanical
    Electrical

    Their timing would be controlled by:
    The Sun
    Falling sand
    Pendulums
    Springs
    Quartz crystals
    Oscillating atomic nuclei (in atomic clocks)

    Archdeacon Paley might scratch and scratch his head and ask who designed all these timepieces. There are two main possibilities:

    1. A single master designer who has designed every timepiece there ever was.
    2. Multiple designers of timepieces over the centuries and at each time.

    Would Archdeacon Paley try to argue (1)? And argue that all that single designer's designs are the best possible, in Panglossian fashion? Or would he recognize that it is (2) that had actually happened?

    Turning to the Earth's biota, I think that a strong case can be made that if much or most of its features was designed, then this designing would be designed evolution in (2) fashion.

    Back in his creationist days, Charles Darwin was inspired by Australia's distinct fauna to note in his diary that:
    Quote
    A Disbeliever in everything beyond his reason might exclaim "Surely two Creators must have been at work".

    And over at The Panda's Thumb, there is a nice article discussing Multiple Designers Theory, which is (2) applied to the Earth's biota.

    Also, How I decoded the human genome featured this comment from someone with a lot of experience in computer programming:
    Quote
    Kent spoke to me in nerdspeak, with geekoid locutions such as the use of "build" as a noun: "That's the most recent build of the genome. Build 31." I was used to hearing biologists talking about the elegance of DNA with what might be called reverence. By contrast Kent spoke of DNA as if it were the most convoluted, ill-documented, haphazardly maintained spaghetti code -- not God's most sublime handiwork, but some hack's kludge riddled with countless generations of side effects, and "parasites on parasites."

    "It's a massive system to reverse-engineer," he said. "DNA is machine code. Genes are assembler, proteins are higher-level languages like C, cells are like processes ... the analogy breaks down at the margins but offers useful insights." It was nearly impossible to tell the working code from cruft, Kent said. "That's why a lot of people say, 'The genome is junk.'" But that's what he found interesting: a high-quality programmer's code is always self-evident, but legacy assembler handed down from generation to generation of bricoleurs (I'm paraphrasing again) provides a real challenge for people who like puzzles.

    To sum up, it looks like (2) rather than (1) to that experienced designer.

    I think that it is a good test of the open-mindedness of IDers whether they are willing to take seriously the possibility of multiple designers. And one can ask why they present ID in opposition to evolution and natural selection. Evolution can proceed by ID (evolution by genetic engineering), and ID and natural selection can coexist as mechanisms of evolution -- they are NOT mutually exclusive, despite what some IDers seem to think.

    I have, however, seen some counterarguments offered to the multiple-designers hypothesis.

    One of them is that nearly all Earth organisms use DNA as their molecule of heredity, something that somehow implies only a single designer doing all the designing.

    If you people find it hard to keep yourselves from laughing, you have my sympathy, because that argument is almost absurdly weak. It's like Archdeacon Paley maintaining that all those clocks and watches had a single master desginer because they all measure time in the same units -- 1 day = 24 hours, 1 hour = 60 minutes, 1 minute = 60 seconds.

    I wrote "nearly all", because RNA viruses are an exception, and apparently the only one. But RNA is a close chemical relative of DNA, making that exception a weak one.

    I note in passing that it seems to me that DNA is often described as some sort of "magic molecule of life" in quasi-vitalist fashion. Though it's the nearly-universal carrier of genetic information, that appears to be its only function. What makes a living thing alive is the interaction of its various parts, not any particular substance.

    Another counterargument is that one superpowerful designer is somehow a simpler hypothesis than a multitude of less-powerful designers. In my watch-museum example, it is deciding on hypothesis (1) rather than (2) -- even though (2) is what has happened. Unless one wishes to believe that there was some superpowerful designer behind these designers' thoughts and efforts, a case of (1) having the appearance of (2).
    * ID, Creationism, Evolution... - all nonsene! (7 replies)
    DonFernando2005-09-15 13:19:28
    ID? Religious motivated pseudo-science crap. Creationism? Ludicrous. Evolution? All wrong.

    The overwhelming scientific evidence points towards Flying Spaghetti Monsterism!

    See the OPEN LETTER TO KANSAS SCHOOL BOARD
    * The Death of Irreducible Complexity (5 replies)
    RBH2005-03-27 21:01:38
    Since ARN's Moderation is twitchy and its archived threads occasionally disappear from view, I''m archiving two posts I made there on irreducible complexity.  This is the first.

    In another thread jon_e provided a link to a recent paper by Dembski revisiting irreducible complexity.  jon_e was making the point that "irreducible complexity" is alive and well in ID.  I had previously scanned the paper but had not read it carefully.  Looking again at it tonight, I see that Dembski has made a significant change in Behe's original conception of irreducible complexity, a change that eviscerates the utility of "irreducible complexity."  Rather than being alive and well, in the light of Dembski's new paper irreducible complexity is dead on arrival.

    To realize the nature of the change, it's first necessary to know what an "operational definition" is.  Very briefly, an operational definition is a description of the procedures (operations) used to measure the value of a variable.  So, for example, an operational definition of "temperature" is a description of how temperature is measured -- the apparatus used, conditions that apply, and steps performed in making the measurement.  The Methods section of research papers contain explicit or implicit operational definitions of the variables under study.

    With respect to any system, "irreducible complexity" is a variable that takes one of two values, 1 or 0 -- present or absent, true or false.  So an operational definition of irreducible complexity is a description of the steps carried out to determine whether a given system is or is not IC.  In Behe's original conception, the IC value for a system is assigned to be "1" (true) if the loss of any part/element/component prevents the system from performing the primary function that it performs when it is whole -- a 'knock-out' operation -- and "0" (false) otherwise.  So Dembski wrote in 1998, two years after DBB    
    Quote
    Central to his [Behe's] argument is his notion of irreducible complexity. A system is irreducibly complex if it consists of several interrelated parts so that removing even one part completely destroys the system’s function.
    and    
    Quote
    Also, whether a biochemical system is irreducibly complex is a fully empirical question: Individually knock out each protein constituting a biochemical system to determine whether function is lost. If so, we are dealing with an irreducibly complex system. Experiments of this sort are routine in biology.
    The operation specified for determining IC is knock out a part and see if the system still works: that's the operational definition of "irreducible complexity".

    In the recent paper referenced by jon_e, though, Dembski adds another operation to the procedure used to determine the value taken by IC:    
    Quote
    Thus, removing parts, even a single part, from the irreducible core results in complete loss of the system’s basic function. Nevertheless, to determine whether a system is irreducibly complex, it is not enough simply to identify those parts whose removal renders the basic function unrecoverable from the remaining parts. To be sure, identifying such indispensable parts is an important step for determining irreducible complexity in practice. But it is not sufficient. Additionally, we need to establish that no simpler system achieves the same basic function.  (Emphasis added)
    and    
    Quote
    To determine whether a system is irreducibly complex therefore employs two approaches: (1) An empirical analysis of the system that by removing parts (individually and in groups) and then by rearranging and adapting remaining parts determines whether the basic function can be recovered among those remaining parts. (2) A conceptual analysis of the system, and specifically of those parts whose removal renders the basic function unrecoverable, to demonstrate that no system with (substantially) fewer parts exhibits the basic function. (Emphases added)
    That last criterion is an IC killer, at least empirically.  One must show that no system that is simpler than the system under analysis can perform the function performed by the system under analysis.  (I'm leaving aside the other change, the "rearranging and adapting remaining parts" addition to the original knockout operation.  That change also raises problems for determining the value taken by IC.)

    Note carefully that it's not sufficient to show that some subsystem of the system under analysis can't perform the function; according to Dembski it is necessary to show that no simpler system can perform it, regardless of whether that simpler system resembles the system under analysis or not.

    It might be thought that I'm giving Dembski's words an uncharitable reading, but that's belied by Dembski's own example, sandwiched between the two quotations above:    
    Quote
    Consider, for instance, a three-legged stool. Suppose the stool’s basic function is to provide a seat by means of a raised platform. In that case each of the legs is indispensable for achieving this basic function (remove any leg and the basic function can’t be recovered among the remaining parts). Nevertheless, because it’s possible for a much simpler system to exhibit this basic function (for example, a solid block), the three-legged stool is not irreducibly complex.
    Please pause and think about that for a moment.  

    Now continue reading.

    On Behe's original operational definition, that three-legged stool is irreducibly complex: remove any of the four components (three legs and the seat -- Dembski forgot to mention the seat) and it can no longer function "to provide a seat by means of a raised platform", and so on the original operational definition the stool is irreducibly complex.  But under Dembski's revised operational definition, a three-legged stool is not irreducibly complex because some simpler system (that does not contain any of the parts of the original stool) can perform that same function.

    As a result, in order to show that a system is IC, intelligent design "theorists" must show not only that the system fails to perform its function when any part is removed, but they must also show that no other simpler system can perform that function.  That is, they must establish a universal negative.  And (ask your friendly neighborhood logician) it is impossible to establish a universal negative.  (Hint: black swans.)  Dembski is back in the inductive soup.  On Dembski's new operational definition, not even Behe's mousetrap is irreducibly complex!

    In my less-than-humble opinion, in revising its operational definition Dembski has thoroughly gutted the notion of irreducible complexity.

    RBH

    * FORMER Tech professor opened floodgates of creati (0 replies)
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    * DOES It Really Matter Where We Came From? (0 replies)
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    * Horizon on ID (2 replies)
    counterpane2006-01-25 23:09:42
    Hi, new guy here.  

    I've just noticed in my newspaper's TV listings that BBC2's Horizon programme tinight (Thursday 26th January) is covering Intelligent Design.  Should be worth watching.

    Richard C
    * Antievolutionism in Singapore (0 replies)
    budak2005-12-10 01:17:50
    Sorry, repeated post.
    * CREATIONISM, Intelligent Design Course Withdrawn (0 replies)
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    * The Intelligent Designer Speaks (1 replies)
    The Designer2006-02-09 08:53:31
    Have any of you seen this yet?

    designerspeaks.com
    * I Debate Michael Behe (1 replies)
    Kuglo2003-03-15 12:26:49
    Disbelief in the processes of mutation and natural selection as the sole cause of life is due to logical and scientific misunderstandings and misinformation.  Evolution has been and will almost certainly continure to be the scientifically accepted view of biological origins for all of time.  Further there is no scientific case for intelligent design.
    In the following exchange I debate Michael Behe, a biochemist from Lehigh University, via email.  A few very small changes have been made in the wording of a few sentences, grammar, spelling; but nothing significant to the debate in any way whatsoever.
    The conversation exposes the complete fraud that is "intelligent design".  I thank Behe for his time, and the discussion is, hopefully, due to continue at some point if he will indulge me in that.

    **********************************************
    Hi,
    My name is Clay Schentrup and I've completed the majority of my computer engineering degree at the Univsersity of Kansas. I've read quite a few excerpts of your work involving intelligent design, and in fact I've even seen Philip Johnson speak at KU a few years back. I also plan to see you speak this summer in Kansas City.

    I understand you are busy so I'll make this as brief as possible. My question relates not so much to your research or the physical structures (like flagella) but to the reasoning behind your conclusions. I'll briefly illustrate with an example. Say I flip a coin 100 times and get the sequence "THHTHTTHHHHTT..." (you get the idea). Now once I have obtained that particular sequence of tails and heads, I could calculate that the odds off getting that particular combination would be 1/2^100. Now say I jump up and shout, "My goodness..out of all possible combinations that could have occured..the odds this one would occur were only one in several trillion trillion..therefore an intelligent being must have affected the trajectories of the coins to make them land in that particular pattern. This sounds quite strange, but it seems indistinguishable from your argument; that the genetic mutations involved with potentially creating a flagellum in an organism whose ancestors didn't have one, are so improbable that an intelligent entity must have had something to do with them.

    I've been proven wrong about matters of science before, and I truly seek the best knowledge possible. But regardless of any level of detail you go into regarding these so called "irreducibly complex" systems, the fundamental premise is the same. "This event was so unlikely to have happened by chance that an intelligent being who wanted the event to happen must have caused it."

    Perhaps you can explain my apparent confusion.

    Thanks very much,
    Clay Schentrup

    **********************************************
    Hi, Clay, nice to meet you. Yours is a very good question, and goes to the heart of detecting design. It turns out that improbability is not enough to infer design, for the reason you apprehended. Any event is improbable. The exact structure of a pile of rubble is improbable, and the faces on Mt. Rushmore are improbable. So why do we feel compelled to conclude design in the latter case but not the former? The key is the notion of "specification". Not only is Mt Rushmore very improbable, but it also matches the faces of four presidents. Not only is the arrangement of the amino acids in the proteins of the flagellum improbable, but they also code for a functional machine, unlike virtually any other arrangement of amino acids. So the key is not just improbability, but improbability plus specification.

    You might enjoy reading more about this. A good book for a computer fellow like yourself would be William Dembski's The Design Inference, published a few years back by Cambridge University Press.

    Best wishes.
    Mike Behe

    **********************************************
    Prof. Behe,
    First let me say that it is an honor and a pleasure to hear from you. I know that you are a busy person. I appreciate your literary suggestions, but I am already familiar with their underlying "design inference" argument, and that is specifically the topic with which I take issue. This is why I wrote to you personally. I am very patient, so if you could reply at your leisure I would very much appreciate it. Time is no issue. But I'll understand if you can't. I'll go ahead and reply to your letter, and see what comes of it.

    > The exact structure of a pile of rubble is improbable, and
    > the faces on Mt. Rushmore are improbable. So why do we feel
    > compelled to conclude design in the latter case but not the
    > former?
    > The key is the notion of "specification". Not only is Mt.
    > Rushmore very improbable, but it also matches the faces of four
    > presidents.

    Exactly. The monument "matches" known patterns of behavior of a specific known and observed process: humans. Humans are observed, and they are known to create visual replicas of other people, animals, trees, etc. So if we weigh the probability of human creation of those monuments against the probability of erosion and other non-human processes creating them, we can deduce humans. And we know that humans are "intelligent", therefore we can additionally deduce that the monument was intelligently created.
    Flagella, on the other hand, don't match any known intelligent processes. I don't know what you mean when you say they "code for a functional machine". "Code", "functional", and "machine" all suggest intelligence to begin with, which is what you are trying to prove. I would state the matter more objectively. That particular sequence of amino acids chemically reacts forming a particular arrangement of atoms that we have dubbed a "flagellum". But how does this particular arrangement of atoms match any known intelligent process?
    And now to get back to the pile of rubble. Say you were to visit an architect's house and snoop through his computer while he was in another room. And say you turned up well diagrammed plans for an arrangement of steel and other materials that precisely matched the "pile of rubble" you saw earlier. And say he came into the room and said, "Oh that..yeah I designed and built it. I'm into abstract art." Now suddenly you would find that the pile actually _had_ been intelligently designed. Now if you found another virtually identical pile elsewhere the distinct possiblity would still exist that it had been laid down with no intelligent intent and just had happened to fall that way. But because you would then be familiar with a known "process" with a greater-than-random liklihood of causing that particular (arbitrary) arrangement, you would be better to deduce that he had something to do with it.
    I could go into analogy after analogy, but the point is glaringly obvious. "Specificity" is just "familiarity". You have cited numerous examples of cellular components that you believe to have been intelligently created. But the fact remains that you have not observed that God, or any other "process", has a greater-than-random propensity for causing these particular arrangements of DNA. In order for you to deduce that they were intelligently designed you have to show some process that is both intelligent and could has a propensity for designing such things.
    For my final analogy back to your flagellum contention: Say I drop a bag of rocks on a gym floor and then drop a basketball on them and watch it roll, because of their inconsistencies and positions to one of the thousands of places it could potentially end up, and then mark off that spot. I could make the exact same argument you made. Not only is that location improbable, but virtually all other ways those rocks could have ended up on the floor would have caused the ball to land in a location other than that one. Therefore God, or some other intelligence, altered the seemingly random way in which they fell on the floor. It's the same argument you are using, so far as I can tell.

    Thanks so much for your time,
    Clay

    **********************************************
    Hi, Clay. You're right, like everyone else I'm rather busy. To compound matters, my wife had a new baby three weeks ago, so things are pretty hectic for us these days. So I'll be able to give you just a few more comments, and then sign off.

    You are right that the "design inference" can give false negatives. I have pointed out in my book Darwin's Black Box and Bill Dembski has emphasized in The Design Inference that one can never rule out design, because intelligent agents can imitate random processes. However, the problem of false negatives is not the critical issue. The crucial issue is whether the design inference gives false positives. That is, does one ever come across something like Mount Rushmore and discover that it was the result of random processes? In your basketball example, suppose I had painted red all the rocks the basketball would bounce on, and marked with an "X" the spot on the floor where it would come to rest. If, when I dropped it, the ball did indeed hit all those marks, most people would easily conclude the ball was aimed, it wasn't bouncing randomly. The critical question is not whether a pile of rubble was designed, it's whether a system that looks very specific and functional was not designed.

    You write that ""Code", "functional", and "machine" all suggest intelligence to begin with, which is what you are trying to prove." Perhaps those words do suggest intelligence, but they are not my words. They are widely used by the entire biology community. Biologists routinely speak of "molecular machines" that are "functional" and are "coded" for by an organism's genome. If you think it is incorrect to use such language, then your argument is with the biology community as a whole, not just me.

    Best wishes.
    Mike Behe

    **********************************************
    Prof. Behe:
    Congrats on your new baby. As to this discussion I don't expect a future response, but I would at least appreciate that you read my response in its entirety at your leisure. I do believe it goes into exceptional depth about the nature of the invalidity of your contention for the inference of design.

    >..one can never rule out design, because intelligent agents can
    >imitate random processes. However, the problem of false
    >negatives is not the critical issue.

    The only point I was making by bringing up the pile of rubble (intelligent design that one wouldn't initially think was designed)is that the only difference between it and Mt. Rushmore is that we know of a phenomenon with a substantial propensity for creating visual replicas of humans--humans! Were we to find a phenomenon with a propensity for making a particular type of pile of rubble, we would then be able to do the same thing with the pile of rubble, and if we ever saw that particular type of rubble pile in the future we would certainly deduce that it had been made by our intelligent architect friend than by being randomly dropped with no care as to its placement. There is nothing inherently different between the pile of rubble and the monument. Both have an overwhealmingly low probability of being in their particular arbitrary arrangement as opposed to all others. The one and only reason we deduce that intelligence made Mount Rushmore is that we know humans to be adept and likely to create such things, and we know that humans are intelligent. On the same token, were an alien race to visit our planet in the distant future, and have no familiarity with humans they would have no valid reason to deduce that Rushmore was intelligently designed. It would just be another "random" rock formation. It's just one of a zillion different ways those rock particles could be arranged.

    > [the issue is] whether a system that looks very specific and
    > functional was not designed.

    Well for starters it would be nice to know what objective measurable property you are referring to when you say "specific". Can I analyze an object and state how "specific" it is with any sort of standard units? And if I can, and I agree that a flagellum, for example, is extremely "specific" (whatever that's supposed to mean) how is this significant to your argument? Are there any verifable observations of any intelligent phenomena which have a propensity for producing things which are highly "specific"? The only intelligent things I know of are humans. Do they tend to produce things which are "specific"? I don't know, but it really doesn't matter because we can already rule them out as the potential designers/builders of flagella, for obvious reasons.
    And then there's this term "functional". As you pointed out scientists frequently speak of cellular components in terms of performing "functions". Yes, it is handy to use these terms because flagella remind us of things like motorboat propellers and other propulsion mechanisms. But the reason I took issue with your use of the term is that you go beyond just using it out of convenience, and instead truly believe that it _is_ performing a purposeful intelligently designed function.
    In the case of flagella they whip microorganisms along through liquids. This is their "function". In the case of the water molecules a puddle in the road, they (the water molecules) perform the function of rapidly moving, bouncing around off one another and exerting minute gravitational and electromagnetic forces upon each other. Both the flagellum and the puddle of water are examples of arbitrary arrangements of molecules. But I don't hear you claiming that some intelligent entity purposefully and intelligently put those trillions upon trillions of water molecules in that specific arrangement.
    The intelligent design argument, in a nutshell is as follows:

    I. This structure (say flagellum) reminds me of something made by humans.
    II. Humans are intelligent.
    III. Humans couldn't have made this structure (obviously).
    IV. Therefore some other phenomenon with algorithmically similar behavior to humans must exist and have designed/built this structure.

    >The crucial issue is whether the design inference gives false
    >positives. That is, does one ever come across something like
    >Mount Rushmore and discover that it was the result of random
    >processes?
    Put into more clear objective terms your question is, "What is the probability that an object which can be reasonably deduced to have been intelligently created is in fact not intelligently created?" The most obvious problem here is that you are specifically talking about objects which we have already deduced _are_ intelligently designed. To deduce that something is intelligently designed in the first place you would have already shown that there is a known intelligent process which has a significantly greater liklihood for producing the given object than any known unintelligent process. In the case of Mount Rushmore the reason we deduce in the first place that it was designed by humans, an intelligent process, is that the odds humans would make a large visual replica like that is far greater than the odds of its being created by erosion. And we know this only because we are familiar with human activities and thus we know very well that humans are prone to making sculptures, especially of other humans. And no other known processes are very likely to do so. So your question is like asking, "How often do you find eggs for sale in a sports store?"
    The bigger issue though is that this has nothing to do with anything in biology. We _do_ know of an intelligent process (a human being) which has a tendency to create sculptures like Mt. Rushmore. We _don't_ know of any intelligent process with a tendency to create flagella, or any other cellular components. So you have no justification for comparing Mt. Rushmore to cellular components. The entire analogy is invalid.
    If your conclusion is that the flagellum was intelligently designed, you must have some verifiable observations of a "phenomenon X" such that:

    A) Phenomenon X has a tendency to alter DNA in such a way as to produce flagella (or any other cellular components you suspect as being intelligently designed) that is more likely than all other known processes (carcinogens, radiation, etc.)
    B) Phenomenon X is intelligent.
    C) Phenomenon X is older than any cellular components it may potentially be alleged to have produced.

    I have yet to see any observations of any such phenomenon from yourself or any other ID scientist. And if you claim that "God" was the intelligent designer behind the "flagella alleles", then you would have to additionally satisfy a third requirement:

    D) Phenomenon X has the necessary characteristics to fit the definition of "God".

    The only known phenomenon that satisfies B is a human being, but it most certainly doesn't satisfy any of the other three requirements. Simply put, DNA, flagella, the blodd clotting cascade (activator, zymogen, substrate coagulogen), etc. are not consistent with any known intelligent phenomena, period. The design inference is scientifically empty. It stands purely because of the psychological habit of anthropomorphism.

    And to thoroughly address the basketball analogy you made: In order to determine whether the basketball had landed on the X by chance, we would need two values. First the probability that the basketball _would_ land there by chance, and second the probability that the person dropping the ball would make it end up at it's destination intentionally.
    Now the former we could calculate with reasonable precision by using data like floor surface area, the ball's size, and perhaps even some trial drops. Let's say we get some value, p, around one in a million, one in a trillion..whatever reasonably low number you prefer. Now as for the liklihood that the person dropping the ball (we'll call him Ed) would have intentionally altered it's course to land at its specific destination; that would be product of two other probabilities, we'll call k and m: k = the probability that Ed would _want_ the ball to end up in that particular spot, and m = the probability that a method exists by which this could be done.
    Now most people are aware, mainly because of televised "magicians" like David Copperfield, that there is a dazzling array of techniques that various illusionists have employed to perform feats that have no immediate logical explanation. Typically though, when the explanations are revealed we are striken with how plausible they are; we simply wouldn't have thought of them on our own . And aside from all this, the extent of human technology is so vast that there would most certainly be a plausible manner by which Ed could make this happen if he so chose, which makes the theory of intentional placement at least slightly plausible. So m is greater than zero.
    As to k, the probability that Ed would _want_ the ball to end up in its particular destination, there is a drastic difference between the ball's ending up on the X compared to its ending up on any other spot. If it did not land on the X we would have no reason to suspect he had intentionally caused it to land in that particular spot. There is simply no motive, because it wouldn't impress anyone. We have no reason to suspect that Ed would have gone to some great lengths if the ball landed on any particular unmarked spot on the floor. So the odds he would have wanted it to land in any such spot would be some extremely low value, which we could essentially deem insignificant or effectively zero. And even if we considered the chance that he did want the ball to land on that particular unmarked spot, the odds that he would have chosen that spot out of all potential spots is already essentially the same as the odds that the ball would have landed in that particular spot at random, by definition.
    If the ball lands on a spot aside from the X, then k can be assumed to be extremely low. So mk is most certainly lower than the odds that the ball would end up in the destination spot purely by chance. On the other hand if the ball _did_ land on the the X, the probability that Ed had some intent for it to land there would be dramatically higher, simply because we know that this would be dramatically more impressive to the observers. And we know that people in general have a much higher tendency, in these types of situations, to do things that impress people as compared to things that don't. That is, we don't see people practicing for hours every week learning to shoot a basketball and make it pass directly through an imaginary hoop precisely 1 meter to the left of the rim, so if we were to see someone shoot a ball in that spot we wouldn't assume it was intentional.
    So were the ball to land on the X we would have to consider the probability that randomness would have landed the ball there compared to the probability, mk, that Ed would have intentionally caused it to land there by some unknown technique. Because the human brain automatically tends to search for explanations to uncommon events which seem to fit a pattern consistent with known intelligent behaviors, we would initially feel compelled to see significance in the case that the ball landed on the X. That is we would search for some explanation which dealt with intelligence. Were we to fully investigate the matter with a large body comprised of physicists, illusionists, and detectives, and find some fairly plausible mechanism by which Ed could have directed the ball to that spot, we could possibly conclude that he had indeed caused it to happen intentionally and that it was not simply random, depending on how mk compared to p. This would especially be true if we found some evidence of such a technique, such as an electromagnetic system within the floor and some magnetic material hidden within the ball.
    However if this body was to exhaustively search for such a technique and not be able to find one, we would have to conclude an extremely low value for m, and thus mk. If mk was less than p then we could conclude it was just a random event. And there's nothing impressive about that.

    Now getting back to cellular biology with our flagellum example. Were we to know of any intelligent process with a probability of wanting to make flagella genes _and_ a probability of being able to, which, when multiplied together, were greater than the liklihood of flagellum DNA having been formed by unintelligent mutative processes [*that is, the probability that unintelligent mutative processes would create flagellum DNA], then we could reasonably conclude that this intelligent process was behind it. But as I've pointed out again and again you haven't shown any such process. And that's the critical hole in the intelligent design argument.

    Sincerely,
    Clay

    **********************************************

    I very much hope to hear back.  We'll see whether the ID movement has anything more substantial in their arsenal.  Judging by this I'd wager not.

    Clay
    * Discovery Institute Caught Misquoting (2 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2003-08-14 03:29:03
    Guest columnist misrepresents views

    Dr. Sean Carroll takes exception to the misuse of his words by John G. West of the Discovery Institute.

    Quote
    Editor:

    John G. West of the Discovery Institute, in his guest column Friday, quoted an article in a leading biology journal as purported support for his view that alternatives to contemporary evolutionary science ought to be presented in biology textbooks. I am the author of the article he quoted (but did not properly cite) and I am writing to make it absolutely clear that West is gravely mistaken in taking the excerpted sentence out of its full context.
    * NEW twist to old debate (0 replies)
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    * UNLV teachers dismiss 'Design' theory (0 replies)
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    * PROF. cancels intelligent design course (0 replies)
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    * INTELLIGENT design sparks new debate (0 replies)
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    * INTELLIGENT-DESIGN backers ignore scientific meth (0 replies)
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    * (probably)new creationist 'argument' (1 replies)
    aarobyl2005-02-15 05:33:35
    Hi, all,

    I've just encountered a new form of creationist attempt to refute evolution -
    the main line of it goes like :
    "vertebrate immune system ( + proteolytic system )
    is so gargantuanly efficient and precise that it wipes out any mutation, except few deliberately allowed for microevolution's sake,
    and therefore evolution in vertebrates doesn't exist"

    This claim is of course absurd. But...How to explain that to them ?
    And, more over, this is ( I believe ) none of the standard creationist objections to evolution.

    Author does't explicitelly claim that God, or the Designer did it, and only keeps proclaiming that evolution doesn't work.

    Has anyone here encountered something similar ?
    Or is this a next step in the evolution of creationism meme ?
    * ID-Velikovsky comparison (0 replies)
    niiicholas2002-12-18 13:00:29
    Here it is, I hadn't seen it before

    The Wedge: A Christian Plan to Overthrow Modern Science?
    Doubting Thomas, Feature Story, No. 6, April/May 1999. By Keith Lankford

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/archive/thomas_wedge.html

    Some minor inaccuracies and now a little out of date, but it features:

    - a cogent comparison of ID to the 1950's Velikovskian movement

    - a fair amount of material about Ed Larson, author of Summer of the Gods, and his conflict with the DI over his book being cited as part of the "Wedge" strategy.
    * Nelson Alonso and front loading (2 replies)
    ExYECer2003-01-12 20:28:32
    Dear Nelson.

    It seems clear to me that you are ignoring the details provided by me about possible pathways for evolution.

    If you claim that front loading explains Pecten then you accept that evolution can generate the eye as found in Pecten unless you are not talking really about front loading but intervention.

    Perhaps you can first share with us your front loading hypothesis wrt for instance Pecten and the Lobster? In fact you suggested that Pax-6 gene 'supports front loading' but if that is the case your argument seems to be that given the existence of Pax-6 at an instant t=t_0 you expect evolution to lead to the large variety of eye 'designs' as found in nature. Is that correct or are you backtracking your claims that let's say every species/family/genus/ or at whatever level was 'front loaded' independently at different instances in time/space?

    I doubt that one can make a logically consistent claim of front loading that is not contradicted by the data other than through the Pax-6 gene. But Pax-6 seems to be going back in time quite some distance, long before the family Pectinidae arose.
    To me it seems that you are not arguing for front loading but rather intervention since your objections seem to be terribly ad hoc and seem to refuse to recognize natural pathways to these structures. If that is the case then you cannot be arguing for front loading since teleological front loading is defined to be at t=t_0 the necessary information was inserted so that at a given time t1, with t1>t0, a certain feature arises in a certain family/species. Non teleological front loading would be that at a certain instance t=t_0 an initial state exists and we can trace back to such an initial state showing how the various eye 'designs' all seem to trace back to ancestral forms.


    As far as the references to Korthof et al, they are meant to help the interested reader understand many of the problems found in Denton's work.

    It seems evident to me that Nelson has not familiarized himself with the papers he quotes but rather that he is relying on second hand information which may or may not be relevant or even accurate. As I have shown, Dakin's 1908 statements are explained in more detail in 1967 and onwards where it was shown that the Pecten eye is very likely an evolutionary  continuation of the single retina eye with the addition of a reflecting layer. The transition is even better to understand from a selective evolutionary viewpoint when realizing the advantage of these changes namely the ability to see both in and outside water. Combine this with the fact that the Pecten resides in a tidal affected area and thus may be exposed to both water and air and one realizes the selective advantage of the Pecten eye. Thus we have found the answer to Dakin's uncertainties. Nelson complains that I do not provide sufficient detail how natural selection and mutation built these eyes but if Nelson were to argue for front loading he would have no choice but to accept that natural forces can lead to the Pecten eye or Nelson should drop his claims about Pecten and front loading. Surely our ignorance of certain details should not be taken as evidence for front loading. In fact although we have not yet obtained all the necessary evidence a plausible pathway has been provided. Nelson may be complaining about 'sufficient details' but the amount of detail so far already exceeds any alternative hypothesis. And since Nelson seems to want to argue front loading he also by default has to accept some time period in which evolutionary processes shaped the eye of Pecten to what it is right now.

    Nelson then raises the spectre of Spondylus, which attaches to rocks as if this forms a problem. Until Nelson can show us from the original research papers what the eye of the Spondylus looks like as compared to Pecten we have no real way to discuss this. Secondly until Nelson shows that there is actually a problem explaining the evolution of the eye in Spondylus and Pecten, we merely can speculate about what Nelson's 'argument may be'. Since Nelson seems to accept the evolutionary history of Pecten and Spondylus one may wonder why he seems to oppose that evolutionary processes led to the eye 'designs' since he does seem to accept front loading and common descent. Perhaps Nelson believes that another mechanism than evolutionary mechanisms played a role? He mentions front loading but as I have shown that merely states that at a given stage in time t=t_0 information was injected into the genome to allow Pecten and Spondylus to form their respective eyes. The fact the pectinacea were ancestral to Spondylidae surely supports the evolutionary pathway. So it is not clear to me how Nelson suggests front loading could have helped Pecten and Spondylidae. In fact, if Nelson is correct about the location of the Spondylus and its eyes (so far the data seem to be vague on either aspect) then Nelson may have to explain why a front loader would lead to a system which is now defunct namely the ability to see in air.

    Nelson then confuses the issue of front loading and intervention even further when he states
    Quote
    If these biological features were poised to evolve into greater complexity through an intelligent agent then it wouldn't have been as difficult as a blind force tinkering with such a complex system.


    Is Nelson suggesting that evolution is guided through an intelligent agent. Then he should not be arguing for front loading but instead for intervention.

    Nelson still seems to be unwilling to deal with the available evidence which includes intermediate stages for the varieties of simple and compound eyes. Perhaps Nelson wants to argue that the details are not sufficient but that's just a matter of time for science to find all the common genes and variations that have led to the variety of eyes as found in nature. So far the evidence strongly suggests both evolutionary mechanisms and at least for many basic components a common ancestor.

    If Nelson had taken the time to look at the pictures then he would have noticed how these portray the variety of intermediate paths likely to have been taken in the evolution of the various eye forms.

    Nelson still repeats his so far unsupported assertion that
    Quote
    Again, none of this shows how blind natural forces would, nor does it even explain why, natural selection would guide the organism down the difficult road of refraction to reflection in my particular examples


    1. Could Nelson show that the road of refraction to reflection is difficult
    2. Could Nelson show that the road of refraction to reflection is even relevant for the lobster?

    Nelson confuses the situation even further by claiming that

    Quote

    However, what I would expect from a Front-Loading persepective is that every step of the way was every bit more complex then the last, however, through the help of pre-positioned elements the evolution of these eyes was directed through intelligent agency.


    So is it front loading or is it intervention? If it is front loading then we have the situation that at a certain time the information needed for evolution to play out was injected into the genome of a common ancestor and that from this common ancestor all the descendants arose with the large variety of eyes. Ignoring for the moment the grasping at straw nature of such a front loading scenario which would have to play out through an inherent chaotic and thus unpredictable system and interactions to eventually lead to the eye of the Pecten. Nelson presents no more evidence than that a some moment the basic building blocks were present that eventually would allow the Pecten or any other organism to evolve an eye design. No effort is made by Nelson to show that the eyes of the lobster are optimal for the functioning of the lobster. In fact Nelson merely argues that for the lobster eye, the eyes are perfect squares that are fine-tuned for the vision of lobster. No further information is presented to support this case. And if Nelson wants to consider fine-tuning and continue to argue for front loading then Nelson de facto has accepted the fine tuning power of evolutionary processes.



    Given the contradictory stance of Nelson on the issue of front loading I would encourage Nelson to address the following issues.

    1. Explain the hypothesis of front loading as it applies to Pecten.
    2. If Nelson accepts front loading then does Nelson accepts that natural processes are responsible for the shaping of the eyes of Pecten? In absence of such an acceptance, Nelson cannot be talking about front loading here.
    3. Can Nelson explain in detail the similarities and differences between Pecten and Spondylus and can Nelson provide us with the arguments proposed by Dakin? Do the findings apply to the whole family of Spondylus or just some particular species? After all the various species of Spondylus do seem to occupy a large variety of ecological niches
    4. Can Nelson show that the lobster eyes are perfect squares or is Nelson using stylized drawings to reach these conclusions?


    Perhaps Nelson may want to explain why the squares in the following picture are all but perfect?



    Perhaps Nelson was confused by the resulting drawings?



    Perhaps Nelson can also appreciate what perfect squares really would look like?

    * http://www.antievolutionIslamic Intelligent Design (1 replies)
    tufail2005-11-04 00:12:31
    For most people, both evolutionists and creationists, intelligent design means Christian creationism. All across Islamic Centers in US and the world and almost every Muslim web sites promote Evolution Deciet, a book published by Harun Yahya. This book is a carbon copy of Institute for Creation Research (ICR) Publications. He uses ICR's distorted "science" to reject science. Only difference is that Yahya does not support recent origin of the earth.

    Recently, A book, Creation AND/OR Evolution An Islamic Perspective, by a Muslim theist evolutionist, T.O.Shanavas was released. The author is very critical about Yahya. However, he claims that Theory of evolution has an Islamic root and, in fact, according to him, Muslims proposed theory of evolution centuries before Charles Darwin.

    This book is a challenge to those who want to teach Christian creationism or Intelligent design in science class in American public school. America being a secular country, there is a separation of church and state. Government cannot promote any purticular religion. Christian fundamentalists will be frighted and and may back off from corrupting science curriculum if Muslims in any of the states such as Kansas, Pennsylvania, etc demand Shanavas's Islamic creationism to be incuded in the science class along with Christian intelligent design.

    Shanavas is a creationist but strongly opposes the teaching of any form of creationism in public schools in America. In a news paper (The Daily Telegram) interview Shanavas states that there is no place for intelligent design in science class rooms. (http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?act=Post;CODE=00;f=2)[I][B]
    * Anthropic/anthropocentric principle (1 replies)
    niiicholas2003-06-12 16:54:35
    I have no strong opinions on the anthropic principle, but I figured I'd repost this little Sagan quote I posted at ARN:

    Quote
    Originally posted by LlaniteDave:
    [qb] [QUOTE]Originally posted by Another:
    [qb]
    However, in regards to complexity - we have a problem (and not just the usual problem of definition). Complexity cannot be selected for in and of itself - and evolution has no foresight to the future opportunities complexity affords.  This will be true of all life, not just life of the substrate we know. Complex life is rare not because the earth is rare, but because there is no immediate selective benefit to complexity - usually only costs.

    Complexity did not evolve with any reasonable speed on earth. It was a major transformation and an unintended result of symbiosis or predation.  That complex than bacteria only evolved once is telling. It is a silent, lonely answer to Fermi's paradox.[/qb]
    Which also poses a problem for the "fine tuning" issue.  If the universe is "fine tuned" so that life can exist, in all the universe is the earth the only beneficiary of that fine tuning?  If ID is true, doesn't that predict that life, and complex life as well, should be ubiquitous throughout the galaxy?[/qb][/QUOTE]An exceedingly good point.  I recall a clever bit of Carl Sagan:

    Quote
    Our universe is almost incompatible with life -- or at least what we understand as necessary for life: Even if every star in a hundred billion galaxies had an Earthlike planet, without heroic technological measures life could prosper in only about 10^(-37) the volume of the Universe.  For clarity, let's write it out: only 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 1 of our universe is hospitable to life.  Thirty-six zeroes before the one.  The rest is cold, radiation-riddled black vacuum.
    (Pale Blue Dot, p. 34)



    It is perfectly possible to imagine universes much more hospitable to life -- most early cosmologies were exactly that.

    While I'm here, the interaction of the anthropic-principle-type design argument with the biological ID argument is *very* peculiar.  It was stated most pithily here:

    Quote
    The fact that the laws of the universe are perfect for life is evidence for a Designer. The fact that the laws of the universe can't produce life is evidence for a Designer. [23]
    "The Quixotic Message", or "No Free Hunch"
    http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/hunch/hunch.html

    (In http://www.arn.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-13-t-000751.html )
    * testing... (0 replies)
    niiicholas2002-05-06 19:19:54
    testing, testing, 1 2 3...

    Wow, this looks like a spiffy software package, all the code tags are right above there...

    Quote
    Curious green ideas sleep furiously


    ...well, it's sticking all of the tags at the *end* of the line, regardless of the cursor position.

    Trying smilies:
    :0  ???  :D

    Trying a URL:
    Talkorigins webpage link test

    ...hey, that worked pretty well..


    A graphic:

    ...hmm, it stuck the code at the end of the post, I'll move it up.



    I won't even trying the Flash movie posting option...

    nic
    * AiG on scientific theory (8 replies)
    Jacor2002-11-10 15:28:27
    I just want to make the observation that if the level of scientific "thought " as presented by the person with the title of "Information Representative" of AiG is true of the actual science used by them.  I predict that within 2 generations of Creationists being able to teach their "science" as a valid alternative theory, society will be well on its way back to pre-scientific levels of health and knowledge.  This is due to the superficial level of thinking that is encouraged.

    John Verderame, in a fairly detailed non-answer to my statement on why I did not accept his generalizations as answers to my specific questions. gave this Bio.  "I have a B.S. in Biology and a Master of Theology degree from a highly respected Seminary and almost 30 years of work experience both in ministry and in the fields of biology and astronomy, so have done some studying too."

    In response to my observation that the problem with relying on the Bible to answer anything that is not currently in the "known" column in science is that it discourages the original research needed to find the answers.  His response was "prove that".  He also referred me to a list of "research" done by creationists.
    Here is what I found.

    Dr Steve Austin PhD, describes self as Creationist Geology Professor, B.S. (Geology), University of Washington, Seattle, WA, M.S. (Geology), San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, Ph.D. (Geology), Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
    Only acknowledged publications are in Creationist publications, and are not on field of specialty of Geology.  No original research.

    Dr Don Batten  He is doing work that any self-respecting agriculturist does.  He might have a new hybrid, but no original research.  Does have publications in Creationist publications on mutation as evidence of divine intervention, other than "the Bible tells me so", no supporting evidence.  He makes unsupported statements about the number of nucleotides that can be changed before becoming fatal (3).  I will point out that 3 nucleotides do not make up a single gene.  His degree is in Horticulture.

    Dr John Baumgardner  (B.S, M.S., PhD (UCLA)) is a geophysicist employed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. His work involves detailed computer modeling of the structure and processes of the earth's interior, as well as a variety of other fluid dynamics phenomena.  
    Only published works supporting Creationism is at 3 Creation Conferences, and are not related to his field of study.  
    Is this supposed to impress me?  Especially since his bio states that he changed majors to prove creationism is correct.  Since he has not run any tests to prove or disprove his hypothesis he can not claim that his belief is anything other than an opinion.

    Jerry Bergman  PhD Psychology  Published in Creationist publications on topic of why there is no scientific support for evolution.
    I know a master level psychologist that believes that watermelons are cucumbers left on the vine too long.  So?

    I do not see any original research here.  How does this disprove my statement?

    Dr. Verderame's response:  "(What are YOUR credentials, that you are in such a position to pass judgment?)"

    Like an idiot I actually sent them.  AAS Nursing, BS double major Chemistry and Biology

    His response: "Please don't expect any further responses.  We are not getting anywhere.

    Have a good weekend.

    John"

    Since the following are verbatim quotes from him in two earlier communications I must state that I do not have his permission to quote this, however I am quoting just to show his level of response when he can't think of anything better.
    He cited Pasteur as being the perfect "Creationist Scientist" because he developed the germ theory despite opposition by scientific thought.  In response I sent an abbreviated history of contributors to the germ theory going back to 50 AD.  He now changes his argument to:
    JV:  "What is your point?  Of course, no theory arises in isolation.  We point out that evolution has its basis in ancient Greek philosophy.  But Darwin helped to systematize and quantify the concept so that those who followed him recognize his work as a watershed.  Same with Pasteur.  
    I could not resist, so my response and his reply follows.
    He inserted responses in my answer and they are designated as "JV".

    Technically since Pasteur did not publish, and Koch provided the proof, Koch should be credited with the formulation of the theory.
    JV:  Nice try.  So 'publishing' is what distinguishes the men from the boys, eh?

    Otherwise credit would have to go to Henle in 1840. As pointed out in the section on Koch, just like evolution, the Germ Theory continues to "evolve."

    JV:  Which you have yet to demonstrate ;-)  Throw the word around all you want.  But back it up with facts.  You know those microorganisms Pasteur and Koch played with?  Make one.  Starting with nothing.  And then, if you can do it, prove to me it took no intelligence to do it.

    I could not reply to his comments as he cut communication with me.  The range of topics had grown to the proportion that there was no cohesive way to respond to all of them in each communication.  The list kept growing as Dr. Verderame added to the list each time.  I think he was planning on overwhelming me with the sheer volume of topics.

    Paul C



    ???
    * Advantages of Theft over Toil (1 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2004-05-25 09:10:53
    This thread is for discussion of the paper by John Wilkins and I, "The advantages of theft over toil: the design inference and arguing from ignorance" (Biology and Philosophy 16(5) (November, 2001):711-724).

    The abstract:

    Quote

    Intelligent design theorist William Dembski has proposed an "explanatory filter" for distinguishing between events due to chance, lawful regularity or design. We show that if Dembski's filter were adopted as a scientific heuristic, some classical developments in science would not be rational, and that Dembski's assertion that the filter reliably identifies rarefied design requires ignoring the state of background knowledge. If background information changes even slightly, the filter's conclusion will vary wildly. Dembski fails to overcome Hume's objections to arguments from design.


    * Bill emulates Christ (2 replies)
    vpenguin2005-07-04 02:54:46
    Dembski posted this picture with the following message to his blog:
    "Here’s an image I found amusing that someone sent me about my lack of faith in Darwinism. I’ve always wanted an image of Darwin and me as professional wrestlers with me doing a piledriver on him."

    See:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/170

    Gee, Bill, how Christian of you.
    * BY evolution or design? (0 replies)
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    * FARIBAULT teacher holds firm on his design belief (0 replies)
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    * Peppered moths and the moon (8 replies)
    ExYECer2003-01-28 00:51:36
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IntelligentDesignUpdate/message/176

    Good posting on the effects of the moon phase on the recapture experiments by Kettlewel
    Quote

    To get a better idea if there is any significance in the phases of the moon for Peppered Moth experimentation, I provide the following analysis of average daily capture rates of unmarked moths from the three experiments
    correlated to moon phase:

    Code Sample

    Phase               B_53 B_55  D_55
    New_Moon         NA   0.34   1.42
    Waxing_Cresent NA   NA     0.62
    First_Quart         NA   NA     0.58
    Waxing               NA   NA     0.42
    Full_Moon           0.96   NA     0.1
    Waning               0.78   1.59     NA
    Last_Quarter      1.1   1.3     NA
    Crescent_Waning  NA   0.77     1.79
    Average_Daily      56.45   35.31     17.67



    (Figures are the average daily capture rate for the phase / average daily capture rate for the entire experiment. I have expressed the data this way so that the generally low capture rates in Dorset do not conceal
    correlations. The data for New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon and Last Quarter are the figures for the day of the New Moon (etc) plus the day on either side. Other figures are for all days between the flanking phases.
    The one exception is the Full Moon phase for Birmingham, 1953 which includes the two days prior to the Full Moon. Raw figures and moon phase data is
    available in Appendix A.)


    The Dorset 55 data does seem to show a reasonable correlation of recapture rates and moon light with more moon light leading to lower recapture rates as the moon attracts the moths. Were the Birmingham experiments perhaps with phermone traps? Anyone knows?



    I am archiving the appendix data here

    ***********
    Appendix
    ***********

    Kettlewell's Captures of unmarked Biston Betularia in 1953 and 1955
    experiments correlated for moon phase. Some 1955 Birmingham data appears
    twice (once in each column) to assist comparisons. Data reads as
    Total(Carbonaria/Typica).

    1955 | 1955/1953
    Date| Catches | Date| Catches | Phase
    12/6 | | 12/7| 100(89/6)| Last Quarter
    13/6 | | 13/7| 29(25/4) |
    14/6 | 17(0/16) | 14/7| 56(53/2) |
    15/6 | 20(0/18) | 15/7| 24(20/2) |
    16/6 | 37(1/34) | 16/7| 15(13/2) |
    17/6 | 54(0/51) | 17/7| 22(20/2)|
    18/6 | 30(0/29) | 18/7| 19(15/2)|
    19/6 | 21(0/20) | 19/7| 6(5/1) |
    20/6 | 43(0/41) | 20/7| 11(10/1)| New Moon
    21/6 | 11(0/9) | | |
    22/6 | 10(0/9) | | |
    23/6 | ..... | | |
    24/6 | ..... | | |
    25/6 | 12(1/11) | | |
    26/6 | 8(1/6) | | |
    27/6 | 8(0/8) | 19/6 | | First Quarter
    28/6 | 15(0/15) | | |
    29/6 | 9(0/9) | | |
    30/6 | 7(1/5) | | |
    1/7 | 7(0/7) | | |
    2/7 | 7(0/7) | | |
    3/7 | ..... | 25/6| 9(8/0) |
    4/7 | ..... | 26/6|144(124/14)
    5/7 | 2 (0/2) | 27/6| 38(33/5) | Full Moon
    6/7 | | 28/6| 25(21/3) |
    7/7 | | 29/6| 57(50/6) |
    8/7 | 74(62/7) | 30/6| 40(36/3) |
    9/7 | 41(40/0) | 1/7| 64(57/7) |
    10/7 | 53(48/3) | 2/7| 58(47/7) |
    11/7 | 9(4/5) | 3/7| 69(52/8) |
    12/7 |100(89/6)| 4/7 | 52(43/7) | Last Quarter
    13/7 | 29(25/4)| 5/7 | 65(57/3) |
    14/7 | 56(53/2)| | |
    15/7 | 24(20/2)| | |
    16/7 | 15(13/2)| | |
    17/7 | 22(20/2)| | |
    18/7 | 19(15/2)| | |
    19/7 | 6(5/1) | | | New Moon
    20/7 | 11(10/1)| | |

    Kettlewell's total catches for 1953 and 1955 experiments.

    1955 | 1955/1953
    Date| Catches | Date| Catches | Phase
    12/6 | | 12/7| 101(89/7)| Last Quarter
    13/6 | | 13/7| 29(25/4) |
    14/6 | 23(4/17) | 14/7| 56(53/2) |
    15/6 | 34(2/27) | 15/7| 24(20/2) |
    16/6 | 37(1/34) | 16/7| 15(13/2) |
    17/6 | 68(7/58) | 17/7| 22(20/2)|
    18/6 | 31(0/30) | 18/7| 19(15/2)|
    19/6 | 29(2/26) | 19/7| 6(5/1) |
    20/6 | 47(1/44) | 20/7| 11(10/1)| New Moon
    21/6 | 16(1/13) | | |
    22/6 | 19(5/13) | | |
    23/6 | ..... | | |
    24/6 | ..... | | |
    25/6 | 12(1/11) | | |
    26/6 | 12(3/8) | | |
    27/6 | 8(0/8) | 19/6 | | First Quarter
    28/6 | 21(1/20) | | |
    29/6 | 14(0/14) | | |
    30/6 | 16(4/11) | | |
    1/7 | 11(2/9) | | |
    2/7 | 7(0/7) | | |
    3/7 | ..... | 25/6| 9(8/0) |
    4/7 | ..... | 26/6|149(127/15)
    5/7 | 9 (0/9) | 27/6| 40(34/5) | Full Moon
    6/7 | | 28/6| 29(23/3) |
    7/7 | | 29/6| 66(55/10)|
    8/7 | 64(62/7) | 30/6| 42(37/3) |
    9/7 | 85(73/11)| 1/7| 87(76/9) |
    10/7 | 58(51/5) | 2/7| 92(75/13)|
    11/7 | 59(50/7) | 3/7| 98(77/11)|
    12/7 |101(89/7)| 4/7 | 77(66/9) | Last Quarter
    13/7 | 29(25/4)| 5/7 | 81(73/3 |
    14/7 | 56(53/2)| | |
    15/7 | 24(20/2)| | |
    16/7 | 15(13/2)| | |
    17/7 | 22(20/2)| | |
    18/7 | 19(15/2)| | |
    19/7 | 6(5/1) | | | New Moon
    20/7 | 11(10/1)| | |


    Phases of the moon for 1953/1955

    Lun# New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Last
    Quarter
    ---- ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ------------
    ----
    +0376 1953/05/13 05:06 1953/05/20 18:20 1953/05/28 17:03 1953/06/04
    17:36
    +0377 1953/06/11 14:55 1953/06/19 12:01 1953/06/27 03:29 1953/07/03
    22:03
    +0378 1953/07/11 02:28 1953/07/19 04:47 1953/07/26 12:21 1953/08/02
    03:16
    +0379 1953/08/09 16:10 1953/08/17 20:08 1953/08/24 20:21 1953/08/31
    10:46


    +0400 1955/04/22 13:06 1955/04/29 04:23 1955/05/06 22:14 1955/05/15
    01:42
    +0401 1955/05/21 20:59 1955/05/28 14:01 1955/06/05 14:08 1955/06/13
    12:37
    +0402 1955/06/20 04:12 1955/06/27 01:44 1955/07/05 05:28 1955/07/12
    20:31
    +0403 1955/07/19 11:34 1955/07/26 16:00 1955/08/03 19:30 1955/08/11
    02:33
    +0404 1955/08/17 19:58 1955/08/25 08:52 1955/09/02 07:59 1955/09/09
    07:59
    http://www.lunaroutreach.org/phases/phases.cgi



    [QUOTE]

    * SCIENCE and Torah: Conflict or Complement? (0 replies)
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    * ID versus evolutionary science (0 replies)
    ExYECer2002-12-27 11:39:22
    Cornelius states that

     
    Quote

    Unfortunately, evolution has always relied on #1 to establish itself as a scientific fact.
    It seems that Cornelius may be unfamiliar with the scientific evidence supporting evolution if he believes that evolution has ALWAYS relied on #1 to establish itself as a scientific fact.

    Reality will show that it is #3 and #2 which are the methods through which science has established evolution as a viable theory. I am somewhat surprised to see Cornelius make the statement and others such as    
    Quote
    To me it is clearly flawed, and it is little wonder that evolutionists dwell so much on #1. It clearly is the motivation for the theory.
    Which suggests to me that he has not really looked at the scientific evidence supporting evolution. It may be helpful if Cornelius could help us understand how he reaches conclusions like the ones above or    
    Quote
    I'm merely claiming that the scientific evidence points away from this.
    What scientific evidence points away from naturalistic pathways?

    If Cornelius really believes that God and thus ID fails if we can show that naturalistic pathways are sufficient or that natural pathways explain the preponderance of evidence then for all practical purposes we can consider ID to be refuted. ID by itself according to Cornelius' definition seems to be providing us with nothing more to understand the world around us, it merely makes claims based on a religious motivation without attempting to provide for a better explanation than that provided by scientific inquiry. And for good reasons since I do not believe that ID in this format can do much to compete with science.
    ID seems to require that we ignore the vaste amounts of data that support #2 and #3 while focusing on the strawman of #1. If Cornelius were serious about the statement that    
    Quote
    ID is using all our knowledge to identify evolution as flawed.
    then he would not have focused on making claims that evolution focuses on #1. Hundreds, thousands of papers on evolutionary mechanisms and theory would put significant doubt on the validity or even supportability of Cornelius' claims.

    Cornelius also states that
     
    Quote

    We had a good and fruitful discussion. My hunch that evolution is quite flexible vis-à-vis these phylogenetic results, if anything, were corroborated
    seems to ignore the strengths of the phylogenetic results vis-a-vis common descent and seems to focus on the fact that scientific theory can adapt to our increasing knowledge. So far the arguments seem to not really focus on scientific arguments but rather on hand waving, strawmen arguments while ignoring the vaste amounts of evidences supporting the fact of evolution.

    In a previous posting Cornelius confused my comments about nested hierarchies with correlated characteristics. Nested hierarchies are als correlated but correlated characteristics need not be hierarchical.

    Finally Cornelius wondered why I made the following statement

    [quote]
    We should be careful not to mix our faith and science, since both will suffer. -- Francis
    [quote]

    Cornelius states that:

    "This obviously does not derive from science nor the Scriptures, so I'm not sure why you say this."

    If science has to give way to our theological thinking then both science and theology will suffer. Of course science and theology can live together in their own realm but when it gets misapplied like for instance found in many YEC approaches, it becomes a destructive force to science and religion. As an ex-YEC-er I have seen much of this.

    In Christ
    F
    * "Monologues passing in the night" (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2003-01-13 15:10:39
    Design Theory and its Critics

    Quote
    The present book, Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics, is intended as a sourcebook of materials from both sides of the present debate. The editor, Robert T. Pennock, who is a vocal critic of ID, takes it that ID claims fail more or less on all fronts, and while giving both sides a platform, intends for the present volume to make ID's untenability (as he sees it) amply clear.


    Ratzch apparently does not distinguish an accusation of ignorance from ad hominem.

    Quote
    One individual particularly singled out is, surprisingly, Alvin Plantinga, who al-
    though an ID sympathisizer is not an ID advocate.

    Ruse:
    We know that Plantinga's agenda is Christianity. That is fair enough. But it is an agenda backed by a deliberate ignorance of work that is going on today in science. Plantinga is able to talk so confidently about science stoppers only because he has not and apparently will not look at what scientists are saying and achieving. [Ruse, p. 382]


    Ad hominem arguments are irrelevancies directed at aspects of personality.  Demonstrable ignorance of topics at issue, though, is directly relevant and is a legitimate point of argument.

    Wesley
    * Evolution Question #1 (3 replies)
    dougp592006-11-03 10:08:10
    From www.evolutionsucks.org

    Evolution Question Number One;

    The theory of Evolution says that all life evolved from lower life forms. In other words, we came from fish.  Which of course came from even simpler blobs of something.  

    Oddly enough though, evolutionists say that the whales (a mammal) evolved from a hoofed land animal called Mesonychids.  Textbooks describe these beasts as about the size of a hyena.  

    The Mesonychids would have of course evolved from a reptile from a fish from a simpler blob of something, you get the picture.

    Simpler to more complex life forms, that is the essence of Evolution by natural selection.  They call this; "speciation".

    So, a simple form of life in the ancient seas evolves into a fish, which evolved into a reptile,which evolved into a land animal.  

    Once it had accomplished this monumental feat, it then decided to get REALLY BIG, loose its' legs and return to the seas!  

    Oh, and do not forget that it has to move its’ nostrils to the top of the head so they become blow holes so they can breath when they surface.

    Question #1  Can you show the transitional fossils that prove ANY of this?
    Evolution Sucks
    * What should make one suspect ID? (9 replies)
    niiicholas2002-12-18 18:24:58
    Over at ARN, Mike Gene is again claiming that the question "What should make one suspect ID?" has not/cannot be sufficiently answered by ID skeptics.  The implication is basically that ID skeptics are close-minded and unable to consider the matter in a neutral, open, explorative way.

    http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=13;t=000536

    But there are lots of things that would make me suspect ID.  Note that these things are not the same things that would prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, although a lot of these "evidences for suspicion" put together might fit that bill.

    MG specifically put forward the flagellum as an example, conveniently a particularly ancient system for which the kinds of evidence available for e.g. the immune system are much more difficult to come by.

    Quote

    Tell me what would cause you to suspect the flagellum as designed. Thus far, not one ID critic has shared a useful criterion.


    As JP has noted in the thread, many answers to the "suspect" question have already been provided, it's just that Mike Gene doesn't like them because design does not entail that these things exist.  That's pretty much the problem with Mike-Gene-design, it doesn't appear to entail anything in particular at all.  Even IC systems are apparently accessible to evolution under MG-ID, so if the tremendously complicated immune system is shown to have plenty of evidence of gradual natural origins, he can just shrug it off and say that ID designed something more remote, like the flagellum.

    Still, an observation does not have to be *entailed* by design in order to be an observation that would legitimately raise suspicion.  Evolution does not predict that any particular transitional fossil will be found, just that some will be found somehwere, and these legitimately raise suspicion.  Presumably even a rarified design hypothesis predicts that some kind of positive evidence will be found somewhere.

    I would suspect (not conclude) design for the flagellum if there were evidence for any of the following:

    1) A purpose other than maximizing the reproduction of the genes of the bacterium in question, that fits with some hypothesized designer.  E.g., mousetraps are designed for trapping mice that are annoying humans.  Note that in contrast, evolutionary theory predicts this for all complex "designed" systems.  Find a counterexample and you've disproved evolution.  Find a counterexample with a purpose that fits some specific designer hypothesis and you've got reason to suspect that designer hypothesis.

    2) True IC, i.e. if the parts of the flagellum really did not have any function apart from contributing to flagellar function, i.e. that any subset of flagellar parts really was "by definition nonfunctional".  This was Behe's original attempted argument, and if it had held up under the weight of evidence then he would have had something.

    3) Biologically impossible transplants of the complex "design" across phylogenetic lines.  This is seen *in spades* in human design systems.  However, in biological systems, such transplants appear to be limited in numerous ways:

    a) Basically limited to single-celled critters without protected germ-line cells
    b) Most commonly there to prokaryotes that are *known* to do all kinds of conjugation, DNA uptake, etc.
    b.5) In eukaryotes, the most impressive cases lateral transfer are the cases of symbiosis, in which the genomes of the host and symbiont are in close association for millions of years and transfers can occur bit-by-bit while maintaining function
    c) Suspicions of transplants are often confirmed by finding plasmids, insertion remnants, and evidence of other known lateral transfer mechanisms
    d) Transplants are most common between prokaryotes (a) closely related or (b) living in close proximity
    e) Apparently limited to relatively simple systems (single operon?), and the more complex the system, the more closely related must be the donor/acceptor.  The most complex system transferred that I can think of is Type III virulence systems, and (IIRC) these are all restricted to a relatively narrow group.

    As an example of the contrast seen in human designs, the following highly complex systems originated locally and were rapidly transplanted into any manner of larger devices (cars, planes, boats, etc.) without any regard for the kinds of biological, ecological, and phlyogenetic patterns described above:

    - computers
    - GPSs
    - satellite phones
    - emergency transponders

    4) It occurs to me suddenly that the pattern that all of these designed transplants follow is that they are useful *to the designer*, i.e. safety, navigation, etc.  So, even in a case where the lateral transfers were biologically possible, if the pattern of transfer fit the purposes of a hypothesized designer(s), I would suspect design.

    5) Evidence of "front-loading", e.g. if many bacteria had buried instructions for flagella, protected somehow from degradative mutations (not a tough burden for your average superadvanced designer), that were waiting to be "turned on" at some point in the future for some purpose of a hypothesized designer (this is a modified version of Behe's supercell idea)

    6) A communication-to-intelligent-beings signal encoded in the flagellar genes.  E.g., a prime number sequence apparently cleverly encoded in the essential nucleotides or amino acids of the flagellum.  I say "apparently" because just the bare fact of a prime number sequence would not constitute proof, only suspicion (which is all MG wants anyway), unlike in astronomy it is just possible that there are ways for biological mechanisms to generate primes (although it is quite a stretch from 17-year cicadas to genome sequences).

    I'm sure there's more...I won't, however, say the one that I think MG prefers, namely "it looks designed", because it's pretty clear that natural selection can produce complex "designed" adaptation when the adaptation benefits the genes of the organism.  Even Mike Gene concedes this, so IMO it appears that he is being inconsistent when he places the thus-far-unverified-in-biology ID hypothesis on the same footing as the well-verified-in-biology NS hypothesis.  Why not also include Lamarkian evolution and complexity theory on the same footing also?  I would say that each of these has at least a wee bit of positive evidence raising a little bit of suspicion, unlike ID.

    Links to other threads and CCed posts on this topic would be worthwhile.
    * The Debate (0 replies)
    Kuglo2003-03-15 12:29:44
    **********************************************
    * Are Honeybee Societies Irreducibly Complex? (1 replies)
    lpetrich2003-02-02 17:14:46
    I wish to propose an analogy that may be helpful in understanding the evolution of irreducible complexity.

    Honeybee societies.

    Honeybee hives contain a queen, as many as 10,000 workers, and some drones (male bees). The queen depends on the workers for all her needs -- food, shelter, protection, etc., while the workers depend on the queen to replenish their numbers. Queens cannot exist without workers, and workers cannot exist without queens. Thus, irreducible complexity.

    This total dependency extends to the founding of new hives. Workers do all the work of founding; they scout for hive locations and then go to whichever one attracts the most interest. And then they do all the work of construction in that location.

    Compare solitary bees, in which a female does all the tasks that honeybee queens and workers do, though with much simpler nests.

    Which makes it seem difficult to picture how honeybee societies could have been a result of evolution by natural selection, or at least that's what an entomological counterpart of Michael Behe would say.

    But fortunately, the diversity of life offers examples with a very plausible intermediate state: bumblebees. A bumblebee queen overwinters in isolation and founds a hive in the coming spring, constructing it and bringing food to her offspring in the fashion of a solitary bee. But her offspring become workers who help her with the next generations over the year.

    Thus, the evolution of honeybees can be broken up into two steps:

    1. Some of a female's daughters staying home and helping to raise that female's other offspring, thus the evolution of the queen/worker distinction.

    2. A queen recruiting some workers to help found a hive, thus giving that queen "instant" workers at that new hive. This makes it unnecessary for a queen to do anything but lay eggs all day.

    Michael Behe's work, it seems to me, focuses on the molecular equivalent of honeybees; the challenge for understanding the origin of these features is to find the molecular equivalent of bumblebees, or at least work out some plausible scenario for their occurrence. And biologist Kenneth R. Miller has attempted to do exactly that, finding plausible bumblebees for the bacterial flagellum's honeybee.

    I think that he'd have a bit more respect if he simply decided that the origin of what he discusses is a mystery. he could have been like Robert Shapiro, who has criticized various origin-of-life scenarios in detail without claiming that that means that the Earth had been "seeded" with its first organisms.
    * Evolution Before the Common Ancestor (1 replies)
    lpetrich2003-02-11 01:38:28
    Over in this Internet Infidels thread, I had posted some interesting recent research into the evolution of life before the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUA, LCA, LUCA) of all known cellular Earth life. To summarize, both papers I'd looked at point to the earliest Earth life as being closer to prebiotic chemistry than more recent life. And the second paper points to evidence of much less complexity in the earliest life.

    The enormous volume of genetic data collected over the last few decades, including the sequencing of over 100 genomes, has made possible the reconstruction of several of the genes and proteins contained by the Last Universal Common Ancestor.

    The amino-acid content of these proteins is interesting; according to the work of Brooks DJ, Fresco JR, Lesk AM, Singh M, the LUCA's proteins were enhanced in amino acids known to be produced in prebiotic-synthesis experiments, and depleted in amino acids known to be rare or absent in such experiments. This adds support to the hypothesis that the original source of amino acids was prebiotic synthesis; the earliest organisms simply eat some Primordial Soup.

    By comparison, Brian K. Davis's work focuses on 10 proteins, and uses a different criterion for assigning amino-acid origin time; how many metabolic steps are necessary to produce some amino acid from a Krebs-Cycle predecessor. Aspartate and glutamate, for example, score very low, while lysine and arginine score very high. The low scorers are also those relatively abundant in prebiotic syntheses, which suggest that biosynthesis of them was developed as a substitute for Primordial-Soup eating (the Horowitz hypothesis).

    The "code age" of a protein he determined by finding the average score of its amino acids; he used this to work out the proteins' order of appearance.

    The oldest of these proteins was ferredoxin, a biosynthesis enzyme that contains iron-sulfur clusters and that transfers electrons (hydrogen-atom equivalents). This protein he reconstructs as having a negatively-charged tail; this can stick to positively-charged objects like mineral surfaces with their metal ions -- which is consistent with the view of Gunter Wachtershauser that life originated from iron-sulfur-associated chemical reactions on mineral surfaces, and that the Krebs Cycle dates from this time. Note that the Krebs Cycle's members are all acids -- negatively-charged ions -- meaning that they can stick to mineral surfaces.

    This suggests that the earliest life had not had well-defined cells, that it had been a sort of Haeckelian Urschleim living in the mud of hydrothermal vents.

    Not much younger than ferredoxin is a protein involved in cell division and an ATPase component that resides in cell membranes; as a consequence, nearly all the rest of Brian Davis's scenario takes place in distinct cells, including the acquisition of "difficult" amino acids like the benzene-ring and alkaline ones.

    Also after the origin of cells but before the LUCA is the origin of DNA; enzymes for synthesizing DNA nucleotides from RNA ones, copying DNA to RNA, and copying RNA to DNA date from this period. So DNA is younger than both RNA and proteins.

    However, DNA-to-DNA copying systems are much more difficult to place in this period, since those of the (eu)bacterial and the archaeo-eukaryotic lineages are very different, suggesting separate elaboration -- or even separate origin. The LUCA could have had a DNA-RNA genome, with DNA being copied to RNA and back.

    Brian Davis's paper did not address the RNA-world question, but his work suggests that an RNA world, if it had existed, had been pre-cellular.

    An interesting result is that the earliest Earth life is closer to various sorts of prebiotic chemistry than later Earth life. This poses an interesting conundrum for the hypothesis that some designer had "seeded" the Earth with some organism that became the ancestor of all its later life. Why this choice of "seed"? Why not a "seed" with a chemistry more like that of present-day organisms?

    Also interesting is the absence from the earliest life of DNA, distinct cells, and several amino acids; this indicates the absence of the enzyme systems necessary for constructing and handling them. Thus, the origin of life has to account for much less complexity than one would expect from present-day cell architecture.

    References:

    Brooks DJ, Fresco JR, Lesk AM, Singh M.
    Evolution of amino acid frequencies in proteins over deep time: inferred order of introduction of amino acids into the genetic code.
    Mol Biol Evol  2002 Oct;19(10):1645-55
    At this PubMed entry.

    Davis BK.
    Molecular evolution before the origin of species.
    Prog Biophys Mol Biol  2002 May-Jul;79(1-3):77-133
    At this PubMed entry.
    * Clone Wars (3 replies)
    niiicholas2003-01-13 22:17:00
    Originally posted here.

    Quote

    January 13, 2003

    ID and Human Cloning

    By Paul Nesselroade

    Does the Intelligent Design (ID) movement have anything to say about current experimentation with human cloning?


    Clearly, starting points are critical in shaping how we view the appropriateness of any action. If our starting point is the belief that human life was accidental and brought about solely by the impersonal forces of natural selection and random mutation, then, any purpose or meaning for life has to be assigned by us, chiseled out of the void of meaninglessness with our own hands. Starting here, the idea of cloning new life explicitly for the enhancement of our own lives (through organ replacement, stem cell harvesting, or for reproductive purposes) can be legitimized. The human ‘cost’ associated with both fine-tuning the cloning process (animal cloning rarely results in birth and virtually all of those born have serious abnormalities and/or die early) and creating life expressly for sacrificial purposes, may be considered unfortunate, but can hardly be considered wrong.

    (bolds added)


    Strange that this ARN missive doesn't recognize the Raelian's oh-so-crucial "starting point":

    Quote

    Evidence
    Introduction

    Supporting evidence

    Welcome to the Evidence page, a subsection of the Raelian Revolution website.

    If we truly were created by people from space, then there would be traces of this creation in our history, mythology and religion, be it Judaic, Buddhist, Christian, Islamic or other. Science should confirm this and there should be UFOlogical evidence of them monitoring our progres and even visitations.

    In fact, if one takes the trouble to look, this is exactly the case and the horisontal navigation bar above provides links to such evidence including a bibliography section listing references and authors whose totally independent conclusions support the validity of the Raelian Message.

    [...]

    Supporting evidence p. 3

    EMBARRASSING QUESTIONS FOR THE EVOLUTIONISTS
    For 20 years, the Raelian vision of "scientific creationism" : a step ahead of science ?

    It is striking to note that while the Raelian theory is being confirmed by a continual series of scientific discoveries, the theory of Evolution is, on the other hand, being increasingly challenged as its old questions remain unanswered and even more embarrassing new questions are appearing.


    An anti-evolutionist system in our genes:

    Perhaps the most awkward question today for the theory of evolution is the one raised by the recently discovered p53 and since then a mutlitude of others - the DNA repair mechanism. This has been found to be common to all mammals and repairs damaged DNA. If the damage is too great to repair, it organises the cell's self-destruction.

    Therefore if any defect in the transcription of the genetic code arises, (the foundation on which evolution is based) then this repair or programmed cell death mechanism will remove such a mutation. If not, then the organism as a whole will die of cancer.

    This control system is clearly present to avoid all mutation. Thus, if this system is common to all mammals, according to the theory of Evolution, it should also be present in the common ancestors of mammals.

    If it were present in our ancestors, how were they able to diversify in order to render so many different species ? This is clearly a major contradiction which can only put a serious doubt on the theory of evolution.

    [...]



    [Bibliography]

    Here you will find other resource material  which support the messages given  to Rael by the Elohim
    - in whole or in part.

    [...]

    The Triumph of Design

    The Triumph of Design clearly and dramatically shows the gaping holes in Darwinian theory and the mounting evidence for the intelligent design of the universe. This video features Phillip Johnson, the distinguished law professor from the University of California, Berkeley whose best-selling book, Darwin On Trial, re-ignited the evolution controversy in the early 1990's. (more info)



    Evolution - Fact or Belief ?
    ( also released in French as "Enquetes & Reportages")

    More and more scientists are abandoning the Evolution Theory on the grounds that it is contrary to the basic laws of modern science. They maintain that it is a philosophy, not a science.
    This video interviews scientists from around the world to find out why they do not accept evolution as a reasonable explanation for the origin of man and the universe.


    I do agree with the ARN wedge update about one thing: your starting point is important.  For instance, if you start out by ignoring evidence contrary to your position, there is no end to the silly conclusions you will come to.
    * ID and peer-review (2 replies)
    niiicholas2003-07-02 14:31:09
    Several discussions ongoing on the topic of whether ID has any support in the peer-reviewed literature, and whether this matters.

    Cross-referencing other similar discussions:

    From March (particularly good reply by RBH):
    http://www.arn.org/cgi-bin....=000637

    ID and Peer-Review (Dembski)
    http://www.iscid.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-6-t-000386.html

    Tipler on Peer-Review
    http://www.iscid.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-6-t-000385.html

    Dembski on Peer-Review
    http://www.arn.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=13;t=000783
    * The IDEA Club and Center (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2004-05-29 09:57:20
    This thread is for discussion of various things related to the IDEA Club and IDEACenter.
    * CHAT Wednesday about KU and intelligent design (0 replies)
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    * EVOLUTION controversy boosts sales of niche produ (0 replies)
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    * CLASS on Debunking Creationism Cancelled (0 replies)
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    * Evolution of Genetic Code (4 replies)
    JxD2002-12-30 21:53:03
    David Ardell has several papers he authored on this subject, linked on his website at Stanford.

    There is also The Coevolution of Genes and the Genetic Code, put up at the Santa Fe site.

    Other interesting papers:
    Shigehiko Kanaya, Yuko Yamada, Makoto Kinouchi, Yoshihiro Kudo, Toshimichi Ikemura:
    Codon Usage and tRNA Genes in Eukaryotes: Correlation of Codon Usage Diversity with Translation Efficiency and with CG-Dinucleotide Usage as Assessed by Multivariate Analysis
    J Mol Evol 53 (2001) 4, 290-298

    Robin D. Knight, Laura F. Landweber, Michael Yarus:
    How Mitochondria Redefine the Code
    J Mol Evol 53 (2001) 4, 299-313

    Shin-ichi Yokobori, Tsutomu Suzuki, Kimitsuna Watanabe:
    Genetic Code Variations in Mitochondria: tRNA as a Major Determinant of Genetic Code Plasticity
    J Mol Evol 53 (2001) 4, 314-326
    * A Programmer Unimpressed with Biological "Design" (0 replies)
    lpetrich2003-10-24 01:25:40
    An article in http://www.salon.com , How I decoded the human genome, features this comment from someone with a long career in programming:
    Quote
    Kent spoke to me in nerdspeak, with geekoid locutions such as the use of "build" as a noun: "That's the most recent build of the genome. Build 31." I was used to hearing biologists talking about the elegance of DNA with what might be called reverence. By contrast Kent spoke of DNA as if it were the most convoluted, ill-documented, haphazardly maintained spaghetti code -- not God's most sublime handiwork, but some hack's kludge riddled with countless generations of side effects, and "parasites on parasites."

    "It's a massive system to reverse-engineer," he said. "DNA is machine code. Genes are assembler, proteins are higher-level languages like C, cells are like processes ... the analogy breaks down at the margins but offers useful insights." It was nearly impossible to tell the working code from cruft, Kent said. "That's why a lot of people say, 'The genome is junk.'" But that's what he found interesting: a high-quality programmer's code is always self-evident, but legacy assembler handed down from generation to generation of bricoleurs (I'm paraphrasing again) provides a real challenge for people who like puzzles.

    A bricoleur is a tinkerer, someone who constructs with whatever is available.
    * K-STATE, others tackling intelligent design in cl (0 replies)
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    * dembski's "EVOLUTION'S LOGIC OF CREDULITY" (18 replies)
    rafe gutman2002-12-05 17:13:26
    allen orr recently wrote a review of dembski's "no free lunch" in the boston review.  dembski wrote a response to it, and orr responded to that:

    http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR27.5/exchange.html

    this article is currently being discussed on several intelligent design fora (such as ARN and ISCID), but considering the intense moderation/censorship of those sites, i thought i would bring the topic here for discussion.  those critics of ID who are concerned that their comments will be censored can post them here.

    here is the intro:
    Quote
    Allen Orr wrote an extended critical review (over 6000 words) of my book No Free Lunch for the Boston Review this summer (http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR27.3/orr.html). The Boston Review subsequently contacted me and asked for a 1000 word response. I wrote a response of that length focusing on what I took to be the fundamental flaw in Orr's review (and indeed in Darwinian thinking generally, namely, conflating the realistically possible with the merely conceivable). What I didn't know (though I should have expected it) is that Orr would have the last word and that the Boston Review would give him 1000 words to reply to my response (see the exchange in the current issue at http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR27.5/exchange.html).



    In his reply Orr takes me to task for not responding to the many particular objections he raised against my work in his original review, suggesting that this was the result of bewilderment on my part and intelligent design running out of steam and not, as was the case, for lack of space. This sort of rule-rigging by Orr and the Boston Review -- give the respondent a little space, and then let the original author crow about winning -- is to be expected. I actually find it encouraging, taking it as an indication of intelligent design's progress. Orr's review and follow-up hardly spell the death-knell for intelligent design or for my work in this area. Sooner or later (and probably sooner) Orr will find himself in a forum on intelligent design where the rules of engagement are not rigged in his favor. I look forward to his performance then.


    * CLASSROOM challenges (0 replies)
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    * BRAHMA, Buddha, Or Allah: Why Intelligent Design (0 replies)
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    * PEOPLE in Worship: Hear lecture on evolution deba (0 replies)
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    * ISCID moderation (1 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-16 16:52:01
    On the ARN forum, "Ex-YEC-er" made this comment:

    Quote
    As far as the Brainstorm forum is concerned, my experiences differ significantly from yours, perhaps because I tend to be critical of Dembski's arguments. When mentioning references to Wesley Elsberry my posting was removed by the moderator. "No interest in the gospel of Elsberry...". When I forwarded my response to the administrator to Dembski (I was responding to his posting), Dembski had me banned and warned me that any attempt to complain about this would likely lead to my permanent banishment from the forum.


    ARN forum thread on flagellar evolution

    This, of course, intrigues me.

    If anyone knows who "Ex-YEC-er" is, please ask him or her to get in touch with me about this.

    Also, if you have direct experience with ISCID moderation removing or editing posts based upon references to particular critics, I would like to hear from you.

    * The Truth About Fossils (1 replies)
    darkdumpty2005-02-23 10:52:29
    Secrets of The  Fossil Record

    There is a secret that all people who believe in evolution know, but that we keep secret from Cretinists, Intelligent Design advocates, and other assorted septics.

    It is this.

    We know the fossil record is perfect.

    That is, every inch of every layer of every deposit of sedimentary rock has been excavated on all continents, and under every sea and every ocean.  We have also taken apart every building made of these rocks.  This has been a spectacular feat of engineering, I mean, did you notice us replace the Himalayas?  Did you see us rip out the grand canyon and replace it with multicoloured layers of concrete?  And did you see us hide all that broken rock behind the bike shed?

    The process of fossilisation is also perfect.  Every single one of the 9 billion chickens eaten each year, regardless of what you do to it, is fossilised, and this is true of spiders, sparrows, dogs, frogs, antelopes, lions, beavers, hawks, sharks, crabs, and every other living thing on the planet, regardless of how, why, or where it dies; and regardless of what happens to the corpse.

    This process can be directly observed if you blink very, very fast while turning your head left and right quickly.  It helps if you are spinning around, say on an office chair.  Do this and you will see a slight blurring of the ground.  That is fossilisation taking place.

    We even known who are doing it and how.  It’s a function of the insect world, where ant and beetles have for millions of years been collecting each and every bit of dead living thing and returning them to their nests.  In these nests there are numerous open chambers where the ants work their magic, sorting through all the rubbish they take (and the excrement the beetles bring; “Hey what have you got there?”, “Oh, just some bird shit, it contains the remains of spiders you need to fossilise”, “Dammit!  We’ve got 15 tones of bird shit.  Cant you get us some something else?”), sorting through the proteins, and when they’ve got all the bits of an animal that died, sit there welding them together in the chamber before back filling the room, and doing it all over again from square on in another chamber, while the queen ant screams “Jesus, we need another 69,634,001 workers for this whale…boy I’m gonna be tired..

    This leads to some important conclusions about what we have found and what it means.

    Firstly, lets take the Coelacanth.  This fish is alive and well living off the coast of Africa and South America.   But the last fossil of this creature were discovered from 65,000,000 years ago (ants get to the bones by scuba diving, by the way, and for really deep areas, they ride in genetically engineered spider crabs).  Clearly this means that Every living Coelacanth around today has lived for 65,000,000 years.  Yes, they are very, very, very, very old fish.  Infact, so old that whales, sharks and sea cucumbers often go to them to benefit from their wisdom.  Other animals avoid them because they start most conversations with “when I was sprat, a long time ago..”

    Only about 30 Tyrannosaurus fossils have been found, mostly in the western part of the United States. Fossils have been found in the USA (in Montana, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming), Canada (Alberta and Saskatchewan), and east Asia (Mongolia). One T. rex footprint has been found, in an undisclosed location in New Mexico, USA, across the late cretaceous period.

    Thus we know the following.  Only 30 of these magnificent beasts ever, ever, existed but they covered vast intercontinental distances with a very efficient hoping motion.

    The Rose and Brown study of a monkey population that showed speciation over 4 million years from 700 skeletons was complete and we know that no other skeletons will be found cause we tore the ground up.  Thus we calculate that these monkey lived an average of 5714 years each.  Very impressive compared to the human maximum of 110 years.  Incidentally, the same calculation shows each Tyrannosaurus lives about 3,700,000 years each, which just shows to go how truly impressive these monsters were.

    Another fact we know from the fossil record relates directly to the hominid line.  A number of proto-humans have been found, clearly identified as such from foot, leg, hip and skull fragments.  Actually, a lot of fossils have something of this nature to them.

    What most people don’t realise is that there were no other parts.  Yep, that’s right.  Those isolated fossil sharks teeth weren’t actually attached to a shark (we would have found the complete fossil otherwise) but actually roved the ancient seas slicing up creatures and then slowly dying because they didn’t have a metabolism to support them.

    The early humans actually did just hope around on one leg, with a perfectly formed human foot, and their internal organs supported and protected 2 ribs on the left hand side and three on the right.  Their brains were almost completely unprotected and supported only by soft body parts, parts the ants really cant be bothered to extract from animal dung (though dung beetles keep bringing them more.  Poor sods.).

    Another fact we know from the fossil records is that we are completely wrong about the habitats animals lived in.  Despite the pleasiosaur and the Icthyosaur being perfectly adapted for life in the water, no fossils of these creatures have ever been found by an underwater expedition.  We therefore conclude that these creatures actually lived on dry land, obviously hunting fishes and other aquatic animals that also (unfortunately) had to manage on dry land.  Fitness being a relative thing, and all of them being reduced to flapping around, the Icthys and Plesies managed to survive long enough to produce young (who died and the ants fossilised) and to grow to great size, even reaching 50 feet in length before Queenie shouted “Kill it!, that will take a age to rebuild if the bits get lost!”

    So there you have it.  Something all evolutionists know, something we’ve kept secret.

    Boy I am gonna be in trouble when they know I’ve told people.

    But I don’t care.  Let the truth be known.
    * President Bush's bright idea (2 replies)
    jminnis2005-08-04 11:10:44
    Can it get worse? President Bush now wants ID taught in schools (NYT, Aug. 3, 2005, "Dear Old Golden Rule Days in Texas"):

    "... Mr. Bush, before he headed for Texas, voiced support for the idea that schools should teach an alternate theory of evolution known as "intelligent design" alongside the scientific version, which has been subjected to rigorous examination and testing over generations. "I think that part of education is to expose people to
    different schools of thought," he declared.
    * INTELLIGENT Design, Roman Catholicism, and the Su (0 replies)
    NULLNULL
    NULL
    * a new technique better than tissue culture (0 replies)
    mikney2006-02-13 20:26:25
    ??? Better than tissue culture

    “The technique of efficient & rapid non-test tube plant cloning”(TERNPC) is a completely new system for rapid plant propagation, first invented by Professor Li Changxiao. Through a long-time practice, it has been proved to be an important breakthrough both in the tube rapid plant propagation of modern biotechnology and in the conventional seedling-breeding technique.
    Compared with tissue culture and conventional ways of propagation, TERNPC is more advanced:

    TERNPC
    1) Expensive equipments needless
    2) Few fields needed
    3) Low cost and high benefit
    4) High survival rate
    5) Simple steps
    6) Seedlings without mutation
    7) Working at any time of the year
    8) Suit for most plants
    If you want to know this technique in detail, Please go to the website: www.clone-p.com/english
    Email: xlt@clonep.com
       I declare that kind of technique is so miraculous, when I found them on internet. We can research them together!
       Best regards!       cloneseedling
    * antievolution? (11 replies)
    jasin2006-02-28 14:52:05
    If intelligent design is anti-evolution then evolutionary theory is anti-religion.

    You can't have one without the other!
    * Ideological Idiocy in Ohio (1 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2006-03-28 05:51:18
    This thread is for discussion of the post at AE.



    A column by S. Michael Craven at Crosswalk.com aptly demonstrates how one can come to an entirely inverted view of things starting from false premises and a false inference. The lead paragraph (below) begins with a false premise (that state science standards prohibit concepts from being presented in classes) and proceeds to a wildly false conclusion (that science teachers somehow are prevented from teaching material that is already in their textbooks).

    Quote

    This past February the Ohio State Board of Education voted 11-4 to remove all language that was critical of evolution from its state's science curriculum. Previously, Ohio's public school science guidelines said that students should be free to "describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory." The decision by the State Board of Education effectively eliminates that freedom. This means that science teachers and students are no longer authorized to discuss scientific evidence that questions the claims of Darwin's theory.


    No, Michael, the board's decision doesn't remove any "freedom" to discuss "scientific evidence that questions the claims of Darwin's theory". What it removed was wording that was specifically being treated as an invitation to discuss a bunch of false, long-refuted arguments which hied from creation science through intelligent design and into the new label of critical analysis. Science standards establish what must be taught; Ohio's teachers can (and I assume often do) teach things that are not specifically mentioned in the educational standards. Popular high school textbooks do incorporate material about the limits of science and in biology discuss non-Darwinian evolutionary processes, such as genetic drift. What you won't find in the textbooks, though, are the patently false arguments that have long served the antievolution movement. There is no good pedagogical reason to teach students falsehoods, though, so much of Craven's screed completely misses the point.

    [For the rest of the post, visit the link.]
    * Intelligent Design folks dont need the shot (1 replies)
    Beemer2006-04-19 14:59:11
    Look Out! Lay person on site....lol

    I have not studied genetics or any other field of science but I have a question to you all.  Picture me as the average Canadian guy with no formal scientific knowledge. I was brought up believing in evolutionary theory but without sufficient knowledge to argue the merits. I’ve tried to grasp the science of macroevolution by going over 1/3 of the pages within:

    29+ Evidences for Macroevolution
    The Scientific Case for Common Descent
    (Excellent source of information.)

    I’m sure I will read it over and over again throughout the next couple of years until I get a good working lay knowledge of evolution on the genetic level.

    Why I’m bothering you good folks.
    I’ve read articles on the avian flu which all use the word evolution several times. Some of the articles include ridicule of Intelligent Design folk that if it becomes necessary, needing to make a decision on whether or not to take the flu shot, when one exists.

    What is within I.D. theory that would generate this point of ridicule?
    Or
    What would go against the I.D. grain if H5N1 mutates into a human to human transmitable decease? Heck. I hardly know how to pose the question so in lay terms please. ;)

    I made a comment on a community forum that is all messed up and I would like to clean the mess up in order to properly inform those that would read the post.

    Quote
    I'm looking at it from the point of view of genetic research.
    I.D. and special creation can't hope to get a clear view of what is happening in order to be of much use. Evolutionary science is and has already done much of what will be needed to find a cure if it does get out of hand.
    and
    Quote
    This flu is somewhat unique that it carries its own proteins and is also adaptive randomly which doesn't follow design theory. The only other virus that carried it's own protein was the flu of 1918. Proteins are necessary for cellular development and maintenance. It has all that it needs to be considered a parasite since it has cell structure.

    If a human gets it while also afflicted by another strain of flu, the species barrier can be breached and will allow for human to human transmission due to the combination of the 2 flu's random ability to survive by incorporating the other flu into it's DNA structure. At this point, the avian flu will successfully show transitional mutation. This is against I.D. theory.

    So, once human to human transmission is proved, will creationists or I.D. proponents take the flu shot or stand by their belief system science that believes this to be impossible?
    Full text of the thread can be found on the 2 pages starting here. I'm Beemer in the thread. How or can this be fixed?

    Some background of what I’ve been reading about for the last 2 weeks:
    Irreducible complexity which I feel is phylosophy
    Specified complexity by Dembski which I figure, from what I read here on the Panda’s Thumb is nothing but bad math. ( Although I couldn’t follow the math in question. ;) )
    I’ve found nothing but slant on Discovery Institutes articles with nothing much to add to real science when presenting evolution. They pose a lot of questions but do little to answer them.
    I’ve found I can’t find peer-review publications of any I.D. claims.
    I.D. offers nothing that I can find digestable.
    I’ve read a lot of the database here on Panda’s Thumb and will continue to read for a long time yet.

    You know the old adage, “Better to have others think you stupid, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” I blew it big time….lol

    So. Can anyone help me untangle my misconceptions? I would like to go back to the boards where I originally posted and correct my information as I don’t feel I did the case for evolution any favours with what I posted there, so far.
    * String Theory and ID (11 replies)
    bigfish242006-05-06 15:21:46
    Got a question that I would like to see how evolutionist/anti-creationist respond...
    **I will fully state that I believe in creation and I am a pre-medical student**

    What ponders me is if evolution, primarily macroevolution is correct then tracing time back we get to the Big Bang. Now the Big Bang inherently seems to point to creation--what caused it? Where did space, time, and energy arise from?

    However, new theories have been formulated attempting to solve this question. I recall one stating that our universe is in a cyclical repetition of Big Bangs, however the energy required to reverse the universe expansion is no where to be found. Lately the String Theory is the front-runner--it proposes that everything is made up of strings of energy within a 10 dimensional or even more world. The Big Bang would have been a result of a 3 dimensional world forming on top or within the other dimensions. This has far reaching implications however the big question is still never answered....

    With any of these theories the where, what, why is never answered. Where did the strings of energy come from? Why do they exist? What caused the existence?

    As I ponder these questions science seems to fall short, frankly the only answers seem to come with faith....

    Please respond and God Bless,
    Adam
    * The Watchmaker by Paley (3 replies)
    Fractatious2006-05-18 02:17:35
    Inteligent Design in itself had a "designer" and I think it would be valid to say that the origins can be traced back to the endearing philosopher, William Paley.

    Born in 1743 (England) Paley grew up Anglican, and trained for the priesthood. Paleys most memorable (and greatest work) book was Natural Theology:  Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Designer. His famous quote from this book (which one can trace to the ID movement today) is:

    . .  when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive. .  that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e.g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; that if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, or placed after any other manner or in any other order than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it..  the inference we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker - that there must have existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer, who comprehended its construction and designed its use.. The marks of design are too strong to be got over. Design must have had a designer. That designer must have been a person. That person is God.  
    * New anti-evolution website launched. (4 replies)
    dougp592006-10-31 15:05:53
    http://www.evolutionsucks.org/  where we fish for the truth on the theory of evolution.  This site is pro-id and pro-creationist.  Take our 7 question quiz.  Post in our blog, e-mail the author.  www.evolutionsucks.org is  now ranked #1 on page 1 of Google and Yahoo search using keyword phrase "Evolution Sucks".  We rank even higher than the Beavis and Butthead "Evolution Sucks" episode! :)
    * Evolution Question #2 (9 replies)
    dougp592006-11-03 10:13:23
    From www.evolutionsucks.org

    SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.  

    Astronomers and lay people alike are all involved in this search.  It involves linking up Internet connected computers to all pitch in to analyze radio telescope data.  

    What are they looking for in the data?  An INFERENCE of intelligence, which would lead them to conclude an intelligence responsible for sending the obviously 'designed' message .
    (Recall the movie “Contact” with Jodie Foster.)  

    Question #2  If we are prepared to say that an inference of intelligence detected from far away originating radio waves must be proof of intelligent life (the designer of the radio signal), then why is an inference of intelligence in complex living systems here on earth not proof of an intelligent designer of that complex system?  

    Does this sound like a double standard?
    Evolution Sucks
    * Evolution Question #3 (0 replies)
    dougp592006-11-03 10:45:36
    From www.evolutionsucks.org

    The Cambrian Explosion generally refers to the geologically sudden appearance of complex organisms on earth in antiquity.  

    What is striking is that the geologic record immediately preceding this period is largely devoid of complex organisms.

    Some call the Cambrian explosion the "evolutionary big bang," because (the claim goes) life evolved at rates of over twenty times the Precambrian rate. From approximately 535 million years ago to 520 million years ago, nearly all the animal phyla in existence today first appeared in the fossil record.

    Question #3  Given the large numbers of species in the fossil record extant in Cambrian fossil beds, explain why fossil beds beneath them are devoid of transitional fossils?  What mechanism was responsible for this vast array of species suddenly appearing in the fossil record?

    Evolution Sucks
    * Evolution Question #4 (0 replies)
    dougp592006-11-03 10:50:27
    From www.evolutionsucks.org

    The theory of evolution states that modern birds are descendants of the dinosaurs.  

    So, VERY large complex reptiles emerged from the VERY small fish of the ancient seas, had their fun, then decided to get VERY small and grow wings and fly?! LOL!

    Question #4   Can you show the transitional fossils for all THREE of these GIANT steps of evolution?

    Evolution Sucks
    * Evolution Question #5 (8 replies)
    dougp592006-11-03 10:56:15
    From www.evolutionsucks.org

    A theory long held as fact since the early 20th Century is that the speed of light is a constant as summed up in E=Mc2 (Otherwise known as Einstein’s theory of general relativity).

    Now, however, a debate has started over the question of is that really true.  If not, then Einstein’s theory gets tossed out the window.  

    If the speed of light was faster in antiquity than it is now, than the universe is MUCH younger than currently postulated since the age of the Universe is currently theorized based on the assumption that the speed of light was, is and always will be a constant.

    Question #5  Can you prove empirically that the speed of light has remained constant since the beginning of time?


    Evolution Sucks
    * Evolution Question #7 (0 replies)
    dougp592006-11-03 11:03:45
    From www.evolutionsucks.org

    The mystery of T-Rex.  

    Everybody loves T-Rex!  How can you not love an 11,000-lb. behemoth sporting razor sharp teeth that is 46 ft long!  

    In spite of its size, there is a dire absence of transitional fossils that would of course be smaller.  

    One supposed distant relative was found in China.  It’s remains were barely five feet long!

    That is quite a leap of faith, eh?

    Question #7  Given the sheer size of T-Rex, there should be plenty of gradual transitional fossils clearly showing the development of T-Rex from a smaller ancestor.  Where are these transitional fossils?  Where are the 30, 20 and 10 foot long fossil specimens of its' predecessors?  Why do they not exist?

    Evolution Sucks
    * Evolution Question #6 (1 replies)
    dougp592006-11-03 11:09:11
    From www.evolutionsucks.org

    Ever hear of the Bacterial Flagellum? Upon electron microscope examination, it looks very much like a machine!  

    In fact, it bears a strong resemblance to an outboard motor, you know, the kind you see on the back of those small aluminum-fishing boats.

    Any way, the Bacterial Flagellum is what scientists call an “irreducible complex system”. An irreducible complex system is made in such a way that if you take away any one part of the system, the system ceases to function.  A good example of this is the common mousetrap.  Take away any one part, and it ceases to function.  In the case of irreducibly complex organisms, taking away any one part causes it to die.

    Question #6   The theory of evolution says that less complex organisms evolved into more complex life forms.  How could the Bacterial Flagellum have evolved from a lower life form? What is its' transitional fossil?
    * theistic evlolution (1 replies)
    skeptic griggsy2006-11-27 07:54:30
    Theistic evolution is an oxymoron, because it conflates natural selection [causalism] and telology .As Dr. Weisz notes:"End states are consequences, not foregone conclusions." Before that he notes""Causalism denies foreknowledge of terminal states,preordination,purposes ,goals and fixed fates." Therefore , there is an contradiction between causalism and telology such that theistic evolution is just obscurantism . Now to obviate that contradiction, theists such as Russell Stannard propose a two category classificatin of origins[ natural selection] or contingency and creation[teleoligy- God] or necessary being; but as Malcolm Diamond and Kai Nielsen note in their philosophy of religion books , that is a circular argument. Causalism does not need a divine intruder to work. That is just god of the gaps! :)    :angry:  :O
    * The ID Dilemma (0 replies)
    pwe2006-11-29 07:13:42
    George Gilder, a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute, gave May 1, 2004, a speech to The Philadelphia Society at their national meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The text of the speech is avaiable as Market Economics and the Conservative Movement.

    According to this article, Gilder said:

     
    Quote

    Now, at the Discovery Institute, with my friend of 40 or more years, Bruce Chapman, we are again carrying this essential concept of ordered liberty, this reconciliation of cultural conservatism and economic conservatism forward with the focus on my part on science and technology, the implications of the new findings in science and technology for a deeper understanding of the themes of ordered liberty.


    So, for Gilder, "findings in science and technology" have political implications. The term 'ordered liberty' rhymes with 'designed randomness', doesn't it? But what then are those findings?

     
    Quote

    One is Information Theory. Now, Information Theory was conceived by Claude Shannon at MIT and Bell Labs in the late 1940’s. He was focusing on determining how much information could be transmitted down a particular communications channel. And the key insight was that information, real information, consists of surprise and he measured surprise in terms of what he called entropy as an analogy to a concept in physics. The crucial insight was that information is not equilibrium but disequilibrium. Information is not predictable data. Information is unexpected data. Information is news--what you don’t expect. A crucial insight of Information Theory, absolutely central, is that it takes a low entropy carrier to bear a high entropy message. In other words, you have to have a predictable carrier in order to bear a lot of information.


    And how is that relevant to ordered liberty?:

     
    Quote

    What you need is economic systems that are predictable; that can bear a lot of the good news, the unexpected boons of human creativity. Creativity always comes as a surprise to us. If creativity was not surprising you could plan it and socialism would prevail. But surprise is what defines creativity. It is news. It is unexpected data. In order to have an environment that can result in the surprises of human creativity you need to have a predictable, stable environment of law; stable law, stable families, stable money, stable property. These are essential to a productive economy. So, Information Theory is an absolutely vital finding that underlies almost the entire information economy--does underlie the information economy. And it also fully supports the Philadelphia Society’s concept of ordered liberty, which combines the low entropy of order with the high entropy of creativity. The crucial point, however, is that an economy is an information system not a material system. So, it’s ruled by the laws of information not by the laws of matter.


    That is, order (= low entropy, when order = high predictability) furthers creativity (= high entropy). Sure, in a predictable economic environment you can better allow investments in creativity, because an immediate return of investments isn't needed. It's a question of calculated riscs, just to come up with yet another way of saying 'ordered liberty'. The better you can calculate the riscs, the more riscs can you allow yourself to take. Besides the finding that information is disequilibrium, what more findings can Gilder mention?

     
    Quote

    The second key discovery about information during the twentieth century was Kurt Gödel’s demonstration and Gödel’s proof that no mathematical system is coherent or self-sufficient in itself. Any mathematical or logical system is necessarily dependent on premises beyond itself and irreducible to the system. In other words, Gödel’s proof sustains the second great theme of ordered liberty of transcendent order under God.


    What Gödel demonstrated is that no first-order system capable of producing the whole numbers with a finite number of axioms can prove all true statements about the whole numbers. That is, any such system "is necessarily dependent on premises beyond itself". And it is beyond me, how that sustains the theme of ordered liberty of transcendent order under God.

    Luckily, Gilder has the power to enlighten us:

     
    Quote

    The key point is that every logical system and ultimately all logic is reducible to mathematical propositions and is dependent on premises beyond itself. And order is necessarily transcendent. It’s not reductionist and that is the critical insight. It is hierarchical, not reductionist.


    That any theory needs additional ad hoc hypotheses when applied to the real world is hardly surprising these days. And I still don't see, what Gilder means by 'order'. Are there some additional premises that he has left out?&nbsp;&nbsp;

     
    Quote

    So, this means that the world began not in a primordial soup, it began--"In the beginning was the Word"--not a primordial soup. These divergent themes of conservatism: ordered liberty and transcendent order really have been fully and deeply confirmed by the most important scientific discoveries of the twentieth century. A lot of conservatives sort of adopt an intuitive resistance to the discoveries of science without a full grasp of how deeply they affirm conservative insights and how leftist scientism--this sort of materialist reductionism--has been completely overthrown by the twentieth century scientific discoveries.


    Who has claimed that the world began in a primordial soup? There seems to be some equivocation here, doesn't there? Anyway, Gilder appears to forget that there also is the rightist biblicism; the belief that each and every true statement can be derived from the Bible, although the Bible is finite. And how do we know that a false statement doesn't slip in, while we interpret the Bible?

    Now, Gilder doesn't go there. Instead he recommends budget deficits as the solution to the economic problems:

     
    Quote

    So, information is disequilibrium not equilibrium. This is one of the problems of much economics because economists always tend to favor equilibrium. They seem to believe that somehow the correct system is always in balance. But, I believe that science tells you that economies should have balanced law, families--all these--property rights and stable money. But the basic forces of growth are disequilibrium. The effort to reduce economics to equilibria is deadly and destructive. I think it took a long time for the Republican Party really to recognize this fact. For a long time the Republican Party resisted lower tax rates in the name of a totem of a balanced budget from the time of Hoover through Eisenhower and Nixon and Ford. Equilibrium economics prevailed. It wasn’t really until Ronald Reagan that we had a president who reconciled these two great principles of ordered liberty and brought disequilibrium to the fore.


    Gilder's semantic leaps can be somewhat hard to follow, so let's try to make the logic a bit more explicit.

    Information is surprise. If you live in an area, where there's a 90% probability of rain on any one day, you won't be surprised, if the weather forecast tells you that it's going to rain the next day. Neither is this much information, because it's what you would have expected, even without the weather forecast. If the weather forecast tells you it's going to be clear and sunny the next day, there's more surprise and more information, because it's contrary to expectations. Now, Shannon's entropy measures the average surprise, it measures so to speak uncertainty. And a decrease in uncertainty is an increase in information.If you know everything, that is, if you have no uncertainty, you cannot gain any new information.The concept of entropy is also used in thermodynamics and here refers to the uncertainty of the microstate of a thermodynamic system given a certain macrostate. Let's assume we have two equally big containers, A and B, connected through a valve. Assume A to be filled with air molecules and B to be completely empty. This is a system in disequilibrium, because there is an ueven distribution of molecules. The macrostate is given by the combined volume of the two containers and the total energy of the air molecules. The microstate could be defined as the number of molecules in either container. At first, there is no uncertainty regarding the microstate: all air molecules are in A. If we open the valve, air molecules will start moving from A to B. Pick out an air molecule at random (equal probability for all molecules), is it in A or is it in B? At the very beginning we would be very surprised, if it were in B, because it takes time for air molecules to move - perhaps not much time, but we are measuring really quick here. That is, at the beginning, we can be pretty certain that a randomly chosen air molecule will be in A. With time, however, uncertainty will increase, as more molecules move from A to B. At equilibrium, half of the air molecules in A and the other half in B, the process grinds to a halt. Air molecules will still move around, and an air molecule may move from A to B, but it's equally likely that an air molecule moves from B to A.

    At the start we have maximum disequilibrium and no uncertainty. When equilibrium is reached we have maximum uncertainty. Since, for Shannon, information is negation of uncertainty, there is more information in a system in equilibrium (because there is more uncertainty) than in a system in disequilibrium (because there is less uncertainty).

    Let's say that all people in a society have the same number of dollar bills. Pick a dollar bill at random, who owns it? We here have a system in equilibrium - everybody has the same number of dollar bills - and we have maximum uncertainty, since the probability is the same for each person to own the dollar bill in question. Now, let 10% of the population own 90% of the dollar bills, and 90% of the population own 10% of the dollar bills. That's disequilibrium, and we won't be much surprised. if a randomly chosen dollar bill belongs to someone in the richest 10% of the population.

    Now, of course, what Gilder is after is that money makes the world go around. The rich people can't use all their money for consumption; maybe the richest 10% of the population will spend 90% of their money on investments and even charity. Investments means production, and productions means products that can be sold and purchased. Charity means a sure ticket to heaven for the giver and money that can be used for purchasing products for the receiver.

    A budget deficit for the state, such as through lowering taxes, means more money to the tax payers, and with a bit of luck, increasingly more, the more they paid in tax. But for the system to work, there must actually be some production, which in turn means there must be some purchase - if no-one buys anything, production will also soon stop. So purchase is actually equally important, and therefore purchase-capable people are needed. The rich can't simply thrive on selling to themselves, because they can't spend all their money on consumption, if they also need to invest money to keep up production.

    Gilder knows quite well that spending money is needed to keep the show going, though he sees low tax rates as an integral part of government spending:

     
    Quote

    Indeed, it is only with low tax rates that a nation can sustain the levels of spending necessary to support the defense and national security that is necessary to defend ordered liberty. For the entire 40 years of the Philadelphia Society’s existence countries with low or declining tax rates have been able to increase their government spending three times faster than countries with high or rising tax rates. If you want low absolute levels of government spending the best thing to do is to enact high tax rates and oppressive regulations because these will succeed in suppressing the surprises of entrepreneurial creativity on which human triumph always depends.


    So, low tax rates increase the surprises of entrepreneurial creativity, and somehow that leads to the defense and national security necessary to defend ordered liberty. That is, somehow it is all tied up with military technology, and, of course, anyone familiar with military triumph knows that it is all a question of surprising the enemy. Just read Sun Tzu's The Art of War, if in doubt.

    Yet, Gilder sees no problem in a purchase deficit:

     
    Quote

    This article [in the Regulation magazine from the Cato Institute] implies that balance is good for trade and budgets and stuff. Balanced tires or a balanced diet--they’re deeply desirable. But a balance of trade or a balanced budget is not necessarily desirable at all. Indeed, a trade gap signifies a capital surplus. It means that people want to send us money.


    Maybe so, maybe not so. But Gilder claims it is so:

     
    Quote

    So, the way to think of this is: a foreigner with a dollar can do two things with it. He can buy an American good--buy an apple exported from the United States, for example--or he can buy an asset in the United States. If he purchases the apple, he eats it and we don’t have it anymore. If he purchases the asset in the United States, we keep it. And he registers a deeper commitment to America than he does in buying an apple, or a side of beef or any other kind of American product. When we begin to run a trade surplus I begin to worry.


    But if the foreigner purchases an apple, the apple will be removed from the US, and the payment for the apple will be deposited in the US. The difference between a stock asset and an apple is that the purchaser doesn't get anything immediately from the asset, but hopes he can sell it some day for more than he gave for it. Where is that capital increase going to come from? If no-one buys anything but stock assets, there can be no production, and money will be only worth their waste paper value. A material production somewhere is needed in order for those money to really have any value - they can't be woth more money otherwise. Of course, the value of money can be measured in non-material goods - the US is taking up big loans in China, and the Chinese government buys a more friendly tone towards violations of humans rights in China and a lowered US support of Taiwan for those loans. Still, the money can't be used for anything good in the US, if there is no production there.

    Gilder, of course, knows this, and sees entrepreneurial creativity as the solution:

     
    Quote

    So, the real solution is entrepreneurial creativity, which is a force of disequilibrium, "creative destruction," said Shumpeter. This is a great era of entrepreneurial creativity in the United States.


    An what's more:

     
    Quote

    The triumph of the entrepreneur is ultimately a moral triumph as well as merely a material triumph. Because, he ultimately is an information agent. The essential rule of enterprise is the golden rule. The good fortune of others is always your own. That’s the fundamental principle of capitalism. Where you get rich by serving others and where you, above all, hope that others succeed. Where always the biggest untapped market is the poor. The billions of people around the world who are now at last ascending toward the bounties of ordered freedom that the Philadelphia Society upholds. It’s not greed or self-interest but the service of others that propels the advances of capitalism. Equilibrium economics is an economics of death. Disequilibrium, entrepreneurial economics, the economics of surprise and creativity is the economics of life. The key message of ordered liberty is "choose life."


    Sure, the good fortune of others is always your own; you need rich buyers. This is why the biggest untapped market is always the poor.


    cheers
    - pwe
    * Gilder, O'Leary, and Dawkins (0 replies)
    pwe2006-12-04 10:50:34
    Denyse O'Leary has on her ARN blog, The ID Report, a five part series on Why is tech guru George Gilder not a Darwinist? The second part, Life as architecture of ideas or information, is particularly interesting.

    George Gilder is co-founder of the Discovery Institute, a born-again Christian, and he likes glass-fiber cables, so all in all, he is indeed a tech guru.

    O'Leary starts out with:

     
    Quote
    As Gilder explains in his National Review article, the tormented computer genius Alvin Turing stressed that a computer is not wires and metal but "its architecture of ideas."


    We'll ignore that it is 'Alan Turing', and only pick up the notion that it is not the material implementation that matters. It's a funny thing with anti-evolutionists: that they believe that all evolutionists are materialists, and that therefore anyone who is not a materialist must be one of their heroes.

    My point in this post is to show that by that reasoning, Richard Dawkins must belong right up there with Allan Turing as an ID hero.

    O'Leary continues:

     
    Quote
    Most writers understand this concept quite easily, actually. A book for which the publisher has forwarded $50 000 advance can be lodged on a computer whose market value is $500 - and whose scrap value is 50 cents. The ideas give value to the computer, not the other way around.

    Really, it was no different in the days of pen and paper or clay tablets. It was always the ideas that gave value to the material objects, not the other way round.


    Yes, we understand this concept quite easily; but, may we ask, is O'Leary aware that 99% of all clay tablets found deal with economic transactions: so and so much grain is paid in tax, so and so much silver is paid in for some goods, and so on. Transactions describing movements of material objects. And without some material embodyment, the architecture of ideas in a computer is of little use.

    But ok, we live in the Age of Information, and we have known that for some time, so what is O'Leary's real point?

    Of course, that 'Darwinian materialism' must be provable wrong. To this purpose, O'Leray quotes Gilder for the following:

     
    Quote
    I came to see that the computer offers an insuperable obstacle to Darwinian materialism. In a computer, as information theory shows, the content is manifestly independent of its material substrate. No possible knowledge of the computer's materials can yield any information whatsoever about the actual content of its computations. In the usual hierarchy of causation, they reflect the software or "source code" used to program the device; and, like the design of the computer itself, the software is contrived by human intelligence.


    What Darwinian materialism? Unfortunately, materialism can refer to quite a gamut of ideas (ironic, ne'est-ce pas?); but usually implies something about the primacy of matter over ideas, whatever happens to be meant by 'ideas'. For instance, in Marxist historical materialism, the word 'materialism' refers to primacy of material production over the ideology; that is, the organization of material production causes ideologies rather than the other way around. This is obviously a very different kind of materialism than Democritus of Abdera's dictum, "There is nothing but atoms and space, everything else is only an opinion".

    O'Leary shortly after writes:

     
    Quote
    Consider Shannon's concept of entropy. "News" or information cannot be described by purely physical or chemical theories. We can easily see why this is so if we think about it. To you, information is what your mind accepts as information. For example, the discovery via an e-mail that someone you love really prefers someone else [!] is information to you. To the computer, the key information was only more bits 'n bytes. As Gilder says, "Information is defined by its independence from physical determination: If it is determined, it is predictable and thus by definition not information."


    Yes, of course, but who doesn't know this? And anyway, Gilder in the quoted passage gets things wrong. There is quite a difference between whether something is determined and whether it is known to be determined, and even if it is known to be determined, whether the entire causal chain is known. If I flip a coin, I have reason to believe that it is fully determined whether it lands heads up or tails up; there is not some fairy that manipulates it underways. Yet I cannot predict the outcome, except statistically.

    If I receive an e-mail, the content of that e-mail is fully determined; it doesn't randomly change just because I open and read it. Whether it is information for me or not is a different matter, so O'Leary and Gilder are confusing knowledge and determination.

    Quoting Gilder, O'Leary writes:

     
    Quote
    in all the sciences I studied, information comes first, and regulates the flesh and the world, not the other way around. The pattern seemed to echo some familiar wisdom. Could it be, I asked myself one day in astonishment, that the opening of St. John's Gospel, In the beginning was the Word, is a central dogma of modern science?


    If information is something that can only be picked up by a mind, how can information regulate "the flesh and the world"? And, as for the Gospel of John, it was the Word of God, not just any old word.

    And a paragraph later:

     
    Quote
    I can now affirm the principle empirically. Salient in virtually every technical field from quantum theory and molecular biology to computer science and economics is an increasing concern with the word. It passes by many names: logos, logic, bits, bytes, mathematics, software, knowledge, syntax, semantics, code, plan, program, design, algorithm, as well as the ubiquitous "information." In every case, the information is independent of its physical embodiment or carrier


    So, it's the word by any other name; but how does that relate to Darwinism?

    After having supplied the above quote, O'Leary turns rather mysterious:

     
    Quote
    But what about DNA?, one might ask. Isn't our DNA a deterministic code that just happened to evolve and create us? Well, the chemistry of DNA is irrelevant to its message. The four DNA code letters - A,C,G,T - do not, in themselves, tell a creature what to be, any more than letters of an alphabet tell you what to write. Additional information does that. For example, the simple nematode worms that survived a recent space shuttle disaster and were returned to their owners have only somewhat fewer genes than humans (20 000 vs. 30 000) - which basically tells you that most of what is really happening is not happening in the genes.


    Of course, the letters of an alphabet doesn't tell me, what to write; but the letters in for instance O'Leary's post tell me, what to read, don't they? And how is the 'small' difference between the number of nematode genes and human genes (which is 50% of the number of nematode genes) related to, what is really happening?

    Yet another Gilder quote:

     
    Quote
    Like a sheet of paper or a series of magnetic points on a computer's hard disk or the electrical domains in a random-access memory or indeed all the undulations of the electromagnetic spectrum that bear information through air or wires in telecommunications DNA is a neutral carrier of information, independent of its chemistry and physics. By asserting that the DNA message precedes and regulates the form of the proteins, and that proteins cannot specify a DNA program, Crick's Central Dogma unintentionally recapitulates St. John's assertion of the primacy of the word over the flesh.


    It was for some time thought that proteins were the carriers of inheritance, and with the discovery of DNA, it was still discussed, which had which rôle. With Francis Crick's Central Dogma the discussion ended with DNA being the carrier of inheritance, and proteins being encoded in DNA. O'Leary writes that there are four DNA code letters, A,C,G,T. However, these do not encode anything; we need three of them to make, what's called a codon, the actual letter of the DNA code. There are therefore 4*4*4 = 64 different codons, a 64 letter alphabeth. Each codon either encodes an amino acid or is a stop code. There are 20 amino acids, so 64 letter alphabeth of DNA is actually translated to a 21 letter alphabeth, of which the 20 letters, the amino acids, are used in proteins. It is therefore not possible from a protein to reconstruct its gene (the sequence of codons that encoded it), and therefore proteins cannot precede DNA.

    So, contrary to O'Leary's statement above, that "what is really happening is not happening in the genes", Gilder follows the general trend by claiming that DNA is the provider of information.

    Perhaps O'Leary has misunderstood Gilders statement that "DNA is a neutral carrier of information, independent of its chemistry and physics"? A statement that by the way is not quite right, but let's just ignore that.

    O'Leary does not make a distinction between DNA and genes, while Gilder does not mention genes. However, the way he refers to DNA, he clearly means DNA patterns, not the individuals DNA molecules.

    This, interestingly, brings Gilder in exact line with the atheist Darwinist materialist Richard Dawkins, who back in 1986 published The Blind Watchmaker.

    On p. 127 of said book, Dawkins writes:

     
    Quote
    DNA gets the best of both worlds. DNA molecules themselves, as physical entities, are like dewdrops. Under the right conditions they come into existence at a great rate, but no one of them has existed for long, and all will be destroyed within a few months. They are not durable like rocks. But the patterns that they bear in their sequences are as durable as the hardest rocks. They have what it takes to exist for millions of years, and that is why they are still here today. The essential difference from dewdrops is that new dewdrops are not begotten by old dewdrops. Dewdrops doubtless resemble other dewdrops, but they don't specifically resemble their own 'parent' dewdrops. Unlike DNA molecules, they don't form lineages, and therefore can't pass on messages. Dewdrops come into existence by spontaneous generation, DNA messages by replication.


    That is, while DNA molecules are material, genes = DNA patterns are not, though each concrete instance needs to exist in a material form.

    For Dawkins as for Gilder, the DNA molecules are carriers of information, an information that is the DNA pattern, which itself is neither physical nor chemical, but apparently, in a Platonistic sense, an idea. An entire genome must therefore, for Dawkins, not be something physical and chemical, but "its architecture of ideas."

    Maybe the ID people should study Darwinists a bit more closely, before they run out and claim to have refuted Darwinist materialism?


    - pwe
    * Gilder, O'Leary, and lactose (1 replies)
    pwe2006-12-05 11:27:13
    In Part Four, The hierarchy of information vs. "nothing but", of Denyse O'Leary five part series on George Gilder, there is an interesting little detail.

    O'Leary writes:

     
    Quote
    Regarding the "causes of economic growth," its [sic] worth remembering that - at every stage - "economic growth" is first and foremost an idea in the minds of men. It always begins with an idea of a better life - clean water or public schools, for example. The material advance follows the idea. Without the idea the advance never happens. Ignoring this principle has led to much waste in foreign aid efforts by wealthy countries. Why? Because things have been forced on people as "improvements" before they wanted or cared about them, and they responded by ignoring, subverting, or destroying them.


    So, instead of just forcing our things on other people, we also have to force our ideas on them.

    O'Leary continues:

     
    Quote
    Example: My own country (Canada) once exported tins of powdered milk to a poor country where the malnourished people did not normally drink milk after they were weaned. But the recipients threw away the powdered milk and used only the aluminum tins! The people were not stupid. They easily understood the value of the tins in their daily life. But they did not understand the value of the milk. They did not know about the importance of proteins in the diet. So an effort to improve health in that region did not depend on supplying a physical substance such as powdered milk. It depended on getting the people to accept the idea that a higher protein diet would alleviate illness and the idea that the donated powdered milk could help them do so. In that case, only a change at the highest level of the system (the ideas in the minds of men) could change centuries of misery. Indeed, once they accepted the idea, they might seek local sources of milk, and might not end up needing much help from Canada.


    See, things are not that simple. To metabolize lactose, an ingredient in milk and other dairy products, you need the enzyme lactase, an enzyme produced, for obvious reasons, by young mammals, but usually not by adult mammals. For humans, the production generally cease between the ages two and five. This is called lactose intolerance (Wikipedia article).

    Northern Europeans (and people elsewhere of Northern European origin) with their long tradition of living on dairy products have very few lactose intolerant people, whereas among African Bantus 89% are lactose intolerant, and among Native Americans 100% are lactose intolerant. So, it's not just a question of giving people the idea that milk is healthy, because maybe it isn't.

    It is not possible from O'Leary's short story above to see, if the milk was cow milk or plant milk, and if it was cow milk, whether it had been treated with lactose catalysing bacteria or another process with the same purpose. But all in all, it is possible that the milk powder was thrown away, becayúse it really wasn't healthy.

    It's not just a question of ideas, lactose intolerance is real, not hysteria, and lactose tolerance is due to a mutation that is most widespread among Northern Europeans. So whether O'Leary likes it or not, she has unknowingly touched upon a subject that favors the evil Darwinists rather than the good IDists.

    Source


    - pwe
    * Only a game... (2 replies)
    olegt2006-12-30 07:56:11
    It's official: ID is a game played by creationists.  
    http://www.livingwaters.com/Merchan....ode=536
    * prove to me intelligent design is credible. (0 replies)
    f91sync2007-02-19 05:49:41
    prove to me, without asking questions, the credibility of intelligent design (ID). From my experience, proponents of ID prove their theory by poking holes into the theory of evolution. They use false dichotomies to 'prove' ID.

    how many of you ID advocates earned a college degree in biology?
    * Design or development? (1 replies)
    Heusdens2007-02-24 09:20:11
    The ID and creationism movement often use the analogy of the watch and claim that such an artefact could not have assembled itself,and therefore there must be a creator.

    Let us use this argument and see what far we got with it, but now we analyze an automobile.

    The ID-er would have no problem claiming that - mostdefinately - the automobile did not assemble itself, but was an artefact of creation/intelligent design.

    Let us look at it. So how did the automobile got here?
    Did some creative mind create the automobile from nothing? When in fact was the automobile created?
    Appearently this whole issue is far less obvious as we initially thought.

    We have to recognize that the current day automobile comes from seperate inventions, namely the charot and the engine, which have seperate histories, and were at some time combined. The original first automobile, which was the blueprint for all modern automobiles has significantly changed since then. Which already shows us that an instantanious creation of the automobile has not occured, but in fact show signs of development, stepwise improvement, diversifaction, etc. Almost identical to what we see in evolution!!!!

    So the first automobile was a combination of the charot and the engine. Both can be dated back to previous forms, which also show signs of development.
    We can trace back the charot to thousands of years back, and where an animal replaced the engine.
    The charot itself is just the combination of a wheel and a chassis. The wheel itself can be traced back to early tools for moving heavy objects (stones) with the use of rolling trunks of trees or something.
    So ultimately the invention of the wheel was derived from nature: natural round objects that can roll.
    Same for the engine, before the benzine motor there was the steam engine, and the steam engine was already invented by the Greeks, but as a toy. Heat water in a pot and use the outcoming steam for mechanical motion.
    So the invention of the engine can be traced back to the utilization of fire, and fire itself comes from nature.

    What does this all mean: even in human society, the term "creation" in fact has no real application, but can be understood as development processes having the same signs of evolutionay processes as we see in nature: stepwise refinement, variation, etc.

    The only difference is that humans play a role in it, because they use some intellect to make such refinements, and who utilize these inventions.
    * Scientific Status of Intelligent Design (28 replies)
    Scott Beach2007-03-04 15:33:09
    Intelligent design is often referred to as a scientific theory but this is not technically correct.  Intelligent design is an unverified scientific hypothesis.

    See http://intelligent-design-hypothesis.com
    * Vern Poythress :EVALUATING MACROEVOLUTION (0 replies)
    snowball52122007-03-29 04:53:52
    In detail, the dispute focuses mostly on macroevolution, that is, the hypothesis that major differences between kinds of plants and animals were bridged in the past through normal, gradual processes of reproduction and selection through many generations. Microevolution (small variations within a species)is not in dispute. And evolutionary naturalism ought not to be merely disputed but vigorously rejected.

    So what about macroevolution? The fossil record is piecemeal, with gaps between major kinds. People already committed to macroevolution, either on philosophical grounds or because it has been accepted by the mainstream of scientists, fill in the gaps by postulating that there were intermediate forms,or some gradualist explanation. We should be suspicious, because the current atmosphere, in the general culture and within the subculture of scientists,includes the assumption either that there are absolutely no exceptions (closed regularity) or that no exceptions ought to be allowed as a matter of “scientific principle” The assumptions predetermine the answer.

    On the other hand, let us not be too quick to embrace the alternative (some kind of progressive creationism) without looking to see whether it has weaknesses of its own.

    Sometimes people operate here with an improper dualism between primary and secondary causes, so that one excludes the other. So ordinary reproduction (with secondary causes) does not involve God, and only an extraordinary act of creation (with no secondary causes) shows his existence, care, and involvement. This view has allowed unbiblical assumptions about secondary causation. And these assumptions put pressure on people not to look for secondary causes at all. So the accusation comes from the defenders of evolution that we have given up too early on looking for an explanation. To say God did it and stop there does not give us a scientific explanation but instead brings an end to science. There is a grain of truth here. But it is only a half-truth, because we need not stop with saying that God did it. Maybe there are ordinary secondary causes through which he did it. And even if there are not, God has reasons for what he does, and we may be able to discern a pattern that gives us some understanding of his reasons.

    From a Christian worldview, we should affirm that, in principle, God could create animals either instantaneously or gradually, as he chooses. He could use a preexisting life-form as his starting point, just as he used Adam’s rib to create Eve. Whether he used extraordinary or ordinary means remains a secondary issue. We should avoid putting pressure on science artificially to prefer the extraordinary. But we should also avoid locking in the assumption that we must exclude the extraordinary. In fact, given the current atmosphere in science that wants absolutely to forbid the extraordinary, some pressure in the other direction is appropriate!
    * Molecular Motors and the Argument from Design (2 replies)
    TheBlackCat2007-04-12 21:02:27
    One of Behe's favorite examples of an "intelligently designed" system are molecular motors, and "the" bacteria flagellum in particular.  He claims that not only is it irreducibly complex, but it even resembles motors that humans build.  His first claim has been easily refuted.  His second claim has as well, but it is nevertheless the interesting bit here.  

    At first glance, the comparison has merit.  It certainly looks similar in some ways to a human motor.  But does it actually operate the same?  

    It turns out it probably does not.  There are plenty of examples of where the design analogy serves not useful purpose (biology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc).  However, here is a case where the design analogy seems to have significantly impeded scientific understanding of a subject.  Only by going to back to the fundamentals, physics in this case, was the answer actually discovered.  I apologize if this has already been covered, but I could find no mention of it.

    This stems primarily from a paper by Alexander Vologodskii in Physics of Life Reviews last year, Energy Transformation in Biological Molecular Motors.  The basic premise of the paper is simple.  Molecular motors cannot operate like man-made motors because they don't have inertia.  If you look at a car engine, for instance, a chemical reaction (gasoline exploding) pushes a piston down.  The explosion and following expansion of gasses (the power stroke) is fairly brief.  After that ceases there is no longer any force pushing on the piston.  It relies on inertia to carry it through the rest of the cycle and ultimately start the cycle again.  

    This is fine on human length scales.  However, on molecular scales this starts to become a problem.  When you scale motor downs the inertia decreases more rapidly than the size of the motor due to rapidly increasing viscosity of water.  By the time you get down to molecular size inertia is pretty much gone.  As soon as you stop applying force the motor pretty much instantly stops (compared to the size of the motor itself).  In order for the motor to operate in that manner a continuous force would have to be exerted, and that is not the case (ATP by its nature is a one-shot deal) nor would it be efficient to do it this way if it could be.  Long-range interactions also do not work, so applying some sort of alternating push and pull like you see in man-made electrical motors does not work.  This means that none of the principles used in human motors work.  And attempts to look at the systems in question from that perspective have ultimately failed.  This has not stopped people from calling it a "power stroke", a clear analogy to human machinery despite the fact that it is nothing like human machinery and can't really even be called a "stroke"

    So then, how do molecular motors work when none of the principles we are familiar with from our machines work?  As you probably guessed, they work by a method that is completely different than human machines.  In the end, molecular motors are made of a relatively small number of molecules, mostly proteins.  And one property that proteins have is that they can change their shape.  This is known from enzymes, for instance, which can undergo allosteric changes when they bind to other molecules.  Molecular motors take advantage of this.  Of course human machines can change their shape to an extent.  Piezoelectrics come to mind.  But this works considerably differently, and no one would consider using piezoelectrics in the sort of roles molecular motors often fill (such as moving objects along a cable or rotorary motors).  In essence, instead of the movement of the motor being caused by a chemical reaction, the movement of the motor is a chemical reaction.  The binding of a ligand causes the equilibrium conformation of the protein to change.  This causes the random thermal changes in the protein to tend towards a different state than they previously did, causing a net change in protein shape.  Basically it acts like a rectifier for random molecular motion.  Unbinding causes the equilibrium situation to change back, causing the protein's random shape changes to tend towards a different conformational state.  

    Imagine you had a cylinder full of balls and you wanted to move them to an adjoining cylinder connected by a long tube.  The cylinders both have movable floors.  Now the logical way to do this would be to raise the floor of the side with the balls and tilt it so the balls all roll out of the cylinder and along the tube into the other cylinder.  But what if your balls cannot roll?  And what if they are bouncing around the cylinder and never stopped?  Then by raising the floor of first cylinder and lowering the floor of the other you can cause the probability that a ball will be in the original cylinder very small and the probability of it being in the other very large.  However, moving the cylinders takes energy, and that is where the ATP or ion gradient or whatever power source is being used comes in.  In essence you are dealing with a variant of "Maxwell's Demon", where the ligand binding or unbinding acts as the demon that traps a single fast-moving particle on one side of a partition or the other.  Only it is a hungry demon and it uses far more energy than is gained from trapping the particles.  The problem with these analogies is that it is not obvious how you would get such a system to do useful work, and certainly not how you could get them to do useful work in an efficient manner.  Nevertheless details studies of the equilibrium energy states of single molecular motors show they do indeed change in a manner that would be expected from such a system.  Further, analysis of enzymes show their conformational changes operate in much the same manner.

    Now this article does not specifically mention bacterial flagella, but considering the length scales in question "the" bacterial flagellum cannot possibly operate similarly to a human motor, and most likely operate in a similar manner to this.  Ultimately, instead of some specially-designed machinery operating in a similar manner to human machinery we have yet another a ubiquitous feature of proteins jerry-rigged to fit a new and not intuitively obvious role.  So much for the argument from design.
    * The link between science and ID (22 replies)
    AdR2007-05-05 05:38:26
    I recently published 4 peer-reviewed articles that each propose design-based alternative theories to areas of evolutionary research and consider my research the link between ID and hard science. I believe that the detection of design is essential for an understanding of evolution, simply because design aspects are essential for any complex system. In this way, my approach is to reverse engineer Life. Future research should be able to tell whether natural causes or driving forces will be enough to create an intricate molecular machine such as Life. It will be a question for engineers, who in general are much more skeptical about the feasibility of reaching such a complex system in a relatively short time.

    I consider my use of design patterns as the link between evolutionary science and intelligent design. It is based on the premise that Life is an evolving molecular machine, and when you try to understand how a machine works, you study its design. In case of evolution, which is the continuous expansion of the system, it only seems natural to study engineering and more specifically to study complex systems. If you want to understand complex systems, you need to study designs and design patterns. Although engineering concepts such as modularity have been recognized in evolutionary science , the application of these design patterns to the actual evolution of developmental pathways has been practically inexistent. This has led to the strange phenomenon that evolutionary scientists do accept the concept of an evolving molecular machine, but fail to think in mechanistic terms.

    I have written several short pieces about the philosophical implications of my theories (below), which should be also interesting for students and engineers. I hope I can further interest you or your co-workers with my studies (see also below). My website also contains information about other articles I wrote.



    For those interested, here are some links to my articles and opinions:

    My publications in peer-reviewed journals: Albert de Roos' publication

    Background on my articles: Evolution and design
    * Darwin's theory is wrong (6 replies)
    John2007-05-14 11:21:25
    http://www.biblelife.org/evolution.htm

    :D
    * One Question (11 replies)
    NoMissingLink2007-05-28 21:22:20
    I am strongly opposed to evolution. However, there is one nagging question in the creation story that I don’t quite get.

    Why didn’t the Dinosaurs try to eat Adam and Eve?

    As I understand it, the Dinosaurs were not wiped off the earth until the time of the flood along with the Nephilim.
    * Young Earth Creation vs. ID (14 replies)
    Not A Monkey2007-05-29 08:14:26
    I am curious to know what you feel about Young Earth Creationism.

    I personally think that any consideration that leads us away from the literal word of the Bible is a form of satanism.

    Please share your thoughts.  Great bunch of people here, you are all awesome, and open minded.  I am really glad I found this place.

    Luke 2:23-25
    "(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"[a]), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."
    * Thats a lot of excrement! (7 replies)
    NoMissingLink2007-05-29 13:17:32
    Ok, the bible tells us that Noah was tasked with preserving 2 of every kind of animal that was considered “unclean” and 7 for every type of  “clean” animal. Given all the species of animals that’s quite a big number of animals living in that Ark. What do you think Noah and his family did with all that excrement? I don’t think they burned it since the Ark itself was made of wood and that could have set the whole ship ablaze.

    Animal diapers perhaps?

    I've been presented this question by several evolutionists and have never been able to provide a plausible solution to this problem
    * if the creation story is true (9 replies)
    NoMissingLink2007-05-29 23:54:39
    Please tell me where Cain got his wife?
    * What if? (4 replies)
    NoMissingLink2007-05-29 22:44:01
    Both evolution and creation are fact? What if God created monkeys with the ability to evolve into humans?
    * Intelligent Design and Evolution can coexist (13 replies)
    Wirvel2007-06-11 05:39:38
    The main argument against the existence of a divine creator is that it creates an even greater problem than it solves, namely: 'who created the creator?'. Evolution elegantly solves this problem, and shows how very simple structures can evolve into extremely complex beings by natural selection. There is no doubt that evolution by natural selection lies behind the existence of complex life on earth, as not only logic and reason tells us, but which have been proven by tons of evidence since Darwin first published his theory. But does it really disprove God? It might be argued that a divine creator is extremely unlikely to exist, because it gives rise to an even bigger question, 'Who created God?'. In nature complex beings evolve from less complex beings. Complexity is the end product of something rather than the start. This seems like a quite convincing argument in favour of the non-existence of God, but is it really?

    Isn't the existence of time and matter unlikely in itself? Why should a divine creator be any more unlikely? Isn't the 'Who created God' argument convincing just because we are living in a world where that kind of logic applies? Isn't God supposed to have existed before our world, beyond it and at the same time everywhere for eternity? Whereas we are living in a universe where that kind of logic may seem perfectly true to us, the opposite may be true in another. Imagine a world where 1+1 does not equals 2, or a world where time as we know it doesn't exist, perhaps a world without beginning and end. What we may find extremely unlikely and totally weird, may, for a being or intelligence living in such a world, be the exact opposite. Complex structures may come first and evolve into simpler, or not evolve at all, but rather exist for eternity.

    An example, taken from Einsteins Theory of Relativity, is the fact that when you travel in a spaceship at a speed of 2/3 the speed of light and measure the speed of light, you will get the exact same result as if you measured it home on earth. Why? Because you and the lightbeams are a part of the system itself(the moving spaceship), for which reason you will experience and measure things as if everything was completely normal. If the spaceship launched a rocket at 2/3 the speed of light it will be seen as moving at 12/13 the speed of light from an observer home on earth, which may seem strange considering that the passengers of the spaceship measured it to 2/3 the speed of light. The two realities are quite different relative to each other, but if you are a part of the system yourself(in this case aboard the spaceship), everything will feel like normal, and the speed of light will stay the same.

    In ancient times it was self-evident that things always fall downwards. The force of gravity was taken for granted, and it was hard for people to imagine a world where this law didn't apply. People often argued and reasoned that if the earth was round, why didn't people fall of when they reached the other side? And if you looked at it, it was obviously flat and not round. We now know that we just have to move away from the earth(i.e away from our system) to realize that we simply were stuck in that particular system and didn’t see the world as it really was. Our own closed reality created a certain way of thinking making it hard to imagine a system where up and down doesn’t exist and where you float freely(as in space).

    Now think of the above mentioned parables and apply the same idea to the whole universe and its very laws. What may seem weird and illogical(for example, that complex beings evolve first, or not at all) to us appears that way because we are stuck on our own small plane of existence and think according to its laws. You could say that our thoughts are bound to God's creation. We can't reach beyond it. Our own logic and reason reflect the mind of God, and we can use it to explore his creation, but unlike the earth parable, we will most likely be stuck on this plane of existence for eternity and never be able to prove that another, higher reality, exists on the outside, or hidden everywhere around us if you will. Two dimensional characters seen on the TV screen can’t just step out and walk around in our three-dimensional world, even if they were intelligent. Our own world is seen from our perspective, whereas other worlds might appear very strange from that same point of view.

    Our universe, in a higher reality, may be seen as a map or painting where not only our three dimensions of space are shown but, but even time itself. If you see it from that perspective, you can easily imagine a sort of creator painting our universe(both space and time). God may simply be(and shouldn't he?) beyond and above our own plane of existence. Belief in God shouldn't contradict scientific fact such as the theory of Evolution, and what I just have shown is that it doesn't. If God is painting a four-dimensional universe(including time itself), and we are stuck on this four-dimensional plane of existence, both the theory of Evolution and the Intelligent Design theory will be correct. God can simply see our future and past all at the same time, and perhaps change things whenever he likes.

    From his perspective it may even have taken seven days, as stated in the Bible. God simply doesn’t measure time as we do. If you are painting a beautiful forest teeming with nesting sites for birds you will not just paint the roots, the leafs and the birds. You want things to be interconnected so as to make the painting complete, meaningful and truly beautiful, so you paint complete trees with roots, trunks, branches, bird nests etc. In the exact same way God may have created the whole universe and all its parts and connected each part through time to make the picture complete. This ofcourse includes Evolution, and for this very reason Evolution and Intelligent Design can coexist. Evolution is merely how God has chosen to link all his beautiful living creations.

    Seen in this way, Intelligent Design does not contradict Evolution. Isn't God supposed to have existed before and beyond our universe rather than be a part of it? If so, the 'Who Created God' argument, as I have demonstrated, shouldn't be convincing. It isn't possible for us to calculate any probability for God's existence. It's not a matter of 50% chance either. It's simply not possible for us to make calculations due to the fact that we are stuck on our own plane of reality. It’s a matter of belief, and it may be sound, because it gives people hope and purpose, but it can on the other hand also lead to acts of evil as strongly argued by Richard Dawkins in his book 'The God Delusion'. God has given us a great tool to understand his creation, namely logic and reason. Shouldn’t we use it?

    My whole point is that ‘Religion’ shouldn’t contradict ‘Science’, and in the case of a divine creator, it certainly doesn’t. If an atheist want to disprove God, he can’t turn to Evolution or the “Who Created God’ argument. He can, however, by scientific investigation, estimate the likelihood of a God directly intervening in human affairs, answering prayers etc, or can he? Isn’t prayer a way to thank God for what you have if you are happy, or a way to ask for a better life in case you live in misery. I will now get back to the painting parable mentioned earlier. Paintings aren’t always perfect. Painters sometimes paint things they aren’t completely satisfied with. They look at the painting, and suddenly a tiny detail makes them realize that they aren’t entirely satisfied. They decide to change it in order to improve the picture. The painting in a way communicates with the painter. He gets inspired and changes his mind. Now, can’t prayer be seen as a last resort for a person in misery to get God’s attention to such a tiny detail or a prayer of admiration and thankfulness to make him realize that this particular part of his creation is fine and doesn’t have to be changed?

    Shouldn’t belief in God be seen as a kind of hope? What if he existed? And even if he doesn't exist, what do we have to lose in believing? Shouldn’t it be worth praying in case it may get his attention? We can’t disprove his existence and we can't say that he is unlikely to exist either, so why should it be so unreasonable to believe in him as long as it doesn't lead to ignorance and acts of evil? It might be worth it if it turns out that he actually does exist. It gives some people hope and purpose. Let’s say you live a life of misery and day after day ask God for a better life. Suddenly you meet someone and your life becomes rich and meaningful, isn’t it likely that you will think that God answered your prayers? A rationalist might say that it was certain predetermined circumstances or pure luck that you met that person, and he might even be able to prove it, but if our world is seen as a four dimensional painting with God as the painter, he might actually have heard you, and the rationalist will still be right, since he has chosen to explain things according to the laws of his own system, whereas you have gone beyond that and explained things by a higher cause. But you have to remember that what he says is fact, whereas your belief is exactly that 'belief', although a belief which, if somehow proven to be true, doesn't contradict his claims. From a religious perspective, what the rationalist actually has proven is in what way(i.e the whole chain of causes) God decided to help her, even though it might seem as if he has argued in favour of the non-existence of such a deity.

    Science doesn’t necessarily contradict the existence of God at all. So what I want to say to all those who advocate Intelligent Design: science doesn’t necessarily contradict your belief. Stop teaching that Evolution is wrong, because the evidence is overwhelming. To deny it is like to claim that the earth is flat. Intelligent Design is an alternative view only when it comes to perspective, not as an opponent of Evolution. God has given us logic and reason for a purpose, so why shouldn't we use it?

    Science and Religion should remain separate. Why?
    Simply because science is based on the laws of our
    own system, whereas religion may go beyond that
    particular system.


    The earth is quite clearly flat from a certain perspective, and the speed of light may yield different results depending on the position of the observer. As in the above mentioned parables: one way of seeing things doesn't necessarily contradict another.
    * Cheri Yecke Steps Away from IDC (4 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2007-06-26 05:52:27
    Cheri Yecke, Intelligent Design, and Scrubbing the Past

    Florida state K-12 education chancellor Dr. Cheri P. Yecke is disputing the accuracy of a newspaper report published back on October 9, 2003. I had quoted that report in a post here on August 30, 2005, so last week I got an email from “ReputationDefenders” saying that they were working for Dr. Yecke, and would appreciate my cooperation in removing or modifying the offending quote.

    I’m all for accuracy of content, so what I did was to add a quote from the email just after the disputed quote, showing everyone that the quote is disputed.

    Since the dispute centers upon the content of some printed publicity materials given out before a commissioner’s hearing in Minnesota, it seems to me that this is, in principle, a checkable matter: find the printed material and figure out who has got it right, and who has got it wrong. I asked ReputationDefenders about perhaps getting a copy of the material from Dr. Yecke. That was not productive. I called up the original reporter, trying to track things down from that end. Joel said that he has never received a complaint from Yecke over the content of the article. And I asked Ron Matus of the St. Petersburg Times to check into this, since working journalists often can get access to this sort of material quickly. So far, the actual document in question remains unavailable.

    Ron Matus has a news item in the St. Petersburg Times relating developments on this so far. I’m hoping that with this publicity, someone will come forward with the document that I’m looking for to make a definitive determination on what really was the case back in 2003.
    * ID Business Conference (0 replies)
    ivy privy2007-07-06 15:50:03
    Jeffrey Shallit notices an upcoming business conference:
    Intelligent Design in Business Practice
    September 21-22, 2007
    Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
    Speakers: Bill Dembski, Richard Martinez, Mitchell Neubert, Jay Richards and Ide Trotter
    * uncommon dissent and frogs? (1 replies)
    Erasmus, FCD2007-07-02 15:01:52
    I've got a creationist that keeps telling me about all of the 'homologous frogs with vastly different DNA', whatever that means.  I have asked him just what he was talking about and where he heard about it and he answered 'Uncommon Dissent' the Dembski book.

    I'm sure not going to go out and get this book, was wondering if you guys had any info about it.

    For the record, he was also talking about other 'homologous organisms' with vastly different DNA and I questioned him, which ones?  he said marsupial and placentals...  of course if you define 'homologous' loosely enough that could mean anything.  or in this case, nothing.
    * IDURC Anonymous Luskin Award (0 replies)
    ivy privy2007-07-05 16:55:01
    As discussed on Sandwalk:
    As discussed on 90% True:

    IDURC Announces 2007 Casey Luskin Graduate Award

    IDURC is the prestigious Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center.

    Quote
    (IDURC) is proud to present the 2007 Casey Luskin Graduate Award, presented annually to a deserving college graduate for excellence in student advocacy of intelligent design.

    The recipient of the 2007 Casey Luskin Graduate Award will remain anonymous for the protection of the recipient. The many students, professors, and scientists who have been denied degrees or tenure, and removed from positions and jobs for no other reason than acceptance of—or even sympathy to—intelligent design theory is very telling of the importance of keeping these bright young minds out of the crosshairs of those opposed to open-minded investigation and critical thought.

    The recipient of this year’s award is a graduate earning degrees in chemistry and chemical biology and mathematics.
    ...


    Congratulations, Hannah Maxson, on your anonymous award.
    * Texas Textbooks, 2007-2008 (2 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2007-08-24 11:23:11
    For many decades, Texas was the must-sell-to state for textbook publishers that also pushed for the removal or de-emphasis of evolutionary science. In large part, that was the work of the husband and wife team of Mel and Norma Gabler, both of them deceased now.

    Their work, though, seems to have been passed on. Texas will be going through another round of textbook selection over the next year or so. We can already see some warning signs that this will be no different than before; the antievolutionists clearly have this process in their sights.

    This thread is for news and commentary on the process in Texas.
    * 2002/05/20: Stephen Jay Gould dies (1 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-24 12:59:02
    Stephen Jay Gould died of cancer at age 60 on 2002/05/20.

    A number of obituaries have run.


    Mercury News/Philadelphia Inquirer

    Salon

    BBC News/SCITECH

    Harvard Gazette

    Nature

    Boston Globe

    Yahoo!

    CNN

    Washington Post

    Newsday

    Boston Herald

    Washington Post: Scientist who wrote rings around the earth

    Chronicle of Higher Education

    Nando Times

    MSNBC
    * New Site discussing Evolutionary Biology (2 replies)
    MidnightVoice2005-09-28 09:19:17
    http://media.the-scientist.com/talkingpoints/

    The Scientist (a magazine) has just opened a forum to discuss various aspects of science:

    How do scientists communicate with one another and with the public? Is discussion becoming polarized, oversimplified or exaggerated? Here at The Scientist, we've had cause to wonder, and many recent events have made us feel that we all need a place to talk sensibly and rationally about the many things that affect us as a community.

    Our discussion forums, "Talking Points", will enable free-flowing exchanges of opinions and ideas among members of the life sciences community. If you want to read, it's open to all. If you want to post, all we ask is that you become a registered user and log in. Registration is free.

    We're launching "Talking Points" with access to three forums: covering the role of evolutionary theory in experimental biology, the question of researchers hyping stem cell research and the stories of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath - which we hope will become part of a support network for displaced scientists. We'll add other topics regularly.

    To reprise the catchphrase of an old British advertisement: "It's good to talk."


    One of the forums is:

    Why do we invoke Darwin?

    http://media.the-scientist.com/talkingpoints/display/112/
    * UCSC's Denton carried additional burden on her sho (1 replies)
    Spike2006-06-30 06:04:27
    I'm surprised there hasn't been more talk about this in the blogosphere.

    I had been paying some attention to the controversy, but figured the critics were as often motivated by the gender and orientation of the late Chancellor as they were by her decisions.

    If any of the folks who are more in tune with academia want to comment, I'd be interested in their opinions.
    * Virgin dragon to give birth in holiday season (1 replies)
    "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank2006-12-20 18:18:38
    Quote (Guest @ Dec. 20 2006,13:26)
    Virgin dragon to give birth in holiday season

    I've heard of this before with other species of monitor lizard (Komodo dragons are just really really big monitor lizards).

    I also recall a pretty well-documented instance of a female Timber Rattlesnake in a  zoo giving birth, despite the fact that she had never been with a male.

    So parthenogenesis isn't really that miraculous a thing amongst reptiles.

    I can't recall offhand any instances in birds or mammals, though . . .
    * Sloth wins 3-year battle with German scientists (1 replies)
    Henry J2007-01-27 23:33:17
    Now that's the opponent the hare should've picked instead of that tortoise...  :p
    * Human Pubic Lice Acquired from Gorillas Gives Evol (1 replies)
    "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank2007-03-07 18:27:50
    Quote (Guest @ Mar. 07 2007,12:29)
    Human Pubic Lice Acquired from Gorillas

    Dudes, that would take lots of beer.  Lots and lots and lots of beer.  More even than Denyse.

    Well, maybe not much more . . . . . .
    * Scientists Pit 'Darwin vs. Design' (1 replies)
    Beemer2007-03-26 21:31:09
    Bad link offered above.

    Here's the good link.
    http://www.christianpost.com/article....39;.htm
    * Chicken or the egg? (1 replies)
    Henry J2007-04-12 15:24:04
    Was there a change in the DNA sequence, or did it just activate and/or deactivate certain genes before passing them on to the offspring?

    Henry
    * Letters Reveal Young Darwin Had Stinky Feet (2 replies)
    "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank2007-05-18 07:13:41
    Quote (Guest @ May 17 2007,22:30)
    Letters Reveal Young Darwin Had Stinky Feet

    Well, there you have it.  Evolution is OBVIOUSLY evil.
    * Resistance to Scientific Explanations By Children (1 replies)
    Emanuel Goldstein2007-05-31 10:23:33
    Just so.
    * Evolution question is complicated, Brownback says (1 replies)
    "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank2007-06-03 08:58:00
    How about that whole "flat earth/round earth" thingie --- is that complicated, too?


    Well, perhaps it *is* complicated -- for simple-minded non-thinkers.  After all, FTK can't make up her mind whether the earth is 4.5 billion years old, or only 6 thousand years old.  Too close to call, apparently.   (snicker)  (giggle)
    * Where to find Research Papers (2 replies)
    FrankH2010-06-17 17:18:45
    Hi all,

    Yeah, been lurking and not posting, but I wonder if anyone knows where to find research papers on Psychology and/or Behavioral Sciences.

    No, this is not for me but my sister who has just started to get her Master's in Psychology (perhaps more).

    I feel so proud to be her inspiration on helping those with deviant and malign personalities!
    * Evolution education still a factor in Kansas elect (0 replies)
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    * ID and HIV denialists (1 replies)
    bspitzer2005-07-06 16:29:30
    I've been doing a little research into HIV denialism, the popular movement spearheaded by Peter Duesberg in the late 1980's that insisted that AIDS was not caused by a virus. It seems as though a number of the people now prominent in ID were also HIV denialists.

    I was wondering if anyone out there knew more about this pattern. In particular, I'm trying to get a sense of how widespread HIV denialism was (and is) among the people who now make up the ID movement. I'm also very curious about *why* these two movements are linked. HIV denialism seems to have attracted quite a few social conservatives, and I'd like to be able to document why this was the case.

    --Brian
    * Forum Guidelines (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-17 10:02:05
    This forum is for brief posts relating upcoming or past events having to do with "intelligent design".  Discussion should be taken to the "All About Antievolution -> Intelligent Design" forum or one of the fora under "Specifically About Intelligent Design".

    Please provide a link to online articles or announcements.  A short summary would be appropriate to describe what is linked.

    Wesley
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    * Behe's colleague makes statement (1 replies)
    Maven2005-08-29 03:24:46
    The ID debate has really heated up here in PA where we are treated to a daily dose of insanity in the local press.  Lehigh University professor Lynn Cassimeris wrote the following op-ed piece for our local paper.  

    http://www.mcall.com/news....2.story


    From The Morning Call
    Science's fast pace undercuts allure of intelligent design

    August 28, 2005

    More than 10 years ago, my Lehigh University faculty colleague Michael J. Behe
    asked me to read a chapter of a manuscript that was later published as
    ''Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution.'' In this book,
    Dr. Behe suggested that biochemical systems inside of cells are ''irreducibly
    complex'' and cannot have evolved without the hand of a supernatural designer.
    Over the past decade, I have had considerable time to ponder the ideas Dr. Behe
    put forward in his book, and time and again I concluded that his arguments lack
    scientific credibility and are equally offensive to religious faith.

    Dr. Behe's idea of irreducible complexity suggests that certain structures
    inside a cell are too complex to have evolved by step-by-step modifications and
    must therefore have required a designer to make them. Cells do contain seemingly
    complex biochemical structures, formed of many protein parts, but is it
    necessary to invoke a supernatural designer to explain their existence?

    Without describing the inner workings of a cell, I will use an analogy, much as
    Dr. Behe does, to illustrate how seemingly complex structures might have
    evolved. He often uses the mousetrap example to illustrate irreducible
    complexity, but mousetraps actually better illustrate the concept of evolution
    of protein complexes.

    Catching and killing a mouse is easily achieved by the modern glue trap,
    requiring nothing more than glue and a cardboard base upon which to spread the
    glue. Both glue and the cardboard support have other purposes and were only
    recently brought together to form a mousetrap. Increasing the complexity by a
    notch, peanut butter can be used to bait the glue trap, and it also has another
    use. Biologists consider evolution of large protein complexes within cells to
    have followed a similar course of evolution, taking pieces with one function and
    co-opting and combining them for another function. Evidence abounds to support
    the co-opting of one component, much like a piece of cardboard or glue, for
    different use in the cell.

    Dr. Behe uses the bacterial flagellum (a structure that enables bacteria to
    move) as another model of irreducible complexity, yet recent work has
    established that one part of the flagellum, a collection of several proteins, is
    related to a syringe-like structure that many bacteria use to inject a toxin
    into other cells. Another part of the flagellum is a protein channel through
    which ions flow. Ion channels are found in all cells, including our own. The
    bacterial flagellum is just one example of how cells take one part, combine it
    with a different part, and end up with something new.

    We still have much to learn about how our cells function and how structures and
    biochemical pathways developed over the course of billions of years. To suggest
    that we throw up our hands and ascribe everything to a supernatural designer
    does nothing to advance biology. Instead, we need to continue research to better
    understand how living cells work if we want to conquer current problems, such as
    the growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Progress in understanding cell
    evolution is likely to gain speed rapidly with Harvard's new initiative to fund
    research into the origin of life.

    The fast pace of scientific progress should give pause to those who would like
    to see intelligent design taught in the science classroom. The ideas and
    examples suggesting the need for a designer are likely to fall by the wayside as
    science progresses. It is not that long ago (1994) that Dr. Behe suggested that
    whale evolution could not be explained because of gaps in the fossil record.
    That argument collapsed when three fossil intermediates were discovered within
    the next year.

    Much like filling in gaps in the fossil record, new discoveries at the cellular
    level will continue to contradict intelligent design and ''irreducible
    complexity.'' Then what happens to faith built on the so-called evidence for a
    designer? Does that faith waiver when the ''evidence'' disappears? Faith should
    not require scientific evidence; looking for physical evidence of a designer
    only serves to undermine faith. Scientists are battling to keep intelligent
    design out of the science classroom because it is not science. Religious leaders
    should join the fight.

    Lynne Cassimeris, Ph.D., is a professor in the Biological Sciences Department at
    Lehigh University. She is a cell biologist studying how cells reproduce and how
    the errors in cell division associated with birth defects and cancer occur.
    Copyright © 2005, The Morning Call
    * PROFESSOR Beaten; Says Attackers Cited Creationis (1 replies)
    celtic_elk2005-12-06 10:14:57
    And, of course, the critics on the right are already trying to claim that he faked the attack, or that he somehow started the fight.  I was engaged in some rather vigorous debate over this issue on the Yahoo news forums this morning.  None of them seem to want to address the idea that fundamentalists could physically assault an intellectual who espoused a position contrary to theirs.  After all, that could never happen in thiscountry, right? *sigh*
    * PROMOTE tolerance, not single view (0 replies)
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    * 2002/05/10: "Icons" video premiere (1 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-17 11:12:21
    2002/05/10

    Jonathan Wells's "Icons of Evolution" has been produced as a film suitable for television broadcast by "Coldwater Media".  It premiered in Seattle at Seattle Pacific University.

    Origins of life film to premiere at SPU

    Not the Whole Truth, a review by Roger Downey.

    Documentation of the history of the DeHart case.  DeHart was featured in the "Icons" video.

    Please add "Icons" video related links to this thread.
    * JUDGE: Intelligent design is re-labelled creationi (0 replies)
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    * Another ridiculous opinion piece... (0 replies)
    FishyFred2005-10-03 04:38:28
    ... by someone who clearly doesn't know any better.

    http://www.taemag.com/issues/articleid.18771/article_detail.asp

    Can you say "taken out of context" and "misinterpretation?" Here's a one-paragraph sample.

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    Early in his testimony, Rothschild claimed that “intelligent design is not science in its infancy, it's not science at all.” Yet Miller’s own testimony contradicts this. In cross-examination, when asked by Robert Muise, the defense attorney, if during a debate between Miller and Michael Behe, an ID proponent, at the American Museum of Natural History, “you [Miller] were presenting your scientific argument against intelligent design, and Dr. Behe was presenting his scientific argument in support of intelligent design?” Miller responded: “Absolutely.”
    * 2002/05/22: Cobb County, Georgia (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-22 12:07:18
    Creative Loafing Atlanta has an excellent front-page article on "intelligent design" and the textbook disclaimers mandated by the Cobb County school board.

    Sidebar articles cover scientists responding to "intelligent design" and the Cobb County disclaimer, where Ken Miller is featured in both of those pieces.
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    * Science Education (3 replies)
    scase2005-10-19 08:46:14
    Let me see if I understand this line of reasoning; “Rothschild asked Behe about the scientific community, which has largely denounced the idea of ID as science. The National Academy of Sciences, for instance, regards ID and its supernatural ideas as inaccurate and unfounded. Even the Lehigh University Biological Sciences faculty, where Behe is a professor, has stated that ID has “no basis in science.

    Behe argued that scientists and scientific organizations misunderstand intelligent design. Not only is ID science, Behe claimed, it is also an appropriate scientific theory to introduce to students.”

    So the leading scientific minds in the country misunderstand ID but your average 15 year old in general biology is going to figure it out?
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    * 2002/03/11: Ohio Board of Education (2 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-23 22:08:15
    Jonathan Wells has a very interesting report on the debate before the Ohio Board of Education.  Wells and Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute's Center for Renewal of Science and Culture were matched up against Kenneth Miller and Lawrence Krauss.

    Other resources of interest in the Ohio situation:

    Ohio Citizens for Science, a group for the acceptance of the new science standards as written by the advisory team.

    Science Excellence for All Ohioans, a group advocating the inclusion of "intelligent design" in the K12 science curriculum, or at least something singling out evolutionary biology as a subject requiring "teaching the controversy".

    Substandard Education for All Ohioans, a parody site poking fun at the antievolution stance of the page just above.

    Events from Ohio, a collection of resources at the National Center for Science Education.
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    * ID in Australia (2 replies)
    jo5ef_k2005-10-20 02:28:42
    Some may be interested to know that the public TV broadcaster here in Australia - the ABC - had an piece tonight on the ID movement here in Australia and pretty much demolished it. Although the quote at the beginning from the Federal Minister for education indicating his support for "equal time" was not so encouraging.
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    * 2002/06/21: Panel on "Intelligent Design" (0 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-05-24 14:04:09
    The Fourth World Skeptics Conference sponsored by CSICOP, June 20-23, 2002, in Burbank, California, will feature a panel on "Evolution and Intelligent Design".

    The moderator will be Massimo Pigliucci.  Panelists will include William Dembski and Paul Nelson of the Discovery Institute's Center for Renewal of Science and Culture, Kenneth Miller of Brown University, and myself (Texas A&M, if you don't know already).
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    * Indiana, the next ID hot spot? (1 replies)
    Wesley R. Elsberry2002-09-07 07:33:29
    An Indianapolis Star editorial by Andrea Neal shows that the Discovery Institute's "Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture"'s propaganda machine continues to bamboozle the credulous public.

    Neal buys into several falsehoods told by the DI C®SC.  First and foremost, Neal seems to think that there is some scientific content to "intelligent design" claims.  Second, Neal asserts ID represents cutting-edge science rather than warmed-over nineteenth century apologetics.  Third, Neal buys the tale that there is no religious component to the ID movement.

    The question to pose to those who think that "intelligent design" is science is to ask where the science is.  The only things cited by Neal add up to critiques of the sufficiency of current natural explanations.  There is nothing beyond assertion that ID has any role whatever in accounting for biological complexity.  I've asked some of the "scientists at top institutions" that Neal refers to for a progress report on the ID community making a positive case for ID conjectures, and in each instance have received answers that translate into an admission of "no progress" since 1997.

    The assertion that there is any "cutting edge" to the ID wedge fails the most cursory examination of the evidence.  Phillip Johnson's original ID tome, "Darwin On Trial", simply goes to show that there is hardly an antievolution chestnut that he doesn't like.  Many of the favorites of the young-earth creationist movement are happily recycled by Johnson.  The whole "irreducible complexity" edifice erected by Michael Behe is simply a more technical gloss on the ancient "what good is half a wing" canard common in YEC circles.  Behe's innovation resides in locating systems in which there is both a paucity of evidence and no expectation that further evidence bearing on the origin of the structures will be forthcoming.  That's a prerequisite for any argument from ignorance that is expected to hold up over time.  But the central part of ID argumentation can be traced to the Reverend William Paley's arguments made in 1802.  The scientific community actually did take up such arguments and examine them seriously -- and decided that they did not fit the evidence.  ID is not "cutting edge".  At best, it's "reheated leftovers".

    Neal asserts that skeptics cannot show any religious underpinnings of ID in court because ID is "a scientific possibility".  Neal is obviously ignorant of the massive paper trail left by the "scientists at top institutions" of the DI C®SC concerning the goals and motivations of the ID movement, most succinctly expressed in the famous "Wedge" document.  This will be one of the easiest tasks for skeptics to accomplish in court, not one of the hardest.

    Neal's innovation in the editorial is to characterize opposition to the ID movement as "anti-religious".  This, of course, is bunk.  Plenty of religious people are part of the community of skeptics of ID.  The panelists at the recent CSICOP Fourth World Skeptics Conference session on evolution and intelligent design included two ID advocates and two ID skeptics, all Christian believers.

    Neal ends with this:

    Quote
    Teaching intelligent design to our children is gaining strength too, as it should. Students need to know the latest research about how it all began, even if it points to an all-knowing creator.

    It would be a sad irony to let Darwin write the final chapter because we fear where science might lead us.


    Why should a set of religiously-motivated conjectures based solely upon negative argumentation and wishful thinking be taught to students as if it were "research"?  Why should students be given the mistaken impression that such conjectures represent the "latest" in scientific thinking, when in fact various components of these arguments can be traced back decades or centuries?

    But the capping irony is the construction of Neal's final sentence.  Science should lead, all right, and it is precisely because the politics of the ID movement lead it rather than the science that we should reject these premature moves to force ID into school science curricula.  Let ID prove itself in the marketplace of scientific ideas, and then it will be ready for inclusion in science education.  It is not there yet, and even ID advocates say that they are just beginning now to see glimmers of the formation of an ID research program.  The unseemly haste with which the ID advocates push for inclusion of their untested and unresearched claims into school curricula bespeaks an unscientific attitude, one more similar to a salesman trying to offload stock that is past its sell-by date.  Something smells fishy in that.
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    * Cleveland Plain Dealer on the DI's funding (0 replies)
    Glenn Branch2002-12-23 18:43:37
    Heir spends family fortune to discredit evolution theory
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    * PCID editorial policy (30 replies)
    Tom Ames2003-01-10 00:03:36
    I'm trying to figure out PCID's (the premier peer-reviewed journal of intelligent design) editorial policy.

    The claim is made that papers are first submitted to the archive. After the paper has been on the archive for three months or more, two ISCID fellows may forward it to the editorial board for publication in the journal. There does not appear to be any mechanism for independent review, revisions, etc.

    Furthermore, the average waiting time on the archive for published papers has been less than three months for all of PCID's issues (and substantially less -- 51 days -- for the most recent issue). One manuscript (Langan's "CTMU") did not appear on the archive at all.

    Permissible topics seem to be "anything that two fellows think might be interesting", e.g., Jackson's fairly mundane computer science paper in issue 1.4.

    The question I have is this: is ISCID really claiming that PCID is a rigorous peer-reviewed journal, instead of a platform for the unedited opinions of the ISCID fellows? (Of the 28 papers published, 5 are by Dembski alone, and many of the other authors are also fellows.) Does anyone have a citation where this claim is made?
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    * thoughts on Cobb County decision (0 replies)
    "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank2005-02-07 20:00:46
    In going through the text of the judge's decision to ban the Cobb County, Georgia stickers, I found some points that could be potentially interesting and useful precedent in Dover, as well. OK, actually they are legal precedents that will kill ID's "teach the controversy" strategy. Completely and utterly.

    The text of the judge's decision is a pdf file at:

    http://www.aclu.org/Files/OpenFile.cfm?id=17310

    (the PDF is a scan of the printed decision, and alas it is loaded with typos and OCR errors--I've tried to correct all of these.)

    Some interesting points in the decision:

    The judge has killed the "disclaimer stickers" on several different and independent lines of reasoning, any ONE of which, all by itself, would be enough to kill it on "establishment clause" grounds, and all of which, together, make it virtually impossible for the fundies to win any appeal of this case. But it is interesting that these lines of reasoning also apply to the "teach the controversy" being pushed by the intelligent design advocates in Dover.

    Beginning on page 35 of the judge's decision, we find:

    "There is no evidence in this ease that the School Board included the statement in the Sticker that "evolution is a theory, not a fact" to promote or advance religion. Indeed, the testimony of the School Board members and the documents in the record all indicate that the School Board relied on counsel to draft language for the sticker that would pass constitutional muster. Thus, the presence of this language does not change the Court's opinion that the Sticker survives the purpose prong of the Lemon analysis. Still, the informed, reasonable would perceive the School Board to be aligning itself with proponents of religious theories of origin."

    This is important. Discovery Institute and other intelligent design creationists makes lots of noise about how their viewpoint is all "science" and has no religious aim or purpose. In the Freiler v Tangipahoa case in Louisiana, which also involved a "disclaimer sticker", the stated purpose of the law as written also claimed to be secular and without any religious aim or purpose. The law specifically stated that its purpose was to "encourage critical thinking". The judge in that case, however, concluded that the stated purpose of the law was, in his words, "a sham", and that "the primary effect of the disclaimer is to protect and maintain a particular religious viewpoint, namely belief in the Biblical version of creation. (US Circuit Court, Freiler v Tangipahoa, 1999) But in the Cobb decision, the judge expands upon and strengthens this conclusion, by pointing out that even if it is accepted that the stated purpose of the law was not just a "sham" and is really and totally true and EVEN IF IT HAS NO EXPLICIT RELIGIOUS PURPOSE, it STILL fails the Lemon test if it has the EFFECT of advancing religion.

    This has application to the Dover case as well as any future case the IDers might bring (since the history of ID/creationism is nothing more than a search for some wording in the law that will pass Constitutional muster). Even if a court in Dover were to rule that the DI's "teach the controversy" policy had a secular aim and was NOT intended to be religious in nature (as the DI argues), it would STILL fail the Lemon test if a reasonable informed person would conclude that it aligned itself with "proponents of religious theories of origin". As we have seen, ID proponents speak openly at every available opportunity about their "religious theories of origin" and how ID supports them. And, as the Cobb judge ruled, that is enough right there to kill it as unconstitutional. No matter how hard they try, the ID/creationists will NEVER find a suitable legal language or wording in any proposed law that will allow them to do exactly what the Constitution says they CANNOT do --- use public school classrooms to advance their religious beliefs by pretending those religious beleifs are really "science".

    In the next paragraph, we find another independent criteria for finding the stickers unconstitutional, and it too applies directly to the Dover "teach the controversy" strategy:

    "The Sticker also has the effect of implicitly bolstering alternative religious theories of origin by suggesting that evolution is a problematic theory even in the field of science. In this regard, the Sticker states, in part, that "evolution is a theory, not a fact, concerning the origin of living things" that should be "approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered." This characterization of evolution might be appropriate in other contexts, such as in an elective course on theories of origin or a religious text. However, the evidence in the record and the testimony from witnesses with science backgrounds, including the co- author of one of the textbooks into which the Sticker was placed and Defendants' own witness, Dr Stickel, reflect that evolution is more than a theory of origin in the context of science. To the contrary, evolution is the dominant scientific theory of origin accepted by the majority of scientists. While evolution is subject to criticism, particularly with respect to the mechanism by which it occurred, this Sticker misleads students regarding the significance and value of evolution in the scientific community for the benefit of the religious alternatives. By denigrating evolution, the School Board appears to be endorsing the well-known prevailing alternative theory, creationism or variations thereof, even though the Sticker does not specifically reference any alternative theories."

    This too is important. The judge is ruling that the simple act of implying or stating that evolution is a substandard theory or in some sort of crisis or is "problematic", is misleading about the scientific value and significance of evolution, and when such "denigration" is done for the purpose of benefiting "religious alternatives"-- EVEN IF THAT ALTERNATIVE IS NOT SPECIFICALLY REFERENCED, then it is illegal.

    The sole and only POINT of "teach the controversy", of course, is to denigrate evolution as "problematic" (indeed, "teach the controversy" itself consists solely of telling students about all these putative "problems"), and mislead people about its significance and value, all to the benefit of a religious alternative. That, too, is enough right there to kill it as unconstitutional.

    A few paragraphs later, we find a third independent reason for killing the disclaimer stickers that also applies directly to the "teach the controversy":

    "In addition to the foregoing, the Sticker targets only evolution to be approached with an open mind, carefully studied, and critically considered without explaining why it is the only theory being isolated as such. The School Board members convincingly testified at trial that they believed all scientific theories should be critically considered, and they also stated that they singled out evolution because it was the topic causing the controversy at the time. The Court finds the School Board's explanation to be rational and does not declare the Sticker to violate the purpose prong of Lemon However, because the administration suggested alternative language that did not place the emphasis so heavily on evolution, albeit after the Board adopted the Sticker, the message communicated to the informed, reasonable observer is that the School Board believes there is some problem peculiar to evolution. In light of the historical opposition to evolution by Christian fundamentalists and creationists in Cobb County and throughout the Nation, the informed, reasonable observer would infer the School Board's problem with evolution to be that evolution does not acknowledge a creator."

    This is the strongest argument against the "teach the controversy", and will probably be the one cited when it is killed in court. The sticker singles out ONLY EVOLUTION for criticism and "critical thinking", for the simple reason that evolution, and not other areas of science, are the historical targets of religious opposition. The "teach the controversy" strategy also targets evolution, and ONLY evolution, specifically. And ID rhetoric makes it crystal clear that the source of this targeted opposition to evolution is that it "does not acknowledge a creator" (or designer, or whatever else they want to call it). This, too, is enough all by itself to kill the "teach the controversy" tactic.

    Further on in the decision, we find:

    "Due to the manner in which the Sticker refers to evolution as a theory, the Sticker also has the effect of undermining evolution education to the benefit of those Cobb County citizens who would prefer that students maintain their religious beliefs regarding the origin of life. As Plaintiffs argue and Dr Miller, the co-author of the science textbook, testified, the use of "theory" in the Sticker plays on the colloquial or popular understanding of the term and suggests to the informed, reasonable observer that evolution is only a highly questionable "opinion" or a "hunch ". The Sticker thus has a great potential to prompt confusion among the students. While there may be an educational benefit to students spending time learning the general difference between a theory and a fact as a scientific matter, teachers have less time to teach the substance of evolution. Thus, although evolution is required to be taught in Cobb County classrooms as a technical matter, distracting tangential issues effectively dilute evolution instruction to the benefit of the anti- evolutionists who are motivated to advance their religious beliefs."

    While this reasoning doesn't impact directly onto Dover and "teach the controversy", it does so indirectly. In essence, the court is ruling that the sticker's inaccurate statement about "just a theory" requires teachers to use up class time to explain why "just a theory" is inaccurate, thus "diluting evolution instruction". I think the same reasoning can be applied to all the "criticisms of evolution" that the IDers want to have taught --- NONE of these "criticisms" is accepted as valid science by anyone in the scientific community. They are all inaccurate and have no recognized place in science, and therefore requiring them to be taught would just dilute the teaching of evolution by using up class time to explain that they are inaccurate (to the benefit of the anti-evolutionists and their religious beliefs).

    The final line of reasoning against the disclaimer stickers also can be applied to the "teach the controversy" argument:

    "Defendants persuasively argue that the Sticker in this case does not explicitly reference any alternative theory of origin, religious or otherwise. Nor does the Sticker explicitly urge students to consider alternative theories of origin or remind them that they have the right to maintain their home teachings regarding the origin of fife. Nevertheless, the Sticker here disavows the endorsement of evolution, a scientific theory, and contains an implicit religious message advanced by Christian fundamentalists and creationists, which is discernible after one considers the historical context of the statement that evolution is a theory and not a fact. The informed, reasonable observer is deemed aware of this historical context."

    In essence, what the court is saying is that even if the actual language of the law doesn't directly reference any specific alternative theory or religious viewpoint, if the "historical context" of the law indicates that it is based on particular religious wishes, then it is unconstitutional. The DI's "teach the controversy" rhetoric doesn't mention any alternative theories or religious views (all of those already having been ruled illegal to teach on church/state grounds), but the historical context of "teach the controversy" is crushingly clear to anyone -- it is just the latest in a long string of attempts by fundies in general and Discovery Institute in particular, to blot out the teaching of evolution because it conflicts with their religious views. This is especially clear after considering the previous (religious) objections to "scientific materialism" and "darwinism" that Dembski, Behe and Johnson have been writing about publicly for years. This too, all by itself, is enough to kill "teach the controversy" as unconstitutional.

    So, in order to win in Dover, the "teach the controversy" advocates will have to demonstrate that (1) "teaching the controversy" does not have the EFFECT of advancing religion even if it does NOT have that explicit aim, (2) "teaching the controversy" does NOT denigrate evolution in favor of any religious view, even if that religious view is NOT explicitly stated, (3) "teaching the controversy" does NOT single out evolution specifically because of religious objections that evolution allegedly denies a creator (or "designer"), (4) "teaching the controversy" does NOT take time away from the effective teaching of evolution by forcing teachers to spend time on "criticisms" that are not recognized as scientific or substantive, *AND* that (5) "teaching the controversy" does NOT have a readily viewable historical context as religious opposition to the idea of evolution. (All of this assumes that the judge buys the DI's argument in the first place that ID is "science" and isn't about religion at all, and the judge doesn't simply conclude, as the Freiler judge did, that the DI's entire argument is just "a sham" to hide their religious goals.)

    In my view, there is simply no way that the Dover advocates (or anyone else) will be able to get over all five of those hurdles. I doubt they can get over ANY of them. Yet only *one* of them is enough, all by itself, to kill the IDers.

    Pardon the pun, but they haven't got a prayer.
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    * Sunday 12/18 Doonesbury re:Creationism/ID (0 replies)
    Sweet Hill Observatory2005-12-18 04:17:29
    Excellent Doonesbury today...so, should we allocate scarce/expensive drugs based on whether or not the patient believes in them???

    http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/dailydose/

    Peter
    Sweet Hill Observatory
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    * A natural process for creating information (0 replies)
    djmullen2006-01-26 21:23:11
    In the ID-Files section of this BBS, under the topic "Phil Johnson, Links to interviews, works, reviews, etc", niiicholas quotes Phillip Johnson as saying, "The scientific key is, "No natural processes create genetic information." As soon as we get that out, there’s only one way the debate can go because Darwinists aren’t going to come up with a mechanism."

    Professor Johnson should read a little on the subject before opening his mouth.  Darwinian evolution has a mechanism for creating genetic information that's simple enough for even a lawyer to understand if he tries hard enough.

    I was going to write this to Zardoz in the "After the bar closes/Official Uncommon Pissant Discussion Thread", but he has shown himself to be emotionally resistant to all attempts at education, so I'll post it here where it can be read by people who are emotionally capable of understanding the concept.  Professor Johnson is invited to read and comment if he's in that group.

    Abstract: Mutations create new genetic information.  Natural selection tests the new information to see if it's useful or not where "useful" is defined as improving the ability of the organism to produce more offspring capable of reproducing the new information.  If the new information is useful, natural selection leaves it in the genome, if it's not, it gets rid of it.

    Detail: Suppose you have a stretch of DNA that contains this sequence: "CAGTAGTTAC".  If the organism that contains that stretch of DNA reproduces and the DNA is copied perfectly, the offspring will have the exact same sequence of DNA and there will be no new information generated.  (In one of his books, Dembski compares this to printing a second copy of a book.  No new information is generated, the information that already exists is merely copied.)

    Now suppose that an organism with that stretch of DNA reproduces and an error is made copying the DNA.  Suppose that "CAGTAGTTAC" becomes "CATTAGTTAC".  This is new information because it's not exactly the same as the original sequence.  

    So we have new information, courtesy of mutation/copying errors, but we don't know if this new information is bad, neutral or one of the rare instances of good new information that improves on the original.  The odds are low that the new information is an improvement.  As Richard Dawkins once said, "...however many ways there may be of being alive, it is certain that there are vastly more ways of being dead!"  Similarly, there are 4^10 or 1,048,576 different ways of arranging 10 DNA base-pairs and most of them won't do anything useful, which is lethal if the organism is depending on those ten base-pairs to do something vital.

    So how do we find out if the new information is useful or harmful?  Simple, we allow the new organism to try to make a living and reproduce using the new DNA sequence.  Most of the time, the new organism does as well as its parent did because most changes in the DNA sequence change non-functioning "junk DNA" or code for amino acids that are buried deep inside a protein molecule and have no effect on how it works.  If this turns out to be the case with the new DNA sequence, then mutation has given us two different ways of making DNA that can successfully run this specific organism - the original DNA and the new mutated DNA.  This is creating new genetic information through a natural process, Dr. Johnson!  

    Before the mutation, we had one set of information that would run a successful organism, "CAGTAGTTAC".  After the mutation, we have a second set of information that will run a successful organism, "CATTAGTTAC".  This is not the same as printing another copy of an existing book, it's printing a second book that differs from the first, but which works just as well.  It's new genetic information!  Since the new information is no better than the original, organisms containing the new DNA may increase in numbers or decrease or disappear altogether.  This is the "genetic drift" you hear about.  An organism has new DNA, but it works as well as the old DNA, so nothing much happens.

    If the new DNA sequence does make a difference in how the organism functions, the odds are that it will make the organism work worse than it's parent.  Remember that there are lots more ways of being dead than alive.  In the extreme case, the organism won't function at all and it will die.  If it dies before it has a chance to reproduce and copy the new DNA, the new DNA sequence dies with it and all the other organisms carry on with the original DNA.  Mutation generated some new information and natural selection tested it, discovered that it was bad and got rid of it.  We're back to where we started.

    If the organism lives, but doesn't function as well as its parent(s), it may reproduce, but it won't reproduce as successfully as organisms with the old, original DNA and over the long run the organisms with the new DNA will be crowded out and disappear, taking their new but less effective DNA with them.  Again, the other organisms, with the original DNA, will continue to live, preserving the old DNA sequence.

    In the rare case where the new DNA works better than the original sequence, the organism will tend to reproduce better than it's parents and it will gradually spread and increase its percentage of the population until it eventually takes over and replaces the old DNA sequence with the new, improved sequence.  

    That is how new, useful information is created by the natural process of evolution:  Mutations create the new information, natural selection (which means, basically, having the new organism try to make a living with the new DNA) tests it, destroys new sequences that don't work as well as the original and preserves new sequences that work as well as or better than the original.

    Your turn, Dr. Johnson.
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    RamsandGolf2006-03-01 06:47:17
    IDer suggests Ruse in a panic.  This is being discussed by Freepers.
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    Wesley R. Elsberry2006-03-12 15:41:51
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    stevestory2006-05-28 09:33:34
    Ah, that's something i didn't think of. Focusing on promoting creationism in other countries which don't have separation of church and state.
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    Spike2006-06-16 16:09:14
    Wow! This is amazing. Each quote in the PR is true (in the sense that it was really written) but the entire piece is false (in terms of what it implies).

    I wish I could learn to do that! Except I'd use my power for good, I really would.
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    steveg2006-06-17 12:05:21
    I use Google News page a lot for my news, and the section I check frequently is the Science/Technology section. I noticed recently (within the last few days) that the following article showed up (which means the site it's from has a relatively high ranking for "news"):

    Creationism - How Entropy challenges Evolution Theory
    By Babu G. Ranganathan (June 13th, 2006)

    This is on the Best Syndication site - which is open to articles by anyone here. So I just thought I'd post a "heads up" about the creationist article (which if you look is just the typical creationist argument about "entropy" - misrepresented in the usual fashion - being against evolution), hoping that someone here up on that particular topic might write another article on the subject, discussing what entropy in science really is and in turn discussing the misrepresentations and fallacies of the creationist argument about it with respect to evolution.
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    "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank2006-07-02 03:55:14
    " In the final question of the evening, an audience member asked McCain to outline his stance on teaching evolution and creationism in schools.

    "I think Americans should be exposed to every point of view," he said. "I happen to believe in evolution. ... I respect those who think the world was created in seven days. Should it be taught as a science class? Probably not."

    Nevertheless, the senator said he does believe in God, and he doesn't think Christian groups have too much influence on the Republican Party.

    "I think there's room for the religious right in our party," he said."




    Smooooooooooch.  How's that ass taste?







    And for those who think that faction holds too much sway, McCain had a strong message: "Get in the arena. Go out there and register to vote and recruit candidates." "





    Amen.
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    "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank2006-07-07 01:57:52
    Ahmanson has a rival?

    Ora partner?
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    "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank2006-08-10 17:14:40
    Sniffle.  Sob.  Boo hoo hooooooooooooooo.

    What a bunch of whiny crybabies.

    Geez.
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    "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank2006-08-12 12:55:53
    Quote (Guest @ Aug. 12 2006,17:36)
    Evolution backers seek to influence Ohio elections
    Akron Beacon Journal - Akron,OH,USA
    .. board's decision came after a federal judge in December banned a local
    school board in Dover, Pa., from teaching intelligent design alongside
    evolution in high ...
    Source
    See all stories on this topic:
    Google



    http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/15260908.htm

    Say bye-bye to the fundies.
    * Big bang, false idea, JOEL KERBRAT Jr., Concord - (0 replies)
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    * This is too funny! (0 replies)
    lechilka262006-08-25 03:37:26

    Sorry for this offtopic but it's #### funny :))) I could not hold it!

    Why it is good to be a man?

    1. Your ass is never a factor in a job interview.
    2. Your orgasms are real. Always.
    3. Your last name stays put..
    4. The garage is all yours..
    5. Wedding plans take care of themselves.
    6. You never feel compelled to stop a friend from getting laid.
    7. Car mechanics tell you the truth.
    8. You don't give a rat's ass if someone notices your new haircut.
    9. Hot wax never comes near your pubic area.
    10. Same work .. more pay.
    11. Wrinkles-add character.
    12. You don't have to leave the room to make emergency crotch adjustments.
    13. Wedding Dress $2000; Tux rental $100.
    14. If you retain water, it's in a canteen.
    15. People never glance at your chest when you're talking to them.
    16. New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
    17. One mood, ALL the #### time.
    18. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds.
    19. A five-day vacation requires only 1 suitcase.
    20. You can open all your own jars.
    26. You can quietly watch a game with your buddy for hours without ever thinking "He must be mad at me."
    27. No maxi-pads.
    28. If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, you just might become lifelong friends.
    29. You are not expected to know the names of more than five colors.
    30. You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
    31. You are unable to see wrinkles in clothes.
    32. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
    33. Your belly usually hides your big hips.

    i think its the best joke!
    * Unintelligent Design: Why God Isn't as Smart as Sh (0 replies)
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    Beemer2006-08-26 12:09:30
    So there "is" a fraction of hope that reason is making some headway.
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    * New resource added in my Favorites (0 replies)
    dictatorz2006-09-14 19:38:27
    All greetings!!! Whom the information on Lithuania interests come on my resource!!! http://onliner.lt/
    May bee you need free mail box in my server ?
    http/....k">http
    Lithuania, Riga.
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    * DeVos clarifies Intelligent Design comments (1 replies)
    "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank2006-09-22 13:56:22
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    SaLifHoq2006-09-26 21:08:47
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    ----------
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