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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Darwinism is dead. Rinse and repeat part two!

After all sorts of comments ranging from intelligent to a charge that I said "all plants were one kind" which of course is silly, it is apparent that the commenting readers have not yet grasped the magnitude of the findings of K and G. All of the musings of Richard Dawkins have been falsified by these findings and the fact is that:

The cell controls replication, using DNA to conduct said replication.

Think of the cell as hardware and the DNA as software.


The mother predicts the child. All organisms are built on the frame of the mother. It is therefore a distinct barrier to the concept of macroevolution, for there will be no changing from one kind into another kind because the cell controls the replication process and demands that the offspring be the same kind as the mother.

While there are switches built into organisms that can be switched either ON or OFF, there is not a system or means or method by which new switching information is produced. Mutations cannot do this. The cell is engineered very precisely to work in a certain way and so-called "Junk DNA" is actually necessary to the reproductive process.

The Dawkins concept of the "selfish gene" is as laughable as the idea that a bulb within a turn signal actually turns an automobile. Now presenting part two of the "rinse and repeat" series.


Molecular limits to natural variation

Alex Williams


Darwin’s theory that species originate via the natural selection of natural variation is correct in principle but
wrong in numerous aspects of application. Speciation is not the result of an unlimited naturalistic process
but of an intelligently designed system of built-in variation that is limited in scope to switching ON and OFF
permutations and combinations of the built-in components. Kirschner and Gerhart’s facilitated variation theory provides enormous potential for rearrangement of the built-in regulatory components but it cannot switch ON components that do not exist.

When applied to the grass family, facilitated variation theory can account for the
diversification of the whole family from a common ancestor—as baraminologists had previously proposed—but this cannot be extended to include all the flowering plants. Vast amounts of rapid differentiation and dispersal must have occurred in the post-Flood era, and facilitated variation theory can explain this. In contrast, because of genome depletion by selection and degradation by mutation, the potential for diversification that we see in species around us today is trivial.

Darwinian evolution

Charles Darwin will always be remembered for turning descriptive biology into a mechanistic science. His famous 1859 book The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life argued persuasively that species are not immutable creations but have arisen from ancestral species via natural selection of natural variation. Two main points contributed to Darwin’s success:

• he presented a simple, testable, mechanical model that enabled other scientists to engage experimentally with the otherwise overwhelming and bewildering complexity of life;

• unlike others, Darwin approached the subject from many different angles, examined all the objections that had been raised against the theory, and provided many different lines of circumstantial evidence that all pointed in the same direction.

He went wrong in four main areas, however.

First, he proposed an entirely naturalistic1 mechanism, but we now know that it must be intelligently designed.2

Second, he extrapolated his mechanism to all forms of life, but we will soon see that this is not possible.

Third, he went wrong in proposing that selection worked on every tiny advantageous
variation, so it led to the continual ‘improvement of each creature in relation to its … conditions of life.’3 By implication, deleterious variations were eliminated. We now know from population biology that selective advantages only in the order of ≥10% have a reasonable chance of
gaining fixation.4 The vast majority of mutations are too insignificant to have any direct influence on reproductive fitness, so they are not eliminated and they accumulate relentlessly like rust in metal machine parts. The machine can continue to function while the rust accumulates, but there is no improvement in the long term, only certain extinction.5

Fourth, he proposed that reproductive success— producing more surviving offspring than competitors—was the primary driving force behind species diversification. If this were true, then highly diversified species in groups like the vertebrates, arthropods and flowering plants would
produce more surviving offspring per unit time than simpler forms of life. This is not generally true—quite the opposite. The ratio of microbial offspring numbers per year compared with higher organisms is in the order of billions to one.

Facilitated variation theory

Kirschner and Gerhart’s facilitated variation theory provides a far better explanation of how life works. In a companion article,2 I showed that this requires an intelligent designer to create life with the built-in ability to vary and adapt to changing conditions, otherwise it could not survive.
This leads us to the important question of the limits to natural variation.

The limits of natural variation today are extremely narrow, being evident only at the variety and species level. Genesis history requires a far greater capacity for diversification in the ante-diluvian world to be available for rapidly repopulating the Flood-destroyed Earth, and
quickly restoring the ecological balances crucial to human habitability. Baraminologists have identified created kinds that range from Tribe (a sub-family category, e.g. Helianthus and its cousins within the daisy family),6 to Order (a super-family category, e.g. cetaceans—the whales
and dolphins).7

Theoretical limits to natural variation

Scope for change in core structure

According to facilitated variation theory, the capacity to vary requires:

• functional molecular architecture and machinery,

• a modular regulatory system that maintains cellular function but provides built-in capacity for variationthrough randomly rearranged circuit connections between machines and switches,

• a signaling network that coordinates everything.

Most variation occurs between generations by rearrangement of ‘Lego-block-like’ regulatory modules. Over this timescale, we can emphatically say that no change at all occurs in the molecular architecture and machinery, because it is physically passed in toto from mother to
offspring in the egg cell. Variation between generations must therefore be limited to the regulatory and signaling systems.

Scope for change in regulatory modules

The law of modules2 says that the basic module of information has to contain functionally integrated primary information plus the necessary meta-information to implement the primary information. This information has to be kept together so that the module retains its
functionality.

Genes only operate when they are switched ON. Their default state is to remain OFF. Genes don’t usually work alone, but as part of one or more complexes. Even the several different exons (the protein-coding segments) within a gene can participate in different gene complexes, some
being involved with up to 33 other exons on as many as 14 different chromosomes.8 And genes are not just linear segments of DNA, but multiple overlapping structures, with component parts often separated by vast genomic distances.9

Sean Carroll, a leading researcher in developmental biology says, ‘animal bodies [are] built—piece by piece, stripe by stripe, bone by bone—by constellations of switches distributed all over the genome.’10 Evolution, he believes, occurs primarily by adding or deleting switches for particular functions, 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.’11

Diversification via Carroll’s proposed mechanism consists of rearranging the signaling circuits that connect up genes, modules and switches, while retaining functionality of both the modules
and the organism. Carroll tells us that gene switches are extremely complex, comparable to GPS
satellite navigation devices, and easily disabled by mutations, so if switches can be spliced
into and out of regulatory circuits, then it must happen via a cell-controlled process of natural genetic engineering (the law of code variation2).

Regulatory areas within gene switches are hotspots for genetic change. An average gene switch will contain several hundred nucleotides, and within this region there will be 6 to 20 or more signature sequences. These signature sequences are similar to credit card PIN numbers—they
allow the user to operate the bank account—and they are easy to change. The result of such change is that different signaling molecules will then be able to operate the ‘bank account’ of natural variation.

There are about 500 or so ‘tool-kit proteins’ that are highly conserved across all forms of life and that carry out a wide range of basic life functions. For example, bone morphogenetic protein 5 (BMP5) regulates gastrulation and implantation of the embryo, and the size, shape and number
of various organs including ribs, limbs, fingertips, outer ear, inner ear, vertebrae, thyroid cartilage, nasal sinuses, sternum, kneecap, jaw, long bones and stature in humans, and comparable processes in other animals including the beaks of Darwin’s Galápagos finches.

The signature sequences recognized by such toolkit proteins are usually about 6–9 nucleotides long. A 6-nucleotide sequence can have 46 = 4096 different combinations of the nucleotides T, A, G and C, and a 9-nucleotide sequence can have 49 = 262,144 different combinations. But there are 6 to 20 or more signature sequences that can be recognized by the 500 different toolkit
proteins, which gives somewhere between 5006 (~1016) to 50020 (~1054) different possible combinations.

An obvious limitation to change in regulatory circuits is that switches can only switch ON functions that already exist. It is easy to switch OFF an existing function, but it is impossible to switch ON a function that does not exist.

Figure 1. Potential for variation in modular
regulatory control systems. The hair dryer (A) and
the vacuum duster (B) consist of similar components,
but one is wired up to blow air, the other is wired up
to suck air. The axolotl (C) is an adult salamander
that has retained its juvenile gills; if thyroxin is
given at the right time, it develops into a normal
salamander (D) with lungs.


Two examples of regulatory variation are given in figure 1. The hair dryer and the vacuum duster both use similar materials—motorized fan, plastic housing, power circuit and switch.
In one, the control circuit is wired up to blow air; in the other, the circuit is reversed, and the machine sucks air.

A biological example is the axolotl, a salamander that has retained its juvenile gills into adulthood. This can happen if there is an iodine deficiency in the diet, or if a mutation disables thyroxin production. By adding thyroxin, the axolotl will develop into a normal salamander. Both these switch-and-circuit rearrangements seem to be simple changes, but they are possible only because complex mechanisms of operation already exist within the system.

Scope for change in signaling networks

While there is enormous potential for variation built-in to the circuitry that connects up regulatory modules, it is signals that trigger the switches and their functional modules. What scope is there for diversification in signal networks?

Signal networks are compartmented. They operate as a cascade within each compartment—
one signal triggers other signals, which trigger other signals etc. Each compartment cooperates
with its adjacent compartments so that the unity and functionality of the organism is maintained,
but they do not influence activities beyond their local neighbourhood.

The two examples I used to illustrate this point in the companion article ‘How Life
Works’2 were the propagation of plants from cell culture, and the regeneration of double-headed
and double-tailed planarian flatworms. In both these cases, a single signal molecule triggered a dramatic developmental cascade (shoot/root growth in the former, and head/tail growth in the latter) that was completely independent of, but cooperative with, the other half of the whole organism.

Some signals are hard-wired into the cell, while others are soft-wired. An example of a hard-wired signal occurs within the apoptosis cascade for dismantling cells and recycling their parts. In a normal cell, apoptosis is extensively integrated with a wide range of functional
systems and can be triggered by a variety of causes through a complex signaling network. However, in human blood platelets the system is isolated from its normal whole-cell environment and we can see it operating in a much simpler form.

A complex of two proteins, Bcl-xL and Bak, performs the function of a molecular switch. When Bcl-xL breaks down, Bak triggers cell-death.12 In a normal whole cell, homeostasis maintains the balance between Bcl-xL and Bak, but platelets are formed by the shedding of fragments
from blood cells and there are no nuclei in them. Once the platelets are isolated from homeostatic control, Bcl-xL breaks down faster than Bak, so the complex provides a molecular clock that determines platelet life span—usually about a week. No signal is sent or received in this hardwired system, so there is no room for diversification.

Figure 2. Embryonic switching cascades represented as a ‘domino cascade’. The domino cascade is set up on the left so that when the ‘Start’ domino is toppled, the sequential falling of dominoes will trigger the next activity in the series, but also trigger other developmental modules in the outer circles, until the ‘Stop button’ is hit. Once the cascade is complete, an organism does not need any of the sequence again so it is permanently shut down, as on the right where all the dominoes have fallen and will not get up again. There is no coded information in this signal network because everything that has to be done has been designed into the pattern of dominoes. With no coded information, no mutations or recombinations can occur, so this kind of signal network probably marks a limit to natural variation.

Hard-wired signaling networks are probably a major component of stasis. We can visualize them by using a domino cascade model, illustrated in figure 2. In this case, embryogenesis is symbolized as a series of events in the main circle, which trigger other peripheral cascades
as they proceed. Each cascade continues until it meets a STOP signal, at which point the whole circuit is shut down. A similar thing happens in individual cells when they differentiate. Embryonic stem cells have the potential to become any cell in the body, but once the cascade is
traversed, all options but one are shut down.


In contrast, a soft-wired system sends actual signal molecules, raising the possibility of adaptive change—e.g. sending a different signal molecule. A recent study of red blood cells investigated cell fate decision making—whether to proliferate, to kill themselves or to call for help. This
decision lies at the very heart of homeostasis because it determines the robustness and stability of the organism in the face of change and challenge.

The researchers discovered that they did not need to know the detailed structure of the decision-making system, just a knowledge of its network of signaling interactions was sufficient to identify which components were the most important.13 This finding was confirmed in another study in which a wide range of perturbations were applied to white blood cells and the effect upon the cell fate decision was examined. The decision came not from any particular target
of perturbation, but as an integrated response from many different nodes of interaction in the signaling network. The authors suggested that computations were carried out within each node of the signaling network and the combination of all these computations determined what the level of response should be from any particular perturbation.14

Does this indicate a potential for adaptive change? Or does it suggest a system that is designed to resist change?

The primary role of the signaling system is to coordinate everything towards the goal of survival. Life can survive only by maintaining a balance between contradictory objectives. On the one hand, it has to achieve remarkable results as accurately as possible—e.g. plants turning sunlight
into food without the high energies involved killing the cell. On the other hand, it has to do it in an error-tolerant and constantly variable manner to maintain its adaptive potential and its robustness and stability.

The solution to this dilemma is error minimization. All possible routes will involve risks of error, but the optimal solution will minimize those risks. A computer simulation study of regulatory networks found that using an error minimization strategy leads to the formation of control motifs (gene switching patterns) that are widely found in very different kinds of organisms and metabolic settings.15

When applied to the ‘noise’ in yeast gene expression that results from the ON/OFF nature of signaling, it was found to also be the case in real life. Genes that were essential to survival exhibited the lowest expression-noise levels when compared with genes that were not directly essential. The author concluded that ‘there has probably been widespread selection to minimize noise in [essential] gene expression.’ But there is a down side—noise minimization probably
limits adaptability.16

Since the goal of signal coordination is survival, I suspect that the large, interconnected signaling networks in all forms of life contribute more to stasis than to change.

Practical limits to natural variation

It is impossible to describe the full range of natural variation across all life forms in a journal article, so I will focus just on variation within the grass family (Poaceae), and between it and other families of flowering plants (Angiosperms).

The grass family comprises about 10,000 species in about 700 genera. Is it possible that maize, lawn grass and bamboo all arose from a common ancestor? Baraminologists believe so.17

Grass morphology

The easiest way for us to conceptualize the extent of natural variation is through illustrations of morphological variations. We need to keep in mind that much more than morphological variation is involved in speciation, but it can serve as a convenient surrogate for our present purpose.

The basic structure of a generalized grass flower (spikelet) is illustrated in figure 3.

Figure 3. Grass flower (spikelet) structure and some common variations. A—conventional spikelet on the tip of a branch. B—exploded view of spikelet: a = lower glume; b = upper glume; c = lemma; d = palea; e = ovary (black oval) with bifid filamentous stigmas, surrounded by 2 or 3 translucent lodicules and 3 anthers. C—apex of lemma may elongate to produce a straight awn, or corkscrew several turns to produce a twisted column with a straight or curved terminal bristle.

A common variation on the standard structure is the development of an awn upon the apex of the lemma (or glume) in figure 1C. This transformation is fairly straightforward. The apex of the lemma is extended into a long straight awn, then a regulatory change causes the edges to grow faster than the centre, which causes the base part of the awn to spiral around into a twisted column, leaving a straight or curved bristle at the top.

Grasses generally have a multitude of spikelets, arranged into a terminal structure called the inflorescence, as shown in figure 4.

Figure 4. The grass inflorescence consists of (A) the basic unit of a single terminal flower (spikelet) on a short stalk (pedicel) which is repeated in a terminal group of branches (B). This terminal group structure is then repeated on side branches (C), with the lower branch(es) including further internal branching. This basic inflorescence type is called a panicle.

Species-level variation in the Australian salt grass Puccinellia

Salt grasses of the genus Puccinellia are distributed worldwide, from the Antarctic to the Arctic, and they occur right across southern Australasia (Australia and New Zealand) in marine salt marshes, around the edges of inland salt lakes and on salinised pasture lands. They have a quite generalized grass morphology, with no special adaptations for dispersal, as many other grasses do, so they may represent a typical primordial grass.

The most widespread species, found right across Australasia, is Puccinellia stricta. When Edgar18 described the New Zealand species in 1996 she noted some differences between Australian and New Zealand populations of P. stricta and suggested that further detailed study was warranted. I was fortunately able to undertake that study,19 with results that are quite typical of many widespread plant genera. My study focused on the genus in Western Australia
(WA), where three native species were identified—P. stricta, P. vassica and P. longior. An ordination and classification of specimens based on their morphological characteristics is shown in figure 5.

Figure 5. Ordination and classification of specimens of the three native Puccinellia species identified in Western Australia, based on 34 morphological characters. Principle Coordinates 1 and 2 provide a 2-dimensional representation of the differences between the specimens and a clustering algorithm identified groups of similar specimens (ellipses).

The plot shows that all three species are well separated from one another, with members of each species being more closely similar to members of their own species than to other species.

I then needed to know how our specimens of Puccinellia stricta compared to specimens of the same species from right across Australasia. Loan specimens were obtained from other herbaria and the same analysis was carried out as for the WA specimens. A very different plot resulted, as
shown in figure 6.

Figure 6. Ordination and classification of specimens of Puccinellia stricta from across Australasia. The group labeled perlaxa had been identified as a subspecies of P. stricta. Four geographically isolated regions were sampled: WA = Western Australia, SE Aus = South East Australia (Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales), Tas = Tasmania, NZ = New Zealand. The axes of ordination and the ellipses of classification have the same meaning as Figure 3 and were based on the same 34 morphological characters.

In this case, a new species was clearly separated out from the rest, while the remainder spread broadly right across the ordination space. The group labeled perlaxa (occurring only in southeast Australia) had previously been identified as a subspecies of stricta, but from this analysis it was clear that it warranted species status, so we named it Puccinellia perlaxa.

The big picture of the native Australasian species of Puccinellia that emerged from this study was of a single widespread species, P. stricta, that varied in a continuous manner right across the whole region, and then localized species with restricted distributions that could generally be
explained in terms of local ecological and/or geographical factors.

Historically, therefore, it is most likely that the widespread species was the progenitor of the all the other species. It has retained at least some of its capacity for variation, and certainly a greater capacity (wider dispersion in the ordination space) than any of the other species that
I studied.

Morphological variation in Australian Puccinellia Australian Puccinellia species vary most markedly in their panicle structure, a few of which are illustrated in figure 7.

Figure 7. Panicle variations within Australian species of Puccinellia. The contracted panicle with a variety of branch lengths at A is typical. B has numerous spikelets crowded along very short branches, while C has very few spikelets on very short branches, and D has few spikelets that are mainly on the ends of very long branches. Images were scanned from dried herbarium specimens; in life, D would have had straight branches and a more symmetrical shape.

Puccinellias have multiple florets per spikelet, ranging from 3 or 4 up to 10 or more. One feature that varies significantly in spikelet structure is the length of the upper glume, illustrated in figure 8. The palea also varies significantly, particularly in the extent of hairs on the margins, as shown in figure 9.

Figure 8. Variations in upper glume length (marked with black bars) in spikelets of some Australian species of Puccinellia.


Figure 9. Paleas from five different Australian species of Puccinellia. Note the variation in hair development on the margins, ranging from glabrous (no hairs) on D, a few hairs near the apex of E, the top half of B with hairs and the lower region glabrous, with A and C having hairs extending into the lower half. Genus-level variations in Tribe Paniceae

The grass family is divided up into Tribes of genera that (ideally) reflect their common ancestry. The largest Tribe is Paniceae, and Häfliger and Scholz have suggested that the spikelet variations within this Tribe follow a fairly simple pattern of retrogression from the original Paniceae spikelet,20 as illustrated in figure 10.

Figure 10. Retrogression of Panicoid grass spikelets. The characteristic condition in the Tribe is to have one terminal fertile floret subtended by one sterile floret. The primordial condition at A has the sterile floret male. Condition B has lost the anthers of the sterile floret. Condition C has lost the palea of the sterile floret. Condition D has lost the lower glume. The series E, F, G and H illustrate the same pattern of retrogression but with the spikelet axis rotated in relation to its adjoining branch.

Sub-family variation within Poaceae

Argentinian researchers Vegetti and Anton have shown that if we begin with a panicle as the primordial grass inflorescence, then every other generic form can be derived simply by adding, subtracting, shortening or lengthening the components of the panicle.21 I will take just three
types of transformations that represent different sub-family groups within Poaceae—wheat, maize and silkyhead lemon grass.

Wheat

The hypothesized transformation of a panicle structure into the reduced seedhead of a wheat plant via the Vegetti-Anton theory is illustrated in figure 11.

Figure 11. Transformation of a panicle into wheat. The side branches of A are eliminated to give B, the number of spikelets is increased to form C, then the pedicels are reduced to form D.

Maize

Transformation of a panicle into the compact seedhead of maize is more complex, but still conceivable, as illustrated in figure 12.

Figure 12. Transformation of a panicle into maize. The middle branches of the panicle A are replaced with leaves and leafy bracts, and the lower branches are transformed into a spike (like wheat, Figure 9) to form B. The upper spikelets lose their female parts, and the lateral spikelets lose their male parts to form C. The male spikelets multiply, and the female spikelets elongate their pollen receptors to form a tassel that emerges from the enveloping leafy bracts, to form D.

The primordial panicle could have been divided by the panicle branches being switched OFF in the mid-section, and leaf modules being turned ON. A leaf within the inflorescence is called a ‘spathe’ leaf. Apical dominance is a common mechanism in all plants for repressing growth below the apex until conditions are appropriate. This normally controls the proliferation of fertile seeds within grass spikelets. It represses female organ development more strongly than the male parts, so in many grasses the apical florets within a spikelet will be either male or sterile, and only the lower florets (those furthest away from the dominating apex) will produce fertile seed. This mechanism is already in place to suppress female organ development in the top branches of the maize plant, making them all male. But the lower branches of the inflorescence are now far distant from the apex, so apical dominance is eliminated and the female organs grow uninhibitedly, perhaps out-competing the male organs and suppressing them altogether. Leaf and bract growth in the lower parts is stimulated and they cover the female spike entirely. This causes the female florets to lengthen their pollen receptors so that they can reach the open air and receive wind-dispersed pollen, making the silky tassel at the end of a corn-cob.

Silkyhead lemon grass

Transformation of the panicle into silkyhead lemon grass (Cymbopogon obtectus) can be hypothesized by reducing the pedicel of alternate spikelets so that they occur in pairs—one pedicellate, the other sessile. The pedicellate spikelet retains apical dominance and is sterile or male, and the sessile spikelet is fully fertile, but it also develops an awn on its lemma (see figure 3). The paired branching structures occur also in pairs, and a leaf growth module is switched ON within the developing inflorescence to produce a spathe leaf surrounding each pair of branched structures. Hairs are normally present in many parts of the inflorescence, and are usually short, but in Cymbopogon obtectus, the hairs are abundant and long, producing a fluffy white ‘silkyhead’ at flowering time, as illustrated in figure 13.

Figure 13. Transformation of a primordial panicle into the
spatheate panicle of Cymbopogon obtectus. The branching pattern
in A is reduced to a repeating set of branches in which a sessile
fertile spikelet with an awn occurs at each secondary branch point,
accompanied by a pedicellate awnless sterile spikelet (B). Pairs
of these branched structures are subtended by a spathe leaf, from
which they emerge at flowering time (C) to produce the complex
mature panicle (D).


Origin of the angiosperms

Within the grass family, diversification from a common ancestor seems to be fairly straightforward, and could have occurred via numerous rearrangements of parts that were
already present in the primordial grass ancestor. But can we continue this process back to a common ancestor with daisies, orchids and all other flowering plants?

A recent review of the subject was entitled ‘After a dozen years of progress the origin of angiosperms is still a great mystery.’22 The ‘progress’ referred to was the enormous effort put into DNA sequence comparisons, in the belief that it would give us the ‘true’ story of life’s origin and history. While such comparisons have proved of great value in sorting out species and genus relationships, the results for family relationships and origin of the angiosperms has often been confusing and/or contradictory—thus the remaining ‘mystery’.

Recent discoveries of fossil flowers show that angiosperms were already well diversified when they first appeared in the fossil record. The ‘anthophyte theory’ of origin, the dominant concept of the 1980s and 1990s, has been eclipsed by new information. Gnetales (e.g. Ephedra, from which we get ephedrine), previously thought to be closest to the angiosperms, are now most closely related to pine trees. To fill the void, new theories of flower origins have had to be developed, and ‘Identification of fossils with morphologies that convincingly place them close to
angiosperms could still revolutionize understanding of angiosperm origins.’22

Conclusions

Theoretically, the greatest scope for natural variation appears to lie in the almost infinite possible permutations of the Kirschner–Gerhart ‘Lego-block’ regulatory module combinations, and these could rapidly produce the enormous diversification implied by Genesis history. In contrast, there is no scope at all for change in the machinery of life from one generation to the next because it is passed on in toto from the mother in the egg cell.

Signaling networks appear to be limited in their scope for diversification, particularly those that are hard-wired (designed into the system) into compartments and cascades that have symmetry and functional constraints. The elaborately interconnected signaling networks are very robust in the face of perturbation, and provide a crucial component of stasis. There is some potential for variation in the signaling molecules that are sent, but error minimization limits its functional scope.

From a practical point of view, diversification of the whole grass family from a common ancestor is conceptually feasible via switching ON and OFF the original component structures within a primordial grass. It is not possible to switch ON components that don’t exist, however, so this
mechanism cannot be extrapolated to include a common ancestor between grasses and other angiosperms such as daisies and orchids.

Flowering plants display an enormous amount of differentiation and dispersal (between 250,000 and 400,000 species in 400 to 500 families worldwide) and appear only in the upper levels of the fossil record. Most of this diversification appears therefore to have happened rapidly,
possibly in the post-Flood era. A possible reason for this is that the flowering plants were originally planted in the Garden of Eden and radiated worldwide mainly after the Flood.23

This is not Darwinian evolution. It is intelligently designed, built-in potential for variation in the face of anticipated environmental challenge and change. The word ‘evolution’ is still useful in describing processes of historical diversification, but its Darwinian component is now only a minor feature. In contrast to Darwin’s proposed slow development of variation, the evidence supports a vast amount of rapid differentiation in the past, degenerating into only trivial variations today—a far better fit to Kirschner–Gerhart theory and Genesis history.

Acknowledgments

I am grateful for the comments from three referees and numerous colleagues, which have helped to improve this article.

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17. Wood, T.C., A baraminology tutorial with examples from the grasses
(Poaceae), Journal of Creation 16(1):15–25, 2002; .

18. Edgar, E., Puccinellia Parl. (Gramineae: Poeae) in New Zealand, New
Zealand J. Bot. 34(1):17–32, 1996.

19. Williams, A.R., Puccinellia (Poaceae) in Western Australia, Nuytsia
16(2):435–467, 2007.

20. Häfliger, E. and Scholz, H., Grass Weeds 1: Weeds of the Subfamily
Panicoideae, CIBA-GEIGY, Basel, Switzerland, pp. xiii–xiv, 1980.

21. Vegetti, C. and Anton, A.M., The Grass Inflorescence; in: Grasses:
Systematics and Evolution, Proceedings of the Third International
Symposium on Grass Systematics and Evolution, Jacobs, S.W.L. and
Everett, J. (Eds.), CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 29–31, 2000.

22. Frohlich, M.W. and Chase, M.W., After a dozen years of progress the
origin of angiosperms is still a great mystery, Nature 450:1184–1189,
2007.

23. Genesis 2:9—only angiosperms would appear to fit the description
‘pleasing to the eye and good for food’.

Alex Williams received a B.Sc. in botany from the University of New England, an M.Sc.(Hons.) in radioecology from Macquarie University, and is an elected member of the Australian Institute of Biology. He has diplomas in Christian studies from Tabor College and Bible College of South Australia (in missiology), and a Licentiate in Theology (with distinction) from the Australian College of Theology. During 20 years in environmental research, he became the Australian representative to the United Nations in his field, and produced for them a two-volume multi-authored monograph on the environmental behaviour of radium. He then spent seven years in mission work and is now an honorary botanist at the Western Australian Herbarium in Perth. He is a regular contributor to Creation and Journal of Creation and co-author of Dismantling the Big Bang.

If you did not understand the entire article, read it over again. Some of the terminology may be a bit difficult but in fact the premise is quite clear. Alex Williams has taken a step-by-step look at how we see the findings of K and G reflected in the operational study of a particular segment of life - grasses - as they have speciated through the lense of K and G findings and in doing so he again underlines the fact that Darwinian macroevolution has been falsified and Dawkins has been so wrong he is not even in the game.

62 comments:

creeper said...

"a charge that I said "all plants were one kind" which of course is silly"

The charge itself is not silly, but entirely true. The claim that all plants are one kind is not just silly, but asinine. And yet you said it:

Creeper, I pointed out that the differences in trees is not significant to a creationist since both are apparently the same "kind."

You did not respond to any subsequent questions as to how a creationist (having apparently and inexplicably abandoned the fruits of Linnaeus's efforts) does go about classifying plants. Hardly surprising - after all, it's not easy starting with a conclusion that doesn't match observable facts (say, a global flood 4,000 years ago) and then try to match that to said facts.

You can see some of Radar's other increasingly desperate tap-dancing on the subject of dendrochronology in that post, btw. He had initially said he wanted to do a "series" on dendrochronology, but quickly abandoned that idea when he drove his arguments into a ditch.

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

Hmm, where to start?

I suppose this is as good a way as any: Radar, I'll repeat that your writing style needs work. This article is 6200 words long. Only 330 of those words are your own work; the rest is all Williams's article. This is the Web, you know. There are such things as hot-links. Why not write your own summary of what Williams said and provide a link to his full article if anyone wants to read the whole thing?

Turning to substance, three obvious mistakes leap out at me, one yours, and two Williams's.

Your mistake is neatly captured here:

The cell controls replication, using DNA to conduct said replication.

Think of the cell as hardware and the DNA as software.


Does a computer control its software, or does the software control the computer? The software controls the computer, of course. Without an operating system, a computer is just an oddly-formed heap of metal and plastic. Without DNA, a cell can't function. (We'll overlook such specialized types of cells as mammalian erythrocytes.) The cell's complex machinery does only what the DNA tells it to do.

Thus, your pair of statements quoted above is a neat little contradiction, which demonstrates how little you understand the topic.

Now for Williams's mistakes:

1) Williams assumes that mutations can't produce new useful genetic variations, but never tries to prove it. He never even comes right out and says it. However, we know that assumption is false because we've seen such mutations in the wild and induced them in laboratory settings. Again, a star example is insecticide resistance in mosquito species. By analyzing the amino-acid sequences of the enzymes involved, and the DNA sequences of the genes that produce those enzymes, geneticists can tell that the genes in question are of recent origin -- about fifty years, plus or minus.

2) Williams writes: Most variation occurs between generations by rearrangement of ‘Lego-block-like’ regulatory modules. Over this timescale, we can emphatically say that no change at all occurs in the molecular architecture and machinery, because it is physically passed in toto from mother to offspring in the egg cell.

This is drastically oversimplified. It's true that every new offspring gets an initial complement of organelles and other structures from its mother, but these all wear out. As they do, they must be replaced by new ones constructed using the offspring's own genetic code -- which may well be different from the mother's, and indeed is always different from the mother's in any species that uses sexual reproduction.

Also, in all multi-celled organisms, the offspring starts as a single cell which must subdivide and grow to form the whole new organism. Again, all the organelles and other components of all those new cells must be constructed. And (again) they're constructed using the offspring's gene code, not the mother's.

Proof? Ridiculously simple. If Williams is right, then how can a child have a different blood type from the mother?

Williams makes numerous other mistakes in the details of his analysis, but I think the above are enough to demonstrate that he either doesn't know what he's talking about, or is intentionally lying.

Jon Woolf said...

One other point I wanted to touch on: Williams asks Does this indicate a potential for adaptive change? Or does it suggest a system that is designed to resist change? (emphasis in original)

To an open mind, willing to think outside the box of binary logic, it suggests both. The living organism is a system designed to resist internal change, because most significant changes are deleterious. But the resistance to change isn't and can't be perfect. Breakdowns and mistakes are inevitable. Entropy sees to that. So changes are inevitable no matter how hard the organism's internal machinery tries to fight them.

Most of the changes that get through the organism's many defenses are either insignificant or negative. But every now and then, you get a change that is beneficial and is heritable. These beneficial mutations are the fodder for evolutionary change.

Thus, to answer Williams's question: the organism is a system designed to resist and defend against change. The changes that penetrate those defenses represent a potential for adaptation, as described in the theory of evolution.

Anonymous said...

creeper, saying two varieties of tree were likely the same kind or baramin is a far cry from saying all plants are one kind, so that is a lie.

Linnaeus observed nature and produced a classification system. Linnaeus was a Christian. Baraminologists have been producing a better system that is similar. All such systems are observations and not barriers.

Woolf, get over your genetic analysis. The resistance was always available in the organism but only became commonly switched ON so to speak because of environmental requirements.

Second, I did over simplify the reproductive process in my introduction but you do not understand computers. Practically speaking, computer hardware usually comes with some base software built in (BIOS, for instance) and has certain constraints based on ram and cpu and etc. Then when you load say a Windows Vista or W7 onto the harddrive the windows program will run but it can do no more than the BIOS will allow it to do. The BIOS has few constraints but with no BIOS there would be no windows.

In the cell, the mother is programmed to provide the skeleton or framework for the reproduction of organisms and the DNA is the software that is used. We are still studying the process but it is certain that the DNA is a database that is utilized by the cell rather than the controlling program in and of itself.

I reprint the entire article so you cannot make ridiculous claims about what is being said.

radar from another comp

Hawkeye® said...

Too much info for me.

Jon Woolf said...

The resistance was always available in the organism but only became commonly switched ON so to speak because of environmental requirements.

Nope, try again. You might recall that in a previous comment, I asked if you understood how genetic analysis works. You never answered. I guess now we know why.

You see, even operational genes accumulate insignificant point mutations as the generations pass. These point mutations don't make any difference to the protein that the gene codes for, so the organism never notices any difference. But the mutations are there, nonetheless. By examining many individuals that belong to the same population, and then toting up the number of these minor mutations that appear, a geneticist can tell how long it's been since those organisms last shared a common genetic ancestor.

If the geneticist applies the same method to a single gene, then he can tell how long it's been since that gene entered the population. A gene that has many variants has been in the population a long time. A gene that has very few variant forms must have appeared relatively recently.

The insecticide-resistance genes in the mosquito Culex pipiens are virtually identical throughout the Old World, from mosquito populations as far apart as India and South Africa. The mathematics say that this is impossible for a gene "that was always there and just recently got switched on." It must have entered the population recently, and spread very rapidly indeed.

Practically speaking, computer hardware usually comes with some base software built in (BIOS, for instance) and has certain constraints based on ram and cpu and etc.

Radar, you've got to stop underestimating your opponents. I've been using (and building) PCs since "state of the art" meant an 8088 processor and MS-DOS 3.3. BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System -- a tiny, very simple operating system that is hardcoded into the chipset, so that the computer always knows how to start itself up. The BIOS is still software -- it's just software that is stored in on-board ROM, rather than a hard disk or CD-ROM.

Jon Woolf said...

Oh, one more thing I just noticed:

We are still studying the process but it is certain that the DNA is a database that is utilized by the cell rather than the controlling program in and of itself.

DNA is both program and data.

creeper said...

"creeper, saying two varieties of tree were likely the same kind or baramin is a far cry from saying all plants are one kind, so that is a lie."

The statement you characterized as "a charge that I said "all plants were one kind"" was this one:

"Jon, I seem to recall that in a discussion some time ago, Radar claimed that all plants were the same "kind".

Having found the original thread in the meantime, I see that it should have read "trees" instead of "plants", and so I'll cheerfully amend my statement to that.

Here is your claim: "[...] the differences in trees is not significant to a creationist since both are apparently the same "kind.""

So what are the "kinds" of trees (or plants for that matter) in "creation science"? In the example in question, creationists had no comeback and instead pulled in a completely different species of tree living under completely different circumstances and pretended that it would act the same as the Bristlecone Pines whose tree rings had been investigated (very poor science indeed - can you really not see the deception here? why not examine the actual trees in question?). I'm not sure if they made the claim that it was the same biblical "kind" or if that originated with you.

But in either case, what "kind" are the two species of trees in question? You can't just ditch all of poor old Linnaeus's work without justification and without replacing it with something, preferably even something more supported by evidence.

-- creeper

radar said...

The differences in the trees we were discussing were not significant because they may have come from the same kind. I agree with that statement.

Now here is one for you. With plants and animals that take energy directly/indirectly from the Sun and two other ecosystems that are based on two Earth-generated chemicals, how many times would life have *poof* spontaneously appeared on Earth in the Darwinist story? Four times? Would that be enough?

There are at least ten different eye structures that are so unrelated they had to have "evolved" separately. How can your statistical mind accept such an absurdity?

Life is hardware and software with very adaptive design features built in. A Creator God would explain this. *poof* is the unscientific answer. And at the bottom of all your arguments you begin with *poof*.

radar said...

Woolf, since you are not in the computer industry I will ignore your attempt to teach me about computers. Yes, if there is NO software of any kind on a computer then it will not work. But you just try to load windows on a computer with no operating system at all and see what happens...

radar said...

Now I have to go do my *gag* taxes. Argh! My yearly excursion putting the lie to the idea that the middle class is getting tax breaks!

creeper said...

"The differences in the trees we were discussing were not significant because they may have come from the same kind. I agree with that statement."

There are tree ring records that go back well before the time of the supposed global flood, with no sign of said flood. The creationist response here was to drag out a different species that grew in entirely different circumstances and was bred for faster growth - all of which can of course have an impact on the type of tree rings generated. instead of dragging in another one that is presumably more convenient to a creationist argument why not examine the actual tree species in question? That would be the scientific thing to do.

So all the creationists have trotted out here is a very inadequate response, perhaps in an attempt to ensnare gullible people like you, which leaves creationists with no comeback on this issue.

You're now attempting the argument that the differences are not significant because they may have come from the same kind/baramin, this even though no actual system of classifying baramins exists and you have no idea which supposed "baramin/kind" either of these trees would belong to. YECs have completely dropped the ball on this one, simply discarding a chunk of science because it doesn't suit them, not because they have something better based on evidence, but because it stands in their way. I hope you're reading this, Hawkeye, Highboy, and whoever else may be dropping by this blog. It's a complete non-response, Radar.

The evidence of the Bristlecone Pines rings stand, and from everything you've presented so far, you have no comeback. Zilch.

"Now here is one for you. With plants and animals that take energy directly/indirectly from the Sun and two other ecosystems that are based on two Earth-generated chemicals, how many times would life have *poof* spontaneously appeared on Earth in the Darwinist story? Four times? Would that be enough?"

Thanks for trying to change the subject, how utterly unsubtle of you, even by your standards. Okay, does the type of energy need to be established at the point of abiogenesis or can it be established at a later stage?

"There are at least ten different eye structures that are so unrelated they had to have "evolved" separately. How can your statistical mind accept such an absurdity?"

Yes, eyes have evolved separately in different ways. What exactly is your objection to this? From what you're saying here, it's just the usual argument from incredulity, right? Anything else?

"Life is hardware and software with very adaptive design features built in. A Creator God would explain this. *poof* is the unscientific answer. And at the bottom of all your arguments you begin with *poof*."

1. What is the evidence for these adaptive design features being built in? It's a hypothesis that you (or rather, creation scientists, if they do indeed exist) could use to build testable predictions, for example what the human genome would look like if that were the case. Instead, "creation science" can't even get out of the starting gate and account for, say, endogenous retroviruses.

2. You can do yourself a favor and fill in this supposed "poof" you keep talking about by cracking a book or two on the theory of evolution, basic biology and a number of other subjects. It's embarrassing to see you boast about how incredibly intelligent you are while displaying shocking gaps in knowledge in the very subjects you attempt to argue against.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"I reprint the entire article so you cannot make ridiculous claims about what is being said."

A direct link and perhaps some selected quotes would do the exact same thing. That's the beauty of links, after all - we can read the original just fine, and from the horse's mouth.

What you do with your blog is your business, but what do you think about an "after the break" kind of tag after the first paragraph or two, for improved legibility. Currently, the top post occupies about 20 screens scrolling down. Maybe you don't want to preserve your other posts for people to read, but I assume you're putting some effort into all this propaganda for a reason. A 20-page post will quickly stop people from making it to the next post down, whereas if you only had a few paragraphs showing, you could fit a lot more posts on the front page (with no loss of content, obviously, since one can click on any article for the whole thing).

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

Woolf, since you are not in the computer industry I will ignore your attempt to teach me about computers.

[snork]

BSCS, 1989. Fourteen years as a database programmer and PC support technician. Six years as an independent computer consultant, doing webpage designs, graphic arts, PC tech support, and various other computer-related stuff.

I tried to warn you... [snicker.wav]

With plants and animals that take energy directly/indirectly from the Sun and two other ecosystems that are based on two Earth-generated chemicals, how many times would life have *poof* spontaneously appeared on Earth in the Darwinist story?

Once.

There are at least ten different eye structures that are so unrelated they had to have "evolved" separately. How can your statistical mind accept such an absurdity?

Easily. Multiple solutions to a thorny problem, all representing local optima in morphospace but none representing a truly optimal solution, is exactly what I'd expect from evolution. On the other hand, it's exactly what I would not expect from an Intelligent Designer. I can see a need for four different types of eyes. I don't see a need for ten.

radar said...

Woolf, I would not be proud of the fact that you therefore know what a BIOS is and you know how complex a basic WIN Vista computer with say a 180 gig hard drive and a P4 processor
must be to work and yet something like an earthworm is far more complex and you are still willing to believe in *poof*.

creeper, patience. First I had a need to make sure people understood that Obama is a socialist and that it has nothing to do with race at all. Second, I had already planned to do the second part of this series. We will be looking back at the dating methodologies including tree rings very very soon. Maybe in the next post and surely the one after that if not.

The reason I post the entire article is because it is information that I want to pass out to the readership. Some people may read the entire thing but they are less likely to follow the link and this subject is too important to dismiss.

As I said, pretty much anything Dawkins ever said about genes has been falsified and his philosophical meanderings are simply abhorrent so these findings should freak him out once he grasps them.

You folks keep trying to discredit the designer. Who are you to say ten different eye forms are not needed? Maybe a Mantis Shrimp needs to see things we cannot see? Maybe a Platypus needs to sense the tiny electric impulses of nervous systems? Perhaps life is going to prove to be even more complex than we know now.

Jon Woolf said...

Radar, everybody reading this can see that you just underestimated one of your correspondents, and got pwned. You'd do better to simply admit it and move on.

and yet something like an earthworm is far more complex and you are still willing to believe in *poof*.

Poof, what? That poof, a bunch of chemicals got together and organized themselves into an earthworm? You believe that, not me. I think it's at least possible that the first, simplest, most primitive living cell developed spontaneously. After that first cell appeared, however, life evolved by variation and selection, neither of which works by "poof"ing.

Who are you to say ten different eye forms are not needed?

Who are you to say they are?

Maybe a Platypus needs to sense the tiny electric impulses of nervous systems?

Electroreceptors and photoreceptors are two different types of sensors.

Perhaps life is going to prove to be even more complex than we know now.

Oh, there's no doubt about that. Nature loves screwing with our heads far too much to give up any time soon...

radar said...

Woolf, I got pwned because you sounded like you do not know much about design? I think not! You still sound like you do not know much...

All you engineers out there who really think that random chemicals and lightning turned into even the simplest of organisms, raise your hands? Yes? Okay, give me a scenario that might work. No one and I do mean NO ONE has ever figured out a way even the simplest of organisms might randomly occur.

The very simplest of organisms would have to have say 800 component parts and that is just to survive and does not include any ability to replicate. Also, whatever constitutes LIFE has never been clearly defined by Darwinists and they cannot come up with a way that this mythical cell could be turned on, so to speak.

So Woolf, since you believe in fairy tales don't tell me I am pwned, you are the one who sounds gullible to me. Your background just adds to the mystery that is intelligent people believing in complete and utter nonsense. All to avoid the idea of a Creator God!

Jon Woolf said...

[shrug] I don't understand how anyone intelligent enough to operate a computer can claim the Hebrew Bible is infallible when it contains numerous errors and contradictions. Not subtle ones either, but blatantly obvious ones.

All you engineers out there who really think that random chemicals and lightning turned into even the simplest of organisms, raise your hands? Yes? Okay, give me a scenario that might work.

There is insufficient data for a meaningful response.

Anonymous said...

"I got pwned because you sounded like you do not know much about design? I think not! You still sound like you do not know much..."

Not really. Jon Woolf routinely sounds like he knows his stuff and can discuss it in depth and with ease. With you it's clear you don't sufficiently understand most of the stuff you cut and paste the moment you intersperse your own commentary.

You got pwned because you made a claim about Jon Woolf that you had no way of knowing... and you guessed wrong.

highboy said...

"Radar, everybody reading this can see that you just underestimated one of your correspondents, and got pwned."

How did he get pwned? Because you said you're a computer expert? Well I guess if just saying stuff makes it true...

"can claim the Hebrew Bible is infallible when it contains numerous errors and contradictions. Not subtle ones either, but blatantly obvious ones."

Unless you have some new examples of supposed contradictions, that statement is simply false.

Jon Woolf said...

Normally I get annoyed when someone questions my integrity, but I suppose one must make special allowance for the young and the mentally impaired...

As for mistakes in the Bible, here are a few of the more obvious ones:

* The occasional use of Elohim as plural -- many gods, not one god
* Two different sequences for Creation (Genesis 1 and 2)
* Two different sets of instructions for Noah (Genesis 6 and 7)
* Multiple versions of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20, Exodus 34, Deuteronomy 5)
* The classification of rabbits as ruminants (Leviticus 11:6)
* The incorrect value given for π (1 Kings)

There are, of course, simple explanations for all of these ... if you first assume the Bible was written by men. If you assume the Bible is inerrant divine revelation, then the presence of mistakes is an unresolvable paradox.

highboy said...

"Normally I get annoyed when someone questions my integrity, but I suppose one must make special allowance for the young and the mentally impaired..."

says the guy whose done nothing but question radar's integrity up and down this blog while expecting everyone to grant him victory simply because he says so. Speaking of mentally impaired....

"* The occasional use of Elohim as plural -- many gods, not one god "

and this is a contradiction because....???

"* Two different sequences for Creation (Genesis 1 and 2)"

or simply the second account is the actual narrative of what happened

"* Two different sets of instructions for Noah (Genesis 6 and 7)"

Um, no. He does not get two different sets of instructions. What Bible are you reading?

"* Multiple versions of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20, Exodus 34, Deuteronomy 5)"

Are you serious? The first and second say the same thing, not to mention the second version was a new set of tablets after the first was destroyed, and while the word variation in Deuteronomy is somewhat different, its says the same thing.

"* The classification of rabbits as ruminants"

Leviticus 11:5 refers to the SAPAN (or HYRAX SYRIACUS) as an unclean animal (e.g., unfit for sacrifice or human consumption) because "though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof" (NASB). Clean animals had to do both to be eligible for food. The question at issue is the chewing of the cud. Did (or does) the SAPAN (translated "coney" in KJV and "rock badger" in NASB) really "chew the cud" (Heb. MA 'ALEH GERAH, lit., "raising up what has been swallowed")?

"* The incorrect value given for π (1 Kings)"

Another yawner, but for this I'll defer to experts whose commentary you may read here http://www.scribd.com/doc/3699172/The-Value-of-Pi-in-the-Bible

So I guess we see no, you have no new examples.

highboy said...

Admit it Jon, you copied and pasted an online "Bible Contradictions" list.

Jon Woolf said...

I think not. I've questioned Radar's information, and occasionally his intelligence, but never his integrity. At least, not intentionally. I think he tells the truth as he understands it. It's simply that his understanding is wrong.

Your attempts to explain away the errors I listed fail, for the same reason that all such attempts fail: if the Bible is really divine revelation, then such explanations shouldn't be necessary.

Admit it Jon, you copied and pasted an online "Bible Contradictions" list.

Nope, wrong again. I looked up a few things to refresh my memory, but all of those items come from my own reading and/or online discussions I was having about this subject more than a decade ago.

highboy said...

"Your attempts to explain away the errors I listed fail, for the same reason that all such attempts fail: if the Bible is really divine revelation, then such explanations shouldn't be necessary."

There we go again with another one of your genius "you're wrong because I say so and nothing else" responses. Classic. It would even make sense too, if those explanations weren't so blatantly obvious. But since they are, you sir, failed utterly to provide an example of one single contradiction.

creeper said...

Highboy, do you have any particular reason to question Jon's integrity when he makes a simple, factual statement about his own experience on a particular subject? Do you think he made it up? If so, on what basis?

""* The occasional use of Elohim as plural -- many gods, not one god "

and this is a contradiction because....???"


... because there's only supposed to be one God, no?

""* Two different sequences for Creation (Genesis 1 and 2)"

or simply the second account is the actual narrative of what happened "


Come again? And what was the first one?

It's a pity that Radar's Genesis series a while ago actually stopped short before the discrepancies between the two accounts.

""* Multiple versions of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20, Exodus 34, Deuteronomy 5)"

Are you serious? The first and second say the same thing, not to mention the second version was a new set of tablets after the first was destroyed, and while the word variation in Deuteronomy is somewhat different, its says the same thing. "


You mean the first and the third (more or less) say the same thing. Exodus 34 is completely different. Jon is right.

"Another yawner, but for this I'll defer to experts whose commentary you may read here http://www.scribd.com/doc/3699172/The-Value-of-Pi-in-the-Bible"

I hope this isn't the "expert" you were referring to... he babbles on about the "foolishness of the infidel" and erroneously claims that pi can be rounded to 3.0.

It can not.

It can be rounded to 3, not to 3.0. If you don't understand the difference, that's fine. Apparently neither does your "infidel"-ranting expert.

But it is significantly different, and actually happens to be important in this case.

He goes on and on about how the bible couldn't have included all of pi, but that's a mere distraction: at the very least, the bible should have read 31 cubits, not 30 cubits.

So yeah, these are contradictions - easily explained when you assume they were written by humans, not so easily explained if you cling to the notion that they were written by an infallible deity.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Admit it Jon, you copied and pasted an online "Bible Contradictions" list."

A simple google search would have told you that's not the case.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"... because there's only supposed to be one God, no?"

Show me in the Bible where it says that.

"Come again? And what was the first one?

It's a pity that Radar's Genesis series a while ago actually stopped short before the discrepancies between the two accounts."

Nice try, but the first account was a sequential account of events, the second was quite obviously a detailed narrative of what happened, not when.

"You mean the first and the third (more or less) say the same thing. Exodus 34 is completely different. Jon is right."

That's just pure b.s. Explain to me how they're completely different.

"I hope this isn't the "expert" you were referring to... he babbles on about the "foolishness of the infidel" and erroneously claims that pi can be rounded to 3.0."

So you deliberately missed the part where he stated that old testament measurements in ancient Hebrew were always rounded?

You guys can try all you want, but those "contradictions" are nothing more cherry picked verses where when the entirety of the Word is read as a whole, there is hardly a contradiction.

"Highboy, do you have any particular reason to question Jon's integrity when he makes a simple, factual statement about his own experience on a particular subject?"

I didn't realize pointing out that simply saying something over the internet doesn't make it true is questioning someone's integrity. He very well may be an expert in computers, but simply saying you are one and then claiming to pwned radar as a result is childish and ridiculous.

Jon Woolf said...

the first account was a sequential account of events, the second was quite obviously a detailed narrative of what happened, not when.

Nice try, but both accounts contain sequential information, and the sequence is different. In Genesis 1, the order is: land and sea, grasses and other land plants, sun and moon, animals of sea and air, animals of the land, and last of all, man and woman together. In Genesis 2, the order is: land and sea, land plants, man (Adam alone), beasts of land and air, and woman last of all.

Two different sequences. Two different stories.

As for the instructions given to Noah:

Genesis 6:19-20 specifies that God commanded Noah to take two of every kind of animal, a male and a female, into the Ark with him, and that Noah did as God commanded.

Genesis 7:2-3 says that God commanded Noah to take seven pairs of every clean beast, and one pair of every unclean beast, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird. And Noah did as God commanded.

Genesis 7:8-9 says that Noah loaded the Ark with one pair each of all beasts, clean and unclean, of birds and of everything that crawls on the ground, two by two, as God had commanded.

So, which is it? Did Noah take one pair of every kind? Or seven pairs of birds and clean beasts and one pair of all the rest?

Again: two stories, two traditions.

Oh, and I think you wanted references, since you're churlish (and foolish) enough not to take my word for it. How does a literal translation of the Vulgate Bible grab you? Genesis 6 is here; Genesis 7 is here.

creeper said...

Wow, Highboy, it sounds like you're just being recalcitrant for the hell of it now.

" "... because there's only supposed to be one God, no?"

Show me in the Bible where it says that."


We can start with Exodus 20:3.

I have to say I'm pretty surprised you're not up to speed on this stuff. Didn't you study this or something? What exactly does go on in bible school if you're not even up to speed on monotheism? Curiouser and curiouser...

" "Come again? And what was the first one?

It's a pity that Radar's Genesis series a while ago actually stopped short before the discrepancies between the two accounts."

Nice try, but the first account was a sequential account of events, the second was quite obviously a detailed narrative of what happened, not when."


Hm, that's kind of a non-comeback. You talk about the difference between a "sequential account of events" and a "detailed narrative of what happened, not when" - but that's just restating the problem. Yes, they are in different sequences, that much has been observed, congratulations on putting that in your own words.

But you don't have an answer to that either, do you?

Okay then.

"You mean the first and the third (more or less) say the same thing. Exodus 34 is completely different. Jon is right."

That's just pure b.s. Explain to me how they're completely different."


Since you wouldn't say that if you'd actually read the three different versions, how about you catch up on reading them? If you're willing to come back and repeat your claim, then I'll explain it to you.

Seriously, what does go on in bible school? Pot-smoking and gay-bashing? 'Cos it seems like bible studies are a bit low on the list...

" "I hope this isn't the "expert" you were referring to... he babbles on about the "foolishness of the infidel" and erroneously claims that pi can be rounded to 3.0."

So you deliberately missed the part where he stated that old testament measurements in ancient Hebrew were always rounded?"


Unless he's willing to argue they were always rounded to the nearest ten, the argument is meaningless. As is the "significant digit" argument in this case, btw.

Keep in mind that this guy who's ranting about infidels (what century is this again?) thinks that pi can be rounded to 3.0 - I'd think twice before taking anything he says about such a basic aspect of mathematics in any way seriously.

" You guys can try all you want, but those "contradictions" are nothing more cherry picked verses where when the entirety of the Word is read as a whole, there is hardly a contradiction."

Except for all the ones mentioned above, and that's hardly a comprehensive list. You've done a poor job of refuting any of them, so you have no reason to pull a Radar here (i.e. declaring victory while running for the door).

"Highboy, do you have any particular reason to question Jon's integrity when he makes a simple, factual statement about his own experience on a particular subject?"

I didn't realize pointing out that simply saying something over the internet doesn't make it true is questioning someone's integrity. He very well may be an expert in computers, but simply saying you are one and then claiming to pwned radar as a result is childish and ridiculous."


Only if you presume that he is lying about what he does and did for a living. We have no reason to assume that, and since Radar went out on a limb with his unfounded presumption, he did get pwned. It's not the end of the world, Highboy, you'll get over it.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"We can start with Exodus 20:3."

Its says "thou shalt not have any gods before me". Um, genius, where does that say there is only one God? If you're going to try and mock someone, at least grasp the English language first. Ordering that you shouldn't put one god before another god in your mind means, there is only one god? Seriously?

"Yes, they are in different sequences, that much has been observed, congratulations on putting that in your own words."

Bullshit. The second account doesn't state when each sequence of events happened. It doesn't say what order the events took place. Go ahead and break down exactly what was written and then get back to me.

"Since you wouldn't say that if you'd actually read the three different versions, how about you catch up on reading them? If you're willing to come back and repeat your claim, then I'll explain it to you."

Lets start with verse 1: "Now the Lord said to Moses, cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered." Period. End of story. The rest of chapter 34 are commandments wholly different and not written on the tablet with the 10 commandments, which is why its not written that it was. So once again, before mocking someone, grasp the English language.

"Unless he's willing to argue they were always rounded to the nearest ten, the argument is meaningless. As is the "significant digit" argument in this case, btw."

Did you even read the entirety of the argument? Not to mention how amusing it is that you constantly appeal to "experts" in the field of science on this blog but when experts in other fields present their arguments in regards to subjects you clearly know little about, you simply point out how he rages against "infidels". Awesome stuff creeper.

"Except for all the ones mentioned above, and that's hardly a comprehensive list. You've done a poor job of refuting any of them, so you have no reason to pull a Radar here (i.e. declaring victory while running for the door)."

Except as I just clearly showed, you obviously didn't actually read any of the examples you've shown, and even if you have, you're stating that the word says something that we've just shown it clearly doesn't. keep trying though.

"Only if you presume that he is lying about what he does and did for a living. We have no reason to assume that, and since Radar went out on a limb with his unfounded presumption, he did get pwned. It's not the end of the world, Highboy, you'll get over it."

How did he get pwned? Because Jon came back and said "I'm an expert?" Your threshold for someone getting pwned is really really low.

Jon Woolf said...

I wonder, highboy: would you be as quick to disbelieve my background if I was posting comments that supported you and Radar?

Somehow, I don't think so.

highboy said...

"I wonder, highboy: would you be as quick to disbelieve my background if I was posting comments that supported you and Radar?

Somehow, I don't think so."

Once again for the reading impaired: never said I didn't believe you. Merely pointing out that simply saying something over the internet hardly qualifies as pwning someone, followed by chortling and laughter.

creeper said...

Take a deep breath, Highboy...

""We can start with Exodus 20:3."

Its says "thou shalt not have any gods before me". Um, genius, where does that say there is only one God? If you're going to try and mock someone, at least grasp the English language first. Ordering that you shouldn't put one god before another god in your mind means, there is only one god? Seriously?"


While you're slinging around English language comprehension this and that, take a look at Jon's comment. It talks about God being referred to in the singular and the plural (Elohim) - not in the context of "how many gods are there apart from God?", but "how many gods is God?". Judeo-Christianity is a monotheistic religion.

Yep, back then people believed in other deities as well, hence the commandment, but it is about there only being one god that Christians should believe in.

"The second account doesn't state when each sequence of events happened. It doesn't say what order the events took place. Go ahead and break down exactly what was written and then get back to me."

It states a number of events, one sentence after another ("And then this happened, and then that happened"), same as large parts of the bible.

On what do you base your conclusion that they are meant to be read not as presented, but in shuffled order?

"The rest of chapter 34 are commandments wholly different and not written on the tablet with the 10 commandments, which is why its not written that it was. So once again, before mocking someone, grasp the English language."

Same to you. Thank you for conceding that Exodus 34 is completely different. Next.

"Did you even read the entirety of the argument?"

I did. A whole bunch of it doesn't get past the 31/30 issue, and no, the "infidel"-basher doesn't establish that it has to be rounded to the nearest ten, which he would have to do to get past that issue. There is some interesting speculative stuff towards the end, but you chose not to highlight that - maybe you didn't read that far into it. Instead you're stuck on this appeal to authority kick.

"Not to mention how amusing it is that you constantly appeal to "experts" in the field of science on this blog but when experts in other fields present their arguments in regards to subjects you clearly know little about, you simply point out how he rages against "infidels". Awesome stuff creeper."

No, that was just the cherry on top (and should be a clue to you regarding his objectivity on this subject). I pointed out that in a question regarding mathematical precision in a historic context, this alleged expert knows so little about mathematical precision that he thinks pi can be rounded to 3.0, which is utterly incorrect.

You can round pi to 3, not to 3.0. And how does my knowing that indicate that this is a subject I "clearly know little about"? Please dazzle me with your superior knowledge, Highboy. Tell me how you can round pi to 3.0.

"How did he get pwned? Because Jon came back and said "I'm an expert?" Your threshold for someone getting pwned is really really low."

Radar made a condescending remark dismissing Jon's comments because he claimed Jon didn't work in computers, despite obviously not knowing what Jon does for a living. Walked right into that one. Big deal. Why this should obsess you so is beyond me.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Merely pointing out that simply saying something over the internet hardly qualifies as pwning someone, followed by chortling and laughter."

Um, just about all cases of "pwning" someone on a blog involve "saying something over the Internet". Not sure what you're trying to say here.

Radar made an unfounded presumption. He was completely wrong. As Jon pointed out, Radar shouldn't underestimate people for no reason.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"Yep, back then people believed in other deities as well, hence the commandment, but it is about there only being one god that Christians should believe in."

Not written anywhere in the Bible. As to your earlier point about the plurality of God, its a feature of the Hebrew language that words can have one meaning and multiple different senses. Here's a better explanation: http://www.wcg.org/lit/god/elohimp.htm

"It states a number of events, one sentence after another ("And then this happened, and then that happened"), same as large parts of the bible."

It does not say "then God created a garden" or "then out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree..." It mere says "God created" and "God caused"...

"Same to you. Thank you for conceding that Exodus 34 is completely different. Next."

Thanks for conceding that its not a contradiction, and for making a dishonest attempt at stating that it is. So we can add your name to the "liar" list along with radar's yes?

"There is some interesting speculative stuff towards the end, but you chose not to highlight that - maybe you didn't read that far into it. Instead you're stuck on this appeal to authority kick."

Whereas your only counter argument is to point out that he says the word "infidel" a lot. LOL. By the way, for the logical fallacy "appeal to authority" to be applicable here, the reference here would have to be something or someone who is an authority in an unrelated field.

"You can round pi to 3, not to 3.0. And how does my knowing that indicate that this is a subject I "clearly know little about"? Please dazzle me with your superior knowledge, Highboy. Tell me how you can round pi to 3.0."

I was speaking more along the lines of Hebrew literature, which as a verifiable fact, rarely uses exact measurements, but rather rounds to various degrees. As for pi, any number can be rounded to any precision you want. If you round pi to the nearest tenth, you get zero. You can round it to the nearest unit, 3, if you really want to. You lose value of pie by about 4.5% so your calculation could have that much error, but since ancient Hebrew literature rarely recorded exact measurements, especially when translated to English, it hardly computes to some errancy in the Bible.

"Radar made a condescending remark dismissing Jon's comments because he claimed Jon didn't work in computers, despite obviously not knowing what Jon does for a living. Walked right into that one. Big deal. Why this should obsess you so is beyond me."

If you go back and actually look at the entirety of our little exchange here, you are the one who keeps bringing it up. I brought it up once. If it obsesses you, don't project it onto me. I'm merely pointing out that simply saying I'm an expert in a field over the internet hardly makes it true, especially if I don't demonstrate it, so claiming that I pwned someone as a result of an unsupported statement I made about myself is childish. He very well may work in computers for a living, but simply saying so doesn't mean you pwned someone. Get it yet?

highboy said...

Dr. Rick Peterson, (Ask Dr. Math) had student ask the very question about pie that you have creeper. Should have posted the link the first time http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/52573.html

"Any number can be
rounded to any precision you want; you can round pi to the nearest ten
if you want, and you'll get zero. Rounding it to the nearest unit,
giving 3, makes perfectly good sense if that is what you want to do.

The real question is, what is lost if you round pi down to 3? You're
reducing its value by .14/3.14 = 4.5%, so any calculations you make
will have that much error; but for many purposes that would be
perfectly acceptable.

Whenever we work with pi we are rounding it to some number of digits,
so all such calculations are incorrect. The only issue is how much
accuracy we need for a particular application."


"The Bible does not state that pi = 3.0. It states that a particular
object (the circular basin in front of the Jerusalem Temple) had a
diameter of 10 cubits and a circumference of 30 cubits. So the correct
question is not, "Is it proper to round pi to 3.0?" but "Is it proper
to round the circumference of this circle to 30 cubits?" Or better,
"Are a diameter of 10 cubits and a circumference of 30 cubits
consistent within reasonable measurement error?"

We do not know the precision of the measuring instruments used to
measure the diameter and circumference of this circle. But here is
what I would naturally understand if I saw this figure in a scientific
journal: in the absence of an explicit indication of precision, the
absence of a tenths digit implies that the figure is accurate to the
nearest 1 cubit - that is, plus or minus 0.5 cubit.

So let's suppose that the diameter was measured, or specified in the
design, to be 10 cubits plus or minus 0.5 cubit. Then the actual
circumference would be in the range from 9.5 pi to 10.5 pi, or 29.8 to
32.98 cubits.

If we make the same assumption about the precision of the
circumference measurement, we get a range of 29.5 to 30.5 cubits.
Notice that the two ranges have considerable overlap. There is
therefore no inconsistency between the diameter and the circumference
as reported in the Bible."

creeper said...

"[...] it is about there only being one god that Christians should believe in."

Not written anywhere in the Bible."


What exactly does God saying "thou shalt have no other gods before me" mean if not "you shall only believe in me"? Curious to hear your interpretation.

"As to your earlier point about the plurality of God, its a feature of the Hebrew language that words can have one meaning and multiple different senses. Here's a better explanation: http://www.wcg.org/lit/god/elohimp.htm"

That earlier point actually wasn't mine, but Jon's. You'll have to ask him to expand on what he meant by it.

"It states a number of events, one sentence after another ("And then this happened, and then that happened"), same as large parts of the bible."

It does not say "then God created a garden" or "then out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree..." It mere says "God created" and "God caused"..."


Actually it says "And this... And that":

4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

5And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

6But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

8And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

9And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

10And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

(cont'd)

creeper said...

11The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;

12And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.

13And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.

14And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.

15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.


Again: on what do you base your conclusion that they are meant to be read not as presented, but in shuffled order?

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Same to you. Thank you for conceding that Exodus 34 is completely different. Next."

Thanks for conceding that its not a contradiction, and for making a dishonest attempt at stating that it is. So we can add your name to the "liar" list along with radar's yes?"


If I make a claim that you clearly and factually debunk repeatedly and I choose to not address it and continue to repeatedly make the same claim, then yes, you can put me in Radar's category.

But you don't have that situation here, sorry.

Now, about it not being a contradiction...

""The rest of chapter 34 are commandments wholly different and not written on the tablet with the 10 commandments, which is why its not written that it was. So once again, before mocking someone, grasp the English language.""

I think I have a pretty good grasp of the English language. I'll assume that you do too, and so I suppose this was just an oversight on your part.

Here you'll find the ten commandments as presented in Exodus 34 (they start at verse 12, I think) - Exodus 34:4-28.

I think you'll agree that they differ a lot from the 10 Commandments we commonly know. Right?

Now look carefully at the lines concluding this section (emphasis mine):

27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." 28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

They clearly identify the preceding words (the ones we do not know as the Ten Commandments) as the covenant, and then as the Ten Commandments.

On what basis would you say that's not a contradiction?

"Whereas your only counter argument is to point out that he says the word "infidel" a lot. LOL."

Again, no, my main counter argument (as I rather clearly pointed out in my previous comments) is that he attempts to talk about mathematical precision and makes a whopper of a mistake that disqualifies him on that front. And you're the one lecturing other people about reading comprehension?

"By the way, for the logical fallacy "appeal to authority" to be applicable here, the reference here would have to be something or someone who is an authority in an unrelated field."

No, it just needs to be saying that a point is correct because the person presenting it is an authority/expert as a substitute for arguing that it is correct unto itself. I notice you haven't addressed the factual problem with his argument (that he talks a lot about precision etc. but doesn't address that even in the confines of what he attempts to describe 30 is still wrong and 31 should have been used) and just keep pointing out what an expert he is. That's the "appeal to authority" fallacy.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"You can round pi to 3, not to 3.0. And how does my knowing that indicate that this is a subject I "clearly know little about"? Please dazzle me with your superior knowledge, Highboy. Tell me how you can round pi to 3.0."

I was speaking more along the lines of Hebrew literature, which as a verifiable fact, rarely uses exact measurements, but rather rounds to various degrees."


And in this particular case, it would have to be established that it consistently rounds to the nearest ten, not the nearest one.

"As for pi, any number can be rounded to any precision you want."

Correct, very good.

"If you round pi to the nearest tenth, you get zero."

You mean to the nearest ten. To the nearest tenth would be 3.1.

You can round it to the nearest unit, 3, if you really want to."

Yes you can. But note that it would be 3. Not 3.0.

"You lose value of pie by about 4.5%"

That would be "pi", not "pie".

"so your calculation could have that much error, but since ancient Hebrew literature rarely recorded exact measurements, especially when translated to English, it hardly computes to some errancy in the Bible."

If measurements in the bible consistently rounded to the nearest ten at such a small scale (as opposed to when, say, we're talking about measurements in the hundreds and thousands), you might have a point. But at this point the divinely inspired word of God could very easily have been accurate even including rounding (since they didn't use decimal places back then - though surely God wouldn't have been limited by that, but of course the humans who actually wrote this were...) by simply having 31 instead of 30. Again, consistent if you think of it as an ancient text written by man, not so consistent if you think of it as the infallible divinely inspired word of God. That's the point.

"If you go back and actually look at the entirety of our little exchange here, you are the one who keeps bringing it up. I brought it up once. If it obsesses you, don't project it onto me."

I count four comments of yours in which you talk about it, not one. Perhaps you'll argue that you didn't "bring it up" because you were reacting to something else. Fine. But the same goes for all of my comments as well, which are merely reactions, just like yours. So no projection involved.

"He very well may work in computers for a living, but simply saying so doesn't mean you pwned someone. Get it yet?"

Do you get that the context matters? Simply saying so doesn't matter - unless it's in response to someone making a condescending remark based on the assumption that he doesn't work in the computer industry for a living.

But whatever. We can agree to disagree on this utter non-issue.

-- creeper

creeper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
creeper said...

"If we make the same assumption about the precision of the
circumference measurement, we get a range of 29.5 to 30.5 cubits."


That's right. Whereas it would have to include 31.4, which it doesn't.

Plus I find it rather curious that "rounding error" keeps being dragged into the discussion all the time to justify this...

We're talking about an infallible divine being here, people! It's pretty insulting to insinuate that an omniscient supernatural being is subject to rounding errors of, get this, four point frickin five percent!!

Have you guys forgotten who we're talking about?! Show some respect!

We're not talking about some sweaty engineer with a pencil clamped behind his ear and a piece of rope to measure things!

... unless we are, but that would, you guessed it, only be consistent with the interpretation that the Bible was written by fallible human being and is most decidedly not inerrant.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Dr. Rick Peterson, (Ask Dr. Math) had student ask the very question about pie that you have creeper."

Yes, I know, I read all that before writing my first comments about the subject above. They still don't address the issue I talked about, as I pointed out in my previous comment right above this one.

But basically I just wanted to add that your spelling of "pi" as "pie" is kind of endearing.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"What is the evidence for these adaptive design features being built in? It's a hypothesis that you (or rather, creation scientists, if they do indeed exist) could use to build testable predictions, for example what the human genome would look like if that were the case".

It just occurred to me that a fruitful area of research for creationist scientists - let's assume for the sake of argument that they exist - would be to map the wolf genome.

Creation scientists could then demonstrate that the wolf genome contains all the genetic information required for all the dogs we currently know, from the poodle to the golden retriever - and perhaps even some more that we've never even heard of.

According to creationist logic, they should all be already contained in the wolf genome, right? Just waiting to be switched on and off, right?

If they found that in the wolf genome, that would be some pretty powerful evidence in favor of creationism, wouldn't it?

What do you think, Radar?

-- creeper

highboy said...

"What exactly does God saying "thou shalt have no other gods before me" mean if not "you shall only believe in me"? Curious to hear your interpretation."

It means put no gods before Him. That's pretty straight-forward creeper.

"Again: on what do you base your conclusion that they are meant to be read not as presented, but in shuffled order?"

Based on the response I already posted. The word "and" doesn't necessarily mean an order of sequence. I like Volunteers AND I like the Nittany Lions. Doesn't mean one comes before the other.

Now look carefully at the lines concluding this section (emphasis mine):

"27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." 28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

They clearly identify the preceding words (the ones we do not know as the Ten Commandments) as the covenant, and then as the Ten Commandments.

On what basis would you say that's not a contradiction?"

Wow.
1. The Bible already stated that God would write on those tablets everything that was on the previous tablets.
2. In the same chapter, God told Moses to write something down.
3. God proceeds to give Moses more orders.

There is no contradiction. The old 10 commandments were still written down by God Himself, as He Himself stated in the same chapter you keep referring me too. He also told Moses to write down himself everything God stated in the rest of the chapter. What is difficult about this?

"We're talking about an infallible divine being here, people! It's pretty insulting to insinuate that an omniscient supernatural being is subject to rounding errors of, get this, four point frickin five percent!!"

So? So because it was a tradition in Hebrew literature to round out numbers that means it couldn't possibly be inspired by the infallible God? Are you serious? This is your argument?

There you have it radar. You are officially wasting your time. I won't tell you how to run your blog, or what your hobbies should be, but this little exchange is substantial evidence that at least creeper, no matter what evidence or argument is presented, is not going to be swayed, regardless of truth. He challenged me about a contradiction in the Hebrew Bible, I made my argument and referred him to an expert in Hebrew literature. That was dismissed because of a math problem. I refer then to a math expert and that opinion is dismissed just because. There's no where else to go here, but its pretty evident that regardless of truth, how logical or validated an argument, or even expert opinion, minds won't change here. If this is even close to how exchanges are between you two when it comes to science than I have no idea why you even bother.

creeper said...

""What exactly does God saying "thou shalt have no other gods before me" mean if not "you shall only believe in me"? Curious to hear your interpretation."

It means put no gods before Him. That's pretty straight-forward creeper."


Yes, I thought it was pretty straightforward. But for some reason you don't think it means "worship only me"? Really?

Radar, Hawkeye, I’m curious what you guys think about this. What do you make of this argument? I admit I just don’t get Highboy’s argument. How does this commandment not mean “worship only me”? Does God allow the worshipping of other gods, as long as it’s after worshipping God?

And do you guys think the Bible says there is only one God? I have to admit I had absolutely no idea this was even a matter of controversy in the Bible.

I thought perhaps Highboy might just be referring to the Trinity with this "where does it say in the Bible there's only one God" stuff, but that doesn't really come into the First Commandment. Does it?

"Again: on what do you base your conclusion that they are meant to be read not as presented, but in shuffled order?"

Based on the response I already posted. The word "and" doesn't necessarily mean an order of sequence. I like Volunteers AND I like the Nittany Lions. Doesn't mean one comes before the other."


Correct, “and” doesn’t necessarily mean an order of sequence. That would depend on the context. As in your example, you’re describing two states, the state of liking Volunteers and the state of liking the Nittany Lions. That may apply, for example, to verses 11 to 13 above. And of course when you’re describing states, sequence isn’t really an issue.

But when you join actions together using “and”, it does generally indicate a sequence. “I came home and I had dinner” is not the same as “I had dinner and I came home”. In the former case we’d assume that “I had dinner at home, because I did it after coming home”. In the latter case we’d assume the opposite, namely that “I had dinner somewhere else, because I did it before coming home”. But according to you there is absolutely no temporal relationship between the two clauses.

Now call me crazy here, but that seems kind of counterintuitive. But hey, who knows, maybe it’s different in Hebrew. I asked you twice “on what do you base your conclusion that they are meant to be read not as presented, but in shuffled order?”, but all you came up with was not something intelligent explaining why the wording in Hebrew in this case is different from all those other times when “and” before an action indicates it’s the next thing that happened – all you came up with was an inappropriate (and perhaps disingenuous) comparison of using “and” between two descriptions of states.

So I’ll ask you again: “on what do you base your conclusion that they are meant to be read not as presented, but in shuffled order?” If it’s just that you’re trying to evade the possibility that there is a contradiction in the Bible (and this is hardly the only one), then just come out and say so.

But if you have a reasoned argument, I’d love to hear it. Seriously.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"1. The Bible already stated that God would write on those tablets everything that was on the previous tablets."

Yes, and here it says that Moses came up there with the stone tablets and God told him that he should write these words (i.e. Exodus 34:12-26) on the tablets and that these were the covenant/the Ten Commandments. Hence the contradiction. As before, you're just restating the nature of the problem, not refuting it.

"2. In the same chapter, God told Moses to write something down."

Is this in reference to Exodus 34? If so, you’re completely understating this: God tells Moses to write these words (Exodus 34:12-26) down on stone tablets and that they are the covenant and the Ten Commandments. That's a lot more than "writing something down".

My apologies if I misread this and you're not referring to Exodus 34 here.

"3. God proceeds to give Moses more orders."

Again, is this in reference to Exodus 34? If so, then same comments as for (2).

"There is no contradiction. The old 10 commandments were still written down by God Himself, as He Himself stated in the same chapter you keep referring me too. He also told Moses to write down himself everything God stated in the rest of the chapter. What is difficult about this?"

What is difficult is that two completely different sets of commandments are identified (according to the Bible, in both cases by God himself) as the Ten Commandments - once by God supposedly having written them himself, once by dictating them to Moses and clearly identifying them as the covenant and the Ten Commandments, to be written on stone tablets. I thought that was pretty clear.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"We're talking about an infallible divine being here, people! It's pretty insulting to insinuate that an omniscient supernatural being is subject to rounding errors of, get this, four point frickin five percent!!"

So? So because it was a tradition in Hebrew literature to round out numbers that means it couldn't possibly be inspired by the infallible God? Are you serious? This is your argument?"


The argument was that in Hebrew literature it is not a tradition to round out numbers to the nearest ten, which would have to be the case to excuse a rounding error to 30 instead of 31.

And while that second point was made somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I do wonder what rounding errors have to do in a supposedly inerrant text. Even within the confines of a rounding error that apologists are attempting to carve out here, 31 would have been correct.

Again, makes sense if you see it as a text written by fallible human beings with the knowledge of the time, not so much if it is an inerrant text "inspired" by an infallible, omniscient deity.

"There you have it radar. You are officially wasting your time. I won't tell you how to run your blog, or what your hobbies should be, but this little exchange is substantial evidence that at least creeper, no matter what evidence or argument is presented, is not going to be swayed, regardless of truth."

Ha! Looks like I hit a little close to the bone here. You've presented, for the most part, weak or non-existent arguments. And you're surprised you didn't sway anyone? Must be somebody else’s fault for not agreeing with you. Riight.

"He challenged me about a contradiction in the Hebrew Bible, I made my argument and referred him to an expert in Hebrew literature. That was dismissed because of a math problem."

And rightly so, since it was central to the point in question, and the "expert" made a rudimentary mistake that made it clear he would not be able to recognize the validity of any mathematical arguments on this subject. He was happy to cut and paste a few of them though.

"I refer then to a math expert and that opinion is dismissed just because."

Not "just because", but because of the reasons I detailed very clearly, which apparently you either don't understand or aren't willing to address.

"There's no where else to go here,"

Oh well.

"but its pretty evident that regardless of truth, how logical or validated an argument, or even expert opinion, minds won't change here."

You've consistently ignored the arguments I presented, so don't play the victim.

"If this is even close to how exchanges are between you two when it comes to science than I have no idea why you even bother."

Ah yes, that’s another whole subject.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"Yes, I thought it was pretty straightforward. But for some reason you don't think it means "worship only me"? Really? "

Yes it means worship only me. It doesn't mean there is only one god however, which is what you originally argued. (we're talking contradictions remember?)

"But when you join actions together using “and”, it does generally indicate a sequence. “I came home and I had dinner”

and NONE of the verses in the second account give an account like you just described.

"Yes, and here it says that Moses came up there with the stone tablets and God told him that he should write these words (i.e. Exodus 34:12-26) on the tablets"

WRONG. None of those verses say write these words on tablets.

"God tells Moses to write these words (Exodus 34:12-26) down on stone tablets and that they are the covenant and the Ten Commandments. That's a lot more than "writing something down"."

No, He did not. He never once in those verses told Moses to write anything down in stone tablets, and its not until verse 27 He commands Him to write at all, and its to write what He just spoke, which have never been considered the 10 commandments.

"Ha! Looks like I hit a little close to the bone here. You've presented, for the most part, weak or non-existent arguments. And you're surprised you didn't sway anyone? Must be somebody else’s fault for not agreeing with you. Riight."

Yes creeper, despite the evidence against everything you've attempted to argue here, you really hit close to the bone. Sure you did.

"And rightly so, since it was central to the point in question, and the "expert" made a rudimentary mistake that made it clear he would not be able to recognize the validity of any mathematical arguments on this subject. He was happy to cut and paste a few of them though."

and you completely ignored the mathmatician's detailed explanation to your original "errancy", while ignoring his second point of the Bible not addressing pi at all. But hey creeper, don't let experts get in the way. Just keep sticking your fingers in your ears while screaming "la la la". That seems to be enough evidence for you to refute something.

Jon Woolf said...

(side note: I thought I left a comment similar to this last night. If it suddenly appears, making this a duplicate, then my apologies.)

Creeper wrote: Again, makes sense if you see it as a text written by fallible human beings with the knowledge of the time, not so much if it is an inerrant text "inspired" by an infallible, omniscient deity.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. It's somewhat analogous to the problem of inadequate and sometimes outright bad design we see in organisms. Perfectly explainable without the assumption of an omnipotent, omniscient God. Inexplicable with that assumption.

Regarding the question about Elohim as singular or plural: Every source I've read on the subject of "religion in history" agrees that Judaism is something special in history because it was the first fully monotheistic religion. I've never seen any scholar suggest that Judaism recognizes multiple gods. (Not to say it hasn't happened; just that I haven't seen it.) The passages in the Torah in which Elohim is used as a plural are generally interpreted as leftover remnants of a time when the Hebrews followed a polytheistic religion.

highboy said...

"Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. It's somewhat analogous to the problem of inadequate and sometimes outright bad design we see in organisms. Perfectly explainable without the assumption of an omnipotent, omniscient God. Inexplicable with that assumption."

It would be an accurate thing to say, except once again, its a feature of Hebrew literature to round out the figures, not to mention, there was a nice source I posted stating why the figures given in the Bible are no "errant" in any way.

"Every source I've read on the subject of "religion in history" agrees that Judaism is something special in history because it was the first fully monotheistic religion."

That's irrelevant. The Bible is silent as to whether more gods actually exist, and if they did, they'd be irrelevant anyway since we're only to worship Him and He is The Man. Regardless, elohim is definitely plural but elohim in the Bible is also used with singular verb forms, adjectives, and pronouns. http://www.hebrew4christians.net/Names_of_G-d/Elohim/elohim.html

Jon Woolf said...

Regardless, elohim is definitely plural but elohim in the Bible is also used with singular verb forms, adjectives, and pronouns.

Precisely. Why is the same word used in both ways? There is a singular word that would fit better -- Eloah -- yet it only appears much, much later in Hebrew biblical literature.

Jewish scholars have a word for what you're doing, Highboy. They call it pilpul - an English equivalent is casuistry - and it's generally considered a relatively weak form of argument. You still can't get away from the basic problem: if the Bible was truly divine revelation, then there wouldn't be any need for such complicated defenses of it.

AmericanVet said...

Did anyone here give an example of a fallible God? I did not see one?

creeper said...

American Vet,

by "fallible God" you mean "fallible infallible being"? No, nobody provided that, nor was that the issue, since it would be nonsensical.

What was provided was a number of examples that there are elements of the Bible that indicate human authorship consistent with human knowledge of the time and subject to human limitations, meaning no evidence of a divine all-knowing, infallible entity providing any input into the Bible.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"Jewish scholars have a word for what you're doing, Highboy. They call it pilpul - an English equivalent is casuistry - and it's generally considered a relatively weak form of argument. You still can't get away from the basic problem: if the Bible was truly divine revelation, then there wouldn't be any need for such complicated defenses of it."

I like how you speculate what the Word of an infallible perfect God would look like, and dismiss the idea that is perfect because you don't understand why one word was used instead of another. That's priceless logic there Jon. Your last comments is even more priceless. So by your logic, if something absolutely true, I wouldn't have to point it out to you. Um, okay. Your list of "contradictions" was an absolute failure so I guess we're back to that "I'm right just because argument".

creeper said...

"Yes, I thought it was pretty straightforward. But for some reason you don't think it means "worship only me"? Really? "

Yes it means worship only me. It doesn't mean there is only one god however, which is what you originally argued. (we're talking contradictions remember?)


Actually, we’ve moved on a fair bit from the original argument. The original argument was Jon’s, and he has presented it in more detail in the last few comments above.

Where we got sidetracked was your question whether the Bible says there is more than one god, which is different from the argument whether the word used for God says there is more than one god.

I already said this in an earlier comment: ”take a look at Jon's comment. It talks about God being referred to in the singular and the plural (Elohim) - not in the context of "how many gods are there apart from God?", but "how many gods is God?". Judeo-Christianity is a monotheistic religion.”

You can point to a scholar saying that sometimes the plural is used to indicate a singular, which may well be right, but Jon’s argument is subtly different in that he says this indicates a progression from polytheism to monotheism, a kind of fossil in the text. The scholar provides no explanation for this, but instead merely provides a long-winded explanation of the status quo, namely that sometimes Elohim is used to indicate a singular. Well yes, that’s the point – but why is this the case?

-- creeper

creeper said...

”"But when you join actions together using “and”, it does generally indicate a sequence. “I came home and I had dinner”

and NONE of the verses in the second account give an account like you just described.”


I’m not sure what you imagine your counter-argument here to be. You accused me earlier of saying “just because”, but that appears to be what you are doing here. The verses in question describe a number of actions, one after the other, with the word “And” between them. There is no talk of coming home and having dinner, I’ll grant you that, but there is talk of a number of actions.

It seems you’re simply saying that they are in different order, and because that happens to contradict another section of the Bible, they should be taken to be in shuffled order so that there is no contradiction. Kind of a circular argument.

Since you didn’t answer the question, I’ll ask you again: on what do you base your conclusion that they are meant to be read not as presented, but in shuffled order?

-- creeper

creeper said...

and you completely ignored the mathmatician's detailed explanation to your original "errancy",

No, I addressed it previously. Rounding doesn’t get you from 31.4 to 30 unless you establish a pattern of rounding everything to the nearest ten. As it is, 31 would have been the closest approximation.

”while ignoring his second point of the Bible not addressing pi at all. “

Which is a nonsensical point and should rightly be ignored. The Bible addresses the ratio of the diameter of a circle (“ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about”) to its circumference (“and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about”). It doesn’t say “pi is three”, it says that that ratio – easily obtained by dividing 30 by 10 – is three. That ratio happens to also be known to us as pi. Therefore the Bible says that the ratio we know as pi is three. Which happens to be incorrect, as has been amply pointed out.

I’d like to point out, in addition to all of this, that the “rounding error” approach doesn’t really get you very far in this, since rounding errors are what humans make. If the point is that this is consistent with human authorship instead of divine authorship, claiming a rounding error means you’ve already conceded the issue: fallible humans wrote the Bible, with all the capacity for error and inaccuracy that that entails.

If you're happy with the argument that the Bible is the word of a divine being that mimics fallible human beings so closely that it is completely consistent with a text written without the aid of any divine being, then this is the way to go.

”But hey creeper, don't let experts get in the way. “

If the experts make mistakes that a high school student would (or at least should) know not to make, well certainly Highboy, I won’t let them get in my way. And neither should you. You should regard them with skepticism and examine their arguments in detail.

”Just keep sticking your fingers in your ears while screaming "la la la". That seems to be enough evidence for you to refute something.”

Nice impersonation of a 12-year-old, Highboy. I’ve presented my arguments clearly above. You’re the one who claims, for example, that I only went on about infidels when I consistently made other points that you in turn have chosen to ignore, or who claims that I “constantly appeal to ‘experts’ in the field of science on this blog” when that is not the case. I constantly present arguments, whether they come from experts or sprang from my own noggin. If you disagree, by all means point out when I appealed to experts at the expense of an actual argument.

I’m curious to hear Radar’s and Hawkeye’s input on some of these questions, by the way.

-- creeper

creeper said...

”"Yes, and here it says that Moses came up there with the stone tablets and God told him that he should write these words (i.e. Exodus 34:12-26) on the tablets"

WRONG. None of those verses say write these words on tablets.”


Okay. It says that God said to write these words down, and Moses subsequently writes “the words of the covenant – the Ten Commandments” on the stone tablets. You’re correct in pointing out that God didn’t specify that Moses should write these words on the stone tablets (more about that below), but I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish with this distinction, since Moses did then write them down on the stone tablets.

Next, could you please guide me to the verse where it says that the stone tablets contained the contents of Exodus 20 – what we commonly think of as the Ten Commandments – to begin with?

”"God tells Moses to write these words (Exodus 34:12-26) down on stone tablets and that they are the covenant and the Ten Commandments. That's a lot more than "writing something down"."

No, He did not. He never once in those verses told Moses to write anything down in stone tablets, and its not until verse 27 He commands Him to write at all, and its to write what He just spoke, which have never been considered the 10 commandments.”


Well that’s the point, that’s the contradiction. He tells Moses to write down what he just spoke, and he calls that the convenant and the Ten Commandments. Note that they are called the Ten Commandments here. They are not called that in Exodus 20-24 or in Deuteronomy.

And unless I’m mistaken, there is also no mention of the content of Exodus 20 itself being written on stone tablets. What you have is Exodus 20 is what we commonly think of as the Ten Commandments. But they are not called that in Exodus 20, and there is no mention of them being inscribed on stone tablets. Nor in Exodus 21, 22, 23 (which interestingly features “Do not spread false reports”, something Radar might want to keep in mind...). In Exodus 24 God finally says to Moses: "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction." At the end of Exodus 31, after many, many additional instructions (Exodus 24-31), finally: “When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God”. The Testimony. Not the commandments. And since the commandments in Exodus 20, a whole load of additional commandments/laws/instructions have indeed been piled on. Again in Exodus 32:15 it says “the two tablets of the Testimony”. Not the commandments. There is actually no mention of commandments or “Ten Commandments” anywhere in this text.

-- creeper

creeper said...

Next, as we know, Moses breaks the stone tablets in anger.

Then, in Exodus 34, “The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke”. So Moses does what he’s told, and he comes up to see God with the stone tablets to be inscribed.

Note here that God has said that he – God – will write on the stone tablets the words that were on the first tablets.

Next we have Exodus 34:12-26, a set of commandments.

Immediately after this, “the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."” (emphasis mine). And next: “Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.”

There’s certainly one contradiction here, and that is God first saying he will inscribe the tablets, but then he actually dictates them to Moses, and Moses inscribes the words on the tablets. Incidentally, from what I can gather, the words “the Ten Commandments” only appear once in the Old Testament – in reference to Exodus 34, not Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5. Deut 5:22 does say “These are the commandments the LORD proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.” But it doesn't specify Ten Commandments there.

Now here’s a curious thing. You say these words that God just spoke “have never been considered the 10 commandments”. And yet here are these words from God himself calling them that - the words that we do not think of as the Ten Commandments.

Human fallibility - works as an explanation. Infallible God - not so much.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Your list of "contradictions" was an absolute failure so I guess we're back to that "I'm right just because argument"."

Since some of your comebacks were simple "just because" retorts (see your dismissal of the Genesis account one above), it's pretty rich of you to level this complaint at Jon.

And no, the list was no absolute failure at all, since you're short on any defense that indicates the authorship of an infallible God. Even when you think you're on to a winner (pi being three was a rounding error), you're indicating human authorship.

-- creeper