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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why Darwinists Don't Get It...As usual it starts with the beginning....



I will make additional comments to this brief dialogue in blue...reply to Woolf!

Jon Woolf has left a new comment on your post "The Anthropic Principle/fine tuning of the Univers...":

I reject your so-called "tons" of evidence on scientific bases and not religion.

Radar, by your own testimony you didn't start questioning evolutionary theory until after you were born again, and began getting your science from preachers who insist that you can only be a real Christian if you accept a literal interpretation of Genesis.



That is almost true but the differences are important.   First, I came in with a Darwinist viewpoint because I assumed that it was correct.   So there you are right.

Second, I got Bible from preachers who, in passing, may have discussed Genesis but frankly the primary push to me was my own study.   I realized that (unlike many of my fellow Christians) Darwinism and Christianity did not mix IF the Bible was to be trusted and IF NOT then could I trust it to provide evidence for salvation?   Now, being a logical person I had some trepidation.   I was able to see a remarkable change within myself upon becoming a Christian.   I actually cared a great deal more about other people and also found myself caring about the will of God.   Furthermore I had a great inner peace that seemed permanent.  So the study of Genesis from a scientific point of view did have inherent dangers to my newfound faith.  However I thought that such dangers were a necessary part of my journey of faith if I was to continue to be a man of logic and a seeker of truth.

So I went forth to find out if there was a scientific rationale behind Darwinism and whether there were those who had scientific evidence to bulwark Genesis.   Moses versus Darwin in the great laboratory of the libraries and bookstores of my neighborhood and the years of personal study from my past.   I was determined to know what was true and then let the chips fall where they may.  Dr. Henry Morris, via cassette tapes and books, opened my eyes to the fact that there were, in fact, entire organizations of scientists who believed Genesis, believed in a young Earth and a Noahic flood and had documentation to back up their beliefs!  It was then that the battle was on.   I had to review Darwinist teaching and compare it to scientific evidence and compare that to what the Bible asserts and consider...before long I was convinced that Darwin had made some interesting observations that would have advanced our understanding of organisms had the march of science rightfully set Darwin aside as new information came along to dismiss the crux of his arguments.   But unfortunately this subject had already become worldview-driven and so it remains.


Furthermore I have made a point of almost exclusively using science rather than religion in making posts about science, which makes sense.

Radar, science is a process, not a job title. If you are working toward a pre-assumed conclusion, as all creationists do, then you aren't doing science. When you say that the Bible must be assumed true as a precondition of any theorizing about Earth's history, that's religion, not science.


Jon Woolf, you are looking at the back end of a process and saying it is the start.  No, I began as a Darwinist and, upon conversion to Christianity, reviewed the subject of origins from the point of view of "what if" rather than "therefore."   I simply gave Genesis a chance to be accurate rather than beginning with the foregone conclusion that there could NOT be a God and therefore ANYTHING made a better explanation than a Creator God who formed the Universe ex nihilo.   When you say that naturalism must be assumed at the beginning of the study of origins, THAT is religion!   To say that you believe in God or to say you do not believe in God, both are metaphysical statements.   Therefore to exclude God from the possible causes of the Universe is just as religious as my inclusion of Him as the most logical solution.

Or I could say macroevolution, since the evidence for that is zero zip nada. No transitional forms.

The question of whether transitional forms exist was answered conclusively by the discovery of Archaeopteryx lithographica, 150 years ago. Since then, the examples have piled higher and higher. Protoceratops, Diarthrognathus, Tiktaalik, Hyracotherium, Sphecomyrma, Pachyrachis, Protocetus, Ardipithecus, Nectocaris ... the list goes on and on.

You forgot Flipperpithecus.   Oh, and our favorite Darwin-day Lemur, Ida?   How about Pakicetus?  Nebraska Man?  None of these animals are transitional. Some of them are fakes or falsely presented. None of them have an unformed one thing becoming another thing.  They are all simply species of organisms that we find today in different forms.   One of the big lies of Darwinism is transitional forms.   Also, the theory behind them has been falsified by following the phylogenetic trail exactly, as we can now do with advances in our study of DNA and the cell.   Various limbs and organs do not all come from the same place in the gene, even in supposedly related-by-evolution organisms. 




No observed information gain in organisms nor any comprehensive concept that suggests how it might happen.

[yawn] BTDT. Insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. Cecal valves in wall-lizards. Citrate metabolization in Escherischia coli. Toxin resistance in garter snakes. Neurotoxins in rattlesnake venom.

That yawn represents a gaping hole in your knowledge.   Any of these have been shown to be a result of information loss or exchange and not one of them is a result of information gain.   For instance, probably all E Coli have the ability to metabolize citrate anaerobically built into the gene pool but citrate is not a preference for them.  It required information loss that produced a speciated form of E Coli that could, indeed, metabolize citrate aerobically but would not survive for long in "the wild" as other E Coli better prepared to survive would be more likely to live and reproduce. 

That yawn is also the gap between Darwinist claims and one, even one, example of information GAIN in an organism over the entire course of observational scientific history.   Not one researcher has ever found it to happen and no one can imagine a probable means by which new information enters the gene.  Mutation is usually a problem rather than a solution but oddly enough the cell is designed with lots of redundancies and several pre-set switches that mutations can trigger in order for the organism to exist despite the error in the code.

I recognize that the cell is a combination of hardware and software beautifully and intricately designed, much as a spacecraft, with lots of redundancies and contingencies to enable it to continue to navigate through generation to generation and continue to fill the niche in the ecosystem it was designed to fill on an Earth designed to provide a home for not just life, but intelligent life and placed in such a way that the majority of the Universe can be observed and studied and to some extent understood and its powers and processes utilized to accomplish things for the benefit of mankind. 

I believe that in the beginning, God created.   I do not just believe this because I choose to believe it but I also believe it because it is far and away the most logical and really the only logical explanation for life.   Life is far too complex and designed and organized to have happened by chance events.   When will Darwinists see this?  It is just too obvious.   Every new revelation about organisms reveals more design, more fail-safes, more proof that kinds are designed to adjust to conditions but remain the same kind!

This just in....

Biology's Skeleton In The Closet: The Broken Bones Of Origins Science

Review Of Chapter 13 Of Signature In The Cell, by Stephen Meyer, HarperOne Publishers, ISBN: 9780061894206
By Robert Deyes
ARN Correspondent

I never would have suspected that the literary sensation Dr Seuss' The Cat In The Hat Comes Back would be used to make a point about the devastating shortcomings of origin of life theories (1). But when I read one of the later chapters of Meyer's Signature In The Cell which in one foul swoop discredited Hermann Muller's fortuitous origins of DNA, Henry Quastler's DNA self replication hypothesis and Manfred Eigen's ideas on hypercycles I could not help but be fascinated by his use of this children's classic in his exposition. Of course in their own unique ways each of these scientists became steadfastly convinced that they were onto something of great significance that would lead to fruitful avenues on the all important question of how life had begun.

Muller drew inferences from his own work on viruses, in particular bacteriophages ('bacteria eaters'), equating these simple organisms to "a gene that copies itself within the cell" (2). He envisioned these as being somehow analogous to primitive DNA floating around in the chemical-rich soup of the early earth (2). Quastler on the other hand suggested that polynucleotides could act as templates for replication through complementary base pairing (3). And Eigen chose to assume that 'self-reproducing molecular systems' involving RNA molecules and basic enzymes could somehow supply an early form of transcription and translation, later forming hypercycles that would have preceded the arrival of the earliest cells (4).

So how is the Cat in the Hat relevant? Crucial aspects of the above mechanistic propositions, writes Meyer, parallel the antics of our feline friend as he unwillingly redistributes the mess he has created in the house of his none-too-happy hosts. Origin of life scientists have similarly been trying for decades to "clean up the problem of explaining the origin of [biological] information" only to find that they have "simply transferred the problem elsewhere- either by presupposing some other unexplained sources of information or by overlooking the indispensable role of an intelligence" (1). And their modern day brethren, with the apparent sophistication of computer-housed evolutionary algorithms, have fared little better. Meyer's unpacking of the reality behind Ev, for example, described by its author Thomas Schneider as "a simple computer program" that attempts to evolve the information content of DNA binding sites in a hypothetical genome, is a case in point (5). In Ev Schneider specifies the sequence of these DNA binding sites and incorporates the code for the binding site 'recognizer' (protein) into the genome (5). The relative penalties for mis-binding or non-binding of the recognizer to sequences are pre-set into the program (5).

Ev stands guilty as charged since, as Meyer asserts, it presupposes an unexplained source of information (1). And for that matter so does the much-celebrated evolutionary algorithm Me Thinks It Is Like A Weasel. "[Both] succeed in generating the information they seek" writes Meyer "either by providing information about the desired outcome from the onset, or by adding information incrementally during the computer program's search for the target". The so-called 'active information' imparted by the programmer allowed both programs to assess the proximity of any given sequence to a pre-specified target- hardly a fair representation of the Darwinian mechanism in action.

I had the opportunity to hear Michigan State University philosopher Robert Pennock present on another much-touted algorithm called AVIDA during the 2008 Bioethics Forum in Madison, Wisconsin. The forum carried the promissory title Evolution In The 21st Century. And Pennock certainly did his utmost to adopt the 'Darwin immortalized' slant that the event was promoting (6). From the deliberations that followed Pennock's exposition it appeared on the surface that AVIDA trumped its predecessors by not pre-specifying any sort of evolutionary target (5). But as I found out on further inspection appearances can be deceptive. In fact the AVIDA world is home to a brood of digital organisms that are rewarded with resources and replicate each time they perform logic functions (eg: AND, OR). Meyer's principle criticism is that the inherent complexity of these functions in no way equates to that which we find in genes and therefore unreasonably "diminishes the probabilistic task that nature would face in "trying" to evolve the first reproducing cell".

The problems with AVIDA run deeper still as Winston Ewert, William Dembski and Robert Marks II have made all too clear in their expository dissection of digital organisms. They conclude that "AVIDA generates active information from a number of knowledge sources provided by the programmer and, with respect to an evolutionary strategy, performs poorly with respect to other search strategies using the same prior knowledge" (7). In fact AVIDA organisms are endowed with virtual genomes and the capacity to replicate and operate within a realm of assigned merit values for each of the logic functions they perform (6).

More generally, the thrust of Meyer's attack has everything to do with the law of conservation of information (COI) (6). COI theory supplies us with a critical insight: "all computer search algorithms of moderate to high difficulty require active information" (ie from the programmer) and "the amount of information in a computer in its initial state equals or exceeds the amount of information in its final state" (1). That is, evolutionary algorithms do not furnish us with a means by which to simulate the origin of genetic information through natural selection given that too much information is siphoned into these algorithms from the onset by external intelligence.

For the same reasons already mentioned, the mess left by Dr Seuss' Cat in the Hat is once again proverbially pertinent to the matter at hand. In this regard, Meyer is to be congratulated for his divulgence of biology's foremost skeleton in the closet- the absence of a scientifically plausible explanation for the origin of biological information. On that matter, we should embrace his enthusiasm for change in the way that clenched-fist biologists filter debate over their view of life's unfolding story.

 credit

References
1.Stephen Meyer (2009) Signature In The Cell: DNA And The Evidence For Intelligent Design, HarperOne Publishers, pp. 271-295
2.Iris Fry (2006) The origins of research into the origins of life, Endeavour, Volume 30, Issue 1, March 2006, pp. 24-28
3.Robert L. Herrmann (1975) Implications of Molecular Biology for Creation and Evolution, JASA 27 (December 1975): pp. 156-159, http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1975/JASA12-75Herrmann.html
4.Vladimir Red'ko (1998) Hypercycles, Principia Cybernetica, See http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/HYPERC.html
5.Thomas Schneider (2000) Evolution of biological information, Nucleic Acids Research, 2000, Vol 28, pp. 2794-2799
6.Robert Deyes (2008) AVIDA As A 'Teleo-LOGIC' Model Of Life, Access Research Network, See http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/2/2008/08/09/avida_as_a_teleo_logic_model_of_life
7.Winston Ewert, William Dembski, Robert Marks II (2009) Evolutionary Synthesis Of Nand Logic: Dissecting A Digital Organism, Proceedings Of The 2009 IEEE International Conference On Systems, Man, And Cybernetics, San Antonio, Texas, USA (October 2009), pp. 3047-3053, See http://evoinfo.org/papers/2009_EvolutionarySynthesis.pdf

9 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

An entire post devoted to countering li'l ol' me? Wow.

Alas, for the weakness of it...

So I went forth to find out if there was a scientific rationale behind Darwinism and whether there were those who had scientific evidence to bulwark Genesis. ... Dr. Henry Morris, via cassette tapes and books, opened my eyes to the fact that there were, in fact, entire organizations of scientists who believed Genesis, believed in a young Earth and a Noahic flood and had documentation to back up their beliefs!

And this impressed you ... why? Did you assume that because he shared your faith, Morris could be trusted to tell you the truth? Did you really think that when you limit yourself to the physical evidence alone, the claims of Morris and his fellows, with all the half-truths, selective editing, handwaving, and other factual and logical flaws that those claims contain, made more sense than conventional science did? Or did you switch over to believing YEC because it gave you a way to reconcile your newfound faith with (what you thought was) the real-world evidence? Did you ever think to go back and look at the original evidence, without preconceptions of any kind, and see where it led you?

It certainly doesn't look like you did. Because doing that leads to the conclusion that YEC is wrong and conventional theory is right.

I simply gave Genesis a chance to be accurate...

Did you ever seriously consider the possibility that Genesis might not be accurate? Again, it certainly doesn't look like you did. It looks like your preacher said "to be a Christian you must believe Genesis;" Morris said, "you can believe Genesis and science if you assume Genesis and distort science;" and you said "Great! Now I don't have to think about the conflict between science and my faith anymore!" and flung your energies into parroting defenses of YEC without ever considering just how absurd some of those defenses sound. Maybe not in those exact words, but that's the general course your thoughts followed. How do I know that? Because distorting science is the only way anyone can support YEC today. As you yourself have demonstrated repeatedly, and do so again in this very post.

None of these animals are transitional. Some of them are fakes or falsely presented. None of them have an unformed one thing becoming another thing. They are all simply species of organisms that we find today in different forms.

A friend of mine calls arguments like this argumentum ad assertion alopecium. You don't even know what most of the animals I listed are, much less why they're considered transitionals. Yet you're certain that they aren't transitionals. Not a scientific attitude, Radar.

(continued...)

Jon Woolf said...

Any of these have been shown to be a result of information loss or exchange and not one of them is a result of information gain.

Can you prove that? Can you show me the actual gene sequences involved, the old and the new, and demonstrate exactly how removing DNA produced these new abilities? Can you even describe just what I'm talking about in each of the examples I used?

Not one researcher has ever found it to happen and no one can imagine a probable means by which new information enters the gene.

I can and have. I've explained it repeatedly in past comments. You simply dismiss it without explanation or counter-argument. Again, not a scientific attitude.

Mutation is usually a problem rather than a solution but oddly enough the cell is designed with lots of redundancies and several pre-set switches that mutations can trigger in order for the organism to exist despite the error in the code.

What's odd about it? Under conventional theory, modern cells have three billion years of evolution behind them. Cells have a lot of built-in error-checking and redundancy because those are traits that favor survival. Cells that developed them outcompeted cells that didn't, and today, all we see are the winners.

Now I'll grant you that figuring out how such error-checking could evolve is a difficult question. I don't yet have a good answer. The repair enzymes are so old, and have been molded so specifically by evolution, that no known traces remain of their ancestry. So are they proof of a Designer? I don't know enough to say either way, so I prefer to say "there is insufficient data for a meaningful answer," and move on to other questions. For now.

(continued...)

Jon Woolf said...

Your copypasta of Deyes's column illustrates the problems with your approach. You take a book review written by a biased correspondent, of a book written by a biased writer, which itself is a layman's summary of work across many fields ... and you think you can base a valid scientific argument on it! It doesn't work that way, Radar. To believably critique the evidence, you have to actually know and understand the evidence. I've never met a creationist who could do that.

Here's an example: Over on my bookcase there is a popular-science book on whales. Of course it has a section about how whales evolved. It's twenty years old, so it pre-dates the discoveries of Pakicetus and Rodhocetus and Ambulocetus. And as a pop-science book, it doesn't go into much detail. But it does contain drawings of five skulls from the evolutionary sequence for whales. That's hard evidence: five skulls from five animals which indisputably did live once. Among other things, the five skulls show five different placements for the nostril opening in the skull, from the muzzle in Mesonyx to atop the head in modern dolphins.

You, a creationist, look at these five skulls and see five unrelated animals. You would probably throw in some snarky comment about "how could the nostrils move through the bones of the skull, like a boat moving through the waves?" But I, a cruious amateur scientist, look closer and discover that relative to the bones of the skull, the nostrils didn't move at all. What actually changed is the size and shape of the bones in the skull. The bones in front of the nares got longer, and the bones behind the nares got shorter. That isn't theory, and it isn't imagination. It's fact. The skulls of a protocetid and a modern delphinid contain the same bones, just with different sizes and shapes.

Then I connect that with information from another book on how bones grow. They don't grow to a specific size and shape; instead, they grow until specific conditions are met. Changing those conditions isn't hard. Each such change produces a slightly different size and shape of the resulting bones. Do it repeatedly, many times over hundreds of generations, each change building on the last one, and all the little changes can add up to a big change, like moving the nostrils from the muzzle to the head. Again, this isn't theory and it isn't imagination. It's fact, discovered and confirmed in laboratory experiments.

Now, and only now, I make an intuitive leap and think that if evolution can do something like move the nares, then it can certainly change limb lengths, make fur thicker or thinner -- in short, it can explain all the changes that go into developing a whale from a land animal.

And as I say all of this, do all this research, learn all this new stuff, figure out how to apply it, go look for new evidence to test my hypothesis ... you just stand there with a fixed sneer on your face and repeat "evolution is impossible."

Now which of those two approaches is science?

Hawkeye® said...

Jon Woolf,

"And this impressed you ... why?"
... Because when you are unaware that a thing exists and you discover its existence, you get excited. Isn't that what scientists do every time they discover something new? Get over it.

"with all the half-truths, selective editing, handwaving, and other factual and logical flaws that those claims contain"... You are talking here about evolutionary theory I presume.

"Did you ever seriously consider the possibility that Genesis might not be accurate?"... Radar started out with the assumption that Genesis was NOT accurate. Didn't you read that? Are you brain-dead?

"parroting defenses of YEC"... And are you not parroting defenses of Darwinism?

"that's the general course your thoughts followed"... Oh, and you're a mind-reader now too.

"Can you prove that?"... That sounds funny coming from a Darwinist. What have the Darwinists been able to PROVE?

"Now I'll grant you that figuring out how such error-checking could evolve is a difficult question"... No. Ya think?

"I don't yet have a good answer"... What Darwinist does?

"I don't know enough to say either way, so I prefer to say 'there is insufficient data for a meaningful answer,' and move on to other questions"... Darwinists do that a lot don't they? Can't figure things out, so they move on. Pretend like that's all settled and hope nobody questions them on it.

"a layman's summary of work across many fields ... and you think you can base a valid scientific argument on it!"... No one can be an expert at everything. Or do you add that to your list of achievements like mind-reading?

Regardless of that, the arguments presented in the "summary" and the book from which it came are more philosophical than scientific. They show that the scientists under discussion simply passed the buck and failed to prove their theories.

Meyer was correct and you know it. That's what irritates you isn't it? That your "friends", who no doubt expend great quantities of brain-power to develop their theories, can be so easily analyzed and debunked. Too bad.

I would like to keep playing, but I have to run...

Jon Woolf said...

You're not impressing anyone with your sneers and sniping, Hawkeye.

Anonymous said...

You're not usually this childish/churlish, Hawkeye. 'Sup?

Anonymous said...

You're not usually this childish/churlish, Hawkeye. 'Sup?

Indeed. Although defiant, Hawkeye usually remains quite civilized.
Did someone hack his account, or what?

radar said...

I myself have been busy celebrating Memorial Day and seeing my daughter add a son-in-law to the family.

As it happens, Amanda left her parrokeet with us, as Boggart would not do well moving to a new place with far fewer people and little company. This allowed me to start the Champagne toast with this:

"Parrokeets do not move well, so Amanda left Boggart with us. So I guess you could say that we gave Amanda to Dan and Amanda? Yes, she gave us...the bird!"

Good laugh on that one. But I ended with: "When the right man finds the right woman and they realize they are made for each other, and marry, then that is far better than anything that can be bought or sold. To Mr. and Mrs. Walker!" *clinks and cheers and applause* (The applause being for Amanda and Dan and not me, naturally. A great speech that never fails is "without further ado.") Short and sweet is best.

I know for a fact that our family has had at least nine military men, ranking from general down to private (although I think PFC is the lowest ending rank I know of in the family but who cares?) and we know of relatives that served in the Revolutionary and 1812 and Civil War and WWI and WW2 and Korea and Vietnam (me, from a desk though) and Afghanistan and we think that they all made it through alive. We have been a blessed and lucky family.

Now I have a much bigger family because Dan's side is a bunch of nice people and we like them a lot. So I am going to enjoy my vacation before more science stuff!

WomanHonorThyself said...

Hope u had a beautiful Memorial day weekend with the fam...but I know ya did..Bless u my friend~!