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Monday, April 03, 2006

Darwin is Dead Carnival - Second edition

It's that time again, when I take a day off of blogging and commenting and all that stuff and post the output of others. Lots of entries, so step right up and read away!

(1) Wollemia nobilis: A Living Fossil and Evolutionary Enigma

"Who would have thought that, at the close of the twentieth century, only 125 miles from the center of a sprawling metropolis of more than four million people, scientists would find a previously unknown tree in a rugged wilderness area.

When discovered in August 1994, the Wollemi pine was hailed as the "botanical find of the century," like "finding a small dinosaur still alive on earth." It was found by New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger David Noble during a weekend bushwalk into a remote 500-600 meter deep narrow sandstone canyon in the rugged and densely forested Wollemi National Park only 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of downtown Sydney, Australia (figure 1). Thus this strange tree from the "ancient" past,a new genus, was formally named Wollemia nobilis (figure 2)."


Read Andrew Snelling's article here.

(2) Intelligent Design

"Recently my son came home confused. They were studying Intelligent Design in school and he had some questions. I was relieved that his school stopped teaching the theory of Evolution, which I never really understood. I once saw a movie that tried to explain evolution but it just got me more confused. It showed a bunch of apes in the desert who were starving and then this black obelisk appeared out of nowhere and they started using bones to kill animals for meat and then each other and then one of them threw a bone up in the air and it turned into a space ship. It didn't make a lot of sense to me and that's why I was glad when our local school board decided to stop teaching this theory."

Jon Swift (no, not that one) lays it all out here.

(3) Evolution versus Intelligent Design: The God of the Gaps

"Joe Carter at The Evangelical Outpost has an outstanding article on the “God of the Gaps.” Joe explains in easily understandable terms that the notion “actually encompasses four different views based on distinctions between a “science gap” (a gap in our current scientific knowledge) and a “nature gap” (a break in the continuous cause-effect chain of natural process) that may or may not be bridged by miraculous-appearing theistic action.”

As technology advances, our science gaps close, but more science gaps often rise up to take their place. For example, we once thought that an electron was a sub-atomic particle that had no components. Now we know that electrons are made up of quarks and that quarks are made up of vibrating strings. Furthermore, for those strings to have the properties that they do, it is required that the universe have somewhere from 9 to 12 dimensions instead of the 3 dimensions that we operate with on an everyday basis. The other dimensions are very, very tiny and apparently curl back on themselves, but they exist nevertheless."


The entire post by Michael McCullough is here.

(4) Study Proves Universe Created By Committee

"The most extensive analysis yet undertaken of the structure and contents of the universe conclusively proves the universe was created not by a single entity, as has been widely suggested, but by "a fractious and disorganized committee or committees given to groupthink and petty infighting", according to Drs. Karl Pootle and Yumble Frick, co-authors of the study. The analysis is expected to have profound implications on the theoretical underpinnings of many popular religions.

The study, entitled “Universe: Made By Whom How?”, was commissioned by an interfaith consortium of world religious leaders seeking to develop a comprehensive scientific foundation for various fundamentally compatible theories of creation, theories that until recently had been little more than matters of faith with no objective scientific underpinning. The Universe Made By Whom How data was intended by its sponsors to be a “Mother of All Bombs” in the ongoing war on evolution, according to Dr. Frick."


It is rumored that Ion Zwitter is the author and you can read it here.

(5) Darwinism: From Strength to Strength

"Fresh on the heels of victory in last year’s Dover intelligent design trial, Darwinists have now successfully scuttled Ohio's model lesson plan that encouraged students to think critically by exposing them to both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinism. Thanks to the tireless enforcers of Darwinian purity, the story Ohio students will now hear on Darwinism will sound a lot like the news stories on Castro in Cuba’s state run newspapers: all positive, all the time.

The average citizen who reads about these developments may be wondering what contrary evidence the Darwinists are afraid of, and how the politicians in Ohio got buffaloed into supporting such a reversal, particularly when at least three polls (two by Zogby) indicate that Ohio voters by a 3 to 1 margin support the state's science standards calling for students to critically analyze evolution."


Johnathan Witt's entire post is right here.

(6) THE TRUTH OF LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

"Despite mounting geological evidence, the liberal academic elite has continually scoffed at my years of scholarship concerning the reality of the so-called “fairy tale” of Little Red Riding Hood. That is all about to change, my friends. During my latest field excursion, I unearthed the most important artifacts of my career, which are sure to put an end to any controversy. I was walking a Cretaceous synorogenic conglomerate formation, searching for antediluvian fossils, when my eye was caught by the exquisitely preserved trackway of a WOLF (Canis lupus) that can be clearly seen in the accompanying photograph. These footprints measure 85 cm across--very BIG and, I must say, VERY BAD. Remember, this rock was supposedly formed 80 million years ago, long before the appearance of any large mammal carnivores, and certainly before any canids—yet another INCONSISTENCY in the evolutionists' dogma."

It is necessary to read Carel Brest van Kempen to completion here.

(7) Only one Ice Age

"We often hear glacial geologists speak of numerous ice ages, as if it is certain. They hypothesize up to 30 different ones, each separated by interglacials, during the past 2.5 million years.1 An interglacial is the period between ice ages when all of the glaciers melted, except for Antarctica and Greenland. Each ice age is believed to have occurred at regular intervals of 100,000 years during approximately the past million years. The ice sheets are said to build up in 90,000 years and melt in the subsequent 10,000-year interglacial. Before a million years ago, ice ages cycled about every 40,000 years, they believe. Furthermore, uniformitarian scientists also postulate more ancient ice ages as far back as 2 to 2.5 billion years ago (see section later in this chapter). Figure 11.1 shows a plot of these ice ages in the evolutionary/uniformitarian time scale."

Be sure to read all of Michael Oard's article here.

Big thanks to every author for their participation!!!!!!

I hope you all get a chance to read every entry. A great deal of research and thought went into the entries above and you will both stretch your mind and traverse the nyuk-nyuk zone during the course of your literary odyssey. Or in some cases, perhaps Oddyssey would be correct? Enjoy!

28 comments:

Jake said...

You've got to be frackin kidding me. Don't you have any standards for what you accept in this carnival? The article by the parent who's glad that his daughter is learning ID because he found evolution too confusing is just sad. Really. Should we remove algebra from the curriculum next? Or maybe philosophy? I'm sure there are parents who can't understand those subjects.

And the "world was created by committee" article? It's a spoof. It's been around the intarweb for a long time now.

Face it. This is a sad excuse for a carnival. In contrast, Tangled Bank and Skeptics' Circle (each of which run biweekly) get well over ten entries each time, many of which are of very high quality.

I suppose I can't blame you though. Your subject matter gives next to nothing to work with.

IAMB said...

Jake, I'm pretty sure that John Swift post you're referring to is satire. Here's the money quote from his page:

I am a reasonable conservative who likes to write about politics and culture. Since the media is biased I get all my news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Jay Leno monologues.

No way in hell he's serious... I hope. He's also got other stuff on his page that leads me to believe that it's clever satire, like this title:

Waging Preemptive War Against Drunk Drivers

Speaking of Skeptics' Circle, I hope you'll write something. I'm in control again and you've got two weeks to send me stuff, since your first run with us was on my watch.

radar said...

Jake apparently did not read all of the articles. Lacking a sense of humor, he failed to detect that the "confused" author was using sarcasm. The "committee" article was submitted by the author. Both entries were from Darwinists, using the occasion of the Carnival to stick it to Darwinists through the use of humor.

Sar-casm (from Dictionary.com)

[Late Latin sarcasmus, from Greek sarkasmos, from sarkazein, to bite the lips in rage, from sarx, sark-, flesh.]

1)A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
2)A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.
3)The use of sarcasm.

radar said...

Ooops, they were sticking it to CREATIONISTS!!! I am the intended target. Uhm, but I liked it anyway.

Anonymous said...

jake, the parent article is a joke (unless I'm missing the one you mean, somehow) . . .

(but remember, there was a mini-blogfuss over algebra . . .)

radar, um . . . almost all the creationist entries are professional jobs, so to speak, off of ICR, AIG, IDtheFuture . . . is that a carnival, exactly?

The post McCullough quotes is kinda silly - it completely misses the whole point of the god of the gaps argument (it's not about truth but knowledge - if we don't know that Goddidit (it being a scientific mystery), it's a theologically bad idea to invoke him as a (proximal) explanation. See the entire history of science's sucessful attempts to explain natural phenomena.
Somewhere on that site is a comment on the new gaps that was marvelous - comparing the new gaps opening up to the ever-increasing (but ever smaller) unpainted bits that appear as we paint a wall with broad, rough strokes. I would say it's like walking along a long, really winding trail - sure, every couple of steps reveals more trail, but it was always there - you just weren't able to see it before.

The proposed 'experiment' he quotes (Behe challenging scientists (crap, I almost typed Darwinist - the power of discourse! quick, what do you call a tax paid by heirs?) to disprove ID by watching a bacterium for 10,000 generations in conditions selecting for mobility and seeing if it evolves a seemingly IC-like apparatus like a flagella is a bit silly. For starters, what's 10,000 bacterial generations? A month? I don't know exactly, but it's a pretty short time, almost unimagainably shorter than the probable time this took in the real world. Plus, this wouldn't do anything to disprove IC. It would just prove that the specific moving apparatus (probably quite different from a flagella) that was cobbled together over the next million years (what a research grant!) wasn't actually IC-ish. Maybe even that the flagella wasn't IC (something that has been more or less established, on a reasonable-doubt level, already - I'm not going to post the link again without, rightly or wrongly, a promise to read it! -) not that IC itself was flawed. (I think I got this point from a panda's thumb post) You can always move to the next unexplained example. That's the great strength of the God of the Gaps - you can always say that God is hiding in the next gap over. The drawback is after a while, some folks will start thinking it's a bit of a scam, like that game with the three cups and a ball (or classically, three nut shells and a pea). Why keep insisting that God is hiding in the darkness of ignorance? If you're going with the whole God bit, why not try to find him in the light of knowledge?

Try looking at the photos in the joke red riding hood post right next to the ones in the ICR Wollemia article. It's hilarious . . .

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

that bit of etymology is great. It's amazing how many dead metaphors, etc. English has . . .

-Dan S.

radar said...

Dan S- That a professional article would be in a Carnival, that is strange? I am unsure if any of those posts were written for the Carnival first, since they were all sent in after their dates on their respective blogs. Therefore????

We don't need to go on to the next gap. No one has even scratched the surface of dealing with the rotary flagellum. I have lots and lots of irreducibly complex designs but might as well hold on to them while the macroevolutionists try to figure out that one, eh? Since not only the components, but the assembly and transportation of the components involved in the rotary flagellum are all IC I won't hold my breath.

IAMB said...

IC? Don't count on it remaining that way.

Behe used to say the same thing about the blood clotting cascade. In fact, he was saying the same thing on the stand at Dover until the plaintiff's attorney dumped over fifty papers on its evolution onto the stand in front of him.

He still tried to say they were "insufficient", despite admitting to never having read a single one of them.

For the flagellum, possible pathways are being explored, one of which is the Type III Secretion (also "Transport") System (present in some of the nastier bacteria species such as chlamydiae, yersinia pestis and salmonella). It is being explored as a possibility as we speak.

Perhaps that pathway won't pan out, but another will come along. Science is about finding answers. IC is what I like to call the "we give up" approach. Not a good way to go. Determination is something science needs.

All these "gaps" and "IC systems" that creationists keep pointing out are actually a good thing for me... I like to call it "job security".

radar said...

Job security is a good thing! By the way, I had not seen a link that had a blood-clotting evolution explanation, must be pretty new?


(On a personal note, I do get puzzled sometimes when very intelligent and reasonable people are unwilling to even consider supernatural answers. I guess I just don't get it, do I???? The refusal to consider the supernatural seems prejudicial and arbitrary to me. Maybe Matt can give me a new insight into this?)

cranky old fart said...

"I do get puzzled sometimes when very intelligent and reasonable people are unwilling to even consider supernatural answers".

Supernatural "answers" are just excuses called "supernatural" when natural answers have yet to be found, no?

Unless you can prove the supernatural, it's not really an answer; it's just a label for a current lack of knowledge.

In the end, where do you go with your "supernatural answers"? Aren't they just practical dead ends?

A very good question was asked by Creeper in the comments to another post, for which I've yet to see an answer:

"Name an example in which invoking a supernatural explanation led to a scientific insight or breakthrough. Name an invention that was made possible by invoking a supernatural explanation".

radar said...

"Name an example in which invoking a supernatural explanation led to a scientific insight or breakthrough. Name an invention that was made possible by invoking a supernatural explanation".

All of them. Yes, all. I do believe (and those of you who know the history of science can chime in) That it was the belief in a good creation, that is, a logical one, caused early scientists to believe they could understand cause-and-effect in the world around them. They anticipated that there would be logic in the design of things. Therefore the sciences began on the assumption that a good God created things in an orderly and comprehensible way.

If you completely toss out the supernatural from the beginning, then one would expect that in a world that came from a random event, the processes would themselves be random and very probably not be predictable.

Of course, life would be problematic in a random and unpredictable world. I would throw something and it might just fall to the ground one time, hit me in the knee one time, and sail off one hundred yards away the next, all with the same amount of perceived effort on my part.

But of course life itseld would not be possible in a world of random processes, for the makeup of my lungs that would allow for the absorption of oxygen could work one minute and not the next. The properties of oxygen could be vastly different with every passing minute.

I could go on, but I hope the point is made. The very ability to postulate that there is no supernatural is based on orderly processes that are incomprehensibly logical were this a randomly produced universe.

cranky old fart said...

"Therefore the sciences began on the assumption that a good God created things in an orderly and comprehensible way".

OK, let's try this again. Name an example in which invoking a supernatural EXPLANATION led to a scientific insight or breakthrough. Name an invention that was made possible by invoking a supernatural EXPLANATION".

Looking for order is not invoking a supernatural EXPLANATION of the order that is found. These were natural answers and explanations, no?

The "supernatural" BELIEF you reference was wholly irrelevant to the natural EXPLANATION discovered by observing the natural world. It may have been INSPIRATION, but it was no EXPLANATION.

cranky old fart said...

Tossing out Gods from our worldview does not lead to, well anything, and certainly doesn't transform the natural world into one which is "random and very probably not be predictable".

I learned long ago that praying, wishing and hoping for the hometown team to win has no real effect on the outcome of the game.

The world is as it is.

But for arguments sake, let's say your God exits, and made the world as it is.

So what?

What practical good does this do us, as far as discovering the way the natural world works? How, other than as inspiration perhaps, does this help us build a better mousetrap?

IAMB said...

NCSE would probably be able to point you in the direction of the papers in question. If that's not the way you want to go, you could get ahold of Tim Sandefur at Panda's Thumb for more information, since he's their resident legal mind.

I'm not unwilling to consider supernatural explanations for things, on a personal level... it's just that we have no way to test for them or do work on them. From a research perspective, it's a dead end. That does not mean the supernatural (or God, if you'd like to use the term) doesn't exist. People looked for supernatural causes in medicine for all sorts of diseases for centuries, even millennia, but it's those looking hard at natural mechanisms who eventually found the cause and in some cases, the cure.

I guess the big difference that I see between the ID folks and research scientists is that the IDer says "This is so complex... we finally have our proof of intent" and the scientist says "Let's see if we can figure out how this complicated little thing works and how it got there".

Being a naturally curious person, I'm stuck squarely in camp B.

creeper said...

creeper: "Name an example in which invoking a supernatural explanation led to a scientific insight or breakthrough. Name an invention that was made possible by invoking a supernatural explanation".

radar: "All of them. Yes, all. I do believe (and those of you who know the history of science can chime in) That it was the belief in a good creation, that is, a logical one, caused early scientists to believe they could understand cause-and-effect in the world around them. They anticipated that there would be logic in the design of things. Therefore the sciences began on the assumption that a good God created things in an orderly and comprehensible way."


Again, here's that confusion again between world view and process. One can be a fervent Christian or a staunch atheist and still go into the lab and soberly examine things under a microscope and determine the order and relationships between them.

The scientists in question may have believed in God etc. but note that they did not invoke supernatural explanations in their work.

The question remains unanswered:

Name an example in which invoking a supernatural explanation led to a scientific insight or breakthrough. Name an invention that was made possible by invoking a supernatural explanation.

"If you completely toss out the supernatural from the beginning, then one would expect that in a world that came from a random event, the processes would themselves be random and very probably not be predictable."

1. It seems you're confusing "random" with "devoid of natural laws and fundamental forces".

2. Science proceeds from the observable, and the observable includes certain rules and relationships. Every day the sun appears on the horizon, when I toss a ball up in the air it falls back down and bounces, when a male and a female mate they produce offspring etc. Observing this allows one to conclude a certain order regardless of whether one believes this is because of God.

The observable also includes, due to our limited perception of the world and its complexity, events that appear random. A freak tidal wave, or someone being run over by a bus.

"Of course, life would be problematic in a random and unpredictable world. I would throw something and it might just fall to the ground one time, hit me in the knee one time, and sail off one hundred yards away the next, all with the same amount of perceived effort on my part.

But of course life itseld would not be possible in a world of random processes, for the makeup of my lungs that would allow for the absorption of oxygen could work one minute and not the next. The properties of oxygen could be vastly different with every passing minute.

I could go on, but I hope the point is made. The very ability to postulate that there is no supernatural is based on orderly processes that are incomprehensibly logical were this a randomly produced universe."


1. Now this is where you apply Occam's Razor, Radar. What we have are a certain kind of order - let's call this the physical laws: things fall, bounce, are gravitationally attracted to each other, are magnetically attracted to each other. In your example, these are what will make something you throw fall more or less the same all the time.

Natural science says that this is because of gravity, wind resistance, friction, momentum.

You say it's because of gravity, wind resistance, friction, momentum - all of which only exist because of the supernatural. This adds a hypothetical layer of complexity that is (a) not indicated by any evidence, and (b) not necessary, as it adds no explanatory power.

2. Your proposition is of course a complete strawman, and a false dichotomy. Nobody is arguing we live in a random universe, and we are not limited to the two options of either a completely random universe or an orderly universe constantly propped up by God.

Anonymous said...

The influence of certain religious beliefs on early modern scientists is an interesting and controversial topic, one that I commented on earlier but don't really have any special expertise in. Nevertheless, it would seem the best case you can make is that they served as a kind of scaffolding in the early stages of constructing modern science. Nowadays, whatever the beliefs of individual scientists, this scaffolding has been removed, and the building stands on its own. Why would anyone want to cover a perfectly good building with scaffolding, especially in a useless and random way -not connected to its orignal location or any practical considerations - that would block windows and doors and such?
After all, as pointed out, God was used as a meta-explantion, not as an explantaion for specific phenomena, which is what creationists try to do. The idea that God ultimately created and continues to sustain the universe is not incompatable with science, and there are many people, including scientists, who believe this. They just don't insist that He be dragged in to explain, for example, why there appears to be a 463 billion km long cloud of alcohol in deep space (just discovered, sadly, it's undrinkable methanol), but rely instead on natural laws - His laws, if you wish, though science has no means of determining that.

Supernatural answers? Many people consider supernatural answers. It's just that supernatural answers, as such, don't work in science. Last night I was watching the show House, about the brilliant but abrasive and misanthropic Dr. Gregory House (played by Hugh Laurie, in a slightly different role from Bernie Wooster or Stuart Little's dad!) and his team of unrealistically attractive young diagnosticians who each week are faced with another puzzling and sometimes bizarre medical mystery. In the course of discovering what ails their patient du jour, they often explore a host of medical explanations, many of which I couldn't spell even if I knew what they meant.

You know what sort of explanations they don't look into? Supernatural ones. God, angels, demons, spirits, etc. - none of these ever show up on House's whiteboard. It's possible that some of the characters believe that the ailments they treat occur against a background of spiritual warfare or are ultimately in God's hands (I'd guess Cameron) - but you couldn't tell this from their day-to-day work. You know why?

It doesn't help.


Really, that's all there is to it. It doesn't cure people, it doesn't explain in a practically meaningful way why they're sick - in this specific domain of action, it doesn't do anything. Religious beliefs and practices may well have other effects on health, but in this way - nada.

-Dan S.

cranky old fart said...

I'm guessing radar will not be responding further to this recent line of comment, or will, at best, be promising one of his famous "future posts" which will evade the basic issue.

Nudge, nudge.....

creeper said...

Cranky,

He posted. And avoided.

cranky old fart said...

Creeper,

Go figure. The silence says it all.

Kapitano said...

You are either a complete lummox or a great collector of satire.

Wollemia nobilis: A Living Fossil and Evolutionary Enigma - This is an argument against evolution?

Intelligent Design - obviously a joke, though a pretty good one.

Evolution versus Intelligent Design: The God of the Gaps - A child's understanding of particle physics, proving nothing.

Study Proves Universe Created By Committee - Probably inspired by The Onion.

Darwinism: From Strength to Strength - Contentless rambling.

The truth of Little Red Riding Hood - anyone who can't see this is a joke...is the joke.

Only one Ice Age - Big News. Scientists can disagree with each other and revise their opinions. That's what makes them rational and not ideologues.

IAMB said...

Radar, I need to offer a correction to my comment about blood clotting: I meant the immune system. That was the one that happened on the stand in Dover.

There is plenty of work on blood clotting systems out there, if you care to dig for it.

I apologize for any confusion, and also for the couple of days it took me to realize my error. Need... More... Coffee...

Russ said...

"Darwin" of the "Darwin is Dead Carnival" title refers, of course, to the amazing, elegant, unifying, explanatory, useful, predictive, applicable, clarifying, integrating, justifying, extrapolating, elucidating, enlightening, conceptual, theoretical, practical, guiding, broadly encompassing, broad, deep, wide, and just plain wonderful theory of evolution, not the truly great scientist himself who is, of course, in fact, quite dead. Over the 150 years since the publication of "Origin of Species," millions of pieces of data have created a mountain of support for evolution and since new supporting evidence is published almost daily, evolution is not only alive and well, but its life, energy and vitality is constantly reinforced.

radar said...

Russ, you sounded just like a Palestinian child rhapsodizing about Shahada...and Darwin was a poor scientist. Wait until I post about him!

radar said...

Kapitano, I see you have little sense of irony or humor?

Stingray said...

Thanks for all the visitors you sent my way. And thank for catching my "lifelike" scientist typo.

Stingray:  a blog for salty Christians

Anonymous said...

Radar, I find it sad how easily you are defeated by your own musings. Your whole explanation of how the supernatural must exist because if the universe came from a random event, all events must be random blah blah blah - man, that is just pathetic.

Consider this - the existence of random events is exactly what you need to justify the existence of God or the supernatural. If all effect has cause (apparent or otherwise) then where is God? Let me make that clear, if every event in the universe has a cause, then there is no room for God to change the course of events unless He controls the cause. But if we can measure these causes through natural explanation, where does God come in? How is He relevant?

What you need to contemplate is the search for a truly random event where the cause cannot be determined naturally and therefore must be supernatural. Unfortunately, this is an impossible task. The best you can do is disprove one or more natural explanations, which is not the same as proving a supernatural cause.

Good Luck.

Jack said...

Radar, you claim that you have the best wife in the world. Well that happens to be my wife.
Never get an Aussie jealous!

Anonymous said...

Wollemia nobilis sales are a scam. I bought two of those, one at a time, both died no matter how well I took care of them. They are expensive fossils and they will all die and your money will be wasted on this scam. Buy plants that are going to live and don't try to revive the dinosaurs.