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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cheating with Chance

This article was written before we knew more about the complexity and functionality of what was once called Junk DNA but it is still a great read and another reason to just walk away from Darwinism and begin accepting a created Universe.

4/2/2011 update:   A host of comments are answered plainly with this post linked here!

Cheating with chance

The argument from probability that life could not form by natural processes but must have been created is sometimes acknowledged by evolutionists as a strong argument.1 The probability of the chance formation of a hypothetical functional ‘simple’ cell, given all the ingredients, is acknowledged2 to be worse than 1 in 1057800. This is a chance of 1 in a number with 57,800 zeros. It would take 11 full pages of magazine type to print this number. To try to put this in perspective, there are about 1080 (a number with 80 zeros) electrons in the universe. Even if every electron in our universe were another universe the same size as ours that would ‘only’ amount to 10160 electrons.

These numbers defy our ability to comprehend their size. Fred Hoyle, British mathematician and astronomer, used analogies to try to convey the immensity of the problem. For example, Hoyle said the probability of the formation of just one of the many proteins on which life depends is comparable to that of the solar system packed full of blind people randomly shuffling Rubik’s cubes all arriving at the solution at the same time3—and this is the chance of getting only one of the 400 or more proteins of the hypothetical minimum cell proposed by the evolutionists (real world ‘simple’ bacteria have about 2,000 proteins and are incredibly complex). As Hoyle points out, the program of the cell, encoded on the DNA, is also needed. In other words, life could not form by natural (random) processes.

Evolutionists often try to bluff their way out of this problem by using analogies to argue that improbable things happen every day, so why should the naturalistic origin of life be considered impossible? For example, they say the odds of winning the lottery are pretty remote, but someone wins it every week. Or, the chances of getting the particular arrangement of cards obtained by shuffling a deck is remote, but a rare combination happens every time the cards are shuffled. Or the arrangement of the sand grains in a pile of sand obtained by randomly pouring the sand is extremely complex, but this complex and improbable arrangement did occur as a result of random processes. Or the exact combination and arrangement of people walking across a busy city street is highly improbable, but such improbable arrangements happen all the time. So they argue from these analogies to try to dilute the force of this powerful argument for creation.

You probably realize there is something illogical about this line of argument. But what is it?

In all the analogies cited above, there has to be an outcome. Someone has to win the lottery. There will be an arrangement of cards. There will be a pile of sand. There will be people walking across the busy street. By contrast, in the processes by which life is supposed to have formed, there need not necessarily be an outcome. Indeed the probabilities argue against any outcome. That is the whole point of the argument. But then the evolutionist may counter that it did happen because we are here! This is circular reasoning at its worst.

Note several other things about these analogies:

Creationists do not argue that life is merely complex, but that it is ordered in such a way as to defy a natural explanation. The order in the proteins and DNA of living things is independent of the properties of the chemicals of which they consist—unlike an ice crystal where the structure results from the properties of the water molecule. The order in living things parallels that in printed books where the information is not contained in the ink, or even in the letters, but in the complex arrangement of letters which make up words, words which make up sentences, sentences which make up paragraphs, paragraphs which make up chapters and chapters which make up books. These components of written language respectively parallel the nucleic acid bases, codons, genes, operons, chromosomes and genomes which make up the genetic programs of living cells.
The order in living things shows they are the product of intelligence. The result of the lottery draw is clearly the result of a random selection—unless family members of the lottery supervisor consistently win! Then we would conclude that the draw has not been random—it is not the result of a random process, but the result of an intelligent agent.

The arrangement of cards resulting from shuffling would not normally suggest anything other than a random process. However, if all the cards were ordered by their suits from lowest to highest, we would logically conclude that an intelligent agent arranged them (or ‘stacked the deck’ in card-playing parlance) because such an arrangement is highly unlikely from genuine shuffling—a random, non-intelligent process.

The arrangement of the sand grains in a pile would not normally suggest it resulted from intelligent activity rather than natural processes. However, if all the sand grains were lined up in single file, or were in a neat rectangle, we would attribute this to an intelligent agent, or a machine made by an intelligent agent, as this would not be likely from a natural process.

The arrangement of people crossing a busy street would not normally suggest anything other than a random process. However, if all the people were ordered from shortest to tallest, or some other ordered arrangement, we would suspect that an intelligent agent was responsible for putting them in this order—that it did not result from chance. If 20 people were arranged from shortest to tallest, the odds of this happening by chance are less than one in a billion, billion (1018), so it would be reasonable to conclude that such an ordered arrangement was not due to chance whereas there would be nothing to suggest intelligent involvement if there was no meaningful pattern to the arrangement of people.

Many scientists today claim that an invisible ‘intelligent cause’ is outside the realm of ‘real’ science. These scientists have redefined science as naturalism (nature is all there is). However, scientists recognise the evidence for an invisible intelligent agent when it suits them. For example, forensic science determines if past events were the result of accident or plan and purpose (‘Who done it?’). The Piltdown ape-man fraud was discovered, after some 40 years and numerous postgraduate research theses, when researchers had the opportunity to examine the original bones and not just replicas, and they noticed file marks on the teeth.4 Such marks do not happen by natural processes and the researchers recognised the involvement of a human (intelligent) agent—a hoaxer.

Likewise, United States taxpayers are spending millions of dollars yearly in funding the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). If those listening hear a radio signal with random noise, it is clearly the product of a natural process, but if there is a pattern such as ‘dah-dah-dah-dit-dit-dit-dah-dah-dah’, it will be hailed as evidence for an intelligent, although invisible, source.

If such evidence indicates an intelligent source then surely the incredible amount of information on the DNA in living things, equivalent to a library of a thousand 500-page books in a human being,5 shouts Creation by a Creator! The more we know about the biochemical workings of living cells, the stronger the evidence becomes for the intimate involvement of a creator. We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made and no amount of illogical and irrelevant analogy will counter the clear evidence for this.

Related article

References

  1. D.A. Bradbury, ‘Reply to Landau and Landau’, Creation/Evolution 13(2):48–49, 1993. Return to text.
  2. ibid. Return to text.
  3. F. Hoyle, ‘The big bang in astronomy’, New Scientist, 92(1280):527, 1981. Return to text.
  4. M.L. Lubenow, Bones of Contention—a Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1992, pp. 39–44. Return to text.
  5. M. Denton, Evolution: Theory in Crisis, Burnett Books, London, 1985, p.351. Return to text.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Many scientists today claim that an invisible ‘intelligent cause’ is outside the realm of ‘real’ science. These scientists have redefined science as naturalism (nature is all there is)."

Yawn. Another creationist who can't get the distinction between methodological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism.

Finding functionality in what was previously thought to be junk DNA doesn't amount to evidence for creation, as it's also compatible with evolution. On the other hand, there are aspects of DNA (e.g. ERVs) that falsify YEC.

Jon Woolf said...

"The argument from probability that life could not form by natural processes but must have been created is sometimes acknowledged by evolutionists as a strong argument."

Only by the ones who don't understand the subject.

"The probability of the chance formation of a hypothetical functional ‘simple’ cell, given all the ingredients, is acknowledged to be worse than 1 in 1057800."

This is the probability that a cell would spontaneously assemble all at once from completely random interactions of atoms. It overlooks three things:

1) the laws of chemistry and physics limit the number of interactions that would be available.

2) chemicals accumulate. What is almost impossible in one second becomes much more likely over several hundred million years.

3) the difference between "the probability of this specific combination" and "the probability of some combination with the same functional result."

Anonymous whatsit said...

There are a number of problems with the arguments presented here. Jon Woolf has already pointed out the usual glaring problem with the standard "the odds of life forming by pure chance are this really big number we calculated! Look at how big this number is!" That's what the whole 1st paragraph here amounts to.

"By contrast, in the processes by which life is supposed to have formed, there need not necessarily be an outcome."

Wrong. There also has to be an outcome in this case. Depending on how you frame the problem, most likely an arrangement of molecules. There must be some arrangement of molecules. Perhaps the author was just phrasing this badly.

"However, if all the people were ordered from shortest to tallest, or some other ordered arrangement, we would suspect that an intelligent agent was responsible for putting them in this order—that it did not result from chance."

Some days I walk along a pebble beach nearby, and I can observe that the pebbles are somewhat sorted by size along the beach - biggest rocks at the top, then smaller rocks, then pebbles, then sand, then sometimes a line of debris, shells etc.

By the reasoning shown above, I would have to conclude that an intelligent agent was responsible for this, i.e. that somebody came down to the beach and manually sorted the pebbles by size etc.

And I would indeed be able to come up with some enormous figure to indicate the odds of a random pile of rocks, pebble and sand being transformed into something in layers. A truly astronomical figure that would show just how utterly impossible it is for these rocks etc. to be arranged like this at random.

Would anyone here conclude that the pebbles must have been sorted by an intelligent entity, supernatural or otherwise?

Would anyone here conclude that the pebbles were not arranged by random chance, but that they were sorted by a natural process?

radar said...

ERV's don't falsify creation, but DNA itself falsifies Darwinism.

JW's statements on probability are bereft of evidence or logic.

radar said...

And as to pebbles, you are not familiar with wave action or haven't lived by a lake or ocean? Waves sort pebbles. I used to live on Lake Michigan and this is typical of most of the lakeshore.

Anonymous whatsit said...

"And as to pebbles, you are not familiar with wave action or haven't lived by a lake or ocean? Waves sort pebbles."

I'm familiar with wave action and do live by the ocean, which is why I'm aware that waves sort pebbles. I'm glad you're not denying that waves can do this. A natural process creating order, without any necessary input from an intelligent entity.

And yet, as I pointed out above, you could construct the same fallacious arguments about this: the supposedly impossible odds of this having occurred by random chance (if you simply ignore the effect of waves), the claim that since there is order, it must have been brought about by intelligence.

Anonymous whatsit said...

"ERV's don't falsify creation,"

They falsify YEC, since they indicate that man and chimpansee share a common ancestor.

"but DNA itself falsifies Darwinism."

The only way you'd be able to make that claim is through an argument from incredulity, as you consistently do on your blog: DNA is so complex it must have been created by God. There is no scientific falsification at play here.

Anonymous whatsit said...

"JW's statements on probability are bereft of evidence or logic."

He lists three things that are overlooked in the usual claims of odds of abiogenesis by creationists. I'd add a fourth: the number of trials involved.

How are these points bereft of logic? Can you show that the calculation of the odds did take these into account? Or provide reasoning why they should not be?

highboy said...

Similarities between a chimp and a human are similarities, not proof that they had a common ancestor.

Anonymous said...

"Similarities between a chimp and a human are similarities, not proof that they had a common ancestor."

Are you choosing a side in the creation/evolution debate, highboy?

Anyway, ERVs are more than just similarities. Here's a video that explains how devastating ERVs exactly are to YEC:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7HBMWfRqSA

Anonymous said...

"Are you choosing a side in the creation/evolution debate, highboy?"

AFAIK Highboy is on the creation side but on the fence between young Earth and old Earth.

Highboy, you seem to underestimate ERVs, probably because you don't know much about them yet. They're not just "similarities", and they're not just between chimp and man. They're a good indicator of which primates diverged from each other at which point in the evolutionary tree.

Anonymous said...

"I used to live on Lake Michigan and this is typical of most of the lakeshore."

And if someone told you that the odds against those pebbles being arranged that way by random chance were simply astronomical, would you jump to the conclusion that some intelligent creator had stopped by and sorted the pebbles?

radar said...

Really, some of these comments! The movement of water has been studied and we know a lot about the sorting of waves and also flood hydrology, which is why the fossil rock layers speak "Flood" in capital letters to any Hydrologist who is not brainwashed in the Darwinist mindset.

Anyway, waves tend to sort objects in specific ways. We have observed this behavior and understand it to be a natural process.

On the other hand, signs of intelligence bespeak of an intelligent source. No one walks up to a 2011 Porsche and begins making assumptions about how it evolved. Yet one human cell is far more complex, sophisticated and packed full of information than any modern automobile. How can you not see the problem that Darwinism has run headlong into???

Jon Woolf said...

"The movement of water has been studied and we know a lot about the sorting of waves and also flood hydrology, which is why the fossil rock layers speak "Flood" in capital letters to any Hydrologist who is not brainwashed in the Darwinist mindset."

[snicker.wav]

What's the YEC explanation for broken, weathered, and scavenged fossils, Radar?

Why aren't dolphins and ichthyosaurs ever found together, Radar?

Why aren't rhamphorhynchoids and neornithines ever found together, Radar?

How did dogwoods and sycamores outrun brontosaurs and allosaurs to higher ground, Radar?

How do we get fossil formations that preserve multiple layers of dinosaur and bird nests, obviously nesting colonies from several different years, in the middle of the geologic column?

How did we get magmatic intrusions -- that is, underground lava flows that took time to occur and more time to cool and solidify -- in between layers of fossil-bearing sedimentary rock?

Most important of all, why do YECs find it necessary to lie about the evidence, Radar?

As always, no answer was the sad reply...

radar said...

Not to be unkind, Jon, but you are a broken record with the same old list that is meaningless in the extreme. Most of your charges are canards as Darwinist paleontologists do not take note of findings that are not part of their worldview. Until one does, like Mary Schweitzer, and then the floodgates open and all sorts of findings of remains rather than stone suddenly are discovered.

Scavenged fossils, nests and lava flows are no problem for a flood event that, including the following ice age, formed fossils and landmarks for several hundred years.

Also, I do not lie about the evidence. But if I did, that would be wrong in my viewpoint but you, as a product of random chance, do not recognize absolutes so who are you to accuse me of breaking a moral code you do not acknowledge that was given to mankind by a Creator God that you deny?

Jon Woolf said...

[snicker.wav] Dodge and squirm, squirm and dodge...

You're not fooling anybody, Radar.

The plain fact of the matter is that the fossil record is not sorted the way a worldwide flood would sort it. Therefore, the fossil record wasn't produced by a worldwide flood. Geologists know this, even though you don't.

highboy said...

"Anyway, ERVs are more than just similarities. Here's a video that explains how devastating ERVs exactly are to YEC:"

The video spent more time arguing against an intelligent designer than it did arguing against YEC. As for the relevant part of the video, it said 98% of our DNA is identical to that of a chimp. How this is proof that chimps and humans absolutely had to have a common ancestor the video wasn't clear on.

As for the part that was spent bashing ID, most of it was a total logic fail. For these stupid positions where the person gives examples of "bad design" to work, the one making the argument has to assume that they know how a supernatural God they don't believe in would have or should have created these living organisms, and also has to assume that he/she knows the motives behind creating these organisms to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Radar- did you think anony was really suggesting that the sand and pebbles were actually sorted by some form of intelligence?

lava

Anonymous said...

"As for the relevant part of the video, it said 98% of our DNA is identical to that of a chimp."

Um, that wasn't actually the relevant part of the video. The relevant part of the video was about the ERVs, which occur in specific ways and are randomly inserted into DNA. And they happen to be inserted in the exact same positions both in humans and chimps. The odds against this happening by chance even once are astronomical.

When you look at this in the context of the theory of evolution, it makes perfect sense, as both humans and chimps inherited the ERVs from a common ancestor.

When you look at it in the context of YEC, it makes no sense at all, as for this to have been a coincidence would require beating odds that are visualized in great detail in the video.

Anonymous said...

"Anyway, waves tend to sort objects in specific ways. We have observed this behavior and understand it to be a natural process."

That's right. And that's the point that was being made.

Order from disorder can be the result of natural processes.

Thank you for conceding this point, even if you still probably have a mental block about seeing how this can apply in other areas.

Anonymous said...

"The video spent more time arguing against an intelligent designer than it did arguing against YEC."

No intelligent designer = no YEC.

Anonymous said...

"Scavenged fossils, nests and lava flows are no problem for a flood event that, including the following ice age, formed fossils and landmarks for several hundred years"

You'll have to explain what you mean by that. The YEC claim was that all the fossil record was formed by a global flood lasting a year or so. This happens to be falsified by a number of observable facts, including some of the ones Jon Woolf mentions here, and of course the sequential nature of fossils found in the fossil record. Nevertheless, that is the YEC claim.

Now you're trying to include the "following ice age" to buy yourself more time to deal with these problems. I suspect this is something you made up on the spot.

Here's the problem: if you want to lay claim to that additional time to explain, for example, dinosaur nests in different layers, well, then you no longer have the global flood to explain all of the layers above the ones containing the dinosaur nests.

Where did all those layers come from then?

Anonymous said...

One problem creationists have is that they have not yet come up with a consistent, comprehensive scenario that puts everything into place, that addresses all the data. They attempt to nitpick at various sciences and think that if they can win an argument here or there (usually only through a logical fallacy, but creationists often see these as victories), then that somehow proves their side.

What YECs should be able to do at this point is to provide a clear chronology and show how this ties in with all the evidence - with tree rings, ice cores, radiometric dating, fossils, archeology, the whole thing. After all, that's what mainstream science has done, and YEC claims to be superior to mainstream science. So if what you believe is true, YEC should be able to account for all those data. And yet I think it's safe to predict that all you'll have in return is some vague bluster and, again, derision.

Don't you ever wonder, Radar, why you have to make up explanations like this on the spot instead of actual scientists having figured this out? Or even trying to figure it out today? Why can't creationists make progress on this?

Anonymous said...

"Also, I do not lie about the evidence. But if I did, that would be wrong in my viewpoint but you, as a product of random chance, do not recognize absolutes so who are you to accuse me of breaking a moral code you do not acknowledge that was given to mankind by a Creator God that you deny?"

A genuine case of projection. Radar's reasoning goes something like this:

1. My moral code is based on there being an authority, a specific entity, that tells mankind what to do and what not to do.

2. Atheists claim that that entity doesn't exist.

3. Therefore atheists have no moral code.

And yet moral codes can and do develop in all societies, and even some of the Christian commenters here have acknowledged that atheists have moral codes as well. They question how that can be, since there is no authority telling them what to do.

From an atheistic viewpoint, it's quite simple: mankind has developed moral codes over time, and has on occasion expressed these through (man-made) religious proclamations to give them authority. Moral codes, regardless of their origin, exist to tell us how we can best live together, and that is something that can be arrived at through a process of trial and error - an evolution, if you will. Laws and "unspoken laws" passed down over time.

Even Jews and Christians have gone through this evolution without God's word explicitly commanding them to do so. At some point, Jews and Christian realized it just wasn't right, for example, to have your children stoned to death by all the men in the town just for being rebellious teenagers, or that a woman who is raped must marry the rapist once he has paid the raped woman's father fifty shekels.

highboy said...

"The relevant part of the video was about the ERVs, which occur in specific ways and are randomly inserted into DNA. And they happen to be inserted in the exact same positions both in humans and chimps. The odds against this happening by chance even once are astronomical."

The odds of life forming by random chance are equally astronomical so I'm not sure why the big number you calculated is relevant in this discussion of ERVs yet not in the chance of life forming on its own.

"When you look at this in the context of the theory of evolution, it makes perfect sense, as both humans and chimps inherited the ERVs from a common ancestor."

Or maybe they didn't. You have no way of proving one way or the other, you can only play a simple game of "odds are..."

"No intelligent designer = no YEC."

Well the video did a piss poor job of arguing against an intelligent designer as a I already pointed out why.

Anonymous said...

"The odds of life forming by random chance are equally astronomical so I'm not sure why the big number you calculated is relevant in this discussion of ERVs yet not in the chance of life forming on its own."

As already pointed out earlier in this thread, the odds of life forming by random chance don't take into account a number of factors, which would significantly alter the odds in question.

To return to the earlier analogy: what are the odds of pebbles being arranged in a sorted structure on a beach? I could try to figure out all the possible arrangements of pebbles on the beach, and whatever that number is, I could then say that the chance of this having occurred by random chance is one out of that number.

And yet even Radar knows that there is a natural process that does have a sorting effect on the pebbles, namely wave action, and that the pebbles were not arranged by random chance. Once you take that into consideration, the odds of pebbles being arranged in some ordered way on the beach approach one.

Highboy, would you consider that initial calculation of odds, the one that doesn't take wave action into account, a reasonable calculation?

The same applies to the argument re. odds of abiogenesis. Once all the relevant factors affecting abiogenesis are taken into account, one could come up with a reasonable calculation, and I suspect that the result of that calculation wouldn't be astronomical at all.

Anonymous said...

"Or maybe they didn't. You have no way of proving one way or the other, you can only play a simple game of "odds are...""

You can play a little game of falsifiable, testable predictions. If chimps and humans and all other primates are related by common descent, then one can expect them to have inherited certain things from their common ancestor. If they are not related by common descent, we would not expect them to have certain features in common.

Here are some options:

1. The theory of evolution is true, in which case the data match the explanation 100%: a common ancestor suffered from a number of different ERVs, which were then passed on to its progeny, which split off into, in this example, humans and chimps.

2. Humans and chimps were created separately, and when they suffered from different ERVs (tens of thousands of them), they just happened to fall into the exact same location in the DNA in the chimp and the human. Since this placement is purely random, the odds of this happening even once is 1 in 3 million. The odds of it happening twice goes into the trillions. When you're talking about thousands of such matches, it is safe to say that it is statistically impossible that this happened by chance.

3. A creator/god designed the whole thing, but put these ERVs in place in exactly the pattern that the theory of evolution would predict. At that point you're back to arguing for the notion of a deceptive creator/god, which as I understand it even creationists don't like as an explanation as it clashes with scripture. And from another angle, you're also up against Occam's Razor with this one.

Anonymous said...

"Well the video did a piss poor job of arguing against an intelligent designer as a I already pointed out why."

Actually, you didn't. I'm not even sure you watched the same video, or what you were doing while it was playing. You somehow missed the actual ERV portion (it starts about a minute into the video), and you complained about arguments re. bad design, which are not even in the video.

If you want to argue against the video, (1) actually watch the video, and (2) come up with a coherent response to the actual arguments in the video.

Anonymous said...

"Or maybe they didn't. You have no way of proving one way or the other, you can only play a simple game of "odds are...""

You can play a little game of falsifiable, testable predictions. If chimps and humans and all other primates are related by common descent, then one can expect them to have inherited certain things from their common ancestor. If they are not related by common descent, we would not expect them to have certain features in common.

Anonymous said...

Here are some options:

1. The theory of evolution is true, in which case the data match the explanation 100%: a common ancestor suffered from a number of different ERVs, which were then passed on to its progeny, which split off into, in this example, humans and chimps.

2. Humans and chimps were created separately, and when they suffered from different ERVs (tens of thousands of them), they just happened to fall into the exact same location in the DNA in the chimp and the human. Since this placement is purely random, the odds of this happening even once is 1 in 3 million. The odds of it happening twice goes into the trillions. When you're talking about thousands of such matches, it is safe to say that it is statistically impossible that this happened by chance.

3. A creator/god designed the whole thing, but put these ERVs in place in exactly the pattern that the theory of evolution would predict. At that point you're back to arguing for the notion of a deceptive creator/god, which as I understand it even creationists don't like as an explanation as it clashes with scripture. And from another angle, you're also up against Occam's Razor with this one.

highboy said...

"Actually, you didn't"

Actually I did. Nothing in the video even comes close to disproving the idea of an intelligent designer. All it did was make an argument for evolution. While this would refute, if true, the idea of YEC, the notion of ERV's and human/chimp ancestry has nothing to do with an intelligent designer. One has nothing to do with the other.

"At that point you're back to arguing for the notion of a deceptive creator/god,"

How the hell is it a deceptive creator/god? Whether God created humanity through a slow evolutionary process or by an instant wave of His hand the idea of a Creator isn't in jeopardy. This is what I don't get. Most of the dissenters on here agree that evolution isn't necessarily incompatible with God yet for some reason the video posted doesn't use anything other than evolution to argue against the idea of an ID (God).

"Once all the relevant factors affecting abiogenesis are taken into account, one could come up with a reasonable calculation, and I suspect that the result of that calculation wouldn't be astronomical at all."

Actually, they still would. A first cause is simply a fact of science. Abiogenesis is the effect of cause.

The video does an impressive job with big numbers and calculations concerning probability to argue the validity of the theory of evolution, yet didn't address the fact that none of its arguments even come close to refuting the idea of ID that the DNA similarities only prove a single creator.

And toward the end of the video is the outrageous claim that ERVs are "irrefutable evidence that evolution is true". Completely false. While the video again talks of big calculations in terms of "odds" in regards to ERVs absent an evolutionary process it also pointed out earlier that nothing is impossible unless the odds of it happening are zero. In other words, the video contradicted itself by pointing out how ridiculous the odds are in regards to ERVs in the exact same places among chimps and humans while dismissing creationists argument in regards to the formation of life being so great, and pointing out that its never impossible unless the odds are zero. So there you have it. Its not impossible that these similarities exist between chimps and humans apart from evolution and we have no evidence to suggest that there is a common ancestor between the two other than to simply say "the odds are"

The odds of the human enzyme forming itself out of random chance is 1 in 10 to the power of 40,000, about as close as you can get to zero, regardless of how you want to frame the issue in terms of "factors" or "variables".

In any event, I don't have an emotional attachment to the outcome of a discussion over whether or not evolution is true, it makes no difference to me. I'm simply pointing out the inconsistency in the evolutionist position when he/she dismisses arguments of odds in terms of created life and yet uses those exact same odds to somehow "prove" evolution. The odds of ERVs in chimps being in the exact same place as humans without an evolutionary process? So low its mind-boggling. Yet so is the formation of life without a creator. No matter how we slice reality down, we're ALWAYS left with a physical quantity with no natural explanation for itself found within itself.

Anonymous said...

"In any event, I don't have an emotional attachment to the outcome of a discussion over whether or not evolution is true, it makes no difference to me."

Yet somehow you always choose to seek out the inconsistencies in the commenter's arguments and never those in Radar's arguments (and they're surely there). Are you sure you're not taking any side?

That said: I understand the point you're trying to make. Yet the fact that creationists try to downplay the significance of ERVs speaks for itself:

http://endogenousretrovirus.blogspot.com/2007/07/index-to-common-creationist-claims.html

Anonymous said...

How the hell is it a deceptive creator/god? Whether God created humanity through a slow evolutionary process or by an instant wave of His hand the idea of a Creator isn't in jeopardy. This is what I don't get. Most of the dissenters on here agree that evolution isn't necessarily incompatible with God yet for some reason the video posted doesn't use anything other than evolution to argue against the idea of an ID (God).

HB- I think when most people think of an intelligent designer, they aren't referring to a god who set things in motion and let evolution take its course (or even a course directed by god). I equate ID with the idea that god made animals fully formed, maybe created the elusive "kinds" that has never been fully defined on this blog. I am one of the people who believe in evolution, but also believe a god could have been involved with some aspect of life.


lava

Anonymous said...

"Actually I did. Nothing in the video even comes close to disproving the idea of an intelligent designer. All it did was make an argument for evolution. While this would refute, if true, the idea of YEC, the notion of ERV's and human/chimp ancestry has nothing to do with an intelligent designer. One has nothing to do with the other."

Again: did you even watch the video? It claims to provide irrefutable evidence for evolution. And you even admit that it provides an argument for evolution, which is exactly what it sets out to do.

Here's what's not in the video:

- a claim that nothing is impossible unless the odds of it happening are zero
- a claim that it disproves an intelligent designer (God)
- a dismissal of creationists' argument in regards to the formation of life being so great

These are all things you claimed were in the video. And yet not one of them is in the video.

Anonymous said...

"How the hell is it a deceptive creator/god?"

First of all, mind your language. Second, look at the context in which that statement was made, specifically the sentence immediately preceding it. That should answer your question.

"Whether God created humanity through a slow evolutionary process or by an instant wave of His hand the idea of a Creator isn't in jeopardy."

A useful distinction, sure, but again, the video wasn't claiming to attack the idea of an ultimate creator. If you want to believe that God created life at the beginning, billions of years ago, and then let evolution take its course, fine.

Anonymous said...

"This is what I don't get. Most of the dissenters on here agree that evolution isn't necessarily incompatible with God yet for some reason the video posted doesn't use anything other than evolution to argue against the idea of an ID (God)."

The video didn't argue against the existence of God. It provided evidence for evolution and against creationism. Big difference.

"Once all the relevant factors affecting abiogenesis are taken into account, one could come up with a reasonable calculation, and I suspect that the result of that calculation wouldn't be astronomical at all."

"Actually, they still would."

?? And you say this based on what? To make such a claim, you'd have to know all the relevant factors affecting abiogenesis and have made the calculation or at least have a very educated guess as to how they'd affect those odds. Did you?

Anonymous said...

"A first cause is simply a fact of science."

No, it isn't. We can see that every cause we observe has an effect. We're not in a position to determine that everything in existence once had a first cause.

This is a philosophical/theoretical argument, btw. Certainly not a "fact of science". I suspect you have a few things confused here.

Anonymous said...

"The video does an impressive job with big numbers and calculations concerning probability to argue the validity of the theory of evolution, yet didn't address the fact that none of its arguments even come close to refuting the idea of ID that the DNA similarities only prove a single creator."

The only way to cling to the notion of a single creator who created these ERVs would be to deduce a deceptive creator.

And AFAIK scripture tells us that God can not be deceptive. Hey, that's actually something that's IN the video

Anonymous said...

"And toward the end of the video is the outrageous claim that ERVs are "irrefutable evidence that evolution is true". Completely false."

No, the argument is well supported in the video. I have no idea why you had to make up at least three claims that were not in the video to try to contradict it, while not coming up with a single argument against what's actually in the video.

Anonymous said...

"Its not impossible that these similarities exist between chimps and humans apart from evolution and we have no evidence to suggest that there is a common ancestor between the two other than to simply say "the odds are""

It's a difference between "the odds are 100%" vs. "the odds are 1 in 2 x 10 to the power of 138".

Highboy, since you claim to have no emotional attachment to this issue (and since it is in fact irrelevant to whether God exists), here's a question:

If somebody came to you and said that there were two possible explanations for something that you had no attachment to, and that if one explanation is true, the odds of an observed event having occurred are 100%, and if the other explanation is true, the odds of an observed event having occurred are 1 in 2 x 10 to the power of 138, and if you were able to verify the calculations...

... would you then shrug and say it's a matter of "he said/she said"?

And if so... why?

Seems to me you're not as unattached as you like to think you are.

Anonymous said...

"The odds of the human enzyme forming itself out of random chance is 1 in 10 to the power of 40,000, about as close as you can get to zero, regardless of how you want to frame the issue in terms of "factors" or "variables"."

No, not regardless of those - disregarding those. You've failed to grasp a large chunk of the discussion in this thread. Take a closer look at the pebbles analogy above.

"The odds of ERVs in chimps being in the exact same place as humans without an evolutionary process? So low its mind-boggling."

Correct.

"Yet so is the formation of life without a creator."

No, we don't have an accurate calculation of those odds, any more than a calculation of pebbles being arranged by size on a beach without taking wave action being taken into account would be in any way a useful calculation of those odds.

highboy said...

"did you even watch the video? It claims to provide irrefutable evidence for evolution."

and failed. It provided an argument for evolution, it did not provide proof. No where does it show why ERVs prove that humans have an ape like ancestor, it merely states the odds of us having identical ERVs to those of chimps without evolution are mind-bogglingly low. Big difference.

"To make such a claim, you'd have to know all the relevant factors affecting abiogenesis and have made the calculation or at least have a very educated guess as to how they'd affect those odds. Did you?"

and once again, the odds of the enzyme forming on its own out of random chance are 1 in to to the power of 40,000, which is more than the number of atoms in this universe.

"No, it isn't. We can see that every cause we observe has an effect. We're not in a position to determine that everything in existence once had a first cause."

the formation of life is an effect. If you're saying there was no cause than you're saying we're not here.

"The only way to cling to the notion of a single creator who created these ERVs would be to deduce a deceptive creator."

Um, I fail to see how a creator who creates life by an evolutionary process would be "deceptive". You still haven't explained that.

"No, the argument is well supported in the video."

it simply stated the odds of the ERVs showing up in identical positions in both the chimp and human DNA without evolution are slim to none. That isn't irrefutable proof that evolution took place.

"and that if one explanation is true, the odds of an observed event having occurred are 100%, and if the other explanation is true, the odds of an observed event having occurred are 1 in 2 x 10 to the power of 138, and if you were able to verify the calculations..."

That's kind of an irrelevant analogy, since the odds in this case even if the first explanation is true aren't 100%.

Anonymous said...

"and failed. It provided an argument for evolution, it did not provide proof."

Proof is used in mathematics. The video showed evidence for evolution.

"No where does it show why ERVs prove that humans have an ape like ancestor, it merely states the odds of us having identical ERVs to those of chimps without evolution are mind-bogglingly low. Big difference."

It showed that if you take the testable, falsifiable predictions offered by the theory of evolution, the data found in DNA very predictably matches it completely. And if you remove the theory of evolution as an explanation, you've got a big problem on your hands, since the identical positioning of ERVs by random chance is astonishingly unlikely.

And if you claim that God did it anyway, creating chimps and humans separately and in a short period, but placing the ERVs exactly as the theory of evolution would predict, then you're saddled with the "deceptive god" scenario.

Anonymous said...

"and once again, the odds of the enzyme forming on its own out of random chance are 1 in to to the power of 40,000, which is more than the number of atoms in this universe."

... and once again, that's if you simply say "this happened by random chance" and discount any possible natural sorting effects etc.

Using the logic you present here, one could "prove" that some intelligent entity must have sorted the pebbles on the beach. Calculating "the odds of the enzyme forming on its own out of random chance" is meaningless, since no one is claiming that that's how the enzyme formed. It's a strawman argument that for some reason you're not willing to see.

Anonymous said...

"the formation of life is an effect."

The formation of life is not usually seen as a "first cause". When the "first cause" argument is invoked, it generally refers to the beginning of the universe. In any case, the "first cause" is not a "fact of science", as you claimed.

The formation of life is most likely an effect of certain chemical reactions, yes.

"If you're saying there was no cause than you're saying we're not here."

I'm most certainly not saying that. Your logic doesn't add up.

Anonymous said...

"Um, I fail to see how a creator who creates life by an evolutionary process would be "deceptive". You still haven't explained that."

You still haven't looked at the sentence it was referring to. That's where you'll find your answer.

"it simply stated the odds of the ERVs showing up in identical positions in both the chimp and human DNA without evolution are slim to none."

And with evolution are 1:1.

Anonymous said...

"That isn't irrefutable proof that evolution took place."

Since it is a testable, falsifiable, verifiable statement that fully confirms evolution and negates creationism (i.e. no common descent), it is evidence that evolution took place, specifically common descent. Nobody has yet managed to refute it. Your counter-argument is what exactly?

"That's kind of an irrelevant analogy, since the odds in this case even if the first explanation is true aren't 100%."

Wrong. If the theory of evolution is true and humans and chimps share a common ancestor, then it is 100% likely that they would inherit identical ERVs.

Here's what's going on: we observe phenomenon X. We posit two or more explanations. The phenomenon fits in completely with one of those explanations. It doesn't fit in with the other explanation at all. We therefore conclude that the explanation that fits with observable evidence is the correct one. Make sense?

highboy said...

"Proof is used in mathematics. The video showed evidence for evolution."

Okay fair enough.

"It showed that if you take the testable, falsifiable predictions offered by the theory of evolution, the data found in DNA very predictably matches it completely. And if you remove the theory of evolution as an explanation, you've got a big problem on your hands, since the identical positioning of ERVs by random chance is astonishingly unlikely."

That's pretty much what I just said. The argument that ERVs prove evolution is true is based on "odds are".

"... and once again, that's if you simply say "this happened by random chance" and discount any possible natural sorting effects etc."

Who is "discounting"? No one said its not possible for life to occur by random chance, but that its mind-bogglingly unlikely without a Creator, just like ERVs showing up in the exact same place in DNA of chimps and humans without evolution is mind-bogglingly low.

"You still haven't looked at the sentence it was referring to. That's where you'll find your answer."

This is what it says: "A creator/god designed the whole thing, but put these ERVs in place in exactly the pattern that the theory of evolution would predict."

That doesn't tell my why God would be deceptive if that is how He formed things. Where is the deception?

"Since it is a testable, falsifiable, verifiable statement that fully confirms evolution"

It doesn't fully confirm evolution unless you've completely eliminated the possibility of the ERVs showing up on their own, which you didn't. The odds are just ridiculously low.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, 1 in 2 x 10 to the power of 138 are just the odds of sixteen ERVs appearing in the same spot on the genome.

But there are actually thousands of these matching ERVs. If you thought 1 in 2 x 10 to the power of 138 was unlikely... that's not even the end of it. Not even close.

Anonymous said...

"That's pretty much what I just said. The argument that ERVs prove evolution is true is based on "odds are"."

The argument confirms evolution (specifically, common descent) on the basis of a testable, falsifiable prediction.

"Who is "discounting"?"

You, right here: "The odds of the human enzyme forming itself out of random chance is 1 in 10 to the power of 40,000, about as close as you can get to zero, regardless of how you want to frame the issue in terms of "factors" or "variables"."

They do make a difference, possibly a very drastic one, that you refuse to take into account. For example, if there's a chance of something occurring at random is 1 in 10 to the power of 40,000 but we can estimate that the number of trials is, say, 1 in 10 to the power of 39,000, then the odds of this something happening have changed for the better quite drastically.

Anonymous said...

"No one said its not possible for life to occur by random chance, but that its mind-bogglingly unlikely without a Creator,"

Since we don't have an actual calculation of these odds (the one you've been mentioning is based on a strawman argument - oh, and a false dichotomy to boot), we can't state that it is mind-bogglingly unlikely without a creator.

"just like ERVs showing up in the exact same place in DNA of chimps and humans without evolution is mind-bogglingly low."

And again, with evolution is 1:1. It fully confirms the theory of evolution. This is what we would expect to see if common descent occurred.

Anonymous said...

"This is what it says: "A creator/god designed the whole thing, but put these ERVs in place in exactly the pattern that the theory of evolution would predict."

That doesn't tell my why God would be deceptive if that is how He formed things. Where is the deception?"

In this scenario, the creator/god would be presenting mankind with a phenomenon that makes it look unlike creation, which is what was actually going on in this scenario - the creator/god created the humans and chimps separately, they didn't evolve - and instead made it look as if they evolved, by inserting observable elements that would be what one would expect to see if they evolved, but would not expect to see if they were created separately.

If I make, for example, a painting in my basement in New Jersey and make it look as if it were hundreds of years old and had been painted in France, would you be able to understand how that would be deceptive?

Anonymous said...

"It doesn't fully confirm evolution unless you've completely eliminated the possibility of the ERVs showing up on their own, which you didn't. The odds are just ridiculously low."

You're confusing "confirmed" and "absolutely proved". Absolute proof is only possible in math. In science, even the established laws of science don't have the absolute proof that you now require here.

Something confirms a theory or it doesn't. When you have full confirmation of one explanation ("this is 100% what we would expect to see if this explanation is true") vs. a 1 in 2 x 10 to the power of whateveritis chance of an alternate explanation being true, that's confirmation of the theory.

If this were any subject that you weren't so completely attached to, of course you'd say that the explanation that matches the evidence is the correct one, not the just-about-impossible one.

highboy said...

"If this were any subject that you weren't so completely attached to, of course you'd say that the explanation that matches the evidence is the correct one, not the just-about-impossible one. "

I understand that I'm simply trying to understand the points. As to the "deceptive creator" argument though, I completely disagree. The Creation account in Genesis was never to be seen as a science book, its not an explanation of "when" something happened or even "how", but an account as to what happened. Its inconsistent to agree on one hand that evolution isn't incompatible with God yet if evolution is true God is somehow deceptive. The point of the creation account is that God created the universe and all of its lifeforms. "Time" as it pertains to God we can't even be sure of.

Jon Woolf said...

"The Creation account in Genesis was never to be seen as a science book, its not an explanation of "when" something happened or even "how", but an account as to what happened. Its inconsistent to agree on one hand that evolution isn't incompatible with God yet if evolution is true God is somehow deceptive."

Yes, you're exactly right here, highboy. I'm not being sarcastic. This really is a nicely written summary of the position generally called theistic evolution: yes, God exists, and yes, he created, and he did it using the evolutionary process. It's 100% compatible with both a metaphorical interpretation of Genesis and all the known scientific evidence.

The only thing wrong with it (from Radar's point of view) is that it does make Genesis a metaphor, and not a literal description of what happened. To literal creationists like Radar, Genesis is indeed a science textbook. They believe that the way it's written is exactly the way it really happened. Earth is less than 10,000 years old, God Created directly, and evolution is impossible. Under that scenario, and only that scenario, you can't avoid the conclusion that God is a liar, because he must have planted all this evidence that says "evolution happened."

Anonymous said...

"Its inconsistent to agree on one hand that evolution isn't incompatible with God yet if evolution is true God is somehow deceptive."

Highboy, I understand what you're getting at, but there is a distinction that you seem to have overlooked.

1. Evolution isn't incompatible with God. God could have created the initial spark of life, and then let evolution take its course, eventually resulting in man and all the flora and fauna we see around is in the present day. This would not involve or connote a deceptive God. I think this addresses your inconsistency, namely that there isn't one.

2. The scenario in which God could be said to be deceptive is one in which he doesn't do what's described in (1) above, but creates everything at roughly the same time about, say, 6,000 years ago, but does include evidence that man and everything else evolved from a common ancestor, even though in this scenario they did not evolve from a common ancestor. This is the point made 4 posts above this one (8:24 am).

There is no inconsistency in which "if evolution is true God is somehow deceptive". God would be deceptive if creation were true and yet we saw evidence for common descent (evolution) around us. God would not be deceptive if evolution were true - he'd simply be less hands-on than people like Radar would wish.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Highboy, FWIW I agree with your general take on Genesis. It seems like poor theology to hang one's belief on the outcome of a scientific experiment or observation, as Radar and his fellow YECers have so unfortunately done.

radar said...

Actually, I prefer my science with evidence included. That is why I do not simply repeat Bible verses but primarily present actual scientific evidence for creation and evidence that falsifies Darwinism.

Falsifying Darwinism is pretty easy. Waking up zombie brains soaked with Darwinist propaganda is the hard part. Check out my Saturday April 2nd post for the answer to questions about ERVs.

Anonymous said...

"Waking up zombie brains soaked with Darwinist propaganda is the hard part."

Tsk tsk tsk. Such a patronizing and belittling tone.

Your use of language reveals your desperation, Radar. If your evidence was so strong, you would have no need for it...

Anonymous said...

Radar, derision is not an argument.

If you have science with evidence included, why have you never once on your blog presented a testable, falsifiable statement that would confirm YEC and disprove evolution and an old Earth?

Why haven't ANY of the creationist websites you promote been able to present that?

Where's the beef?