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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mr. Scientist, tear down this Darwinist Wall!!!







Censorship. It was and is a tool of the totalitarian regime. Censorship was integral to the communist regimes of the 20th century and continues to be a tool in the belt of Islamic nations under Sharia law and other totalitarian nations such as North Korea. Censorship is the enemy of the free exchange of ideas and therefore it is hostile to freedom.



A portion of Ronald Reagan's historic speech, given in Berlin in the very shadow of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate in June of 1987:

"In the 1950s, Khrushchev predicted: 'We will bury you.' But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind--too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself. After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor. "And now the Soviets themselves may, in a limited way, be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from Moscow about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political prisoners have been released. Certain foreign news broadcasts are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control. "Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Soviet state? Or are they token gestures, intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to strengthen the Soviet system without changing it? We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!'"



Today I know that Congress is making a decision whether or not the United States is going to become more like the Statist Soviet Union was or whether we will reject socialism and work on actual health care reform. Even if the bill passes the House there will be challenges on Constitutional issues and it is possible that the Constitution will be upheld and America saved from Socialized Medicine as experienced in Europe, where rationing and long lines for procedures can be de facto death sentences for a portion of the population.

But today I am focusing on another issue. There is a wall that has been erected in the minds of the ruling elite of academia, news media and sciences and that wall has been forced upon teachers and researchers all around the world. Here in the United States there is actually an agency that is mandated with the maintenance and repair of that wall. The National Center for Science Education - they actually tell us what their goal is right off the bat: NCSE provides information and advice as the premier institution dedicated to keeping evolution in the science classroom and creationism out.

Censorship pure and simple. An entire organization dedicated to frustrate the 1st Amendment!



Think on that for a minute. This institution, supposedly on the side of education, is dedicated to keeping information away from students and teachers! Also, the NCSE not only fights to keep people from learning anything from creation science but also any input from Intelligent Design proponents. Censorship, in other words. Censorship even against Intelligent Design science, which is agnostic towards any creative source but is focused only on the evidence!

What does censorship do? Censorship hides ideas from minds and therefore also protects some ideas from scrutiny. Censorship is the enemy of freedom. Yet censorship is accepted and even promoted in this country in our schools and colleges and therefore it is high time that those of us who are on the side of freedom do something about it!

First, one must understand what we are actually talking about. The NCSE is tasked with stamping out the dissemination of information that is not in agreement with the Darwinist paradigm. Why would they be needed? Why would anyone need to stifle the free exchange of information? Shouldn't ideas be allowed to either stand or fall or their merits? WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OF?



Why, when I point out to Darwinists that they have no explanation for the advent of information do act like Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and knock over the chess board when they have been checkmated? Genetic Algorithms are programs written by people, formal programs and yet they are the best thing Darwinists can come up with as an explanation for how information can appear from thin air. Why are they resorting to this non-explanation when in their hearts they surely know it explains nothing for them?

It is as I said at the beginning of this discussion on this blog a discussion that is not really about science, it is about worldviews. Darwinists have metaphysical things to say about the world and they do not for long delve deep into science because science is screaming at the top of her lungs two words; Intelligent Design!!!!!

Darwinists have erected a wall in their brains that will not allow any ideas to pass that are not naturalistic in nature, no matter what the evidence says. Even though scientists are very busily studying various aspects of design aspects of nature to learn more about making micro machines and how to improve mechanized flight and how to move through water and how to get energy directly from the Sun, they will not acknowledge that they are studying design that is far better than what the mind of man has yet been able to accomplish.

Yes, you Darwinists seek to stifle the scientists who wish to follow the evidence are like the KGB in the Soviet Union who went about seeking those individuals who would dissent and, by putting them in prisons, hoped that the ideas would also die out with them. It did not happen. Truth has this funny way of finding its way out no matter how hard those Censors try to hold it down.



I love the truth. Because I believed that truth should will out, I kept my mind open for years and years as I tried to find some kind of meaning to life. Was there a meaning to life? I was not sure. Eventually I found that Humanism was a failed belief system, since there were no absolutes and no reason for men to act selflessly on the behalf of others.

Darwinism is a belief that is bereft of any morality. It is the survival of the fittest. Darwinist thought led to the foundation of Eugenics and the sterilization of thousands of people not long after the turn of the 20th century. Darwinist thought supports Marxism, it promotes the establishment of abortion clinics near the poorest and most "colored" areas of our country and it was at the foundation of Nazi Germany's crazed commitment to eliminate Jews, people of color, people with injuries and disabilities and of course also their most dedicated political enemies, which included dedicated Christians. Darwinism has promoted racism around the world. I cannot imagine any positive aspect of Darwinist science because in operational sciences the designs and physical laws are studied and utilized to advance science as if the idea of Darwin had never been considered.




The War Against The Weak.
It was the theme of Eugenics. As the website notes:

In the first three decades of the 20th Century, American corporate philanthropy combined with prestigious academic fraud to create the pseudoscience eugenics that institutionalized race politics as national policy. The goal: create a superior, white, Nordic race and obliterate the viability of everyone else.

How? By identifying so-called "defective" family trees and subjecting them to legislated segregation and sterilization programs. The victims: poor people, brown-haired white people, African Americans, immigrants, Indians, Eastern European Jews, the infirm and really anyone classified outside the superior genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists. The main culprits were the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune, in league with America's most respected scientists hailing from such prestigious universities as Harvard, Yale and Princeton, operating out of a complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island. The eugenic network worked in tandem with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the State Department and numerous state governmental bodies and legislatures throughout the country, and even the U.S. Supreme Court. They were all bent on breeding a eugenically superior race, just as agronomists would breed better strains of corn. The plan was to wipe away the reproductive capability of the weak and inferior.

Ultimately, 60,000 Americans were coercively sterilized — legally and extra-legally. Many never discovered the truth until decades later. Those who actively supported eugenics include America's most progressive figures: Woodrow Wilson, Margaret Sanger and Oliver Wendell Holmes.

American eugenic crusades proliferated into a worldwide campaign, and in the 1920s came to the attention of Adolf Hitler. Under the Nazis, American eugenic principles were applied without restraint, careening out of control into the Reich's infamous genocide. During the pre-War years, American eugenicists openly supported Germany's program. The Rockefeller Foundation financed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and the work of its central racial scientists. Once WWII began, Nazi eugenics turned from mass sterilization and euthanasia to genocidal murder. One of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute doctors in the program financed by the Rockefeller Foundation was Josef Mengele who continued his research in Auschwitz, making daily eugenic reports on twins. After the world recoiled from Nazi atrocities, the American eugenics movement — its institutions and leading scientists — renamed and regrouped under the banner of an enlightened science called human genetics.


I saw the poverty of the philosophy of the Humanist. I saw the lack of content in Atheism. But I was not willing to worship a God I did not believe in. How could you choose? There were Gods and belief systems of all kinds being presented to me...I would have Hare Krishna types approaching me at airports. Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses would come to my door. There were friends who introduced me to chanting and meditation. Buddhism. God is presented in so many different flavors and styles that I simply threw up my hands and decided to simply eat and drink and be merry, for tomorrow I will die.



Thankfully just as I was beginning to throw myself with all my might into a selfish lifestyle that God I did NOT believe in reached out to me. I was stopped and presented with Jesus Christ and His life and death and resurrection and inside me there was a voice that cried out in agreement. I did find that I was able to believe in the Creator God. I am thankful that I finally was to able to hear that still, small voice inside that led me to faith in the Creator God.

But I was still a Darwinist. Darwinism was all I knew. So when I read the Bible and considered that Genesis and Darwin could not co-exist, I set out to find out which was true and which false.

After years of research and study, climbing around on hills and mountains and down riverbeds and into valleys and after copious reading and study of the subject I have become a dedicated promoter of Creation Science. I receive several magazines, technical journals, news bulletins and online publications because of various groups I belong to or subscribe to in order to stay up on the science side of the issues. I was convinced by the evidence that Darwinism was completely ridiculous and had absolutely no explanation for the presence of life on the planet in all of its variety and complexity. I also keep up on Intelligent Design, a group of scientists and researchers who are agnostic to religion and simply follow the evidence even though Eugenie Scott and those of her ilk paint them with a religious brush and ban them from the minds of the public with every resource at hand.

You Darwinists who seek to keep kids from learning anything but one side of the question are enemies of truth and enemies of education. At every point your worldview has encountered an epic fail and some day your children or grandchildren will ask you why you were such a crook? How could you deliberately hide the truth from us?

1) Big Bang proponents cannot address the singularity at the beginning of the Big Bang, a point in time and space where there is nothing. There is not even the concept of nothing. There is no space, time, matter, energy, anything at all. Then suddenly by a process that, if it happened at all, had to be carefully managed to happen JUST SO all the Universe and time and space exploded into being. Huh? This is science?

2) Darwinists have no explanation for how life came from non-life.

3) Darwinists have no explanation for the input of information and design into organisms.

4) In fact, if you look into life on earth you will find that there are all sorts of remarkably designed systems that operate in conjunction with other systems and all sorts of life that depends on other lives and all sorts of behaviors that are programmed into organisms without any explanation for the source of the programming. Symbiotic relationships exist that require all parties to be highly developed for any of them to exist at all.

5) Darwinists have to make up ridiculous scenarios to try to explain the simple problems and simply shy away from the hard ones. When you look under the rocks labeled "we are not sure" you will find "we don't know" when Darwinists consider design and information. What they do not tell you is that while they are working hard to figure out how to stop up all the holes in the Darwin wall, scientists discover more design, more complexity and more inexplicable behavior patterns in organisms.

Another Hole in the Darwin Wall.

Now I hope you have the ability to grasp this article, it is from a technical journal I subscribe to that frankly I have not published because I wanted Darwinist commenters to finally paint themselves into a corner and I wanted the source to make the article available as an online resource and now these things have happily happened. I therefore present what will be for some of you the death knell to Darwinism. As a commenter on the site said:

"Ray N., Australia, 17 March 2010

All this talk about information and coding, it’s interesting people don’t see the bigger picture. As a software engineer, everything I work on consists of 2 separate, yet intertwined systems: hardware and software (the seen and unseen). You can put a hard disk drive under a microscope but you’ll not see the software in it. The only way to know there’s software in it is putting the HD in a PC and turning on the power and watch the behavior of the hardware. And most software (programs) are unique to the existing hardware; you can’t just install Windows 7 in a Mac laptop and assume it’ll just work. You can put the cell under a microscope and look at the DNA, protein, amino acid, etc. but you won’t see the software, and that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Figure 2(a) has nice pretty pictures of how a process works. I see that a lot in design specs for power plants, water treatment plants, etc, but turning them into actual software code is not easy. It’s a multibillion dollar industry these days. I don’t believe in evolution because it’s impossible to have a cell suddenly exist with the right hardware plus the right operating software installed. Often, when scientists try to calculate the probability of life existing all of a sudden only consider the probability of hardware coming together, but nothing about software. We now live in an age where everyday electronic devices consist of hardware and software, with the hardware not working properly if there’s a problem with the software."






Well said by a fellow professional in the information industry(with slight grammatical editing to translate from Australian into American). Facilitated Variation is yet another stake driven into the Darwinist heart. God created life with redundancies and contingencies to be able to adjust to changes to the environment and these discoveries underline that fact. Darwinism? Die, Monster, Die! From Creation.com:

Facilitated variation: a new paradigm emerges in biology

by Alex Williams

Facilitated variation is the first comprehensive theory of how life works at the molecular level, published in 2005 by systems biologists Marc Kirschner and John Gerhart in their book The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwins Dilemma. It is a very powerful theory, is supported by a great deal of evidence, and the authors have made it easy to understand. It identifies two basic components of heredity: (a) conserved core processes of cellular structure, function and body plan organization; and (b) modular regulatory mechanisms that are built in special ways that allow them to be easily rearranged (like ® Lego blocks) into new combinations to generate variable offspring. Evolvability is thus built-in, and the pre-existing molecular machinery facilitates the incorporation of new DNA sequence changes that occur via recombinations and mutations. The question of origin becomes especially acute under this new theory because the conserved core processes and the modular regulatory mechanisms have to already be in place before any evolution can occur. The new molecular evidence shows virtually all the main components of neo-Darwinian theory are wrong.


Distal-less gene

Figure 1. The Distal-less gene is generally used in insect embryo, leg and wing development and has a switch for each of these functions (e.g. the fly, top panel). In butterflies (bottom panel), it has an extra switch that turns it ON to produce wing spots. Gene switches are easily disabled by mutation so this rules out a mutational origin for new switches.

Scientific literature is currently drowning in information about the molecular mechanisms of life, but most people are unable to appreciate what it all means—so vast is the amount, so highly specialized in each reported study, and so obscured by the necessary but incomprehensible jargon. The publication in 2005 of the first comprehensive and easily readable theory of how it all works—Marc Kirschner and John Gerhart’s The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma1—thus marks a great milestone in the history of biology. Kirschner is Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School and Gerhart is Professor of Systems Biology at UC Berkley Medical School.2

In this article, I shall show how Kirschner and Gerhart’s theory signals the emergence of a new paradigm in biology by contrasting it with origin-of-life experiments and neo-Darwinian theory, and will augment it with some more recent research findings.

Life and non-life

To appreciate what life looks like at the molecular level we need some background understanding of the gap between life and non-life, and how originating events may have filled that gap. According to neo-Darwinian theory, life evolves in small steps. Genes produce organisms, and mutations in genes produce changes in organisms. Those changes that survive the ‘sieve’ of natural selection provide the required small steps that turn one kind of life into another. Population biology experiments are claimed to have validated this theory for many different kinds of genetic traits.

Extrapolating this theory backwards, life must have also arisen in small steps via natural chemical events in the environment. Nobel Prize winning biochemist Christian de Duve has clearly summarized most of the necessary events in his book, Singularities: Landmarks on the Pathways of Life.3 There is, yet, no experimental evidence for a stepwise neo-Darwinian originating mechanism, so de Duve’s singularities are what we might colloquially call ‘brick walls’.

Living organisms have two main components: (a) enzyme-mediated biochemistry and (b) information-based regulatory processes. Which came first? De Duve favours an ‘enzymes first’ model because the information-based systems are so optimal and specialized that he believes some process of selection was needed to separate out the spectacularly clean (100% purity) components from the ‘dirty gemisch’ (impure mixture) of the environment.

However, physicist Hubert Yockey has studied information in biology for 50 years and persuasively argues that because life has no reverse code for transferring information from proteins to RNA or DNA then it is impossible for life to have arisen in a ‘proteins first’ scenario. The information must have come first. The simplest code would have been a binary (two-letter) alphabet but all life works upon a more complex four-letter alphabet, so Yockey concludes that the question of origin is undecidable.4 This is not a necessary conclusion however, and appears to be no more than a ruse to avoid the uncomfortable conclusion that life may have been intelligently designed.

Life in molecular detail: the new paradigm

Against this background, we can now look to the summary model of how life works as given by Kirschner and Gerhart (I shall refer to it as the KG model). They identify two major components:

  • conserved core processes of cell structure, function, and body plans;
  • core processes are regulated in modular ways (like ® Lego blocks) that can be easily rearranged into new combinations, to be used in new times, places and amounts to generate variable offspring.

Evolvability is thus built-in. The existing modular structure and its regulatory systems facilitates the incorporation of changes in DNA sequences (produced by recombinations and mutations) into functionally viable offspring that can adapt to new environments. KG theory is claimed to be a largely complete molecular explanation for how natural variation and natural selection produce all the variety of life on Earth—Darwin’s theory, according to the authors, is now a validated whole.

A new view of heredity

Neo-Darwinists view heredity as being all about genetics. For example, the official journal of the Genetics Society is called Heredity. But genetics is all about change and we have discovered so many ways in which organisms can change that we are now faced with a huge unanswered question: how do they manage to stay (approximately) the same, generation after generation? As the late Stephen Jay Gould maintained throughout his career in paleontology—stasis, not change, is the major feature of natural history.5

Neo-Darwinism has no answer to this challenge for two reasons: (a) genes and chromosomes can be mutated at any and every position so there is no limit to the potential for change, and (b) the agents of change (mutations and environment) are beyond the organism’s control.

Evolution occurs not primarily by changing DNA sequences, as neo-Darwinists assume, but by rearrangement of switching circuits.

But KG theory does give us an answer—the conserved core processes remain the same during reproduction. When a mother passes on an egg cell to its offspring, that cell contains everything required by the offspring in its architecture and machinery. The DNA sequences provide for the manufacture of more raw materials for the embryo to go through its development process, but the actual architecture and machinery itself is provided by the mother. The new outer membrane of the embryo is just that of the mother’s cell extended with more of the same material. The new cytoskeleton is just the mother’s cytoskeleton extended with new material. The new organelles are the mother’s organelles that replicate independently of the chromosomes. The new membranes are the mother’s membranes extended with more of the same material.

During the early stages of embryogenesis, the new chromosome set is entirely shut down and all the groundwork of the embryo is laid by thousands of different RNA types supplied by the mother. Only after this groundwork is laid does the new chromosome set become active and the mother’s RNAs are degraded and recycled.

The variability that is built-in to this heredity process is the modular gene regulation and signaling networks. A suitable analogy might be a house and its network of power, plumbing and communications channels and interfaces. The wiring and piping are built into the house structure, but there are numerous interface points to which a wide variety of household appliances can be attached, detached and rearranged. It is the combination of devices plugged into this network that provides the variation, and the house with its plumbing and wiring system that provides the stasis. To what extent the ‘house’ itself can be varied is yet to be determined.

Conserved core processes

Chapter 7 of Kirschner and Gerhart’s book summarizes this subject so I will simply quote selectively from it. My additions or summaries are in square brackets:

‘Conserved core processes [typically consist of] several protein components [on average about 5, maximum probably about 300], conserved in their [amino acid] sequence. Their function is to generate the phenotype from the genotype. These processes arose historically in a few intermittent waves of innovation.

‘On the lineage towards humans, these innovations include:

  • the processes in the first bacteria [all the machinery in a bacterial cell],
  • [the processes in] the first eukaryotes [all the machinery in a eukaryote cell],
  • [the processes in] the first multi-cellular organisms [cooperation between cells, specialization of structure and function of different cells, and integration of specialized cell complexes into functional organs and organisms],
  • [the processes in] large bilateral body plans in metazoans (including chordates and vertebrates),
  • [the processes in] neural crest cells in vertebrates [which allow diversification of the head region],
  • [the processes in] limbs in the first land animals,
  • [the processes in] the neocortex [the key region of brain development].

‘Most evolutionary change in the metazoa [multi-celled animals] since the Cambrian has come not from changes of the core processes themselves or from new processes, but from regulatory changes affecting the deployment of the core processes. These regulatory changes alter the time, place, circumstance and amount of gene expression …

‘The core processes are built in special ways to allow them to be easily linked together in new combinations … these special properties include:

(a) Weak linkage, a property particularly of signal transduction [detection and response] and transcription [copying]. … the response is maximally prepared and ready to be triggered [by a GO or STOP signal].

(b) Exploratory behavior, a property of [cellular processes and populations of organisms] … the capacity to generate an unlimited number of outcome states [which are] built to be receptive to the [selective] agent [that will serve] as a stabilizing force, selecting one state among the large number of states generated.

(c) Compartmentation, a property of embryonic spatial organization and cell type control. [Compartmentation has] facilitated a large increase in the complexity of anatomy and physiology without a corresponding increase in the complexity of the conserved core processes.

‘Generation of variation is facilitated principally by:

  • reducing the lethality of mutations,
  • reducing the number of mutations needed to produce novelty, and
  • increasing the genetic diversity in the population by suppressing lethality [and thus allowing the mutations to be stored and inherited].
‘Robustness [is] at the centre of our theory … the conserved core processes are built [robustly] to give sufficient outputs despite altered conditions and inputs. [The properties] of robustness, flexibility and versatility are [needed] to enable the core processes to work together … the organism as a whole is … a poised response system … It responds to mutation by making changes it is largely prepared in advance to make. … Genetic variation or mutation does not have to be creative; it only needs to trigger the creativity built into the conserved mechanisms.
‘All the special properties of the conserved core processes had to evolve before regulatory evolution could escalate, for if the components of different processes were to interfere with one another in the new combinations, such expression would afford no benefit.
‘Facilitated variation assumes the availability of [the conserved core processes]. The evolution of these processes and properties would seem to be the primary events of evolution, requiring high novelty. … Once the conserved processes were available, though, the possibility of variation by regulatory shuffling and gating of these processes was unleashed, and shuffling and gating were much simpler than inventing the processes.
‘The main accomplishment of the theory of facilitated variation is to see the organism as playing a central role in determining the nature and degree of variation … We think the organism is so constituted that its own random genetic variation can evoke complex phenotypic change.’

Further relevant comments from Chapter 8 include:

‘ … evolvability … is the greatest adaptation of all … Variation is facilitated largely because so much novelty is available in what is already possessed by the organism’ (pp. 252, 273).
‘The theory of facilitated variation opens up a new set of questions about the origins of the conserved core processes … [they] may have emerged together as a suite, for we know of no organism today that lacks any part of the suite. … The most obscure origination of a core process is the creation of the first prokaryotic cell. The novelty and complexity of the cell is so far beyond anything inanimate in the world of today that we are left baffled by how it was achieved’ (pp. 253, 256).

Invisible anatomy

Kirschner and Gerhart coined the term ‘invisible anatomy’ to describe the regulatory circuits that produce the visible anatomy. To construct an adult from a zygote, the zygote must first build a phylotypic embryo—a mass of cells with highly conserved form, which is the same right across its phylum. This philotypic stage is divided into numerous, largely independent, 3-dimensional compartments within which different gene switching networks are wired up in different ways appropriate for the unique developmental cascade that will subsequently occur in each compartment.

But the signal network is not instructive, it is permissive—it does not tell the circuits what to do, it merely releases or represses the already built-in abilities of cells to do whatever needs to be done. Humans have about 300 compartments in their phylotypic embryo. That means there must be least 300 different circuits—developmental programs for body segments—that can be activated or repressed in every cell.

Switching networks

Gene switches are extremely complex devices,

Figure 2. Gene switches are extremely complex devices, comparable in their complexity and precision to a Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation device. Part (a) shows the essential parts in the switch, which begin with the signal inputs A and B, and end with the gene product in the form of protein. Part (b) shows some (not all) of the signal systems involved in programmed cell death (apoptosis). Just as the GPS device integrates the information from many different satellites, so the gene switch must integrate the information from many different signal cascades. (Part (b) from Bell25).

The main difference between neo-Darwinian and KG theory is that the former views genes as having a continual effect on organisms, whereas the molecular reality is that genes only work when they are switched ON. This is a profound difference. Everything in KG theory flows from this fact. Evolution occurs not primarily by changing DNA sequences, as neo-Darwinists assume, but by rearrangement of switching circuits.

Gene switches are sections of DNA on the chromosome usually near to where the gene is situated (figure 1). One gene may be involved in ten or more stages in development and it will have a separate switch for each stage. Sean Carroll, a leading researcher in this field, says, ‘animal bodies [are] built—piece by piece, stripe by stripe, bone by bone—by constellations of switches distributed all over the genome [emphasis added].’6 Evolution occurs primarily by adding or deleting switches, for this is the only way to change the organism while leaving the gene itself undamaged by mutation so that it can continue to function normally in its many other roles. Carroll considers this concept to be ‘perhaps the most important, most fundamental insight from evolutionary developmental biology.’7

Figure 1 illustrates evolution-by-switch-addition by showing how butterfly wing spots are produced by adding a new wing-spot switch to an existing gene Distal-less that is already involved in development of the insect embryo, leg and wing.8

Gene switches are very complex devices. Carroll compares them to a Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite-navigating device that integrates information from many different satellites to calculate the correct output in a given situation. Gene switches likewise give ‘exquisite geographic specificity [from the built-in logic] … the makeup of every switch is different [and] the physical integrity of switches is very important to normal development. If a switch is disrupted or broken by mutation, then the proper inputs are not integrated.’9

The reason why genes only work by being either fully ON or OFF is very easy to understand—because a part-formed transcript would become useless junk in a crowded cell. Only fully formed transcripts are useable, and when they are not wanted, the gene needs to be turned OFF so that it will not clog up the heavily crowded cell with unwanted transcripts.

Figure 2 outlines the components of a gene switch that uses negative feedback as its control mechanism. The molecules involved in switches are called ‘transcription factors’ and can be activators (that send a GO message) or repressors (that send a STOP message). If a repressor is repressed then STOP STOP = GO.

Uri Alon at the Weizmann Institute has researched switches and signal networks and found two main types:10

Switches associated with signal reception and response, which act over metabolic time scales of seconds. These include: single factor regulation, negative autoregulation, positive autoregulation, feed-forward loops (FFL) of both positive and negative kind, multi-output FFLs that regulate numerous genes simultaneously, single-input modules, and dense overlapping regulons that can regulate one or hundreds of output genes, and they can have one or hundreds of inputs from various sources.

Switches associated with development over the lifetime of the organism. These include: positive feedback loops, negative feedback loops, diamond networks, multi-layer diamond networks, and feed-forward loops that combine into large networks.

Switches are readily disabled by mutation, so Alon addressed the question of whether systems such as FFLs evolved from duplication of an ancestral FFL. The answer appears to be no, because apparently homologous genes are usually regulated by transcription factors that are so different that they are classed into completely different families. Evolution must have converged independently on the same regulation circuits over and over again.

This is perhaps explained by the fact that

‘ … transcription networks seem to rewire rapidly: it takes only a few mutations to remove the binding site of a regulator in a given promoter, and thereby lose an arrow in a network. Hence, even closely related organisms often have different network motifs to regulate a given gene, provided that they live in different environments … One hypothesis is that the network[s] are selected according to the computations that are required in the environment of each species.’10

This latter finding seems to agree with KG theory, that switching circuit modularity provides the major source of natural variation. Another important confirmation of the concept is the Savageau demand rule. This experimentally observed rule is that frequently needed genes tend to be regulated by activators, while rarely needed genes tend to be regulated by repressors. It has been shown that a strategy in which errors are minimized leads to the Savageau demand rule.11 That is, errors (mutations and imprecise biochemical reactions) are minimized in the search for useful circuit combinations.

Embryonic switching patterns

We are now in a position to illustrate embryogenesis, in broad outline, as a series of switching events. The ‘geography’ or ground-plan for each organism is established during the early divisions of the zygote. Important geographical factors include:

  • Inside (endoderm and mesoderm) and outside (ectoderm)
  • Head (mouth and brain end) and tail (anal end)
  • Left and right (in bilateral animals)
  • Front and back (in bilateral animals).

These geographical circuits are positive feedback loops that shunt irreversibly into, for example, ‘tail OFF and head ON’ mode. The comparable circuit in the tail end shunts irreversibly into the ‘tail ON and head OFF’ state. In all descendents of these cells, later instructions will pass through these circuits so that, for example, when the instruction is given to build a limb, the state of the geographical circuits will ensure that a forelimb is produced at the head end and a hind limb is produced at the tail end.

Within our group of bilaterians, the vertebrates, further circuitry is linked up within this three-dimensional ground-plan so that by the ‘phylotypic stage’ all the embryos look remarkably similar (drawings of which Haeckel infamously fudged to make look even more similar than they really are). The similarity is no coincidence, however, because all vertebrate embryos are patterned by exactly the same set of genes, as shown in figure 3. All the genes up to hox6 regulate brain and head development, and those from hox7 to cad regulate spinal cord and body development.

By this stage, the vertebrate embryos consist of about 300 largely independent compartments, and further development occurs according to a separate switching cascade in each compartment. The body-patterning genes shown in figure 3 create these compartments via single-input circuits that have multiple thresholds of interaction with the ground-plan circuits (inside-outside, head-tail, left-right, front-back) and the body differentiating genes (those that produce limbs, ears, ribs, etc.).

Autopoietic control

Life is controlled by coded information. The overall purpose of that information appears to be survival, and in particular, survival via variable reproduction. KG theory says that organisms are built to vary, and it could not be any other way because brittle life, like Paley’s metal watch, would malfunction under the first impact of either internal or external impediment. Rather ‘the organism as a whole is a … poised response system [ready to make] changes it is largely prepared in advance to make’ (KG, p. 226).

phylotypic stage

Figure 3. At the ‘phylotypic’ stage, embryos of all vertebrates are organized into independent developmental segments by the same set of conserved core genes, operating in the same sequence from head to tail. The names of the genes are listed in order for the fish, frog, bird and mouse embryos. Human embryos are organized in the same way. (Redrawn from information in Kirchner and Gerhart, p. 268).

But protein-coding information of DNA is clearly not the only information operating in cells. A gene only gives the linear sequence of amino acids in a protein, yet its key function is the result of its 3-dimensional shape, not its linear sequence. Many different amino acids could substitute into the linear sequence without reducing its functionality, but the 3-D shape is very tightly constrained, yet cannot be predicted from its linear sequence. Proteins can fold in numerous different ways, so there must be extra information somewhere else that guides the folding process. Special molecules called chaperones guide the folding process, so there must be folding information built-in to the chaperones. They can also detect and correct mis-folded proteins, and they can detect when a protein is mis-folded beyond repair and have it marked for degradation and recycling.

Autopoietic decision making during embryogenesis is of the ‘if … then … ’ kind familiar to computer programmers. Embryonic cells make decisions based upon three kinds of information: (a) instructions from the mother (mRNAs in the egg cytoplasm), (b) conditions within the cell itself, and (c) information from its immediate neighbours. Thus, if a cell has all its specialization circuits in OFF mode, and it has its polarity circuit in an ON state, and it has only one neighbouring cell, then it concludes that it is in the two-cell state of embryogenesis so it will divide and switch ON its bilateral circuits but keep all its specialization circuits in OFF mode.

At a later stage, if there are no longer any instructions from the mother, and the cell’s specialized liver circuit is ON and all its neighbours are liver cells, and the embryogenesis circuitry is OFF and the fetal circuitry is ON, then the cell will divide and reproduce an identical copy of itself to allow the liver to grow in size until birth stage.

In later life, the autopoietic system will ensure that maintenance and repairs are carried out to keep the cell functioning properly. But when the telomere ‘clock’ says that time has run out, it will trigger a release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria into the cytoplasm which will set the apoptosome into action to dismantle the cell and recycle its contents.12

Evidence supporting the theory

neo-Darwinian theory, genes produce organisms, and  mutations in genes produce new kinds of organisms

Figure 4. In neo-Darwinian theory, genes produce organisms, and mutations in genes produce new kinds of organisms. In facilitated variation theory, genes are used by cells to construct organisms, and mutations in genes are used by cells to produce variations in progeny. The crucial difference between the the theories is the central role of the cell, rather than the genes, in producing the organism.

The primary difference between neo-Darwinism and KG theory is that the former puts genes in control of heredity and thus evolution, while the latter puts the cell in control. Figure 4 illustrates this crucial difference.

The molecular evidence is clearly in favour of cell control. A recent intensive study of transcription activity in a 1% sample of the human genome found an astonishing amount of unexpected activity. Virtually the whole genome is transcribed, in both directions (both strands of the DNA double helix), in multiple copies (on average 5 in gene regions and 7 in non-gene regions) that overlap by an average 10 to 50 times the size of a typical gene. The best predictor of where and when this transcription takes place is just one factor—chromatin structure.13 Chromatin is the complex of DNA and protein that super-coils the long thin DNA into short fat chromosomes, and it must be uncoiled in order for transcription to occur.

The same conclusion—that chromatin structure lies at the heart of transcription activity—was arrived at via study of the relationship between chromatin and nuclear pores.14 In eukaryotes, chromosomes are housed in the nucleus, and access to and from the nucleus is very closely controlled via special structures called the nuclear pore complex (NPC). Transcription only occurs at the inner opening of these NPCs. The relevant chromosome must be brought to a pore and the transcription site correctly aligned. The DNA is unwound from its scaffold proteins, then the histone coils are twisted around to expose the copy region, the double-helix is unzipped, and the transcription machinery produces an RNA copy of the DNA. The transcript is checked for accuracy and corrected if necessary (or degraded if faulty beyond repair) then the RNA is tagged for export out through the NPC and to its destination in the cell. The DNA is then silenced again by being zipped up and rewound onto its histone and scaffold protein chromatin structures. So DNA is normally in a form analogous to a closed book. When the cell wants some information it opens the book, copies the relevant section, and then closes the book again. DNA does not control this process—it is kept in storage until it is needed. The cell is clearly in control.

The second major difference between KG theory and neo-Darwinism is in the way genes act upon organisms. In the classic case of Darwin’s Gal├ípagos finches, neo-Darwinian theory explains the variation in finch beak size and shape via mutations and natural selection acting repeatedly over a long period of time. Many small changes must occur independently in the upper and lower beaks, in the adjacent skull, and in the head muscles, to coordinate and order them all into the necessarily viable intermediate beaks of the birds that need to survive throughout the period of divergence.

In contrast, recent experimental work suggests that just two regulatory changes are involved. The bone morphology protein BMP4 when expressed earlier or later in embryogenesis causes broad or narrow beak development,15 and more or less of the calcium regulator protein calmodulin produces long or short beaks, respectively.16 Gerhart and Kirschner17 cite this as experimental validation of their theory. The whole craniofacial developmental process is compartmented and coordinated by a modular regulatory system that can be easily rewired ‘with a few regulatory mutations’ (KG, p. 236) to produce new features that are readily integrated into the already-prepared, robust, conserved-core-process-based system. Field observations confirm that such changes take place rapidly across just a few generations.18

More neo-Darwinian errors

Life consists of conserved core processes and modular regulatory circuits but all the conserved processes had to be present before regulatory adaptation could take place pointing to intelligent design.

The neo-Darwinian genetic theory of heredity assumed that characteristics of organisms are coded on genes with roughly a ‘one-gene-to-one-character’ correspondence. As organisms evolved to greater complexity, more genes were added via gene duplication and subsequent independent mutation of the extra copy into useful new characters.19 More complex organisms were thus expected to carry more genes than less complex ones. Furthermore, lineages that diverged early in the history of life would have mutated at virtually every locus, making them quite unlike at the genetic level. This led Ernst Mayr to state in his 1963 book Animal Species and Evolution ‘the search for homologous genes [derived from the same ancestor] is quite futile except in very close relatives.’20

These predictions have all been dramatic falsified by molecular discoveries:

  • There is no one-to-one correspondence between genes and characters. Most genes are pleiotropic—they affect many different parts and stages of life. And all but the most trivial characters are determined by large numbers of genes—50% to 80% of the entire genome is required for many bodily functions in vertebrates.21
  • Genetic information structures are not linear, but interleaved, producing multiple overlapping transcripts. Moreover, the exons (DNA segments that directly code for protein segments) in a gene are not specific to that gene but can participate in modular fashion with up to 33 different genes on as many as 14 different chromosomes.22
  • There is no correlation between organism complexity and gene number. Rice and crayfish carry more genes than humans.
  • Homologous genes occur right across the spectrum of life. About 20% of the human genome is homologous with bacteria, about 50% is homologous with eukaryotes (fungi, plants, animals), about 80% is homologous across the animal kingdom, and about 99% is homologous across all the vertebrates, leaving only about 1% that is uniquely human.23 About 500 genes are ‘immortal’ and have not changed at all in their key functional sequences across the whole history of life.24

One of the most serious errors—that will need a lot of undoing—is the vast amount of molecular taxonomy that has been based upon the idea that ‘junk DNA’ provides us with a record of past mutations and thus acts as a ‘molecular clock.’ We now know that non-protein-coding DNA is more active in the cell than genes. According to KG theory, molecular taxonomy can only work correctly by comparing ‘hidden anatomies’ across taxa, not DNA sequences. To understand hidden anatomy we will have to find the regulatory code. New aspects of gene regulation are being reported daily, but so far, no one has been able to put together the complete code for a whole organism.

Conclusion

Let’s stand back consider the big picture of how life works at the molecular level.

Life consists of conserved core processes and modular regulatory circuits. All the special properties of the conserved processes had to be in place before regulatory evolution could take place. Where did they come from? ‘They may have emerged together as a suite, for we know of no organism today that lacks any part of the suite.’

‘The novelty and complexity of the cell [the most important conserved core processes that has modular regulatory circuitry built-in] is so far beyond anything inanimate in the world of today that we are left baffled by how it was achieved.’

A living organism is ‘a poised response system [that] responds to mutation by making changes it is largely prepared in advance to make.’ ‘Genetic variation or mutation does not have to be creative; it only needs to trigger the creativity built into the conserved mechanisms.’ It could not be otherwise, because invariable life would soon become extinct.

Who will be game enough to say the words? Only intelligent design can explain such data. There are no naturalistic explanations.


Related articles

Further reading

References (no links included)

  1. Kirschner, M.W. and Gerhart, J.C., The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2005.
  2. Lightner, J., Designed to inhabit the earth, a review of The Plausibility of Life by Marc W. Kirschner and John C. Gerhart, Journal of Creation 22(1):33–36, 2008.
  3. De Duve, C., Singularities: Landmarks on the Pathways of Life, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2005.
  4. Yockey, H.P., Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, MA, 2005, Chs.3, 13.
  5. Gould, S.J., The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Harvard University Press, 2001, MA, p.749.
  6. Carroll, ref. 8, p. 111.
  7. Carroll, S.B., Evolution at Two Levels: On Genes and Form, PLoS Biology 3(7):1159–1166, 2005; p.1162.
  8. Carroll, S.B., Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo-Devo, Norton, New York, 2005.
  9. Carroll, ref. 8, pp.114–118, 124.
  10. Alon, U., Network motifs: theory and experimental approaches, Nature Reviews Genetics 8:450–461, 2007.
  11. Shinar, G., Dekel, E., Tlusty, T. and Alon, U., Rules for biological regulation based on error minimization, PNAS 103(11):3999–4004, 2006.
  12. Riedl, S.J. and Salvesen, G.S., The apoptosome: signalling platform of cell death, Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 8:405–413, 2007.
  13. 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.
  14. Akhtar, A. and Gasser, S.M., The nuclear envelope and transcriptional control, Nature Reviews Genetics 8:507–517, 2007.
  15. Abzhanov, A., Protas, M., Grant, B.R., Grant, P.R. and Tabin, C.J., Bmp4 and morphological variation of beaks in Darwin’s finches, Science 305(5689):1462–1465, 2004.
  16. Abzhanov, A., Kuo, W.P., Hartmann, C., Grant, B.R., Grant, P.R. and Tabin, C.J., The calmodulin pathway and evolution of elongated beak morphology in Darwin’s finches, Nature 442:563–567, 2006.
  17. Gerhart, J. and Kirschner, M., The theory of facilitated variation, PNAS 104:8582–8589, 2007.
  18. Grant, P.R., Ecology and Evolution of Darwin’s Finches, Princeton University Press, NJ, 1999.
  19. Ohno, S., Evolution by Gene Duplication. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1970.
  20. Carroll, S.B., The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the ultimate forensic record of evolution, Norton, New York, p. 78, 2006.
  21. Lein, E.S. et al., Genome-wide atlas of gene expression in the adult mouse brain, Nature 445:168–176, 2007.
  22. Kapranov, P., Willingham, A.T. and Gingeras, T.R., Genome-wide transcription and the implications for genomic organization, Nature Reviews Genetics, published online 8 May 2007.
  23. Lewin, B., Molecular Biology, MBIO-3.14 More complex species evolve by adding new gene functions, , 2 September 2006.
  24. Carroll, ref.20, p.79.
  25. Bell, P., Apoptosis: cell ‘death’ reveals creation, Journal of Creation 16(1):90–102, 2002; .

54 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

I'm truly impressed, Radar. More than eight thousand words in this post (although I can't tell how many are yours and how many are this article you reproduced -- by the by, did you have permission for that?), and you still fail to muster even one new or interesting argument against evolution. In the end, you simply don't believe Evolution because you do believe in Jesus, and Jesus says evolution is false. That's all there is to it.

Not only that, but you break the tenets of the religion you claim to have embraced. Many times over.

You bear false witness against the NCSE by claiming that "This institution, supposedly on the side of education, is dedicated to keeping information away from students and teachers!" NCSE's purpose is to keep phony, unscientific propaganda out of public school science curricula. Since phony, unscientific propaganda is all that creationism has to offer, NCSE seeks to keep creationism out of public school science curricula.

Your (or your source's copied) description of genetics is of little interest to me right now, because it's partly right, partly wrong, and partly true-but-irrelevant. You fail to understand that evolution depends on genetic variation as expressed through the phenotype, and so your entire argument simply disintegrates.

There are two basic rules to evolution:

1) Genes vary; organisms are selected; and populations evolve.

2) Organisms are selected through their interactions with their environment. Everything that affects the organism in any way is part of its environment -- including its own internal chemistry.

Thus, when you try to argue that "variation doesn't happen only this way, it also happens these other ways," you aren't really criticizing evolutionary theory at all. When you argue that "the cell can select some genes over others," you aren't really criticizing evolutionary theory at all.

Jon Woolf said...

Your account of your conversion to Christianity is interesting, but I think you'd have been better off staying away from it, because again it shows that you don't understand evolutionary theory. Or science itself, for that matter. The fact that evolutionary theory has been used by evil men to create evil societal systems does not mean evolutionary theory is false, or that evolutionary theory is immoral. After all, I can build an equally powerful argument that Christianity is immoral because of all the atrocities that nominally Christian men and women have committed, from the slaughters of other religions' adherents in Roman times right down to the Catholic pedophilia scandals of the last few years.

Beyond that, though, morals fit into evolutionary theory quite well, thank you very much. In fact, we can use evolution-derived morality to build a very strong argument against eugenics. How do we do that? By observing that evolution can be exceedingly subtle in its effects on a population, because its ultimate goal is not to preserve individual bloodlines, or even specific genes or combinations of genes. The goal of the Great Game is to maximize one's genetic contribution to future generations.

In many cases, one way to do that is to provide as conducive an environment as possible for one's offspring and the offspring of one's relatives to grow up in. And that often manifests as a tendency toward building powerful social groupings -- Tribes -- which are stable through time. This tendency has become so powerful in humans that we often suppress our individual wants and needs in favor of supporting the Tribe's wants and needs. We live for the Tribe; we die for the Tribe.

Saving even the weak, the infirm, and the infertile strengthens the Tribe because of the very ancient (and therefore very powerful) concept of balance, aka maat or karma. If I care for you while you're sick, I increase the chance that you (or others) will care for me if I get sick. An infertile woman can still help gather food. An infertile man can still hunt. A person who can't walk can still talk and think. Even those who have nothing to contribute now may have something to contribute in future. Even those who can't possibly contribute anything of any great use, now or ever, are worth saving because they can be used to reinforce the members' belief that the Tribe works.

What does all that have to do with evolution? Only this: we are tribal creatures today because we evolved that way. We evolved that way because megayears ago, tribalism enhanced our ancestors' chances of survival. Tribalism and eugenics are fundamentally incompatible. It's unnatural for us to behave in the way eugenicists want us to behave -- that's why they have to force us to behave that way, using the strong arm of the government.

creeper said...

Out of the 8,000 plus words, I'll pick on just four to begin with:

"I love the truth."

That is a lie.

Somebody who loves the truth would be aghast to post lies, and would correct them when made aware of that fact.

And yet you let lies stand.

You're a liar, Radar.

Live with it, or change your ways.

-- creeper

creeper said...

BTW, excellent comments, Jon.

-- creeper

radar said...

Woolf, it is too bad you cannot understand the post. The research, done by Darwinists, winds up with them seeing no way by which these processes could have happened and in fact the discovery simply takes away any grounds for Darwinism altogether.

KG said "The novelty and complexity of the cell is so far beyond anything inanimate in the world of today that we are left baffled by how it was achieved"

One conclusion: "The main difference between neo-Darwinian and KG theory is that the former views genes as having a continual effect on organisms, whereas the molecular reality is that genes only work when they are switched ON. This is a profound difference. Everything in KG theory flows from this fact. Evolution occurs not primarily by changing DNA sequences, as neo-Darwinists assume, but by rearrangement of switching circuits."

"One of the most serious errors—that will need a lot of undoing—is the vast amount of molecular taxonomy that has been based upon the idea that ‘junk DNA’ provides us with a record of past mutations and thus acts as a ‘molecular clock.’ We now know that non-protein-coding DNA is more active in the cell than genes."

radar said...

In fact: "Let’s stand back consider the big picture of how life works at the molecular level.

Life consists of conserved core processes and modular regulatory circuits. All the special properties of the conserved processes had to be in place before regulatory evolution could take place. Where did they come from? ‘They may have emerged together as a suite, for we know of no organism today that lacks any part of the suite.’

‘The novelty and complexity of the cell [the most important conserved core processes that has modular regulatory circuitry built-in] is so far beyond anything inanimate in the world of today that we are left baffled by how it was achieved.’

A living organism is ‘a poised response system [that] responds to mutation by making changes it is largely prepared in advance to make.’ ‘Genetic variation or mutation does not have to be creative; it only needs to trigger the creativity built into the conserved mechanisms.’ It could not be otherwise, because invariable life would soon become extinct.

Who will be game enough to say the words? Only intelligent design can explain such data. There are no naturalistic explanations."

Woolf, everything you thought you knew about this subject is blown out of the water. Darwinism is only on life support it will never again be a viable hypothesis.

radar said...

creeper, just because the material is too difficult for you that is not a good reason to call names. As usual, when faced with arguments they cannot refute, the Darwinists fling poo. The world is not flat, the sun does not revolve around the earth, there was not life on Mars and macroevolution via natural selection driven by mutation is dead. The process is much more complex than someone like Dawkins has understood.

You guys are like Newtonians who show up late to the Physics party, find a book on Einstein's Relativity and while still trying to digest that are introduced to quantum mechanics. Naturally you have nothing to say.

radar said...

You who do not comment but do read comments? Notice that Woolf and creeper do not even address themselves to the new information about how life is passed on and built down in electron microscope land? Quit repeating your lame old programmed propaganda and address the information coded in the cell and the structure that is so complex that researchers cannot even imagine how it came to be. Hmmm.

radar said...

But I will give Woolf the first nomination for the worst comment of the year...his first one. It is not a comment so much as a sputter.

radar said...

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-medium-is-not-the-message/

Jon Woolf said...

The main difference between neo-Darwinian and KG theory is that the former views genes as having a continual effect on organisms

Say WHAT?!?

Radar, I don't get it. How could you really be up on modern genetics, and still say something like the above? Biologists have understood for decades that genes don't have a continual effect on their organisms. Different genes are switched on and off in different cells, in different organs, at different stages of development, at different stages of life... Gaea's golden garters, man, it's only been the biggest goal in research biology for the last decade or so: how to get body cells to act like stem cells by switching on genes that were switched off early in the embryo's development!

Evolution occurs not primarily by changing DNA sequences, as neo-Darwinists assume, but by rearrangement of switching circuits.

[sigh]

Sometimes it's amusing, this conceit of creationists. Other times, it's just sad. You claim so much, yet understand so little. Nature's net is vast beyond your imagination. Its mesh is coarse, yet nothing slips through...

In this case, the net closes around another of your ubiquitous misunderstandings. Here it is: the 'switching circuits" you refer to are themselves genes, subject to all the same influences that other genes are subject to. Maybe you don't remember the furor that was caused by the discovery and explanation of homeobox genes, now usually called simply Hox genes. But I do. Hox genes are your switching circuits: they switch other genes on and off during development, and thus control how an organism develops from embryo to adult. Mutations in Hox genes are thought to be behind the origins of several major new clades. Thus there is no inconsistency between this "switching circuits" stuff and "neo-Darwinist" genetics.

And the only reason you can still claim your question about "the source of information" hasn't been answered is that you keep ignoring the answers you're given.

creeper said...

Do you consider being called a liar "calling names"? It's a demonstrated fact. You are peddling lies, and when they are pointed out to you, you do nothing. That makes you a liar, pure and simple. Live with it or do the obvious thing and retract/correct. It's really not that hard.

I'll get to the rest of your post in due time, though as always it's a bit lazy of you to paste enormous chunks of other people's material (hope you got permission) and then complain when it's not all fully addressed by commenters.

Even more so when there are ongoing discussions that you run away from. There are pertinent questions there that you don't need to shy away from if you think the facts are on your side.

Instead (as usual), you're trying to head for the door while shouting "victory!".

"The world is not flat, the sun does not revolve around the earth, there was not life on Mars and macroevolution via natural selection driven by mutation is dead. The process is much more complex than someone like Dawkins has understood.

You guys are like Newtonians who show up late to the Physics party, find a book on Einstein's Relativity and while still trying to digest that are introduced to quantum mechanics. Naturally you have nothing to say."


Is there a remote part of your brain that actually gets the irony that you are equating your own beliefs, based on a mythology invented by Bronze Age people, with cutting-edge technology?

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Censorship even against Intelligent Design science, which is agnostic towards any creative source but is focused only on the evidence!"

Yeah, right... so what percentage of ID "scientists" didn't believe in God first?

-- creeper

radar said...

Were I the NCSE I would just delete creeper and Woolf and carry on making sure only those agreeing with me to make a comment. But I am not into censorship like Eugenie Scott, or fairy tales like Woolf, or stupid name-calling like creeper.

Since this view of organisms is fairly new and has not made it all the way to the Dawkins crowd, their confusion is expected. Your concept of DNA and the gene itself is turned on its head.

19th century science is insufficient to understand 21st century discovery. With all the name calling and crying will there ever be any content?

Jon Woolf said...

Radar, when are you going to stop this posturing and actually address some of the points that have been made against you?

For that matter, when are you going to demonstrate that you understand the points that have been made against you? So far in my time here, I haven't seen you do that even once. Over and over, you evade the argument, move the goalposts, change the subject, resort to logical fallacies ... anything and everything except actually discussing opponents' posts and examples in detail.

Can't you pick at least one of the counterpoints made, and address it in detail? Just one. Please?

radar said...

Woolf, I presented challenges to you and you reply with questions. If you would answer my previously asked questions, then I would answer yours.

I will make it easy since you are defending Neo-Darwinism. You already have no idea where existence came from and no idea where life came from so you have no story to tell until we have a cell, an extremely unlikely event that statistically has a likelihood of zero.

But let us give you a cell. Where did the information come from? It is obvious to observers that the cell is incredibly intricate and far more so than we knew even ten years ago.

Second, now that we know that mutation does not work on the gene in the way scientists have though for the last one hundred years, how can you possibly find a method to cause one kind of organism to evolve into another? The evidence shows that organisms are designed to work with mutation to select for the preservation of the organism while allowing for variance within the organism type.

You do not have an explanation for either the intricate hardware or intricate software of organisms. Your simplistic Darwinist explanations are black boxes that have nothing inside them.

Jon Woolf said...

I asked for details, radar, not just more nebulous blather. All you're doing here is parroting what you've read elsewhere. I see no sign that you even understand what you're saying, much less than you could debate it intelligently.

You already have no idea where existence came from and no idea where life came from so you have no story to tell until we have a cell, an extremely unlikely event that statistically has a likelihood of zero.

A cardinal rule of statistics is "you can't generalize from a sample of one." We know of one planet where life appeared. We don't know when it happened, or how it happened, or exactly what conditions were when it happened. That means we can't say how likely it was. Thus, your statement about the probability of life is only your opinion, nothing more.

Do you understand that?

Where did the information come from?

Asked and answered.

now that we know that mutation does not work on the gene in the way scientists have though for the last one hundred years,

We "know" nothing of the sort. In fact we know quite the opposite: every single previously-known mechanism for mutation remains intact.

We know genes can change by point mutation because we've seen it happen in nature and induced it in the lab.

We know genes can change by frameshift mutation because we've seen it happen in nature and induced it in the lab.

We know the genome can change by polyploidy because we've seen it happen in nature and induced it in the lab. (Polyploidy, by the by, is one way to obtain speciation in a single mutative event.)

The same for transposons, and horizontal gene transfer, and ERVs, and stress-induced gene plasticity. We've seen them all in the wild and induced them all in the lab.

The article you quoted doesn't refute any of that. It doesn't say "point mutations don't happen." It doesn't say "frameshift mutations are a myth." It doesn't say "polyploidy is impossible." All it says is "there's more to mutation than we thought there was." That doesn't disprove Darwin. Quite the opposite: it strengthens Darwin's theory by adding a new way for variation to occur.

To disprove Darwin's theory, you must show that one of three things is true:

1) variation doesn't happen.

2) selection doesn't happen.

3) variation and selection can't produce cladogenesis.

Then you have to explain how it's possible that these things don't happen when we've seen them happen in the wild and induced them in the lab.

Can you do that? Right here, right now? No quotes from other articles. No boilerplate that you've block-copied from other websites without understanding it. Can you, radar, owner of this blog, claim enough familiarity with biology and genetics to discuss the above in detail, without any of the fallacies that riddle your past posts and comments?

I don't think you can.

radar said...

Here is an example of a typical Darwinist who doesn't even understand the discussion.

To disprove Darwin's theory, you must show that one of three things is true:

1) variation doesn't happen.


Variation is a built in part of the programming and supports a designer because it shows design.

2) selection doesn't happen.

Selection is a part of the process designed into the organism and my post goes into detail on that aspect. Organisms vary and speciate quickly to adjust to conditions.

3) variation and selection can't produce cladogenesis.

Ooh, a big word. Ring speciation, in other words, when often genetic information is lost. None of this stuff supports Darwin because we can now look deep into the DNA and cellular activity and see a complex coding that is written in two dimensions but activates three and four dimensional activity.

radar said...

Woolf all those nice big words add up to a big fat zero. No matter that you can have organisms trade and share genetic information (which is what you are promoting) but that does not explain where it comes from and how it works.

Design is within every organism and controls the orgamism. That is why we never see fruit flies become dragonflies. The programming is designed to allow variation but preserve the kind. Read that article I posted again and wrap your brain around it.

You guys have no explanation for the information and the designed program. Be shrill all you like.

radar said...

I wonder if Jon Woolf works with the NCSE? Yes or no?

Jon Woolf said...

Radar wrote: Ooh, a big word. Ring speciation, in other words, when often genetic information is lost.

[buzz] Nope, try again.

It's not a difficult word, Radar. The concept it defines isn't difficult either. If you know as much as you claim to, you can figure out what it means just by looking at it.

OTOH, if you don't know even the basic terms involved in discussing taxonomy (hey, there's a clue!), then why should anyone take your opinions on deeper matters seriously?

...we can now look deep into the DNA and cellular activity and see a complex coding that is written in two dimensions but activates three and four dimensional activity.

a.k.a. secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structures of polypeptides. Nothing new there either, Radar. I learned about all that in high school biology. It's a normal and natural consequence of the way that amino acids bond together, not directly coded for in DNA, but rather an emergent result of the encoded amino acid sequence.

(By the by, when you refer to "fourth dimensional structure," which "fourth" dimension do you mean? Is it Time, or is it one of the higher spatial dimensions, up where they play Brockian Ultra Cricket?)

I wonder if Jon Woolf works with the NCSE? Yes or no?

Wouldn't mind if I did, but I don't. Presently I'm a lay brother in Ishap's Abbey at Sarth.

highboy said...

I'm having a hard time understanding how when its pointed out how evil people use the theory of evolution to do bad things, like kill people, that it doesn't make evolution immoral, why morality is even an issue in a world with natural selection. If humans are nothing more than evolved cogs in nature's machine, why is it any more/less moral to kill 6 million Jews than it is for any other animal species to kill itself off?

Jon Woolf said...

Evolution as a natural process is neither moral nor immoral. It simply is.

If humans are nothing more than evolved cogs in nature's machine,

We aren't. First, there is no "nature's machine." There is no overall plan or purpose to nature. Second, the ability to form morals and choose moral vs. immoral behavior makes us something unique in the living world.

We are also thinking beings who can learn, not only from our own mistakes, but also from others' mistakes. We know that murder is wrong, and mass murder is far more wrong, because we've seen its consequences, and we know its consequences are negative in the extreme.

radar said...

So creeper and Woolf are saying metaphysical things. They do not believe we are here for a purpose and they do not believe in a God and frankly prefer not to think about it.

Meanwhile I presented a very nice step by step article that points out how far more complex the reproductive process is than Darwinists had thought.

I get propaganda back. But all of you who go through these comments? Notice that none of these Darwinists have offered any scientific answers to my questions.
At best they just regurgitate the same old talking points.

Frankly, as I have said often, commenters depend on a logical and orderly Universe in order to communicate and work and live. Yet they deny the Logical Mind that created the Universe and then claim that they have a basis for morality? Not.

But then I guess that is why the commenters do not mind twisting the truth and pretending not to understand questions. If there are no absolutes, why not?

Jon Woolf said...

So creeper and Woolf are saying metaphysical things.

You ask metaphysical questions about morality, and then carp about it when you get metaphysical responses? Sheesh.

They do not believe we are here for a purpose and they do not believe in a God and frankly prefer not to think about it.


Breaking the Ninth Commandment again, I see. The above contains a bad assumption. Knowing that, can you find it?

Notice that none of these Darwinists have offered any scientific answers to my questions.

And yet again. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I have offered answers. So has creeper. So have other commenters. You simply ignore them.

Again I have to ask: is this really all you've got? A few blockquotes and a lot of conclusion-jumping? That's all you have? Where's the beef? Where's the clear proof that evolution is impossible -- so clear and convincing that you don't need to already be a fundamentalist in order to believe it? Why won't you engage in detailed discussions of the evidence, in your own words, using your own understanding of the material? I can and will -- and I don't hide it when I disagree with the orthodoxy, as I'm sure creeper and scohen have already noticed. But you won't. Why not?

highboy said...

Jon Woolfe: you must be confused. I'm asking how morality, right and wrong, even enter the equation in your worldview. Simply saying "we know something's wrong because we see its consequences doesn't cut it, and a moral self awareness may make me unique in your mind but that awareness does not obligate me, and without an obligation morality is moot. Don't tell me genocide is wrong, tell me why its wrong. Even if you believe morality is just a mechanism for coexistence, it doesn't explain why coexistence is right or wrong. If one animal species kills off another species, or that species eliminates itself, its deemed natural selection. Why is it a moral issue among humans? If you can't give a logical reason other than sheer human desire, your argument crumbles.

Jon Woolf said...

Heh. Never thought I'd see an observant Christian trying to make the argument that moral rules don't exist. We're in theater-of-the-absurd territory here, folks.

Highboy, reread my previous comments under this post. I gave the evolutionary basis for morality. I also said what differentiates us from other organisms, why morals are significant for us and not for them.

If you want me to explain it another way, I can, but I can just about guarantee you won't like its phrasing and implications. It isn't exactly flattering to the religion you follow.

highboy said...

Jon, stop dodging and answer the points. You're not going to offend my or my religion, you're not going to say anything I haven't already heard. I'm just interested to see how far you're willing to take this before admitting the logic you posit here is flat out absurd. The evolutionary basis for morality you've outlined doesn't even address the issue. If God doesn't exist, and natural selection is indeed factual, there is no relevance to morality whatsoever. You keep positing morality as some sort of system merely for cohabitation yet you have not once given an explanation as to what makes those things morally right or wrong. Simply saying "we evolved" a certain way doesn't explain in any way what makes actions morally right or wrong. If you can't give me the source of my obligation to my fellow man, your discussion of morality is useless and frankly, infantile. If a fish would somehow in its lifetime kill 6 million fish, how is that morally different than Hitler killing 6 million Jews? If simply having a moral self awareness is the answer, than explain why that awareness obligates me. You can't.

As for whatever remarks you may have about my God or religion: spare yourself. See, in order for my God or His actions to be deemed immoral, you assume for the sake of argument that He exists first. But you're basing His actions off of a humanist moral code that uses humanity as a measuring stick.

Anonymous said...

John, with all due respect, please just ignore HB. He's like a trollier, angrier, dumber version of Radar (I know that sounds impossible but it's a verifiable fact). His trolliness is evidenced by his avatar, if nothing else. Essentially, he's a "Christian Warrior" and we're the enemy. Subsequently, he'll say absolutely anything (no matter how disingenuous or dishonest)to try to make "his side" look better because Jesus is on his side. And the fact that he fails miserably at actually doing this, doesn't seem to phase him. I say, leave HB's crap posts to lower level commenters like myself and anony to deal with, either that or we'll just ignore him completely. He is simply, and intentionally, wasting your time, and he, and his wonderfully weak arguments, are just not worth it.

Tim, you started your first post above with "I'm having a hard time understanding...", lets just leave it at that shall we? I mean your theology "education" doesn't really prepare you for this kind of deep intellectual discussion. Nobody needs to "answer your questions" buddy. Especially when they are based on such unsupportable assertions like this, "If God doesn't exist, and natural selection is indeed factual, there is no relevance to morality whatsoever." Um, what? Just because you state some thing like that as fact, doesn't make it true. All this, and other assertions you have made above, points out is that apparently you would be a very bad person had you not been so lucky to have been born into a culture that offered Christianity up to you on a platter. Humans are good to each other because it has proved to be beneficial on an evolutionary level to be that way. Not everyone needs the threat of eternal torture to keep them from killing or raping others, although, at this point I'm kinda' glad that's what you believe.

- Canucklehead.

highboy said...

Canucklhead stop embarrassing yourself. You can't claim that this is a deep intellectual conversation and then write moronic spew without making a fool out of yourself. You didn't address one single point I made surprise surprise, and its because you can't. If you could you would have done so. If you have a valid logical response please give it. The only remark you made that came close was:

"Humans are good to each other because it has proved to be beneficial on an evolutionary level to be that way. Not everyone needs the threat of eternal torture to keep them from killing or raping others, although, at this point I'm kinda' glad that's what you believe."

So once again, why is that "beneficial"? Beneficial to who? And if morality is just a means of coexisting why is coexisting moral? Try actually answering the questions instead of trying in vain to impress everyone with moronic sarcastic glib. Either bring some facts or let the grown ups talk.

Jon Woolf said...

Canucklehead, I'm sure you're right about Highboy, but I'm going to answer his challenge anyway. It will be fun to watch his (and Radar's) reaction.

Highboy, you wrote: Simply saying "we evolved" a certain way doesn't explain in any way what makes actions morally right or wrong.

To me it does. We are a tribal species. We behave the way we do because we've been conditioned by evolution and culture to behave that way. We've been conditioned to behave that way because we've learned over time that behaving that way increases the odds of survival for ourselves, our relatives, and our descendants. I could go on at some length, but in the end it boils down to a fairly simple two-part rule: for most humans, that which strengthens the Tribe is good (read: moral) behavior, and that which weakens the Tribe is bad (read: immoral) behavior. That's really all there is to it. All of what you and I call morality can be summarized in that two-part rule. All the arguments over morality, over what should be or shouldn't be moral behavior, are ultimately rooted in two basic questions. The first is "who is a part of the Tribe?" The second is "does a particular, given action help or harm the Tribe?"

The only reason for religion to get involved in morality is that gods provide an Ultimate Authority to answer those two questions. In the process, the priests who speak for the god(s) get a boost to their social status within the Tribe. If your god says "Jack is in the Tribe and Joe is not," then you don't need to waste brain-cycles deciding for yourself. If your god says that "robbing a fellow Tribesman is wrong but killing an outsider is not," then again, you don't need to waste your own time and energy deciding for yourself. And if Og from Cave Fourteen says doubtfully that "I think this is wrong," while his neighbor Gronk declares firmly "The Gods who created us all have told me this is right!", well, Gronk's got the advantage in convincing the rest of the tribe, now doesn't he?

highboy said...

"To me it does. We are a tribal species. We behave the way we do because we've been conditioned by evolution and culture to behave that way. We've been conditioned to behave that way because we've learned over time that behaving that way increases the odds of survival for ourselves, our relatives, and our descendants"

That's your big earth shattering answer? To you it does? Without any explanation why? Are you serious? Lets try this one more time:

1. You cannot have a discussion over what is morally good or bad without a moral obligation.
2. You have yet to define in any way, why we're morally obligated to our fellow man.
3. Your "what is best for the tribe is good" worldview describes very well just that: your worldview. I didn't ask you what your worldview was. I asked why doing what is best for the tribe is morally good/bad at all, or how I'm obligated to do what is best for the tribe. Without that moral obligation, the moral issue is dead.
4. You didn't once in that extremely infantile rant even address key points I made in regards to evolutionary theory and morality, such as how humans are any more obligated to act morally towards one another than any other creation in nature. If you're going to argue that our evolutionary status obligates us, the burden is on you to show why. If human worth is only what we put on ourselves or the tribe, how is it a moral issue for me to decide for myself that neither myself nor the tribe have any worth?

If you're going to be arrogant in a debate, make sure you're actually addressing what is being presented in the debate.

Jon Woolf said...

Highboy, I know you think you understand what you believe I said, but I am not sure that you realize what you think you heard is not what I meant.

I asked why doing what is best for the tribe is morally good/bad at all, or how I'm obligated to do what is best for the tribe.

As well ask why is a circle round, or why a star shines and a planet doesn't. Being round is what makes a circle a circle. Shining by its own light is what makes a star a star and not a planet. And "good for the Tribe" is what makes an action moral and not immoral.

You're obligated to do what is best for the Tribe for two reasons. One is that weakening the Tribe endangers your own existence, and the existence of your blood relatives. Remember, the basic biological goal in life is to maximize one's contribution to the population's gene pool. For humans, having a strong Tribe helps you do that, therefore having a strong Tribe is in your personal self-interest.

The other reason, of course, is that if you do something that weakens the Tribe and you get caught, the Tribe will punish you. Thus, breaking the Tribe's rules is not in your self-interest. (Here again religion takes a hand in helping tribal solidarity: if you can never break the rules without getting caught and punished, then that's a pretty strong incentive to not break the rules.)

If human worth is only what we put on ourselves or the tribe, how is it a moral issue for me to decide for myself that neither myself nor the tribe have any worth?

I do not understand this question. Please rephrase.

PS: "infantile rant"? Tsk! Such language. [snicker.wav]

highboy said...

"You're obligated to do what is best for the Tribe for two reasons. One is that weakening the Tribe endangers your own existence, and the existence of your blood relatives. Remember, the basic biological goal in life is to maximize one's contribution to the population's gene pool. For humans, having a strong Tribe helps you do that, therefore having a strong Tribe is in your personal self-interest.

The other reason, of course, is that if you do something that weakens the Tribe and you get caught, the Tribe will punish you."

*buzzer* Wrong. Obligation means I'm obligated because of a sense what I "ought" to do, not because of positive or negative consequences, all of which you described by the way all only add to your mess. Why are those things a moral issue? Why is any action we take, in this amoral universe, moral or immoral, right or wrong? Why is coexistence or existence of the tribe at all "good"?

Jon Woolf said...

Obligation means I'm obligated because of a sense what I "ought" to do, not because of positive or negative consequences,

[chuckle.wav]

Never thought much about the human psyche, have you, Highboy? You're always motivated by the thought of positive or negative consequences, whether you realize it or not. So am I. So is every human. It's hard-wired into us. We couldn't do anything about it even if we wanted to. Not that we'd want to. It's the oldest and most successful rule in the entire realm of Life. Why mess with a winner?

Now when you say "I ought to do X," what does that mean? In most cases, it means one of two things: either you expect to get some form of reward for doing X, or you expect to get punished if you don't do X. (Note that neither reward nor punishment has to be something tangible. It may be no more than the gratifying surety in your own mind that you did the right thing, or that little nagging voice that wakes you up at oh-dark-thirty hissing "you screwed up" inside your head.)

Why is coexistence or existence of the tribe at all "good"?

Asked and answered.

Why is any action we take, in this amoral universe, moral or immoral, right or wrong?

Well, why not?

Seriously. What happens to a group of humans who try to function without a moral code?

Answer that, and you'll answer your question too.

highboy said...

John, why are you pretending that you're even addressing the issue? Yes, if we humans behaved without a moral code, we'd probably be extinct. And the extinction of a species is immoral because.....?????

Jon Woolf said...

Yes, if we humans behaved without a moral code, we'd probably be extinct.

Right. And that's why humans have a moral code.

highboy said...

"Right. And that's why humans have a moral code."

So you're ignoring all the other points that blow holes in your argument.

Anonymous said...

HB, Speaking of embarrassing ones self...

Sorry to disappoint man, but no "holes" have been blown in John's arguments. Nice try though Tim. Claiming victory by no means makes you a winner. No matter how many times you try it. At this point we're left with two options, you are either too stupid to understand what he's saying (which seems entirely plausible at this point) or you are intentionally playing stupid (which is essentially just more dishonesty from you, so that's equally plausible).

How do you explain why you keep asking the same questions that have already been answered? Perhaps it's due to those awesome constitution-lawyer-level "reading comprehension" skills you like to brag about?

By the way John, I again enjoyed reading how you address these weird creationist "arguments". Unfortunately, it only garnered more of the same arrogant bluster from HB, at least in my opinion.

Tim, so I checked out your website and, to quote you, "you aren't special" (you seem to like to use that one often, kinda like your tired "let the grownups talk" line). And neither are your lame arguments in any way "special". Effective arguments actually sway opinion. Like some of the arguments against god that eventually took me from christian to Atheist. Your arguments only serve to make believers feel better, and they only make sense if one already believes, like you do. Just like with this comment section, you constantly attempt to confuse the issue at hand, so as to avoid addressing the primary argument. I, like many others I'm sure, find your completely obnoxious online arrogance to be nothing but clown shoes. You, Tim High, are convincing nobody.

- Canucklehead.

Jon Woolf said...

Highboy, I answered all your points. Most even before you tried to make them. Your problem is that I didn't give you the answers you expected, or the answers you wanted.

Which is your problem, not mine.

Jon Woolf said...

Canucklehead: thanks for the kind words. Always nice to know that someone appreciates my little contributions. :-)

highboy said...

So like I said, neither of you will actually address the points I made, or answer the questions I've asked, which anyone with common sense can plainly see. But just for giggles, I'll try one more time.

1. Why is coexistence a question of moral right/wrong?
2. What is the difference between humans killing humans and animals killing animals in a naturalistic framework? Why is one a moral issue and the other is a matter of natural selection?

If either of you think you even came close to answering those questions, my disappointment in the public school system will be complete.

and canuck, I realize you have this hard on for me you can't shake, but either start debating with actual facts, or man up and get over you inferiority complex.

Anonymous said...

So Tim, you think I have a "hard on" for you, hey? A little wishful thinking perhaps? Just how much time do you spend thinking about my erect penis, anyway? Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, I just had no idea.

Your "questions" are beyond asinine. You are a troll (and you know it). Seriously though, how could you possibly expect anyone to take something like this, "What is the difference between humans killing humans and animals killing animals in a naturalistic framework?", seriously? So without your imaginary "god", you're saying that you couldn't tell the difference between killing a human and killing an animal? Really? Are you a sociopath?

And why do you think anyone would even respond to you or your concerns in a serious manner after seeing how you address people on this blog? You are nothing but a barking dog. You don't listen, you don't answer questions asked of you, you just bark out the same nonsensical arguments over and over. Somehow I have a feeling that "morality" was your major as bible college (snicker), because that seems to be all you want to talk about.

The other commenters on this site run circles around you on every imaginable topic and, apparently, you don't even realize it. I just love how you think your queries to John are some kind of silver bullet, when all they really do is show that without religion, you would apparently be a VERY bad person.

As to your attempts at attacking my "manliness", and references to my apparent inferiority to you, you know, generally speaking, it's always the guys with the teeny-tiniest penises that talk about how big their dicks are. So, tell me Tim, who's got the inferiority complex, again?

- Canucklehead.

Jon Woolf said...

OK, highboy, one more time:

1. Why is coexistence a question of moral right/wrong?

Because in the environment we evolved in, successful coexistence as part of a Tribe enhanced an individual's chances of survival.

2. What is the difference between humans killing humans and animals killing animals in a naturalistic framework?

Sometimes nothing. Other times, quite a lot.

highboy said...

So since canucklehead obviously can't handle a discussion that runs deeper than a plastic soap dish, we'll just focus on responding Woolfe:

1. "Because in the environment we evolved in, successful coexistence as part of a Tribe enhanced an individual's chances of survival."

I understand that, but once again, I'm not asking that. None of those things explain why something is "right" or "wrong". Morality has never been defined as some meaningless mechanism for peaceful coexistence. Morality is about doing what is considered "right" based on obligation, but you haven't given the obligation, nor the reference point for human worth.

2. "Sometimes nothing. Other times, quite a lot."

I don't have to tell you that doesn't answer anything at all. If natural selection is scientific fact, and this is indeed an amoral universe, morality doesn't even entire the equation. If humans are nothing more than another part of nature than the human species conduct cannot be logically judged any different than any other animal species. Simply being more complex or more evolved doesn't obligate morality in itself, and the only reference point for human worth in this setting is sheer human desire.

Jon Woolf said...

Morality has never been defined as some meaningless mechanism for peaceful coexistence.

There's nothing meaningless about achieving peaceful coexistence.

Morality is about doing what is considered "right" based on obligation, but you haven't given the obligation, nor the reference point for human worth.

That part is left as an exercise for the reader. How you assign moral value is your choice, and no one else's.

Me: "Sometimes nothing. Other times, quite a lot."

You: "I don't have to tell you that doesn't answer anything at all."

On the contrary, it answers everything. There's only one moral absolute in human culture. All the rest are subjective, conditional, predicated on the specific situation. Every culture, every individual sees things a little bit differently, and assigns moral values a little bit differently.

highboy said...

"There's only one moral absolute in human culture."

Which one and why is it absolute? What makes it absolute.

Jon Woolf said...

Which one and why is it absolute?

What's the only crime that is explicitly defined in the Constitution of the United States of America?

radar said...

Woolf, you sound like a guy who is given a thorough analysis of his auto troubles - A bad O2 sensor, two apark plug wires that were crossing and shorting and a computer code that needed to be rebooted to clear and then you say, "No, cars work like this. You turn the key and it makes a noise and then you move this lever. Which one of those is broken?"

Your Darwinbabble about what we see from the outside concerning genes is of no scientific value. We are discussing functionality at the cellular level, where the genetic code has been revealed to be far more complex than we thought previously and also that the cell has reproductive control during the process using systems that require more study and are yet more complex than we had known.

Why talk to us like we were all fourth graders? The reproductive process, the place that we go to study to understand change in organisms, is being controlled first by the cell and frankly the more we know the less Darwin works.

radar said...

An honest and pure atheist would admit (if we have one here) that there is no basic morality and no real right and wrong. Might makes right. You take what you can within the limits of what you can get away with.

No God, no arbiter of morality. This tribal stuff is guesswork and not necessarily probable. We actually know that some animals work together in extremely complex ways and some are largely self-oriented and we cannot explain this. If God made animals to be basically what they are it makes sense. If not? Why are bees better organized than humans? Why do some animals work together in two-way or three-way or more symbiotic ways?

radar said...

creeper, will you quit trying to get my goat? I let that goat go. You know that your lie accusation is untrue. You can go to every post I ever made and put it up and you will still be wrong and I will still be right. I do love the truth. I was also trained as a journalist. I properly attributed and quoted a source. You found that the source was wrong. I agreed with you that they were wrong. Likely it was a fat finger on the part of Tony Perkins. Did you ask him? In any case, it never was a lie on my part. So if you say that then you are the liar. Up to you...

creeper said...

"creeper, will you quit trying to get my goat? I let that goat go. You know that your lie accusation is untrue. You can go to every post I ever made and put it up and you will still be wrong and I will still be right. I do love the truth. I was also trained as a journalist. I properly attributed and quoted a source. You found that the source was wrong. I agreed with you that they were wrong. Likely it was a fat finger on the part of Tony Perkins. Did you ask him? In any case, it never was a lie on my part. So if you say that then you are the liar. Up to you..."

1. Could you please change the settings on blogger so the comments also indicate the date they were made, not just the time of day? I made the comment you're responding to a number of days ago. It's not like I've been bringing it up again and again.

2. Here's my comment:

"I love the truth."

That is a lie.

Somebody who loves the truth would be aghast to post lies, and would correct them when made aware of that fact.

And yet you let lies stand.

You're a liar, Radar.

Live with it, or change your ways.


And it's true: you did post lies, and you are letting them stand, even after being made aware of them. That would make you a liar... or indescribably obtuse to words placed right in front of you.

It's now 11 days since you put the post up, and I'm guessing 10 days since you were made aware of the blatant lies within them.

Is there an update to indicate the lies? Nope.

3. "Likely it was a fat finger on the part of Tony Perkins."

Again perpetuating the lie that this was just a typo...! As I pointed out in the last comment on that post: "... and if you pretend it's just a typo, you're just not paying attention."

Radar, do you really not read the comments on your own blog? The drastic errors in the lie perpetuated by the Family Research Center were detailed there some time ago for you to see, and you're still indicating that you think this is about a typo.

Are you just not paying attention, as you did with your mistake on Lava's quote? A definite possibility.

"Love the truth" though? No sign of that here, Radar.

-- creeper

creeper said...

As for the morality question, it seems to me that Jon has answered Highboy's questions in detail in a very plausible way. Radar calls it "not necessarily probable", but fails to explain his reasoning for that remark.

The sticking point for Highboy seems to be the absence of a moral "lawgiver". It's true that a moral lawgiver is a useful device in imparting what is morally right or wrong, i.e. what is best for the survival of the tribe, to all members of said tribe. That is after all one of the reasons why man invented gods and found them useful - to strengthen the coherence of the tribe and codify what is right or wrong for the tribe. And once you have come to believe in a god or set of gods, it may indeed be difficult to imagine the absence of one.

But that doesn't mean that moral laws must have a moral lawgiver, any more than natural laws must have a natural lawgiver.

So when Jon gives you concrete answers about right and wrong and even the question of moral obligation (imagine life without a moral code, and you can see the obligation to follow one), the only comeback remaining is "but where's the moral lawgiver?", even though that is not a necessity for mankind to figure out a set of morals.

"No God, no arbiter of morality."

It seems that man has been the arbiter of morality for some time, for better or worse. Remind me, exactly when and where did God say it was no longer okay to mass murder prisoners of war?

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

[laughing]

You try to use my understanding of car internals as an example ... the day before I have to go yell at my mechanic because he bungled a repair job and I know exactly how he did it? Radar, where did you acquire this special gift for foot-in-mouth disease?

Why talk to us like we were all fourth graders?

Because that's what you sound like. Though perhaps "sophomoric" would be a better descriptor. Your understanding of geology, biology, biochemistry, genetics, and evolutionary theory is all superficial. You think that block-copying quotes from sources that seem to say what you want to hear is a better tactic than actually looking at the hard evidence and seeing what it says. And you think that you, with a handful of hours casually spent reading a few biased sources, can know the subject better than men and women who have spent their entire lives out in the field or in the lab doing real science-work. Yes, definitely a sophomoric attitude.

We are discussing functionality at the cellular level, where the genetic code has been revealed to be far more complex than we thought previously and also that the cell has reproductive control during the process using systems that require more study and are yet more complex than we had known.

And these new, previously-unsuspected levels of complexity are an argument against evolutionary theory, and for an intelligent Designer, because ...

[crickets]

See, Radar, there's nothing new here. The "complexity" argument was one of the very first arguments advanced against evolutionary theory. But the vital step is missing, and always has been: you can't prove that mere complexity is sufficient to require a Designer. I'll agree (provisionally, always subject to future evidence) that an efficient design, such as John Harrison's longitude clocks, requires a Designer. I'll agree (again provisionally) that a machine which involves things that don't appear in Nature, like highly refined metals and complex electrical circuits, requires a Designer. But a case of apparent "design" that is as clumsy, inefficient, inelegant, and prone to failure as a living cell? No. To borrow a phrase from the late, great Dr. Asimov: An advanced intelligence would have to be an advanced stupidity to expend so much time and effort creating and maintaining such a bad design. A blind watchmaker -- a mindless algorithmic process which can only proceed in small steps from where it already is, and can't foresee the final result -- is a much more likely answer.