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Monday, March 06, 2006

Behe's Box and Huxley's Horse Part Two







Albert Einstein said time and time again, "God does not play dice" in reference to the Universe and the sciences. Some like to believe that he was perhaps a believer, but good biographies say otherwise. He was not willing to believe in a personal God, but rather a God who could be found in the design of all things.

Dr. Thomas Torrance writes in Einstein and God: "Einstein regularly read the Bible, Old and New Testaments alike (which he continued to do throughout his life). He was taught the rudiments of Hebrew, but never mastered it, and he avoided the course for the traditional Bar-Mitzwa. He revelled in mathematics and music, especially in playing the violin, but recoiled from rigid orthodox rites such as those regarding kosher food, 3 compulsory rules, and Talmudic ways of thought. He began to develop a distrust of all authority, including biblical and religious authority. He had an unusually independent attitude of mind, critical but not sceptical, which was accentuated by his resentment against the authoritarian discipline of his German schoolmasters. This led him to give up his uncritical religious fervour in order to liberate himself from what he spoke of as "the only personal", but without becoming atheistic or hostile to religion."

Einstein, like many scientists down through the ages, expected to find order at the heart of every system he studied. Scientists have used logic in their scientific methods and have expected to find logic at the end of the roads they travel.

"This saying, now engraved above a fireplace of the faculty lounge of the Mathematics Department in Princeton, is the translation of Raffiniert ist der Herr Gott, aber boshaft is Er Nicht. 51 By that Einstein said he meant "Nature hides her secret because of her essential loftiness, but not by means of ruse." 52 It was, like the other sayings, often repeated, not always in the same words. I prefer the stronger form: Raffiniert is der Herr God, aber hinterlistig ist Er nicht, which suggests that while God is subtle he is not wily or artful, he is deep but not devious–he does not deceive us or play tricks with us.

If "God does not wear his heart on his sleeve" is meant to express the idea that the secrets of nature cannot be read off its phenomenal surface, "God is deep but not devious" expresses the complexity and subtlety yet ultimate simplicity and reliability of the universe. That is to say, the immanent order hidden behind the intricate and often baffling complex of connections which we find in the universe is essentially trustworthy, for in spite of all that might appear to the contrary when we come up against sets of events for which there seems to be no rational explanation, the universe is not arbitrary or evil, but unitary and trustworthy in its intelligibility.
" - Einstein and God By Thomas Torrance

Einstein did not believe in a personal God, but he did believe in design. He trusted in a natural and logical order to the Universe and that trust helped him advance the cause of science.

Darwinists are scientists of a different nature. Darwinists fly in the face of several scientific principles. They gnash their teeth when we say that Macroevolution does not make sense in the light of the second law of Thermodynamics, even though it is true. They also don't like the fact that, unlike most of science, Darwinism expects that the statistical laws of probability are not bent, not just broken, but completely ignored when considering the idea that millions of different varieties of living creatures made up of millions and billions of components have all developed without plan or design by chance, helped by the operation of natural selection. Much whistling in the dark past the grave of their logic ensues while they try to explain away complexity issues.

Consider the book by Lehigh Professor of Biochemistry Michael J. Behe, “Darwin’s Black Box.” In the book, he explains the concept of “Irreducible Complexity”:

"By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”

Behe uses a simple mousetrap as an example of an IC system, merely to explain what he means by IC. I have since seen scientists go to great lengths to try to prove that a mousetrap is NOT irreducibly complex! But Behe simply wanted the term understood, and when he also used an example of a Rube Goldberg contraption it certainly made the point.

“Darwin’s Black Box” looks at five systems as examples of IC systems, where a gradual evolution to the current system would not happen, since anything taken from one of these systems would not allow it to function and therefore would not be naturally selected. All five of the systems are immensely complex. To give you an idea, the flagellum of a bacteria:

Bacterial Motility “Flagella consist of a hollow, rigid cylinder composed of a protein called flagellin, which forms a filament anchored to the cell by a curved structure called the hook, which is attached to the basal body. Flagellae are, in effect, rotary motors comprising a number of proteinaceous rings embedded in the cell wall. These molecular motors are powered by the phosporylation cascade responsible for generating energy within the cell. In action, the filament rotates at speeds from 200 to more than 1,000 revolutions per second, driving the rotation of the flagellum. The organization of these structures is quite different from that of eukaryotic flagella. The direction of rotation determines the movement of the cell. Anticlockwise rotation of monotrichious polar flagella thrusts the cell forward with the flagellum trailing behind. Peritrichous cells operate in the same way.” - (University of Leicester course notes on Bacterial Motility.)

” …some scientists have called the bacterial flagella the most efficient machine in the universe with its:1) self assembly and repair; 2) water-cooled rotary engine; 3) proton motive force drive system; 4) forward and reverse gears; 5) operating speeds of 6,000 to 17,000 rpm; 6) direction reversing capability within 1/4 of a turn; and7) it's hard-wired signal transduction system with short-term memory." (Access Research Network).

"The human body contains a large number of bacteria, most of them performing tasks that are useful or even essential to human survival. Those that are expected to be present, and that under normal circumstances do not cause disease, are termed normal flora.

Overall, there are about ten times as many bacteria as human cells in the body, 1 quadrillion (10 to the 15th) versus 100 trillion (10 to the 14th), with bacterial cells being much smaller than human cells. Though normal flora are found on all surfaces exposed to the environment (on the skin and eyes, in the mouth, nose, small intestine, and colon), the vast majority of bacteria live in the large intestine. It is estimated that 500-1000 different species of bacteria live in a human.
Bacteria that move do so in one of four ways. Most bacteria that move can only wander randomly though the media they occupy by twitching. Others can control their buoyancy. Some of these have tiny gas-bags (vacuoles) which can inflate to let the bacterium sink or float.Other species have flagella, which beat like whips to drive the bacterium along. Flagella may be arrayed around the cell of the bacteria and these can move in unison, so send the bacteria in a particular direction. Other, called spirochetes, can move in a corkscrew-like motion associated with their shape. They have spiral flagella wrapped around themselves and this modifies their shape so they can adopt the twisting motion. Many members of the latter three groups can move in a particular direction, according to stimuli they receive. This movement is called taxis."
(answers.com)

FLAGELLA-Some bacteria swim in viscous liquid environments by using helical propellers called flagella. Such bacteria boast a marvelous swimming device, the flagellum, which has no counterpart in more complex cells. In 1973 it was discovered that some bacteria swim by rotating their flagella. So the bacterial flagellum acts as a rotary propellor -- in contrast to the cilium, which acts more like an oar.

CILIA-Cilia are hairlike organelles on the surfaces of many animal and lower plant cells that serve to move fluid over the cell's surface or to "row" single cells through a fluid. In humans, epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract each have about 200 cilia that beat in synchrony to sweep mucus towards the throat for elimination. A cilium consists of a membrane-coated bundle of fibers called an axoneme. An axoneme contains a ring of 9 double microtubules surrounding two central single microtubules. Each outer doublet consists of a ring of 13 filaments (subfiber A) fused to an assembly of 10 filaments (subfiber B). The filaments of the microtubules are composed of two proteins called alpha and beta tubulin. The 11 microtubules forming an axoneme are held together by three types of connectors: subfibers A are joined to the central microtubules by radial spokes; adjacent outer doublets are joined by linkers that consist of a highly elastic protein called nexin; and the central microtubules are joined by a connecting bridge. Finally, every subfiber A bears two arms, an inner arm and an outer arm, both containing the protein dynein.

Now, let us sit back, review the workings of the cilium, and consider what it implies. Cilia are composed of at least a half dozen proteins: alpha-tubulin, beta-tubulin, dynein, nexin, spoke protein, and a central bridge protein. These combine to perform one task, ciliary motion, and all of these proteins must be present for the cilium to function. If the tubulins are absent, then there are no filaments to slide; if the dynein is missing, then the cilium remains rigid and motionless; if nexin or the other connecting proteins are missing, then the axoneme falls apart when the filaments slide.

What we see in the cilium, then, is not just profound complexity, but also irreducible complexity on the molecular scale. Recall that by "irreducible complexity" we mean an apparatus that requires several distinct components for the whole to work. The mousetrap must have a base, hammer, spring, catch, and holding bar, all working together, in order to function. Similarly, the cilium, as it is constituted, must have the sliding filaments, connecting proteins, and motor proteins for function to occur. In the absence of any one of those components, the apparatus is useless.


The structure of a flagellum is quite different from that of a cilium. The flagellum is a long, hairlike filament embedded in the cell membrane. The external filament consists of a single type of protein, called "flagellin." The flagellin filament is the paddle surface that contacts the the liquid during swimming. At the end of the flagellin filament near the surface of the cell, there is a bulge in the thickness of the flagellum. It is here that the filament attaches to the rotor drive. The attachment material is comprised of something called "hook protein." The filament of a bacterial flagellum, unlike a cilium, contains no motor protein; if it is broken off, the filament just floats stiffly in the water. Therefore the motor that rotates the filament-propellor must be located somewhere else. Experiments have demonstrated that it is located at the base of the flagellum, where electron microscopy shows several ring structures occur. The rotary nature of the flagellum has clear, unavoidable consequences ...for evolutionary scientists.

The bacterial flagellum is a nanomachine made of about 30 different proteins, each of them in multiple copies ranging from a few to tens of thousands. (All but one of the proteins are unique to the motor and are not found in any other living system. From whence, then were these protein parts co-opted?) It is constructed by self-assembly of these large numbers of proteins, each into a different part that exerts a different function, such as a rotary motor, bushing, drive shaft, rotation-switch regulator, universal joint, helical propeller, and rotary promoter for self-assembly.

Flagellar proteins are synthesized within the cell body and transported through a long, narrow central channel in the flagellum to its distal (outer) end, where they self-assemble to construct complex nano-scale structures efficiently, with the help of the flagellar cap as the assembly promoter. The rotary motor, with a diameter of only 30 to 40 nm, drives the rotation of the flagellum at around 300 Hz, at a power level of 10-16 W with energy conversion efficiency close to 100 %.

The structural designs and functional mechanisms to be revealed in the complex machinery of the bacterial flagellum could provide many novel technologies that would become a basis for future nanotechnology, from which we should be able to find many uses. Yes, modern engineers are studying the DESIGN of these motors to apply the technology to today’s solutions!

MICROTUBULES IN FLAGELLA AND CILIUM - Cilia are short and numerous. They provide force parallel to the plasma membrane, like oars on a canoe. Flagella are long and few in number and provide force perpendicular to the plasma membrane. Both cilia and flagella are extensions of the plasma membrane. They contain a ring of nine fused pairs, microtubules, with an unfused pair of microtubules in the center of the ring.This pattern is produced by a centriole located just beneath the plasma membrane. Two members of each triplet on the centriole give rise to the pairs of microtubules in the cilium or flagellium.

Experiments have indicated that ciliary motion results from the chemically-powered "walking" of the dynein arms on one microtubule up the neighboring subfiber B of a second microtubule so that the two microtubules slide past each other. However, the protein cross-links between microtubules in an intact cilium prevent neighboring microtubules from sliding past each other by more than a short distance. These cross-links, therefore, convert the dynein-induced sliding motion to a bending motion of the entire axoneme.

What does irreducible complexity have to do with Darwinian evolution? Evolution by mutation and natural selection must proceed by one slight, functional improvement at a time. So how can it build an irreducibly complex propeller motor one step at a time if the motor can't propel at all until all of its parts are in place? It can't. Something else built it.

Even if all the protein parts were somehow available to make a flagellar motor during the evolution of life, the parts would need to be assembled in the correct temporal sequence similar to the way an automobile is assembled in factory. Yet, to choreograph the assembly of the parts of the flagellar motor, present-day bacteria need an elaborate system of genetic instructions as well as many other protein machines to time the expression of those assembly instructions. Arguably, this system is itself irreducibly complex. In any case, the co-option argument tacitly presupposes the need for the very thing it seeks to explain: a functionally interdependent system of proteins.

In summary, as biochemists have begun to examine apparently simple structures like cilia and flagella, they have discovered staggering complexity, with dozens or even hundreds of precisely tailored parts. It is very likely that many of the parts we have not considered here are required for any cilium to function in a cell. As the number of required parts increases, the difficulty of gradually putting the system together skyrockets, and the likelihood of indirect scenarios plummets. Darwin looks more and more forlorn. New research on the roles of the auxiliary proteins cannot simplify the irreducibly complex system. The intransigence of the problem cannot be alleviated; it will only get worse. Darwinian theory has given no explanation for the cilium or flagellum. The overwhelming complexity of the swimming systems push us to think it may never give an explanation.

It was a shock to people of the nineteenth century when they discovered, from observations science had made, that many features of the biological world could be ascribed to the elegant principle of natural selection. It is a shock to us in the twentieth century to discover, from observations science has made, that the fundamental mechanisms of life cannot be ascribed to natural selection, and therefore were designed. But we must deal with our shock as best we can and go on. The theory of undirected evolution should already be dead.

Other examples of irreducible complexity abound, including aspects of protein transport, blood clotting, closed circular DNA, electron transport, telomeres, photosynthesis, transcription regulation, and much more. Examples of irreducible complexity can be found on virtually every page of a biochemistry textbook.

CONCLUSION: It is important to realize that we are not inferring design from what we do not know, but from what we do know. We are not inferring design to account for a black box, but to account for an open box. A man from a primitive culture who sees an automobile might guess that it was powered by the wind or by an antelope hidden under the car, but when he opens up the hood and sees the engine he immediately realizes that it was designed. In the same way biochemistry has opened up the cell to examine what makes it run and we see that it, too, was designed.

Credit for most of the last several paragraphs from Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

[Dan S. says . . . ]

radar -

a few quick points:

not only "Darwinists" (Why Darwinist, when not Wegenists, or Newtonists, Einsteinists?) gnash their teeth at 2nd Law references - so do physicists. The basic misunderstanding (10 second version) is that the Earth isn't a closed system - we are, luckily, being bathed in energy from the Sun. (When that stops, evolution (and finally this endless century+ long debate) will stop too,

The standard response to Behe and IC is that in the case of many of the specific examples claimed to be IC, less complex versions have been found. In a number of examples, quite plausible and well-supported models of how supposedly IC systems evolved have been presented (whether or not these specific ones are correct, that this could be done matter of factly, simply by using what we know, without proposing any fancy new terms or principles, undermines the concept). Obviously that doesn't mean that IC isn't a real biological thing, but increasingly it looks like a concept in search of examples.

Ken Miller's Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution has various examples - you can also look here, here, here and here (bloodclotting)- just to list some Miller stuff.

Behe says - if you take away one part, the rest couldn't work, so it must be IC, end of story. It's intuitively satisfying, because we like (and are used to) elegant, simple, from-the-outside, from-scratch design.
Science says - hmm. What an impressive thing! Can we explain it using what we know? Huh - less 'complicated' versions - missing supposedly key parts - exist in other, related organisms! And hey, major pieces of it are found elsewhere in the cell, being used for other purposes.

It is my understanding that this has been shown for cilia and flagella, but I'm no microbiologist (everytime I see that word, I think of teeny-tiny biologists . . .). The problem is that people expect perfect design, not realizing that all evolution requires is good enough.

For interested parties, TalkOrigins has a page of links about Darwin's Black Box, IC, etc.

"many scientists down through the ages [expect] to find order at the heart of every system . . .studied"

And nothing about evolution contradict this. Your misapprehension here has to do with the creationist insistance that evolution must be disorder, meaningless chance and chaos. While evolution, like gravity, may not offer moral meaning, it is very orderly. It proceeds directly from physics, chemistry, statistics, etc. That (coming full circle) is why creationists hate it, as being able to explain the diversity of life by physical laws - the order of a clockwork universe - undermines the supposed Biblical 'evidence' for God*. Any order without God must be meaningless disorder - so round we go again!

"Darwinism expects that the statistical laws of probability are not bent, not just broken, but completely ignored "

No (in fact, they are a key part of population genetics). This is another misunderstanding. The best (but very flawed) analogy that I can come up with is that expecting a pile of logs to suddenly burst into flame on demand is being rather rude to probability, yet it happens over there in that fireplace all the time . . .

* As does geology, astronomy, physics, linguistics, higher criticism, religious scholarship, etc. If you folks would just listen to your hearts instead of insisting (metaphorically, and via science) that you must get to see it with your own eyes, and touch the wounds with your own hands . . . what, not seeing and yet believing isn't enough? Faith isn't enough?

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

[Dan S. says . . . ]

radar - You know that Behe accepts (or accepted? not sure) an old earth and evolution, right? That the whole argument he had was that evolution happened, only that you could find, at the level of cell 'machinery,' things that couldn't have evolved, so that the first bit of of life must have been designed?

I don't undertstand why young earth folks want to limit God to a small-scale, cartoonish Creation. It's rather bewildering. The God of a literal reading of Genesis is the creator of a little toy world a few thousand years old - the kind of thing that might have been believed by ancient middle-eastern people, whose world was a small patch of the globe, confined within the bowl of the sky. Instead, science offers religion a creation that goes back billions of years, one that is incomprehensibly immense both in space and time, one that on here on earth encompassess astonishing complexity, and the YEC faction just covers their ears and run off. It's very puzzling. What, they think that if science can't show them God, it means He doesn't exist? Geez, talk about sciencism!

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

[Dan S. says . . . ]

There's a word for someone who has their faith depend on the bacterial flagellum. I have no idea what it is, but there's a word. I'm sure of it . . .

Cillium of ages, beating for me . . .

Swing low, sweet cillium, coming forth to sweep me (like mucus) home . . .

Mortals, watch the IC flagellum, which the great Designer made . . . (to the tune of Ode to Joy)

-Dan S.

creeper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
creeper said...

Well said, Dan - all three posts.

It didn't take Radar long to get into some big whoppers, like the 2nd law of thermodynamics. I'd just like to add that the best analogy I've seen to explain this is via the stock market. While it may be true that the stock market as a whole increases in value, it is possible that an individual stock will lose value.

Besides, local decreases in entropy are observed around us all the time - witness, for example, a pregnant woman.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

radar -

There are three points I've made or questions I've asked where I have missed any response you might have made, so here they are again:

1) You've said "the little horse at the bottom was living at the same time as the big horse at the top" - that Hyracotherium and Equus lived at the same time. I presented information (from the link above) that suggests not only is there no evidence for this, it was not actually claimed by the original source, which wa misinterpreted. Do you still stand by this statement? Why or why not?

2)You've said that a global flood explains both sedimentary rocks and more specifically, the fossil record. I've posted information (with some additions of my own) putting forth a more realistic account of what we would expect to see in the fossil record (but don't) if there had been a global flood. Do you disagree that this account is a more realistic prediction of what we would expect to see? Why or why not?

3) Last but not least, a question that has nothing to do with science, but everything, I believe, with this debate: If it was proven beyond a doubt that the modern scientific account (of descent with modification from a single common ancestor on an old earth) was in all major aspects correct, would you toss out your faith like a pile of old newspapers?

-Dan S., waiting for Godot - or at least for a response to #1-#3 above . . .

Anonymous said...

oh, and thanks, creeper!

stock market - I like that one . . .

Isn't the 2nd Law one of those bad arguments creationists were warned against? It's up there with rotting-shark pleiosaurs, but far worse . . .!

-Dan S.

Jake said...

Albert Einstein said time and time again, "God does not play dice" in reference to the Universe and the sciences.

No. He said it once. And it was in reference to modern quantum theory, to which he was very resistent. That you think this could be applied to evolution shows how little you understand the concept.

Evolution is *NOT* a random process. Natural selection is what makes evolution a very non-random process. I suggest you use the time you spend blogging about this to sit in on a basic biology course at your local university.

augurwell said...

Dear Radar,

{What do you (Think)Write here at this blog and what do you Quote ?}, [Not that you may do this but I have found that my enemies often bury my original thoughts and connections when they can not refute them.] "We Stand on the shoulders of giants." Perhaps it would be interesting to colour your original thoughts and writings in a different shade than those of others.

So you do not misunderstand, I am not saying you are my enemy, I am interested in what you yourself have to think and say.

Begin...>
As I take a little time off from maximum prosecution of the war, both foreign and domestic, yours is one of the sites I check in with every now and again, for you are intelligent and stimulating, you point me to other ideas for which I am grateful. You seem a decent chap.

We are engaged, as you are aware, with enemies who would put us to the sword if we are not of their religion. This, we clearly can have no truck with.

I, to a very large degree do not care what a person is talking about so long as they have the right to voice their opinion. As the freedom goes, I will fight and live/die for their right to speak up, even if they are Godless heathens and let them be, so long as they return the courtesy.

My priorities are to bring Order, Peace and Good Government to the world / Life, Liberty and Happiness. The internal strife of religion is overrated and has caused too much misery, it is guilty as sin; hypocrisy the worst of sin, from which all other sin derives.

The realisation of Alatt came from the deep deserts of the Holy Land many thousands of years ago (More than 6,000.) and is a great contribution to human kind (Allah, monothia.) This concept is predominant through out the world i.e. Native Americans hold with the Great Spirit etc. To me, anyway, fighting over the name is rather ridiculous and has caused too much suffering. As you know, right now there is a religious civil war going on in the Muslim world between Sunni and Shi'a that has spilled over on to us. (There is even one going on right here at this blog.)

As the President said a great religion has been hijacked. This war is very similar to the Catholic - Protestant wars of Christianity and any number of other wars that have plagued people throughout history.

It would be good to see a Ghandi of Arabia step up and deal with this trouble but we must remember that Ghandi's method will not work with an uncivilised opponent. So we need the same type of solution that has worked in many other situations in history i.e. A Federal Government with a good Constitution, and an Abraham Lincoln to step in and stop these infantiles from murdering each other and us.

My God is a kind and loving God, who I understand to a certain degree, that employs nature as a device of advancement. Somehow the breath of spirit came to embody the clay and even the clay is alive with atomic activity. Life tends to order as matter tends to decay. Arguing about monkeys and humans is like arguing about the difference of horses and camels; they are both imbued with life. To murder a human being over religion, to my way of thought, should surely bring about the wrath.

For Our sake we have pressing issues to put right, that we can, indeed, here and now do something about, i.e. slavery in the world and starvation, corruption and the misery of all creatures, this is of a higher priority than partisan religion.

I have been following the discussions and links at your site for awhile now and have learned some things for which I thank you. Learning is one of Gods directions and if you study origins of language it is another word for fear.

I'm the one who dies when it is my time to move on and I'll answer the same way then as I do now to my conscience. (If I am asked. / I also know the value of saying not a word at all.) Magic is to many, what science is to the ignorant. I propose that God is not magic but of a science and nature that we do not fully understand yet.

Your work is not in vain, to question is the highest purpose and honour and to learn is a reward. An example, if I may; In certain religions it is a sin of some kind to eat pork or shellfish or cow etc. (It should be a sin to eat dog, but that's another story, that's more like cannibalism to me.) Concerning shellfish and pork, both if not cooked enough may give you a disease. Well, way back before the science of cooking was understood it was noticed that people died if they ate pork etc. so to warn the people it became written into the religion that it was a sin to eat those animals, indeed the fear of God, as written saved many lives (and some pork lives as well no doubt), an example if you get my drift. Today we know a lot more about the science of cooking, yet there are still those who, if they see you eating pork will send the Religious Police after you and you will go to prison or have your head cut off. (Kneejerks)

Radar, since that is what you call yourself and wish to be known as, my apologia for ribbing you for not using your other given names, I am somewhat peeved at people who hide away behind anonymity, it leads me to think they have something to hide, it could be else. Me, I trust in God, the law and my shooting skills. My name is Augurwell and I conceal it only if prudent.

I shall leave you with a poem and 3 net links that you may find helpful, there are other kinds of links in the words I have written.

A Poem:

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace to gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we're lying.
If we say No, we don't see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.


Rumi



To/From C.J.


The Policeman


Nabataea




God bless... and keep you and yours...



Augurwell
Chesshire by Severn
Canada
aegisi(TA)sympatico.ca

Aegisi is a component of Global Emergency Service

(GES)


PS Do you ever notice how some people completely shut down when they hear certain words, or tones of voice ? (It activates the "I'm not listening to you response.") You can see it happen, for example, sometimes when you say to a child "It's very important that ..."

Some things are not our cup of tea, but
we need not cut the heads off of those
whose preference is for Salada as opposed to Earl Grey.

Rad my man, I don't know what was your intention by posting the photograph top right on your blog. Was it to remind us to use our minds or was it in reference to Judas, who went and hung himself ?

Zen is a philosophy, it is sometimes coupled to Buddhism. An interesting note, in Japan there is a term "Mu" it is not yes or no but a variation of the two and it is a third. As in does a dog have the quality of Zen about them. The
Master's reply... "Mu".

Einstein: His greatest helpful suggestion, Keep It Simple Stupid
K.I.S.S.

Now, when I'm not defending the Crown and America for you and for me (And even for them 'peacenix' appeaser's crowd.) with the War Department (The Peace Dept.) I like to take some time and follow up on these suggested links you have provided. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Remind me again, what it is we are discussing ? Keep in mind that my condition, the side effect of dyslexia, sometimes makes the word 'despots'
appear to me as 'pespots.'

On a completely different note, I am still trying to find someone who can explain the "Floating Diamond". A project I am involved with.

This is really a complex universe. Light is a wave and a beam depending on where you observe it. There is a cat in a completely sealed box and your thoughts affect it ? The law of conservation of energy in a sealed system. Transmorgrafication or something. Calvin and I have the right attitude. Don't get swamped with the details or lose the object. KISS. But as I'm on R & R for the moment, I can indulge in this work as diversion.

Apologia for expanding the thread - one thing at a time and simplify.

Do you have the option of making the links live in the comment section here ?

Have a great week.
~

radar said...

Dan S, the old "the earth is an open system because of the sun" line is not applicable. This is equivalent to saying everything is an open system and Kelvin's laws are invalid. Go ahead and open the curtains to your bedroom so the sun can shine in and straighten up the mess.....not gonna happen. The second law is operating quite nicely here on earth despite the presence of sunshine.

Some of what you have asked and said is worthy of a post rather than a comment, so tonight or tomorrow I will address some of your thoughts.

The responses to Behe are rather lame, the ones I have read anyway. More of that "just-so story" style in which maybe this and maybe that could happen, might happen, could have happened but never is the actual question addressed. Just because my neighbor has red paint it doesn't mean he built my red VW Turbo out in the driveway nor does it mean if the can of paint spills then perhaps eventually a red VW Turbo will appear there.

Jake, I try to be very diplomatic but your arrogance is showing. I disagree with you from a standpoint of knowledge and not ignorance. I understand natural selection very well, thank you, and I do not ascribe to it the magical qualities you believe it to have.

Natural selection is a description of a phenomenon seen in nature in which the more survivable organism will probably live to reproduce and reproduce more than the less survivable organism. For instance, a kind of insect normally found in grass that can be either green or brown will do better during the summers in a normal temperate climate because it blends in with the green grasses. But the brown strain of the insect will be more likely to survive in a coastal California environment where the grasses turn brown and remain so for most of the summer. Natural selection is a term for the operation of microevolution in action.

Where I disagree with you, Jake, is that you give natural selection powers that transcend the laws of statistics and is not supported by the fossil record or by observation: You give it the power to evolve an organism into a different kind of organism. Believe that if you will, but don't be so arrogant as to think it is because of superior intellect or training. That gets tiring and it doesn't really make you look good either.

Macroevolution is not orderly, that is part of the point. First, it requires mutations to operate. Microevolution uses the variety built in to the genetic code to select from several preconfigured choices (blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, hazel eyes, that kind of thing)and we see it in operation all the time. Macroevolution must use mutations to bring about change in the genetic code in order to go from one kind of organism to another. Mutations are necessarily random and the odds are against mutations being beneficial, yet proponents see this as an orderly system of change. I don't see it occuring at all and if it did I cannot see how you can describe it as orderly.

Jake said...

I disagree with you from a standpoint of knowledge and not ignorance.

I'm sorry, radar, but you have made it abundantly clear that this is simply not the case.

Anonymous said...

[Dan S. says . . . ]

radar said:
"This is equivalent to saying everything is an open system"

But it isn't.

"Go ahead and open the curtains to your bedroom so the sun can shine in and straighten up the mess.....not gonna happen."

You sure? My office is really messy, but if it gets cleaned up, it most definitely will be because of our friend Mr. Sun. How? Well, I might go around tidying. I can do this because I ate food and am doing lots of fun things with ATP. Where does the energy in the food come from? The sun, via photosynthesis. Maybe I'll use a vacuum cleaner, powered by electricity, generated by water, wind, coal, etc - again, one way or another, we're talking about solar energy, if at several removes.

But doesn't really have anything to do with the issue, since thermodynamics "is not explainable in terms of qualitative metaphor" - find out all you ever wanted to know over at TalkOrigin's 2nd Law, evolution, and probability page.

Re: just-so stories and red VW Turbos:

Imagine you go out for a walk. When you come back, your VW Turbo - which had been sitting in your driveway - is gone! However, there's a black VW Turbo in your neighbor's driveway. There's black paint on your neighbor's clothes, and in drips underneath the car. You can see an open can of black paint in your neighbor's garage. You go over to confront him, but he replies, don't be ridiculous - even if I was the kind of person who would steal their neighbor's car, how on earth could I have carried it from your driveway to mine? It's way too heavy!! Aliens must have transported it away!
Do you a) realize he's right, apologize sheepishly, and walk back to your house wondering why the aliens are always picking on you (this is the 3rd car they've beamed up this year!), or
b) hit him/call the cops/etc.

"Macroevolution is not orderly,"
Why not? Because it involves chance? That doesn't matter! It's very predictable, in that it follows physical laws: it's orderly.

"[Jake] give[s] natural selection powers that transcend the laws of statistics . . . Mutations are necessarily random and the odds are against mutations being beneficial"

You silly, silly man! The odds against you specifically being conceived, being carried to term without miscarriage, surviving birth, and living to your current age (and one hopes, a good bit beyond) are enormous. That doesn't mean you're nonexistant or dead (at least I hope not, or else we have another outbreak of Zombie Creationist Bloggers - *sigh* - gonna have to call the antizombie team out again . . .


What's weird is that you accept natural selection, but not the other half of Darwin's and Wallace's insight - the bit about how variation is produced. What, your God is a jealous God, and insists you shall have no other creative forces - no matter how mindless, and conceivably functioning according to laws he may have made - besides him?

And if you insist that a) all variation seen today results from 'microevolution' defined as natural selection working on pre-existing genetic variation within a relatively small number of created kinds, with no new variation allowed, and b) all variation within a kind, for each land-living kind, arose by this process starting with 2, 7, or 8 ancestors within the last few thousand years?

And you think we're transcending statistic??

Call up your local state college bio department and ask to talk to a genetics person, and run this by them . . .

"so tonight or tomorrow I will address some of your thoughts."
I look forward to it.

-Dan S.

creeper said...

"the old "the earth is an open system because of the sun" line is not applicable."

The sun provides thermal energy to the Earth. Why would you exclude the sun from the system under consideration? I certainly agree that if there were no sun, then we'd have a big fat entropy problem, but as it is, we're the lucky recipients of plenty of thermal energy.

"This is equivalent to saying everything is an open system and Kelvin's laws are invalid."

It's quite specific: you can't exclude the sun from the system under consideration.

"Go ahead and open the curtains to your bedroom so the sun can shine in and straighten up the mess.....not gonna happen. The second law is operating quite nicely here on earth despite the presence of sunshine."

If what you misrepresent here were true, if the 2nd law of thermodynamics applied everywhere equally, you could not only not have any children - all of whom are instances of a local decrease of entropy - but you yourself obviously would not have existed in the first place.

Please read up on the 2nd law of thermodynamics. You seem to comprehend it in such a way as to not be compatible with the universe you live in. I know you're desperately trying to think of ways to disprove the theory of evolution, but disproving yourself in the process is going just a little too far.

"Some of what you have asked and said is worthy of a post rather than a comment, so tonight or tomorrow I will address some of your thoughts."

Looking forward to it - there are quite a few questions left open - and the list is growing.

"The responses to Behe are rather lame, the ones I have read anyway. More of that "just-so story" style in which maybe this and maybe that could happen, might happen, could have happened but never is the actual question addressed."

It seems to me that a true instance of irreducible complexity could be an indicator of design. The thing is, to demonstrate a true instance of irreducible complexity, one must demonstrate that it could not possibly have evolved from less complex parts - that there is no possible path by which the parts of the whole didn't have useful functions along the way, then combined into a larger whole by plausible steps that provided evolutionary advantages. The obvious response to such a claim is to demonstrate how it could have happened; that is the appropriate method to invalidate the claim. Hence the only way to respond to claims of irreducible complexity is to provide what you look down on as "just-so" stories. How else would you argue against something specific being an instance of irreducible complexity?

"Just because my neighbor has red paint it doesn't mean he built my red VW Turbo out in the driveway nor does it mean if the can of paint spills then perhaps eventually a red VW Turbo will appear there."

Your analogy appears to be completely beside the point of the argument. In what way are the paint and the VW Turbo capable of reproduction and variation?

"Jake, I try to be very diplomatic but your arrogance is showing. I disagree with you from a standpoint of knowledge and not ignorance."

You accuse him of arrogance, then move on to show off your own in the very next sentence. Listen Radar, we can easily write up a long list of instances in your posts and comments in the last week or so in which you have clearly and undeniably displayed your own ignorance. That's all right - you occasionally claim humility and a willingness to learn and explore, but seriously, lose the swagger. Win by having the winning argument, not by boasting about knowing more than the other guy, especially when it's sandwiched in between two glaring examples of ignorance and lack of careful thought.

"I understand natural selection very well, thank you, and I do not ascribe to it the magical qualities you believe it to have."

You demonstrate in the remainder of this comment that you don't understand natural selection that well at all, since you magically apply it in one instance but pretend it doesn't exist in another.

"Natural selection is a term for the operation of microevolution in action."

What makes you think it only applies in microevolution?

Where I disagree with you, Jake, is that you give natural selection powers that transcend the laws of statistics"

Changing the odds is not the same as transcending the laws of statistics.

" and is not supported by the fossil record or by observation: You give it the power to evolve an organism into a different kind of organism."

If you were a scientist trying to prove macroevolution via natural selection, how would you say one could observe macroevolution in action, either directly or in the fossil record?

"Macroevolution is not orderly, that is part of the point. First, it requires mutations to operate."

And immediately after that, it requires natural selection - that's where you go wrong in your comments further below.

Macroevolution can occur via microevolution writ large, i.e. via gradual small-scale changes over many generations can result in larger changes . No creationist has ever explained why after x generations of small-scale change, some kind of barrier is hit that prevents further change. Why should change be limited by some magical barrier? Can you explain this barrier?

"Microevolution uses the variety built in to the genetic code to select from several preconfigured choices (blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, hazel eyes, that kind of thing)and we see it in operation all the time."

It can also result in taller, shorter, fatter, thinner, hairier, balder, longer beak, shorter beak - the result of which is where the next generation starts out. So the changes can build on each other, and result in larger changes over many generations. It is not just a simple built-in menu with limited options, like ordering a PC from Dell.

"Macroevolution must use mutations to bring about change in the genetic code in order to go from one kind of organism to another. Mutations are necessarily random and the odds are against mutations being beneficial, yet proponents see this as an orderly system of change."

This is where you're inexplicably forgetting about natural selection. Crucial mistake. The system of change is orderly because it naturally selects for beneficial mutations. Harmful mutations quickly die off, beneficial mutations multiply in greater numbers.

I don't see it occuring at all and if it did I cannot see how you can describe it as orderly.

Please read up on
natural selection... with an open mind. You have some major misconceptions about it.

creeper said...

No life would be possible on this earth if it weren’t for the phenomenon we call activation energies, Ea.

creeper said...

"And if you insist that a) all variation seen today results from 'microevolution' defined as natural selection working on pre-existing genetic variation within a relatively small number of created kinds, with no new variation allowed, and b) all variation within a kind, for each land-living kind, arose by this process starting with 2, 7, or 8 ancestors within the last few thousand years?

And you think we're transcending statistic??"


Well said, Dan.

Radar is being awfully quiet on this inconsistency and major, major obstacle for young earth creationism.

IAMB said...

Re: anti(creationist)zombie team...

You called?

But seriously: creeper, I wouldn't go calling Jake a "him" if I were you...

Jake said...

Hey Matt,

Thanks for the word, but really I don't care. I get called 'he' and 'she' about equally online and in real life, and I'm not especially fussed about pronouns. It's not like it's relevant, right?

IAMB said...

No problem, your choice.

I just like to give credit where it's due whenever possible.

Jake said...

Fair enough, and I do appreciate it.

creeper said...

"But seriously: creeper, I wouldn't go calling Jake a "him" if I were you..."

If I did that, I apologize. Sorry, Jake.

Jake said...

No worries creeper. Like I said above, I'm not especially fussed about pronouns.

(and I like the phrase "not fussed")