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Monday, June 25, 2007

Creation versus Evolution - Basics continued

I just loved this comment: "For those keeping score, that's
Science: 1x10^2346789 Creationism: 0."

This is a real kool-aid drinker here. I am not so foolish as to think that only Creation Science is actual science, but for some reason this person thinks that Creationism is against science. Perhaps this is because this person doesn't understand science. In pure form, science is unconcerned with worldview and that is certainly true in operational mode.

Being a creationist or an evolutionist usually makes no difference when it comes to science, that is, operational science in which systems and operations that are observable and testable today are studied in order to make discoveries that benefit mankind. It only makes a difference when grant dollars are being passed out for historical science research, really, or in matters of historical (or origins) science itself.

I have stated that I do believe that a lot of money is being thrown at attempts to prove that evolution has occurred and evolution-related issues and I do believe that money and time is wasted.

Incidently, since creation science has an answer to the advent of the Universe and the beginning of life itself, maybe right now it is creationism 2, atheistic evolutionism 0. But we go on...

The complexity of living beings
- I find it either pathetic or hilarious that the SETI project is underway. The folks who are scanning the skies for SETI are looking for any evidence of intelligent patterns in the noise and light that are coming from outside of the Earth. Here is the statement of purpose for the SETI Institute.

The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.

The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach.

Founded in 1984, the Institute today employs over 100 scientists, educators and support staff. Research at the Institute is anchored by two centers. Dr. Jill Tarter leads the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research as Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI. Dr. Frank Drake is the Director for the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe

Sponsorship

Institute projects have been sponsored by:

  • NASA Ames Research Center
  • NASA Headquarters
  • National Science Foundation
  • Department of Energy
  • US Geological Survey
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
  • International Astronomical Union
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • David & Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Paul G. Allen Foundation
  • Gordon and Betty Moore
  • Universities Space Research Association (USRA)
  • Pacific Science Center
  • Foundation for Microbiology
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Hewlett Packard Company
  • William and Rosemary Hewlett
  • Bernard M. Oliver
  • And many others

The Institute welcomes support from private foundations or other groups/individuals interested in SETI. Each funded effort (135 separate multi-year projects funded since 1984) is supervised by a principal investigator who is responsible to the Board of Trustees for the conduct of the activity.

Organization Status

The SETI Institute is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1984 (California Corporation #1261957). The Institute is a scientific and educational organization governed by the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, and the Institute's Federal identification number for reporting and tax purposes is 94-2951356.

All contributions to the Institute will be used to further the goals described above and are deductible to the donor for both State and Federal income tax purposes.

~~~~~~~

I could go on about the hundreds, yes, thousands of home computers giving processing time to the SETI project and all of the money dedicated to looking for ET. The Phoenix Project gets sky-scanning time to look for intelligent signals from the skies. But whether or not you support this search, I ask you this: If intelligent code coming from outer space means a non-human intelligence, then why isn't this same point of view in use when studying the makeup of life itself????



Would SETI recognize an intelligent message if they saw one?

One would think that to establish that any signal from space came from an intelligent source, it would need to contain coded information. (Any language system is coded information.) This would be a sign of intelligence because it always takes (greater) information to produce information, and ultimately information is the result of intelligence. Many years ago, the very first radio signal was received from space. It was called LGM-1. A regularly repeating blip had evolutionary astronomers very excited. Co-discoverer Jocelyn Bell-Burnell said:

‘One of the ideas that we facetiously entertained was that it might be little green men [emphasis added]—a civilization outside in space somewhere trying to communicate with us.’8

LGM-1 actually stood for ‘Little Green Men-1’, which gives you some indication of what they were expecting to find. However, the radio signal was from nothing more than a pulsar, a very dense celestial object, probably formed from a star that has undergone gravitational collapse. As it rapidly rotates, it emits regular ‘pulses’ of radio waves. (In contrast to the complex DNA code, or the writing on this page, a repeating signal actually has a very low level of information.)

The SETI Project, Falling “Floppy Discs,” and A Major Missed Implication
by Kyle Butt, M.A.

SETI is the acronym that stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. For some time prior to 1981, the Federal Government pumped millions of dollars into the construction of high-tech satellites overseen by NASA that were designed to scan the skies in an effort to detect messages, codes, signals, or signs from intelligent life forms on other planets. In 1981, however, federal funding for this program ceased, but this roadblock in the search for alien intelligence did not stop the program. Currently, the Planetary Society stands as the major player in the SETI project. Thousands of volunteers all over the world have put their desktop computers to work, equipped with a program that filters information and radio signals from satellites. These computers are looking for patterns in signals that would suggest the existence of intelligence in outer space. Such prestigious institutions as Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley have joined the search. In the past, renowned scientists like Carl Sagan adamantly pushed for the funding and expansion of the SETI project (McDonough, 2004).

What, then, are these scientists and volunteers hoping to find in the data collected from their satellites, observation equipment, and computer analyses? They are hoping to find patterns or codes in radio or laser signals that contain some type of communication from an extraterrestrial intelligence. On the Planetary Society’s Web site, under the heading of Frequently Asked Questions, the question is posed: “How could we possibly understand signals from another civilization?” The answer given to this question is:

Even though we and an alien civilization would not have a language in common, there are ways to communicate that should be understandable to intelligent beings. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, and astronomy contain fundamental laws that provide a common “language” throughout the universe. Television pictures are a way of communicating that do not even require a common language to understand (“Frequently Asked Questions...,” 2001).

We can see that mathematical patterns, codes, languages, algorithms, and various other “fundamental laws” would be accepted as evidence that some type of intelligence did exist. The premise that can be surmised from the SETI program is that intelligence could be recognized and distinguished from non-intelligent, natural explanations; the required criteria for this recognition being some type of code, mathematical sequence, physical patterns, etc.

Suppose we were to send a man to the moon, and tiny floppy discs started falling to the moon’s surface. Upon inspection of these discs, the astronaut discovers they contain intricately coded information. Suppose further that he is able to decipher this code. Upon doing so, he discovers that the instructions contained in the code, if followed precisely, would produce a machine that could convert sunlight and minerals into food edible by humans and animals. Such an amazing find would receive world-wide recognition to say the least. And there would be no doubt that these discs had originated from an advanced intelligence. Yet, this hypothetical lunar scenario has a terrestrial equivalent.

In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins purports to show how life in this Universe could have evolved over millions of years. He claims to present information that shows that complicated life forms such as humans could have arisen from non-living substances by tiny, gradual steps over eons of time. In chapter five, he begins a discussion on DNA, and attempts to explain how such amazing codes of information could have arisen through natural processes. In his introduction to that chapter, however, he makes a startling admission that, to the honest reader, is impossible to explain in terms of naturalistic evolution. He discusses a willow tree that sits in his garden, shedding its “cottony” seeds through the air, to the ground and the passing water in the canal. In his discussion of the seeds, he explains that each seed contains DNA that, if allowed to grow, will produce another willow tree. He then explains briefly some of the coding capabilities of DNA and the instructions found in it for growth. Referring to these seeds and the DNA they contain, he makes the following statement: “It is raining instructions out there; it’s raining programs; it’s raining tree-growing, fluff-spreading, algorithms. That is not a metaphor, it is the plain truth. It couldn’t be any plainer if it were raining floppy discs” (1996, p. 111).

It is ironic, is it not, that the very coded mathematical information that, if found on the Moon, would be hailed as proof for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence, when found on the Earth, is viewed by many as the product of a mindless, multi-million-year random process. How is it that such prestigious academic institutions such as Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley spend thousands of man hours and millions of dollars searching the skies for mathematical codes, radio signal patterns, etc.? And yet when they find such patterns, in biological, terrestrial organisms, they attribute them to non-intelligence. The logical implication in this situation continues to be missed by many of the major players in the scientific community: if complex coded information is found anywhere in the Universe, it proves that it was put there by a superior intelligence. If such is not the case, why waste time scanning the skies for these patterns? Dawkins’ book attempts to explain away this implication when it comes to coded information found on Earth, but it fails completely. Such an obvious, logical implication cannot be explained away. In truth, the coded information found in the DNA of living organisms points overwhelming to the fact that these organisms were design by an intelligent Being.

REFERENCES

Dawkins, Richard (1996), The Blind Watchmaker, (New York, NY: W.H. Norton and Co.).

“Frequently Asked Questions About the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence,” (2001), [On-line], URL: http://www.planetary.org/html/UPDATES/seti/SETIFAQS.html

McDonough, Thomas (2004), “Two Decades of SETI,” [On-line], URL: http://www.planetary.org/html/UPDATES/seti/seti-history.html.



The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that everything is running downhill in the Universe, from energy to entropy. Different scientists and organizations state this in differing ways but all agree with the above statement.

Rooms tend to get messy. Tires wear out and eventually flatten. Faces get wrinkly. Pictures fade. We see the Second Law in operation all around us.

"All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not to increase it." Dr. Lee Spetner.

Evolution, which has not been observed, must go directly against the Second Law. It is a random process, not driven by any intelligence. Yet, at the very core of living beings there is DNA, a remarkably complex system which is the very definition of design.

Astonishing DNA complexity uncovered

by Alex Williams

When the Human Genome Project published its first draft of the human genome in 2003, they already knew certain things in advance. These included:

  • Coding segments (genes that coded for proteins) were a minor component of the total amount of DNA in each cell. It was embarrassing to find that we have only about as many genes as mice (about 25,000) which constitute only about 3% of the entire genome.
  • this means that probably the whole genome is used by the cell and there is no such thing as ‘junk DNA’

    The non-coding sections (i.e. the remaining 97%) were nearly all of unknown function. Many called it ‘junk DNA’; they thought it was the miscopied and mutation-riddled left-overs abandoned by our ancestors over millions of years. Molecular taxonomists routinely use this ‘junk DNA’ as a ‘molecular clock’—a silent record of mutations that have been undisturbed by natural selection for millions of years because it does not do anything. They have constructed elaborate evolutionary histories for all different kinds of life from it.
  • Genes were known to be functional segments of DNA (exons) interspersed with non-functional segments (introns) of unknown purpose. When the gene is copied (transcribed into RNA) and then translated into protein the introns are spliced out and the exons are joined up to produce the functional gene.
  • Copying (transcription) of the gene began at a specially marked START position, and ended at a special STOP sign.
  • Gene switches (the molecules involved are collectively called transcription factors) were located on the chromosome adjacent to the START end of the gene.
  • Transcription proceeds one way, from the START end to the STOP end.
  • Genes were scattered throughout the chromosomes, somewhat like beads on a string, although some areas were gene-rich and others gene-poor.
  • Photo sxc.hu

    Because of evolutionary notions of our origin, our DNA was supposed to be mostly ‘junk’, leftovers of our animal ancestry.  This has proven to be yet another evolutionary impediment to scientific progress.

    Because of evolutionary notions of our origin, our DNA was supposed to be mostly ‘junk’, leftovers of our animal ancestry. This has proven to be yet another evolutionary impediment to scientific progress.

    DNA is a double helix molecule, somewhat like a coiled zipper. Each strand of the DNA zipper is the complement of the other—as on a clothing zipper, one side has a lump that fits into a cavity on the other strand. Only one side of the DNA ‘zipper’ (called the ‘sense’ strand) makes the correct protein sequence. The complementary strand is called the ‘anti-sense’ strand. The sense strand is like an electrical extension cord where the ‘female’ end is safe to leave open until an appliance is attached, but the protruding ‘male’ end is active and for safety’s sake only works when plugged into a ‘female’ socket. Thus, protein production usually only comes from copying the sense strand, not the anti-sense strand. The anti-sense strand provides a template for copying the sense strand in a way that a photographic negative is used to produce a positive print. Some exceptions to this rule were known (i.e. that in some cases anti-sense strands were used to make protein) but no one expected the whole anti-sense strand to be transcribed.

This whole structure of understanding has now been turned on its head. A project called ENCODE recently reported an intensive study of the transcripts (copies of RNA produced from the DNA) of just 1% of the human genome.1,2 Their findings include the following inferences:

  • About 93% of the genome is transcribed (not 3%, as expected). Further study with more wide-ranging methods may raise this figure to 100%. Because much energy and coordination is required for transcription this means that probably the whole genome is used by the cell and there is no such thing as ‘junk DNA’.
  • Exons are not gene-specific but are modules that can be joined to many different RNA transcripts. One exon (i.e. one part of one gene) can be used in combination with up to 33 different genes located on 14 different chromosomes. This means that one exon can specify one part shared in common by many different proteins.
  • There is no ‘beads on a string’ linear arrangement of genes, but rather an interleaved structure of overlapping segments, with typically 5, 7, 9 or more transcripts coming from the one ‘gene’.
  • Not just one strand, but both strands (sense and anti-sense) of the DNA are fully transcribed.
  • Transcription proceeds not just one way but both backwards and forwards.
  • Transcription factors can be tens or hundreds of thousands of base-pairs away from the gene that they control, even on different chromosomes.
  • There is not just one START site, but many, in each particular gene region.
  • There is not just one transcription triggering (switching) system for each region, but many.

The authors conclude:

These results are so astonishing, so shocking, that it is going to take an awful lot more work to untangle what is really going on in cells.

‘An interleaved genomic organization poses important mechanistic challenges for the cell. One involves the [use of] the same DNA molecules for multiple functions. The overlap of functionally important sequence motifs must be resolved in time and space for this organization to work properly. Another challenge is the need to compartmentalize RNA or mask RNAs that could potentially form long double-stranded regions, to prevent RNA-RNA interactions that could prompt apoptosis [programmed cell death].’

This concern for the safety of so many RNA molecules being produced in such a small space is well-founded. RNA is a long single-strand molecule not unlike a long piece of sticky-tape—it will stick to any nearby surface, including itself! Unless properly coordinated, it will all scrunch up into a sticky mess.

These results are so astonishing, so shocking, that it is going to take an awful lot more work to untangle what is really going on in cells. And the molecular taxonomists, who have been drawing up evolutionary histories (‘phylogenies’) for everything, are going to have to undo all their years of ‘junk DNA’-based historical reconstructions and wait for the full implications to emerge before they try again. One of the supposedly ‘knock-down’ arguments that humans have a common ancestor with chimpanzees is shared ‘non-functional’ DNA coding. That argument just got thrown out the window.

Related articles

References

  1. Birney, E., et. al., Identification and analysis of functional elements in 1% of the human genome by the ENCODE pilot project, Nature 447: 799–816, 2007.
  2. Philipp Kapranov, P., Willingham, A.T. and Gingeras, T.R., Genome-wide transcription and the implications for genomic organization, Nature Reviews Genetics 8: 413–423, 2007.


~~~~~~~~

Concerning the complexity of life, these few words barely scratch the surface. Let me share the words of Dr. Gary Bates of the Creation Research Institute:

1) Scientists have never observed chemicals forming themselves into complex DNA molecules, the blueprint for life. DNA molecules do not produce new genetic information, they reproduce it. DNA appears to be designed, and information science demonstrates that information must be fully present in the beginning.

2) Mutations and natural selection reduce pre-existing information. There is no evidence of organisms evolving upward (including mankind - technological increase is not biological evolution).

3) All life in the fossil record appears abruptly and fully formed; the chains of transitional series hoped for the the evolutionists since Darwin are conspicuous by their general absence.

In terms of the complexity of life, the creation model makes a great deal of sense. DNA is a design function of life, created by the Designer, the Creator God, that functions as the blueprint for all living things. DNA and countless other instances of the incredible complexity of life, unknown to scientists in the day of Darwin, show us that life has been designed. The atheistic evolutionist must turn a blind eye to this somehow.

In my own life, the complexity of life helped cement for me the decision to abandon evolution and embrace creation. Both sides must have faith to believe their positions but it seems to me that such faith in an atheistic evolutionist is stretched to the breaking point in this instance.

Creationism 3, atheistic evolutionism 0.

16 comments:

scohen said...

Evolution, which has not been observed, must go directly against the Second Law.

So you're back to that again.

Sigh.

A redwood growing to full height from a sapling hasn't been observed. I guess that doesn't happen either. Same with giant squid mating, black hole formation (or most of astronomy) or any number of things that only a great fool would question because they've not been directly observed. That argument goes nowhere except a philosophical rabbit hole that will leave us questioning if we're just brains in jars.

If you're not going to listen, I don't even know why I try. My god man, apply simple logic: Do you honestly think that if evolution violated the second law of thermodynamics that the physics geeks would let the biology geeks get away with it? Is this another one of your conspiracy theories? Do you, Kimball Binder, purport to know more about physics than all the PhDs in either the Biology or Physics departments? Are you too proud to admit error in this area or do you simply not understand what you're talking about?

Which is it? (not to put too fine a point on it, but this 2nd law argument is typically the domain of the truly science-ignorant. There are many reasons why the second law does not apply here, and we've gone over them with you ad nauseam.)

Both sides must have faith to believe their positions but it seems to me that such faith in an atheistic evolutionist is stretched to the breaking point in this instance

I love how in your little world, you're either an atheistic evolutionist or a young earth creationist. I guess my Dad is an atheist then, as is my Rabbi and just about every Jew and Catholic I've ever met in my life. Not to mention most Protestants, Hindus and Zoroastrians (yes, I know a few). Gotcha. All atheists. I pointed out to Tim High a while back how useless and puerile binary thinking is, and it's quite a shame you've taken it on so completely.

I'd also like to point out what you refer to as "faith" in science means "I trust why my eyes, brain and other senses are telling me" whereas your "faith" means "There is a omnipresent, omniscient creator god that is eternal and has revealed itself through my specific holy book", which is something else entirely. I don't honestly know if I'm an atheist or not, but I'll take the former 'faith', thanks. Yes Radar, I trust my eyes.

Additionally, you claim repeatedly to once be a supporter of evolution, yet you know so little about it that you resort to resort to cutting and pasting well worn and debunked anti-evolution arguments wholesale into your blog. If you really were a former supporter, why not come up with something that shows that you have a modicum of understanding about how it operates? Evolution doesn't need supporters who don't know how it works. Your conversion away from evolution has nothing to do with learning scientific evidence and everything to do with taking on your particular brand of fundamentalist Christianity.

If you converted to Catholicism instead, you'd still 'believe' in evolution, even though you a) wouldn't be an atheist and b) still wouldn't understand a lick of it.

Again, I apologize if I came off as harsh, but it's frustrating to see how little you've progressed and how little you listen.

radar said...

Evolution, which has not been observed, must go directly against the Second Law.

So you're back to that again.

Sigh.

A redwood growing to full height from a sapling hasn't been observed. I guess that doesn't happen either. Same with giant squid mating, black hole formation (or most of astronomy) or any number of things that only a great fool would question because they've not been directly observed. That argument goes nowhere except a philosophical rabbit hole that will leave us questioning if we're just brains in jars.

So only a great fool needs to see things with his eyes, is this what you are saying? I do believe we have observed Redwood saplings and juvenile Redwoods as well as full-grown Redwoods in a continuum of Redwoods, by the way. But this first paragraph seems to be saying that we must intuit some things and not simply depend on our senses, yes?

If you're not going to listen, I don't even know why I try. My god man, apply simple logic: Do you honestly think that if evolution violated the second law of thermodynamics that the physics geeks would let the biology geeks get away with it?

Evolution does violate the 2nd Law but as you and I both know there are two excuses used by the opposition viewpoint - that the earth is not a closed system and that the 2nd Law is an approximation that may not necessarily be accurate to the nth degree. It is still true that evolution must go against the flow of the random direction of the universe, which doesn't in and of itself rule out evolution, but it just makes it that much more unlikely.

Is this another one of your conspiracy theories? Do you, Kimball Binder, purport to know more about physics than all the PhDs in either the Biology or Physics departments? Are you too proud to admit error in this area or do you simply not understand what you're talking about?

I wonder why it upsets you so that someone is poking holes in the accepted party line of evolution? Why not ask why the PhD's in the Biology and Physics departments (most, perhaps, but not all) believe in evolution when the evidence is plainly against it?

Which is it? (not to put too fine a point on it, but this 2nd law argument is typically the domain of the truly science-ignorant. There are many reasons why the second law does not apply here, and we've gone over them with you ad nauseam.)

I agree. The closed versus open system argument has gotten rather old. Again, it is not that the 2nd Law completely disproves evolution, it is merely another piece of evidence against it. Another nail in the coffin, so to speak.

Both sides must have faith to believe their positions but it seems to me that such faith in an atheistic evolutionist is stretched to the breaking point in this instance

I love how in your little world, you're either an atheistic evolutionist or a young earth creationist.

The is becoming increasingly ad hominem, is it not? "great fool" and "little world" and "science-ignorant", for example. Disappointing.

I guess my Dad is an atheist then, as is my Rabbi and just about every Jew and Catholic I've ever met in my life. Not to mention most Protestants, Hindus and Zoroastrians (yes, I know a few). Gotcha. All atheists. I pointed out to Tim High a while back how useless and puerile binary thinking is, and it's quite a shame you've taken it on so completely.

I have been posting on two positions which are in opposition. I never said that there are not other points of view, so this last paragraph is totally a straw man argument. I merely point out the differences between the classic creationist and the classic atheistic evolutionist viewpoint.

I'd also like to point out what you refer to as "faith" in science means "I trust why my eyes, brain and other senses are telling me" whereas your "faith" means "There is a omnipresent, omniscient creator god that is eternal and has revealed itself through my specific holy book", which is something else entirely. I don't honestly know if I'm an atheist or not, but I'll take the former 'faith', thanks. Yes Radar, I trust my eyes.

This is odd, since in your first paragraph you stated that one needed to go beyond trusting one's eyes in order to understand the universe. I was chided concerning squids mating, Redwoods developing and etc. Hmmm.

So you are saying that you can look at the structure of DNA or the makeup of a bacterial flagellum or the intricate dance of photosynthesis and not immediately see design? You certainly decide to not believe your eyes in such situations, obviously.


Additionally, you claim repeatedly to once be a supporter of evolution, yet you know so little about it that you resort to resort to cutting and pasting well worn and debunked anti-evolution arguments wholesale into your blog. If you really were a former supporter, why not come up with something that shows that you have a modicum of understanding about how it operates? Evolution doesn't need supporters who don't know how it works. Your conversion away from evolution has nothing to do with learning scientific evidence and everything to do with taking on your particular brand of fundamentalist Christianity.

Oh balderdash! I admit that evolutionists have added scads of "just-so" stories in the years since I abandoned their side. But I understand it well enough. Bad form out of you here. You cannot know the number of hours I spent tromping the woods and hills and mountains and valleys observing rock formations and seeking fossils. You are blissfully unaware of the textbooks I read on my own apart from school when I was a boy and a young man. Do you deny that evolution depends upon random mutations that are selected by natural selection to bring about change within the genetic structure of an organism and thus change that organism? How would you describe it?

If you converted to Catholicism instead, you'd still 'believe' in evolution, even though you a) wouldn't be an atheist and b) still wouldn't understand a lick of it.

You mean that you think Catholics automatically believe in evolution? I guess you aren't familiar with a lot of Catholics. Like other denominations, there are those who believe that God used evolution and those who believe that the Genesis account is accurate. Again, your charge that I don't understand evolution may bring you comfort but is meaningless.

Again, I apologize if I came off as harsh, but it's frustrating to see how little you've progressed and how little you listen.

Meanwhile you haven't addressed one single point of my post other than to erect a couple of straw men. Do you wish to comment on DNA and design? I suppose not. Each new discovery concerning DNA in particular makes it more and more complex (and also widens the gap between the composition of man and ape).

I wish commenters would focus on the issues.

Let us remember that in a free society each man is charged with thinking for himself. I study evidences and essays written by experts to help me understand issues and I make my mind up based upon the information available and my best judgment. Hopefully all readers and commenters do the same. If I am arrogant in posting my opinions, then you are equally arrogant when you disagree. Or perhaps we are simply, in a free society, exchanging ideas and opinions? Too bad we cannot disagree without attempting to shut the other side up with disparaging remarks.

Lava said...

I'd like to hear more about this conspiracy that is implied in all of your writings, Radar. If I were to believe what you say I'd also have to believe that people are either brainwashed or ignorant based on the actions of some sort of worldwide "atheist machine". This "atheist machine" would have somehow corrupted science to the point where science taught and studied by real scientists (engineers, Drs, Ph.ds,...) is just wrong. And these people continue to study/teach it because they are (1) part of the conspiracy (2) brainwashed by the conspiracy or (3) just too ignorant to see the conspiracy.

Radar. Please, I would love to hear your thoughts on the conspiracy.

Also, if you have the time at one point, I'd love to hear about your conversion from a evolutionist, druggie,... to a evangelical. What caused the change? Was there a specific event/day the caused it?

scohen said...

So only a great fool needs to see things with his eyes, is this what you are saying?

No, that's the opposite of what I was saying.
What I'm saying is that we take something like the continuum of redwood trees and infer that young saplings grow to tall trees, sort of like the fossil record. It's that same fossil record that creationists denied as false interpretations until recently.

As for your comments on the second law, you're free to have opinions on this, but you're wrong. There isn't really an alternate viewpoint here. There's the one that recognizes that the second law doesn't apply here, and the side that is wrong. Sure, you can have the opinion that 2+2 = 5, but that doesn't mean that we have to *respect* that opinion --or that there's even a small kernel of validity in it.

"Why not ask why the PhD's in the Biology and Physics departments (most, perhaps, but not all) believe in evolution when the evidence is plainly against it?"

The simple reason is that the evidence isn't against it, you just deny what goes against what you already believe. Look at your posts, you deny dendrochronology, ice core samples, radiometric dating, the second law of thermodynamics, and the speed of light's constancy. You also delve into re-writing of history (remember Grendel being a dinosaur?) and I can't wait until you realize that linguistics is right out as well. Deny. Deny. Deny. Where would you be without this denial? I'll tell you: Surrounded by evidence.

The closed versus open system argument has gotten rather old.

Umm.. it's not an argument, you're just wrong here. Stomping feet and posting blog entries doesn't do a damn bit of good with respect to your side of the conversation.

"The is becoming increasingly ad hominem"

An ad hominem attack does not mean that I insult you. An Ad hominem attack means I say your ideas are invalid because you personally believe them. Sort of like saying "Person X believes in y, and person X is (bad, stupid, evil, etc.) therefore y is incorrect". Your ideas and opinions are wrong in and of themselves, my characterization of you notwithstanding.

This is odd, since in your first paragraph you stated that one needed to go beyond trusting one's eyes in order to understand the universe

I said no such thing, I said you personally routinely accept things which would not fall in your characterization of "operational science" whatever that means. Later, I said that we need to trust what our senses tell us and used my eyes as a specific example --I should have also mentioned our intellect. Don't mis-characterize me.

" But I understand it well enough. Bad form out of you here. You cannot know the number of hours I spent tromping the woods and hills and mountains and valleys observing rock formations and seeking fossils."

Please, Radar. I've read your blog for over a year now, and you grossly misunderstand evolution. Sadly, you'd need to read a biology book (or Darwin's Black Box) to fix these misunderstandings, and we both know that's not going to happen. It's funny, I'll read creationist arguments and understand them yet for you, any biology text is an anathema. Similarly, collecting fossils does not mean you are automatically imbibed with any knowledge pertaining to evolution/natural selection. People found fossils long before Darwin and didn't get any insight.

Do you deny that evolution depends upon random mutations that are selected by natural selection

Random mutations are one way changes are introduced into a genome, but there are others. See? You need to learn more. You're lacking knowledge here.

You mean that you think Catholics automatically believe in evolution? I guess you aren't familiar with a lot of Catholics.

Catholics have no reason NOT to believe in evolution. Sure, there are a couple creationists among them, but the majority of them accept evolution. It's taught in their schools. And growing up behind a Catholic university, I met quite a few Catholics none of which are creationists. Heck, I even work with a self-described fundamentalist Catholic and a Masters in Theology, both accept evolution. A literal interpretation of the bible is frowned upon in Catholicism (I can provide documentation of this if you like).

Do you wish to comment on DNA and design?

Provide evidence it was designed. "It looks designed" is not evidence.

I wish commenters would focus on the issues.

And we wish you wouldn't re-post roundly debunked arguments. We also don't particularly like reading cut-and-paste jobs. The second you come up with your own ideas that are something new is the second we focus on them. Lifting things wholesale is not thought.

If I am arrogant in posting my opinions...

You are not arrogant for posting your opinions. You are arrogant because you are giving your opinions more weight than they deserve. This has been pointed out to you in the last post --and you claim I create strawmen. This isn't about silencing you. You are not being persecuted. You are not oppressed. You're just mistaken.

Despite all the bluster, 2+2 != 5.

radar said...

Lava,

I could do a post on your comments, although before you were a reader I had posted on my conversion and also the "conspiracy" of evolution. I wouldn't call it a conspiracy, really, but I know what you are driving at...

schohen, some people are so dogmatic that they cannot even see the other point of view. It appears that you are in such a state.

"Please, Radar. I've read your blog for over a year now, and you grossly misunderstand evolution. Sadly, you'd need to read a biology book (or Darwin's Black Box) to fix these misunderstandings, and we both know that's not going to happen."

I have read biology books and also read Darwin's Black Box cover-to-cover. It is you that misunderstand evolution, not I. You think that because we have observed genetic change through natural selection, microevolution, that you can therefore believe in macroevolution. The difference is that, while the loss of genetic information has been observed for many decades now, information gains (necessary for macroevolution) are not observed. You believe a fairy tale.

I don't deny dendrochronology, I simply deny your translation of the data. Same with ice cores. There is a great deal of back-and-forth in the scientific community between creationists and evolutionists that is technically a bit beyond a layman. But both sides have their own logically supported viewpoint and I adhere to the creationist side.

As to the speed of light, I did not say I believed that it was changing, I said that it was demonstrable that it was not always constant (please don't tell me you still don't get that?) and that there were those who were studying the speed of light to try to determine whether it was slowing down and that a decay curve could be detected.

Did I mischaracterize you, or just give you your words back again? You are the one who began by arguing that one had to look beyond one's senses and ended by a claim of dependence upon one's senses. Look at your post again.

As to Grendel and records of dinosaurs living at the time of men, wow, I did post a great deal on that topic. The evidence is pretty overwhelming, actually. This is another area in which dogmatic evolutionists just avoid and try to deny - official records of man-and-dinosaur interaction, depictions of dinosaurs that remarkably resemble what paleontologists themselves depict as the way the creatures must have looked, even recent findings of dinosaur fleshy remains! Do you really think flesh can be preserved in rock for millions of years without microbes doing their work? I would say that it is evolutionists who work hard at denial, for the evidence mounts against them.

That you disagree or even call me names doesn't make me feel persecuted. I am just sorry that you cannot get beyond your own prejudices. Your worldview holds you entirely captive.

Mazement said...

Evolution does violate the 2nd Law but as you and I both know there are two excuses used by the opposition viewpoint - that the earth is not a closed system

I've never thought the "closed system" line was a good rebuttal. It's true that the Earth isn't a closed system; but the Universe as a whole can be considered a closed system so the argument could just be moved to that level.

The real rebuttal is that the 2nd law doesn't say that entropy increases everywhere. It says that the net entropy of the system as a whole increases. Entropy can decrease in one small area, as long as that's balanced by a greater increase somewhere else.

So it's not a violation of the 2nd law for a one-celled zygote to develop into a newborn baby over the course of nine months. Entropy is decreasing in the area containing the baby, but entropy is increasing in the surrounding environment (Through the mother's digestion of food, and conversion of oxygen to carbon dioxide. The ultimate source of energy is the Sun...if entropy weren't increasing on the Sun, then it wouldn't be decreasing anywhere on Earth. To that extent, the "Earth isn't a closed system" argument is valid; the entropy situation on Earth only makes sense if you take the Sun into account.)

And if the 2nd Law allows a single-celled zygote develop into a newborn baby in nine months, it should also allow a single-celled organism to evolve into a newborn baby over the course of a couple of billion years. It's a much more complicated process, but there's a lot more available energy to fuel it.

scohen said...

"It is you that misunderstand evolution, not I"

Right, this is obviously my problem. Since you understand evolution so well, why do you make so many mistakes when characterizing what it says and means? If you understand it so well, why do you resort to such base tricks as equating it to what the Nazis believed? (by the way, that's pretty much the canonical example of an ad hominem attack.)

You claim that my 'world view' holds me 'captive', but what you're leaving out is that I didn't have any preconceived notions about evolution or the age or origin of the universe. Science made its case and I found it compelling. My personal upbringing doesn't require a literal interpretation of the bible (that was ousted 800 years ago with Maimonides), so reconciling the two wasn't an issue for me.

Please tell me, where does 'world view' enter in to it in my case? If the evidence was so overwhelming as you put it, why was it so utterly unconvincing to me and basically everyone I grew up with? Are we stupid or something? Are we sheep, or do we just not require hammering the timeline presented to us in the rocks, fossils and sky into a 6000 year span?

Or are you going to present a false dichotomy of religion vs. science?

What of Catholics? What of Jews? What of Hindus and Buddhists that accept evolution? Personally, I'd rather view the world and be open to the idea that my view might change with changing evidence. Otherwise, how will we acquire new knowledge?

Let's say that we looked up into the sky and no matter where we looked, we would see no stars further than 6389 light years. Then the next year, we notice new stars that were 6390 light years away. Would I then think that maybe the universe was 6000 years old? Of course! That's precisely what we'd expect to see if the universe is as old as you claim.

But that doesn't happen, so I conclude that the universe is older. Where are my preconceived notions here? It seems to me that 'not requiring a literal interpretation of the bible' isn't much of a preconceived notion, because if the evidence warranted it, I'd instantly accept it. But it doesn't so I don't. Instead, you have to go through all these mental contortions to make your opinion work. You're fond of bringing up Occam's razor, where is it now in the starlight problem?

To me, this whole world-view argument smacks of projection and rationalization. You clearly have a world-view in this area. It's displayed prominently throughout your blog posts and in your writing, but that doesn't mean we're all just arguing for the sake of arguing --never to change. Want me to change: Show me stars popping into existence. Show me that the sun is on fire rather than fusing. Show why everything that can be dated through various methods reach the same conclusions. Show me the predictive power of a hypothesis like creationism. Tell me why an omniscient being 'designed' rectal pads in insects, or wired in a blind spot in our eyes but failed to do so for squid. But, you can't. Sure, you'll use words like 'the fall' which doesn't mean much to me and really seems like a desperate attempt to hand-wave around some rather soft logic. If you want to claim that all error was designed in, you'll need to find some pretty big and solid evidence in order to support that hypothesis. I could then retort that aliens created everything and have exactly as much evidence as you have. Where does that get us?

Nowhere.

The design argument is a non-starter for you, because not only do you have to prove design (and what exactly design *is*) but that your particular god did the designing. I don't see how you'll do that as there are many hands grasping at that golden ring.

"Do you really think flesh can be preserved in rock for millions of years without microbes doing their work?"

This almost got by me... You think flesh can be in rock for thousands of years while microbes do their work? Is that somehow less silly? Furthermore, these were structures found inside the femur bone of the dinosaur. Do you have bacteria in your femur? I hope not.
They were also fossilized. No DNA was found, and the structures were tiny. And you know what Radar? They're still looking at this stuff. The jury is still out on what they're seeing, but it's very interesting indeed.

You may stop reading if you wish, but I want to continue with some of you other attempts:

"Did I mis-characterize you, or just give you your words back again? You are the one who began by arguing that one had to look beyond one's senses and ended by a claim of dependence upon one's senses."

You clearly mis-characterized me --you do this a lot. I would *never* argue to look beyond ones senses as I include ones mind as a sense. I'm a realist Radar, I believe what my senses and brain tell me. Maybe it is you who should re-read my post. Then again, I feel like I'm channeling Tim here, with his constant questioning of others reading comprehension. My point is, no one has 'observed' a redwood grow from a sapling. But we can extrapolate that it does --again, using our senses by taking DNA samples, and looking at a forest. You accept this, yet you don't accept the fossil record, looking through telescopes or other methods that rely on the same bit of logic.

You also mischaracterized me on your front-page post about light speed. Creeper rightfully dinged you on that one. This is a tactic of yours and is fairly obvious to all of us. You've been called on it several times. Please stop.

Taxandrian said...

Calm down, people. Like radar stated himself in part 1 of this post: he is only voicing his opinion, and he is entitled to do so, just like everyone else is entitled to see it as what it is: just an opinion. In other words: opinions are one's personal view and do not need to be shared (or even taken seriously) by anyone else.

radar said...

scohen, that jumbled and angry diatribe needs no reply. I'll just have to press on knowing that you don't approve.

Tax, did you comment on a very old post that I missed? These comments go into my general email and sometimes I just forget one.

Anonymous said...

"scohen, that jumbled and angry diatribe needs no reply."

No doubt it is something that you're unable to reply to, but that is a matter of your pride, not lack of quality in scohen's comment, which was remarkably lucid from beginning to end.

"Tax, did you comment on a very old post that I missed? These comments go into my general email and sometimes I just forget one."

I heartily recommend http://co.mments.com - simply track any blog entries you post on, and they are tracked automatically. Any posts with new comments bubble to the top.

-- creeper

radar said...

I guess creeper and scohen can go have a self-congratulatory lunch together and celebrate their common beliefs.

After all, they pointed out where all matter came from,
and

showed how life came from non-life,
and

demonstrated instances of genetic information being added rather than lost as natural selection operates,

and
had a logical explanation for how the remarkable complex design of DNA just happened by chance!

No, of course they didn't. They can't. These are huge problems for evolutionists and they have no intelligent answers, so they will look for just-so stories to tell and rabbit trails to follow to take the reader's eye off of the ball. Notice how neither creeper nor scohen actually address these issues? Yeah, me too...

Anonymous said...

Radar,

"After all, they pointed out where all matter came from,
and

showed how life came from non-life,
and

demonstrated instances of genetic information being added rather than lost as natural selection operates,

and
had a logical explanation for how the remarkable complex design of DNA just happened by chance!"


In case you hadn't noticed, creation science offers no scientific answers to any of these questions, so the score in that column under "Creation Science" remains a very solid zero. There is a very simple speculative suggestion – not even a hypothesis – in place ("God did it"), but that's about it.

I don't see any research being done into how this happened (which is understandable, since there are no falsifiable hypotheses based on this suggested explanation - at least none that have actually not been falsified), nor how it has any more explanatory power than any competing hypothesis along the same vague lines, e.g. "The Flying Spaghetti Monster did it" or "It's magic". Sure, nobody can disprove such a statement (and evolution isn't about disproving that God didn't do it anyway, it merely happens to clash with a literal interpretation of some parts of the Bible), but that's where it stops.

If you want to sit back and call these answers, don't be surprised when creation science receives little respect, and don't kid yourself that it's because of some silly conspiracy.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

"Notice how neither creeper nor scohen actually address these issues?"

Which issues are you referring to? We've addressed the 2nd law of thermodynamics ad nauseam, and at the time you ran away from highly relevant questions, and now here you bring them up again, as if you'd never heard of the points under discussion at the time.

mazement nicely summed it up here. Last year I asked you more than once to explain how it is possible, given your erroneous understanding of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, for you to be born - a clear violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics as you understand it.

I notice how you consistently fail to address this issue - one of many, as should be obvious to any reader of your blog.

Regarding the areas you mention here:

1. I don't see what the origin of matter has to do with evolution. I'm not particularly fussed about this subject, and if you want to claim that God created all matter with the wave of a magic wand, then fine, if that makes you happy. That's perfectly compatible with the theory of evolution, as long as it didn't happen 6,000 years ago (which isn't compatible with the evidence anyway). On the flip-side there's the big bang theory, which you consistently misrepresent as something coming from nothing, no matter how many times it is pointed out to you that that is not what the theory states.

2. "Life from non-life" has also been discussed at length on your blog, and again you simply ignore the discussions of abiogenesis and wrongly point to the outdated law of biogenesis. The origin of life has not been fully explained, but is further along than you give it credit for. Have creation scientists figured out the origin of life - beyond a starting hypothesis, that is? Of course not. And they're not even looking into it.

3. "demonstrated instances of genetic information being added rather than lost as natural selection operates" - at least once on your blog, IIRC with links to Ken Miller's papers about nylon-eating bacteria.

4. "had a logical explanation for how the remarkable complex design of DNA just happened by chance"

Are you suggesting that mainstream science doesn't have a number of possible logical explanations for this?

-- creeper

Taxandrian said...

Tax, did you comment on a very old post that I missed? These comments go into my general email and sometimes I just forget one.

Well...considering the fact that this is YOUR blog, one would expect that you regularly check your own topics for new comments. Should that prove to be problematic...creeper just gave you an excellent tool to keep track of every new comment, so I guess that from now on you can no longer say you missed a new post.
Anyway, if it can help you: I didn't reply on any post older than June.

radar said...

creeper, you keep rehasing the same old stuff.

"Are you suggesting that mainstream science doesn't have a number of possible logical explanations for this?"

Yes.

By the way, people, when you have responded to the 2nd Law you have been incorrect. Using a baby as an example is wrong because the baby grows using a blueprint (DNA) and is being fed energy the mother. But as each cell is formed it immediately begins to age because of the working of the 2nd Law. You can pat yourselves on the back about how right you are, but you still miss the point.

Evolution is not designed, it is not planned, it has no blueprint and it has no one feeding it energy, yet you expect it to happen like a baby grows! I am saying that for evolution to work, it does so in opposition to the 2nd Law and if you cannot see it, it is your worldview that blinds you and you are just captive to it.

Anonymous said...

"Evolution is not designed, it is not planned, it has no blueprint and it has no one feeding it energy, yet you expect it to happen like a baby grows!"

Well, the first three are certainly correct - the function of "design" has been assumed by natural selection, of course. If something is more capable of surviving and reproducing, it will survive and reproduce in greater numbers.

As for the fourth, of course energy is being fed in. In the baby example, ask yourself where the mother gets that energy - then ask yourself where that came from. And so on.

For a "believer-friendly" discussion of common misconceptions regarding the 2nd law, here's a useful link: http://members.aol.com/steamdoc/writings/thermo.html

-- creeper