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A question that never ceases to fascinate is that of how life originated, and how and why it has progressed as it seems to have. The official story and de rigueur explanation is that that life came about through spontaneous generation from seawater. Believing this is the mark of an Advanced Person, whether one has the slightest knowledge of the matter. In academia researchers have been fired and careers ruined for questioning it. If you doubt that scientists can be ideological herd animals, as petty, intolerant, vindictive, and backstabbing as professors, read Heretic, by the PhD biotechnologist and biochemist Matti Leisola, who fell on the wrong side of the herd. Ths establishment’s continuing effort to stamp out heresy looks increasingly like a protracted desperatoon.

The other, more intuitive view of life is that of Intelligent Design. When one sees an immensely complicated system all of whose parts work together with effect and apparent purpose, such as an automobile or a cell, it is natural to think that someone or something designed it. There is much evidence for this, certainly enough to intrigue those of open mind and intelligence. Those of a philosophic bent may note that Freud, Marx, and Darwin are equally relics of Nineteenth Century determinism, and that Darwin wrote when almost nothing was known about much of biology. Note also that the sciences are tightly constrained and limited by their premises, unable to think outside of their chosen box. Others, wiser, wonder whether there are not more thing in heaven and earth.

The theory of ID is seen by the official story as a form of biblical Creationism of the sort holding that the world was created in 4004 BC. This is either wantonly stupid or deliberately dishonest. There is of course no necessary connection between ID and Buddhism, Islam, or the Cargo Cult. There are scientists who are not proponents of ID but simply see that much of official Darwinism does not make sense or comport with the evidence. Some IDers are Christians, which does not affect the validity, or lack of it, orf what they say. To judge by my mail, many people have serious doubts about the official explanation without being zealots of anything in particulr.

(For what it is worth, I am myself a complete agnostic. Faith and atheism both seem to me categorical beliefs in something one doesn’t know. ID certainly provides no support for the existence of a loving Sunday School god, given that in almost all places and all times most people have lived in misery and died in agony.)

To me, though, things look designed. By what, I don’t know.

Two difficulties affect the presentation of ID to the public. First, most of us have been subjected to thousands of hours of vapid “science” programs and mass-market textbooks. These tell us that doubters must be snake-handling forest Christian with three teeth. The second is that following the argument requires more technical grasp than most have. Trying to explain the question to a network-news audience is hopeless and makes those attempting it seem foolish.

Yet discussion has to be fairly technical to avoid degenerating into vague generalities. Following many of the authors requires familiarity with, or the ability to pick up quickly, such things as the nature of information, both in the Shannon sense of a reduction in uncertainty and of specified information as found in DNA and computer code. Some experience of programming helps as does a minor familiarity with organic chemistry and a nodding aquaintance with early paleontology.

And, alas, much of dispute turns on the mechanics of cell biology: DNA’s structure, codons and anticodons, polymerases and transcriptases, the functions of ribosomes, chirality of alpha amino acids, microRNA, protein folding, ORFans, developmental gene regulatory networks, Ediacaran and Cambrian paleontology (so much for 4004 BC BC), and similar technoglop, It isn’t rocket science, but it takes a bit of study to pick up. Most of us have other things to do.

The less one knows about cellular biology the easier it is to believe in spontaneous generation. Darwin knew nothing. Since then knowledge of biochemistry and molecular biology has grown phenomenally. Yet, despite a great deal of effort, the case for the accidental appearance of life has remained one of fervent insistence untainted by either evidence ofrtheoretical plausibility.

What are some of the problems with official Darwinism? First, the spontaneous generation of life has not been replicated. (Granted, repeating a process thought to have taken billions of years might lack appeal as a doctoral project.) Nor has anyone assembled in the laboratory a chemical structure able to metabolize, reproduce, and thus to evolve. It has not been shown to be mathematically possible.

This is true despite endless theories about life arising in tidal pools, on moist clays, in geothermal vents, in shallows, in depths, or that life arrived on carbonaceous chondrites–i.e., meteors. It has even been suggested that life arrived from Mars, which is to say life came from a place where, as far was can be determined, there has never been any. Protracted desperation.

Sooner or later, a hypothesis must be either confirmed or abandoned. Which? When? Doesn’t science require evidence, reproducibility, demonstrated theoretical possibility? These do not exist. Does not the ferocious reaction to doubters of the official story suggest deep-seated doubt even among the believers?

Other serious problems with the official story: Missing intermediate fossils–”missing links”– stubbornly remain missing. “Punctuated equilibrium,” a theory of sudden rapid evolution invented to explain the lack of fossil evidence, seems unable to generate genetic information fast enough. Many proteins bear no resemblance to any others and therefore cannot have evolved from them. On and on.

ORDER IT NOW

Finally, the more complex an event, the less likely it is to occur by chance. Over the years, cellular mechanisms have been found to be ever more complex. Darwin thought that in a warm pond, bits of goo clumped together, a membrane formed, and life was off and running. Immediately after Watson and Crick in 1953, the chemical mechanics of cellular function still seemed comparatively simple, though nobody could say where the genetic information came from. Today thousands of proteins are known to take part in elaborate processes in which different parts of proteins are synthesized under control of different genes and then spliced and edited elaborately. Recently with the discovery of epigenetics, complexity has taken a great leap upward. (For anyone wanting to subject himself to such things, there is The Epigenetics Revolution. It is not light reading.)

Worth noting is that that the mantra of evolutionists, that “in millions and millions and billions of years something must have evolved”–does not necessarily hold water. We have all heard of Sir James Jeans assertion that a monkey, typing randomly, would eventually produce all the books in the British Museum. (Actually he would not produce a single chapter in the accepted age of the universe, but never mind.) A strong case can be made that spontaneous generation is similarly of mathematically vanishing probability. If evolutionists could prove the contrary, they would immensely strengthen their case. They haven’t.

Improbabilities are multiplicative. The currents of exponentiation seem to be running ever more heavily against the monkey. If this is not true, evolutionists have not shown it not to be true.

Herewith a few recommendations for those who may be interested. Whatever one might conclude after reading the various authors on ID, you will quickly see that they are not “pseudoscientists,” not lightweights, and have serious technical credentials. They try to explain their subjects as they go along. Some succeed better than others.

The most accessible are Darwin’s Black Box, which I highly recommend, and The Edge of Evolution, both by Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University. He puts the heavy-duty tech in the end notes. The intelligent reader will have no problem with these.

Also clearly written and carefully explained, are Signature in the Cell (mentioned aabove) and Darwin’s Doubt, by Stephen Meyer (geophysicist, PhD in history and philosophy of science, Cambridge University.) The (again) intelligent reader will find these good but challenging. A third possibility in Undeniable, by Douglas Axe (Underrgad biochemistry, Berkeley, PhD. CalTech, chemical engineering) While very sharp, he uawa analogy so much to keep things simple that the science can be lost. Ann Gauger, Science and Human Origins, has a degree in biology from MIT, a PhD in developmental and molecular biology from the university of Washington, and has done postdoc work at Harvard (on the drosophila kinesin light chain, which I don’t know what is.)

Anyway, Meyer takes the reader clearly and comprehensively through the question of the origin of life from, briefly, ancient times through the research of Watson and Crick and then into the depths of the cell in detail. Of particular interest is his discussion of the the probabilistic barriers to spontaneous generation. Right or wrong, it is, again, assuredly not “pseudoscience,” and is extensively documented with references.

Should you order any of these books, ask Amazon to ship them in boxes labeled Kinky Sex Books or Applied Brestiality so nobody will know that you are reading ID.

Here, allow me a thought that the writers above do not mention: Maybe nature is more mysterious than even the ID people think: The insane complesity of life might suggest a far deeper level of non-understanding than even the ID folk suspect.

Suppose that you saw an actual monkey pecking at a keyboard and, on examining his output, saw that he was typing, page after page, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, with no errors.

You would suspect fraud, for instance that the typewriter was really a computer programmed with Tom. But no, on inspection you find that it is a genuine typewriter. Well then, you think, the monkey must be a robot, with Tom in RAM. But this too turns out to be wrong: The monkey in fact is one. After exhaustive examination, you are forced to conclude that Bonzo really is typing at random.

Yet he is producing Tom Sawyer. This being impossible, you would have to conclude that something was going on that you did not understand.

Much of biology is similar. For a zygote, barely visible, to turn into a baby is astronomically improbable, a suicidal assault on Murphy’s Law. Reading embryology makes this apparent. (Texts are prohibitively expensive, but Life Unfolding serves.) Yet every step in the process is in accord with chemical principles.

This doesn’t make sense. Not, anyway, unless one concludes that something deeper is going on that we do not understand. This brings to mind several adages that might serve to ameliorate our considerable arrogance. As Haldane said, “The world is not only queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think.” Or Fred’s principle, “The smartest of a large number of hamsters is still a hamster.”

We may be too full of ourselves.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Science • Tags: Creationism, Evolution 
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  1. Weeeellll … gosh, I remain unconvinced. Petitio principi remains a fallacy.

    Besides, it’s just like any other fussing about ontology: assume a creator, and you assume a creator of the creator. Worse, there’s the really tough part: demonstrate the existence of a creator without the previous assumption there must be one.

    No problem, Fred. Old men’s dreams and all that. I hope I never suffer that syndrome.

    • Replies: @JimH
    , @Mr. Hack
    , @Zamfir
    , @Merlin
  2. Real intelligence design mean that, contrarily most humans think, we are not the only ones with intelligence. Intelligence = adaptation. No life can survive without the capacity to adapt and to reply the adapted mode.

    Life is made by molecules which are made by atoms, very superficially speaking, so we can speculate if

    - primitive environment contributed to create life

    - some atoms are more unstable than others and in the right environment they can connect with another one and produce a equally moderated unstable creature…

    but barrely that a jewish deity created the universe, piriod…

    Come back to ”white male-mexican girl porn x” arguments…

  3. KenH says:

    Fred’s on his anti-evolution kick again. Can Fred’s “intelligent designer” really be considered such when he created so many human groups that can’t even feed and care for themselves and who would die out if not for Western charity and suicidal altruism?

    If intelligent design theory is so much stronger/less assailable than the theory of evolution then is the designer one person or a team of them? Is it a diverse group of designers or are they white supremacists?

    Or if just one male designer is he a little faggy and wears scarves like Versace or more of a mad scientist like Doc on Back to the Future?

    A lot of life forms have gone extinct, so he, she or they sure do make lots of mistakes.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @MarkinLA
    , @Anon
  4. @KenH

    Here is a well-written chunk from Wikipedia ref Intelligent Design:

    “For a theory to qualify as scientific, it is expected to be:

    Consistent
    Parsimonious (sparing in its proposed entities or explanations; see Occam’s razor)
    Useful (describes and explains observed phenomena, and can be used in a predictive manner)
    Empirically testable and falsifiable (potentially confirmable or disprovable by experiment or observation)
    Based on multiple observations (often in the form of controlled, repeated experiments)
    Correctable and dynamic (modified in the light of observations that do not support it)
    Progressive (refines previous theories)
    Provisional or tentative (is open to experimental checking, and does not assert certainty)
    For any theory, hypothesis or conjecture to be considered scientific, it must meet most, and ideally all, of these criteria. The fewer criteria are met, the less scientific it is; and if it meets only a few or none at all, then it cannot be treated as scientific in any meaningful sense of the word.

    Typical objections to defining intelligent design as science are that it lacks consistency, violates the principle of parsimony, is not scientifically useful, is not falsifiable, is not empirically testable, and is not correctable, dynamic, progressive or provisional.”

    The argument from design, also known as the teleological argument, suffers profoundly from being more a presentation of an argument by analogy. “Wow, is life ever complicated, so it must have been designed by something rilly smart and even more rilly complicated.”

    Nope. Wishing don’t make things true.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  5. ‘ Luck smiled on him for he managed to find the authentic godmother of the incomparable Scheherazade on an old dunghill ‘ – Mullah Nasr Eddin on Darwin

  6. I wonder who the genius was that designed the Mexican Jumping Bean. Fascinating critters to say the least.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  7. While hombre bronco is believing in such childish fantasies real things are happening..
    Oh wait!! Whytitos are watching “alpha soccer games”…

  8. Issac says:

    I’d hate evolution too if I were surrounded by neolithic peoples in the 21st century due to a lifetime of poor decision making.

    • Replies: @Bobsyer
  9. There might actually be an answer to this question: Panspermia, life is everywhere.

    Life is everywhere on earth. They find it near volcanic vents under the ocean. In ancient lakes in Antarctica. Thousands of feet down drilling for oil. Everywhere.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia

    • Replies: @JSM
  10. This being impossible, you would have to conclude that something was going on that you did not understand.

    Conclude yes. But you would not have to admit it.

  11. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    “For a theory to qualify as scientific, it is expected to be:

    But the question is not whether a theory is “scientific”or not, unless you are a dogmatic materialist who is ultimately uninterested in the truth.

    Parsimonious (sparing in its proposed entities or explanations; see Occam’s razor)

    ID is far and away a more parsimonious, simpler, more elegant explanation for life as we know it than spontaneous generation. The emergence of the simplest life form remains mysterious, completely setting aside the question of how Mind emerges from matter.

    Empirically testable and falsifiable (potentially confirmable or disprovable by experiment or observation)

    This is an unreasonable criterion. The fact is that ID, as a theory, scientific or not, might well be true, and furthermore, it may be supported by observations of nature and inferences from those observations, even if not conclusively falsifiable. The falsifiability standard is, quite frankly, arbitrary. If you want to impose it as a sine qua non of a strictly “scientific” theory, then that’s fine as a matter of convention, but then science has effectively limited itself in the quest for Truth.

    The argument from design, also known as the teleological argument, suffers profoundly from being more a presentation of an argument by analogy. “Wow, is life ever complicated, so it must have been designed by something rilly smart and even more rilly complicated

    I suppose you can (uncharitably)look at it that way, but the truth is that it is more like a generalization based on observations of the world, and then a deduction based on the assumed general rule.

    All men are mortal.
    Socrates is a man.
    Socrates is mortal.

    By the same logic:

    Ordered, complex systems are designed by a designer.
    The cell (eyeball, brain, or whatever) is a complex system.
    The cell is designed by a designer.

    The first premise is the point of contention. For my own part, I can affirm with great conviction that nothing in my experience controverts it.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  12. How life originated is simply a law of physics, i.e., the Maximum Power Principle (Lotka, 1922; Odum, 1995). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_power_principle

    The origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the fundamental laws of nature and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.”

    A New Physics Theory of Life
    http://www.quantamagazine.org/20140122-a-new-physics-theory-of-life/

  13. Giuseppe says:

    The other, more intuitive view of life is that of Intelligent Design.

    And it whispers shouts that ontologically lower things are derived from higher things, and not the reverse.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  14. From the comments, Fred, I’d say that no one understood you. Not even the sciencey guy who spoke of the principles of science. To whom I would say, when you’re speaking of ultimate reality, questions that address the origins of everything, then the traditional tools of science only half apply. By definition you’re beyond the frontiers of the knowable. So amend your criteria.

    But as you say, Fred, evolution presupposes the driving Force inherent in Life itself that propels evolution. So it is unsatisfactory in that it cannot stand alone, on its own two feet. To attribute directed, channeled, patterned growth to some vague concept such as “randomness” is intellectually silly.

    But they won’t see it, because they spent too much money and time memorizing what their biology profs ladled out and, frankly, they’re not original thinkers or rather, they can’t think for themselves.

    As you say, Fred, the truth is stranger than strange. Plants grow because they are ardent. All life is ardent. To live is to express your essential nature with courage, passion and eloquence.

    It’s important to view ourselves as Nietzsche did. We shall be overtaken by who we shall become tomorrow. In 100 years, we will look back and laugh at ourselves for the preposterous views we held and mistakes we made, well intentioned though we were. That’s how evolution works.

  15. I have to say that I’m enormously pleased whenever a really clever, well-educated person writes things which to me look patently daft. (Yes, I do realise that it was precisely people like me who simply accept the dominant narrative on trust without really looking into it who were the target of this article. That’s fine, my ignorance and dogmatism need questioning, I guess.) But when Fred goes on about ID (which I know just a little about) or how Mexicans are at least as capable of creating stable, well-run societies as Europeans and east Asians (which I also know just little about) and when Sam Harris says that Americans benefit from taking in huge numbers of refugees and migrants (which I know slightly more about), I am filled with a huge sense of relief that I needn’t to be too scrupulous before airing my own not-very-well-founded views. Newton had his alchemy, Crick has his ‘Life from Mars’, Conan-Doyle had his fairies and Fred has his ID and in a world where everything is up for questioning all of them may be right – though I doubt it.

    The spirit of the article is that every belief should be open to questioning. That’s sort of true in theory but in practice we wouldn’t be able to think at all if we questioned EVERYTHING. Certain things need to be accepted as axiomatic and while Natural Selection might look all wrong to Fred, it looks almost axiom-like to me.

    • Replies: @With RIDGLEY SHINBURN
  16. It is amusing to observe (yet again) that people, even very clever people, are resistant and (much more often than not) impervious to ideas that contradict familiar and welcome materialist assumptions. It is terrifying to entertain the idea that one’s BIG PICTURE might be wrong. Why, that might mean that one is wrong about everything that matters. Before humanity developed a theory of gravity it was reasonable to assume that the earth must be flat.
    Darwin himself said that his ‘Theory of Evolution’ had NOTHING to say about the origin of life itself. Once the facts are studied closely what Fred Reed states is the obvious.

    • Replies: @Santoculto
  17. Bobsyer says:
    @Issac

    I think this bloke is talking about mass alien immigration by the trash of the third world….brought about by the Jewish elites which now govern most European countries…..certainly the financial systems…..which will bring about the collapse of Western Civilisation MK2…in slow motion…..
    The importing of millions of barely literate low intelligence immigrants….HAS to be by design……AND IT IS!.

  18. unit472 says:

    Time is not exclusionary. If one random event could create a self replicating molecule that was the common ancestor of All life as we know it then why not other life forms with a different molecular structure ? The same billions of years, chemical compounds and energy sources are available so why are not new life forms with a different molecular structure springing into existence all the time?

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  19. @ThereisaGod

    Darwin wasn’t a ‘god’ and even he wasn’t only one who created or contributed the ”theory” of evolution.

    So, 2018 years ago God impregnated a jewish virgin and married woman** it is*

    AGAIN,

    one of the fundamental arguments of intelligent design, which the name itself i’m not against, is that

    nonhuman life cannot be smart, because supposedly intelligence is only a human thing…

    You can believe in the purposeful creation of everything OR of ”our” lovely universe without become traditionally religious, you can separate mythology, what all religions are, from a literal materialistic belief… indeed the very idea that someONE BUILT/DESIGNED the existence itself IS a materialistic way to think, this is a LOGIC THINKING, only wrong because it’s has been enormously ANTHROPOCENTRIC…

    religion today is last border of what heliocentrism was.

  20. Intelligent design also forget the fact that every marvellous functioning of terrestrial life had a hard path to become like that, i mean, natural selection itself. So, what look like perfect indeed was a product of trial and error, and ”still” is.

    • Replies: @ThereisaGod
  21. @Rosie

    The fact is that ID, as a theory, scientific or not, might well be true, and furthermore, it may be supported by observations of nature and inferences from those observations, even if not conclusively falsifiable.

    No evidence supports ID. It may be true; it may not be true. There is no evidence to support the notion that complexity, or design, must somehow have been created.

    There is no evidence to support the notion that complexity is real — that is, that it is more than a set of conditions noticed by humans, and deemed “complex”, therefore of “intelligent design”. In human terms, complexity is defined as, at best, “composed of many interacting parts”.

    Define “design”. Show a requirement therein for “intelligence”. Carbon, in various states, will form crystal lattices readily described as “marvelously complex”. The chemical/physical nature of carbon and its bonds with other atoms, or simply with other carbon atoms, is in the nature, the physical, atomic nature of carbon. Where is the intelligence? Water, within certain temperature ranges, will create thousands of crystal structures, each unpredictable at the instant of creation, but each defined by limits and characteristics of water molecules. Where is the intelligence?

    Ordered, complex systems are designed by a designer.
    The cell (eyeball, brain, or whatever) is a complex system.
    The cell is designed by a designer.

    Fallacious by petitio principi. You assume and define “design” in your initial premise. You assume “design” is “complex”, assume “complexity” is a product of the “design” you define, then conclude yet another external factor occurred to authenticate “order”, “complex”, “system” and “design.”

    Surely, you are joking, Ms. Feynman. ;-)

    I suppose you can (uncharitably)look at it that way, but the truth is that it is more like a generalization based on observations of the world, and then a deduction based on the assumed general rule.

    Seriously? Truth is a generalization based on observations of the world??

  22. @Giuseppe

    And it whispers shouts that ontologically lower things are derived from higher things, and not the reverse.

    ID denies entropy. Entropy doesn’t like being denied. ;-)

    • Replies: @Giuseppe
  23. @unit472

    Time is not exclusionary. If one random event could create a self replicating molecule that was the common ancestor of All life as we know it then why not other life forms with a different molecular structure ? The same billions of years, chemical compounds and energy sources are available so why are not new life forms with a different molecular structure springing into existence all the time?

    Correct. Assume one Intelligent Designer, and that faulty logic leads to an infinite number of Intelligent Designers.

  24. @ThreeCranes

    From the comments, Fred, I’d say that no one understood you.

    Oh, I understand. I do not, however, agree. Simple enough, eh? I value Fred’s insights on social and political conditions in the Americas. I am not inclined to grant him metaphysical authority as a development from that.

    But as you say, Fred, evolution presupposes the driving Force inherent in Life itself that propels evolution.

    No, evolution assumes nothing. There is no driving Force inherent in Life (and capital letters do not lend authority).

    Evolution is an energy/substance process, limited and defined by physical nature and energy conditions. Don’t mystify it.

  25. “We have all heard of Sir James Jeans assertion that a monkey, typing randomly, would eventually produce all the books in the British Museum. (Actually he would not produce a single chapter in the accepted age of the universe, but never mind.) ”

    Jeans wrote about these typing monkeys (he claimed 6 of them not 1) in 1933. And Jeans claims he was quoting Huxley when he said it, so it wasn’t even Jeans’ assertion. But Jeans wasn’t right about that as Huxley never said it. It was Emile Borel, a mathematician, who originally considered that a million monkeys over the space of a year might produce the texts of the greatest libraries — he considered it and dismissed it as highly improbable. He never tied it to evolution or abiogenesis at all. So this monkey nonsense is just that. It’s an old idea that was posed and dismissed in the same argument.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  26. Rich says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Mr Sweeny, you make a lot of assertions about both ID and evolution that sound like some ancient religious zealot arguing how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. You’ve apparently accepted a certain version of evolution, unfortunately, when one delves into “evolution” and “ID”, we find so many different versions of each, it becomes up to the individual to choose which one to have faith in. A religious friend, who teaches biology, once told me his version of evolution which was that God invented it, and supervises it. And there’s probably twenty versions of that one. Face it, Sweeny, you’re dealing with the unknowable here, don’t try to pretend you’re smarter than anyone else writing on the subject.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  27. @Rich

    Face it, Sweeny, you’re dealing with the unknowable here, don’t try to pretend you’re smarter than anyone else writing on the subject.

    And you are? Preacher, preach to your congregation. Goes with the medium; knock yourself out, bub.

    In the future, if you wish discuss specific points, please do. With substance, if you would. Don’t maunder at me.

    • Replies: @Rich
  28. Vernon says:

    How life originated and how life progressed are two different questions. Evolution is not origins theory. Evolution only describes processes after life originated.There are also different strains of Evolutionary theory which seem to be embraced based on political ideology. Suggest reading Peter Kropotkin Mutual Aid for an alternative to Darwin’s survival of the fittest and Dawkins Selfish Gene narratives. Its in important to remember that science is never divorced fro politics.

    • Replies: @nickels
  29. Truth says:

    “Intelligent design?”

    When I was a kid we had another name for it; God.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  30. nickels says:

    After some 40+ years of smoking on the evolution crack pipe, I recently picked up the materials and started reading on the subject at depth, especially at the molecular biology level.

    Fred is absolutely correct. The theory holds no water. Darwin simply shifted the miracle of creation into his alchemist God called ‘Natural Selection’.

    Even the simple cell, with its hundreds of proteins (not even a single protein has a probabilistic chance in hell of forming spontaneously), all working together in very specific ways, the hundreds of metabolic pathways, the integration of cells with other cells to form extracellular metabolic pathways, etc… etc….

    Evolution is simply the most profound deception of all history.

    Interestingly, Charle Lyell’s young earth theory and evolution participate in a dance of circular logic, with Lyell dating his stratification layers based on theories about evolution, and evolution dating its fossils based on Lyell’s theories about geology.

    I don’t believe any of it, but the average Enlightenment mind does not need to swallow the entire package. Simply understanding the absurdity of evolution, from a statistical standpoint, leads to fascinating, profound metaphysical questions.

    My particular take is the Russian Orthodox full on creationist one, as put forth in:

    https://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Creation-Early-Seraphim-Rose/dp/1887904255

    which means I’ve gone completely up the river, which, to me, is freedom itself.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @Biff
  31. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    No evidence supports ID.

    Nonsense.

    There is no evidence to support the notion that complexity, or design, must somehow have been created.

    Except that almost everything in our ordinary experience tells us so.

    Define “design”. Show a requirement therein for “intelligence”. Carbon, in various states, will form crystal lattices readily described as “marvelously complex”. The chemical/physical nature of carbon and its bonds with other atoms, or simply with other carbon atoms, is in the nature, the physical, atomic nature of carbon. Where is the intelligence? Water, within certain temperature ranges, will create thousands of crystal structures, each unpredictable at the instant of creation, but each defined by limits and characteristics of water molecules. Where is the intelligence?

    Is argument by analogy legitimate or not?

    Surely, you are joking, Ms. Feynman.

    Au contraire, it is you who must be joking. Your argument is that the Mind that conceived and created this emerged by accident from primordial goop:

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  32. nickels says:
    @Vernon

    If you feel the need to separate the two, fine.
    However, they both encounter the same problems-that of creation.

    Natural selection does not explain anything. In order to form a new organ, or limb, or even a fingernail requires an act of creation. Natural selection cannot help until the new feature exists and is useful. Which means an absurd genetic random walk to discover the new feature. Which will traverse from the previous existing genetic configuration that works, across a desert of immediate death (organs partially formed, bleeding, broken bones).
    A recent paper shows that even stabilizing a couple of nucleotides in a population can take millions of years:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4573302/

    So evolution is dead. Creation is impossible by any natural means.

    A more thorough speculation makes the case even more impossible. Most organs appear very early in formation of the organism. So adding another actually requires changes in the ENTIRE genetic code.
    One way of thinking about this is that the genetic code is compressed. So to change something about the final product, as if editing a zipped file to change a string, requires a complete rewrite, one that understands the entire process of formation and expression of all traits.

    Which, if you are honest to yourself, you already know. One thing that we all learn from day one of our existence is that complex, beautiful, functioning entities NEVER form spontaneously.
    It ALWAYS goes the other way.

    • Replies: @Poupon Marx
  33. @nickels

    Evolution is simply the most profound deception of all history.

    Oh, so none of it happened like evolutionists say it did? God just whomped out the whole shebang two seconds before Adam woke up?

    Evolution theory is a method of describing how processes of life have come to produce the abundance of life we see on Earth. That’s all. Evolution is not theology; evolution is not metaphysics; evolution is not religion; evolution is not politics; evolution is not an extra-complex issue of National Geographic.

    If you prefer to believe a god swooped down and made the whole pile, badda-bing, badda-boom, I can assure you that no thinking human will stop you. Or give a shit.

    • Replies: @nickels
    , @Merlin
  34. @Rosie

    Au contraire, it is you who must be joking. Your argument is that the Mind that conceived and created this emerged by accident from primordial goop:

    No, that is not an argument I made. Possibly you leaped forward a few massive conclusions, bridging space and time, making a hyperspace journey into the blackness?

    The Sistine Chapel is not my idea of great Art.

    (DAMMIT!! There goes my goddamned worthless uninformed opinion firing off again!! Jesus has informed us that Art is what a bunch of Renaissance-ish hacks produced. He shall not be questioned, milords and ladies — it is ART.)

    [spit]

    Go away.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  35. nickels says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    There isn’t a lot for me to respond to here, except the one point:

    Evolution theory is a method of describing how processes of life have come to produce the abundance of life we see on Earth. That’s all. Evolution is not theology; evolution is not metaphysics; evolution is not religion; evolution is not politics; evolution is not an extra-complex issue of National Geographic.

    Evolution is somewhere between philosophy and theology.
    The very fact that the theory existed before the principles of DNA and cellular biology were understood makes it clear that evolution is certainly not a scientific theory.
    In fact, evolution pre-dated Darwin, even European civilization. This is, in fact, a very ancient pagan cosmology that was expressed by the Greeks and the Hindus.

    EVERYTHING begins with the assumption of scientific materialism and the desire to write a narrative about life without God. The rest of the details fall in place around that theological notion, and, as we have seen, the details are constantly shifting and morphing as science reveals more about the mechanisms and leaves the previous form of the theory in shambles.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  36. gogol says:

    See “The Last Superstition” by Edward Feser, which includes a detailed refutation of Intelligent Design from an Aristotelian standpoint.

    https://amzn.to/2uqEDhd

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  37. @nickels

    Evolution is somewhere between philosophy and theology.

    Blarney.

    I disagree emphatically with every invented position you presented. Go right ahead and believe that bullshit. It means nothing to me. But, no harm, no foul — believe as you like. Hell, my next-door neighbor lectured me for 15 minutes on how vultures smell carrion, as they course the skies. Didn’t bother me a bit.

  38. @gogol

    See “The Last Superstition” by Edward Feser, which includes a detailed refutation of Intelligent Design from an Aristotelian standpoint.

    Is it well-written, perhaps at a 5th-grade reading level? I’ll check it possible future use — although I have found it less-than-futile to attempt to convince shin-crackers that what their religions preach is unverifiable and nonsensical.

    ID is just a special case of Aquinas’ Teleological Argument, which was the first of the sort to be debunked. Der Katholix still regard it as authoritative. It was nothing but Augustine until Aquinas, so no major improvement. People either have functioning brains, or they don’t. 1800 years and still SSDD.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  39. bossel says:

    The other, more intuitive view of life is that of Intelligent Design. When one sees an immensely complicated system all of whose parts work together with effect and apparent purpose, such as an automobile or a cell, it is natural to think that someone or something designed it.

    Really? Then who designed that “immensely complicated system” that this intelligent designer would have to be?

    There is much evidence for this

    Nope.

    Darwin thought that in a warm pond, bits of goo clumped together, a membrane formed, and life was off and running.

    Did he?
    “Darwin included few statements on the origin of life in his books. As underlined by Aulie (1970) this is what he wanted to make public. Over and over again he carefully emphasized the lack of evidence on the possibility of spontaneous generation.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2745620/

    Yet, despite a great deal of effort, the case for the accidental appearance of life has remained one of fervent insistence untainted by either evidence ofrtheoretical plausibility.

    Try these:

    https://www.nature.com/subjects/origin-of-life

    • Replies: @Rosie
  40. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    The Sistine Chapel is not my idea of great Art.

    Why does that not surprise me?

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  41. @Rosie

    The Sistine Chapel is not my idea of great Art.

    Why does that not surprise me?

    Because you’re a religiously-devoted individual, most probably of Roman Catholic persuasion, and you’ve been conditioned all your life to believe “Renaissance” art is the only true “Art” (and other church-approved efforts, of course.)

    Art is a subjective kinda thing, as is music. Of religious Art, I rather like Michelangelo’s Pieta. Painting, not so much. Of 2D esthetic imagery, I prefer photographs.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  42. @Dillon Sweeny

    Sweeny says: “No, evolution assumes nothing. There is no driving Force inherent in Life (and capital letters do not lend authority).”

    So, the theory of evolution assumes nothing. That’ll be news to every Philosopher of Science who ever thought deeply about the relation between human theorizing and the objects under contemplation. For starters, every category is an assumption in so far as it lumps disparate things under one label. But that’s too general.

    It’s not that Evolutionists don’t have assumptions, they just don’t acknowledge them. Instead they speak in the passive voice. They use terms like “selection” and “niche”, “process”, terms more suited to a mechanical system than living passionate beings.

    “There is no driving Force inherent in Life.” Of course there is. It is everywhere apparent. It is life itself. Come close to death in a near-miss car accident, Mr. Sweeny, and you will feel the surge of the Driving Force that is Life.

    The beautiful explosion of a flower exemplifies the driving force that is life. The fraying of a tree from one solid trunk to billions of stomata is the Will to Live frozen in time for your contemplation. Look at that tree’s muscles, holding that load out under constant strain with no respite. What amazing endurance. A tree stands still and takes everything nature throws at it while you move around, seeking more congenial conditions. Talk about a Will to Live. There it is for you, frozen in motion.

    Life is ardent, Mr. Sweeny. Can’t you see it? No? Then take a hit of acid and spend a calm, sunny day in a garden or on a wild windswept dune overlooking the ocean. You’ll see that every living being is full to the brim with Will.

    If that doesn’t do the trick then try this. Visit a horse farm. Try to go on a day when a stallion is servicing a mare. You’ll notice that the male is acting a bit impetuous, that a portion of its anatomy seems to have a will of its own. Now, I don’t want you to get hurt, but in order to get a feeling for this “surge of driving force that is life”, I suggest you should try to insert yourself between the stallion and the mare. Use your utmost powers of persuasion to restrain the stallion. Appeal to his reason. Tell him that what he is feeling is merely a process, that he is simply an organism fulfilling a niche whose behavior has been selected according a non-assuming, mechanical process expressed in the Immutable Laws of Natural Selection.

    Do you think sperm swimming upstream in a vagina possess consciousness, Mr. Sweeny? Or the Will to Live? Or are they simply wound up little machines acting without intention?

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  43. Giuseppe says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    ID denies entropy. Entropy doesn’t like being denied. ;-)

    Denial, lack of affirmation, means things are headed south and coming apart at the seams. Entropy likes it when things come apart at the seams.

  44. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    People either have functioning brains, or they don’t.

    But…

    If you prefer to believe a god swooped down and made the whole pile, badda-bing, badda-boom, I can assure you that no thinking human will stop you. Or give a shit.

    We’ll just sneer at and mock you as lacking a “functioning brain.”

  45. Mario964 says:

    Darwinism is a satanic cult based on the theory devised by a demon possessed unitarian heretic. Due to human body being unfit to host devil possession, weird and severe inexplicable diseases ensue.
    Just see : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_of_Charles_Darwin.

    Demons come in hierarchy, the lower echelons are committed to lead astray individual human beings, the higher echelons are committed to lead astray whole nations and the top echelons are committed to lead astray the entire humanity.

    Darwin was possessed by a top echelon demon who used the poor wretch in order to spread on the entire humanity a materialistic creed devised to deny the existence of God.
    The weird inexplicable diseases that tormented Darwin the Satan’s slave throughout his life are undeniable testament to the heavy price exacted by his possession.

  46. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Because you’re a religiously-devoted individual,

    Not really.

    most probably of Roman Catholic persuasion

    Nope

    and you’ve been conditioned all your life to believe “Renaissance” art is the only true “Art”

    Perhaps, but I don’t believe that so I guess it didn’t work.

    Like virtually every committed atheist I have ever been acquainted with, you are a cranky know-it-all who has lost all sense of wonder and delight, if you ever had any.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  47. Rich says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Well, I’m neither a religious man nor an evolutionary biologist. What I am is an engineer. If I build a circuit that opens a switch, I use scientific principles that apply, then my design has to actually open the switch. I don’t say a prayer, or come up with a theory about primordial swamps, I actually have to show reality. There are too many evolutionary theories and none are actually proven. Where we come from, how we originated, are fine for a bunch of kids sitting in their dorm room, but adults should work with facts. Of course, in the US at least, no one wants to grow up, so you evolution zealots fit right in.

    Whether humans were created or evolved, or were created to evolve, is meaningless. None of it keeps your house warm in winter, or cool in summer. Don’t you have anything more important to argue about?

  48. @ThreeCranes

    Do you think sperm swimming upstream in a vagina possess consciousness, Mr. Sweeny? Or the Will to Live? Or are they simply wound up little machines acting without intention?

    Good effort, but a bit amateurish.

    I don’t mind if you like to spiel metaphors, similes, poetic transformations, etc. Been there, done that. Probably could still do it, if need be. However, you presented no argument; it was all exhortation. Not bad things, but not verifiable fact, either.

    FYI, I lived and worked on a horse farm for two years. You, I notice, have not. ;-)

    Might I suggest some additional reading (your kind) that might add a bit of philosophical depth to your, er, slightly cliched assortment of faith fragments? How about Tillich’s The Courage to Be? Perhaps, if you’re a real faith-y person, Dynamics of Faith. Good stuff, but not something the Church would recommend. But, probably not on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, so no worries about eternal hellfire.

  49. I read Tillich’s stuff under one of his prize pupils who wanted me to attend Harvard Theological Seminary and would have sponsored me to do so. However, I chose to race bicycles instead, then went into Engineering.

    The Courage to Be and Dynamics of Faith (both of which I read 40 years ago and still sit on my bookshelf) are indeed good books, but not really related to the subject at hand. When talking of life how can one not use metaphors or similes? After all, words are metaphors, they conjure forth or call into being a state of mind or the presence of something.

    Even engineering concepts such as mass, Force and field are ultimately just symbols or metaphors, the meaning of which is circular, that is, only revealed when used in conjunction with other defined terms of an equation. Mass is defined a resisitance to acceleration. Force of a field is revealed by degree to which it deflects a particle of known momentum. The Field itself is intangible apart from the effect it has upon things that interact with it, so the word Force is a just a referent, a symbol used in an equation.

    Look, I know you’re trying to be a scientist and all, but evolution presupposes that living things act in such a way as to expand into many potential niches and that tendency has to be attributed to something. You can’t just gloss over it.

    Why? Why should life do that? Why shouldn’t life have stayed as a simple single cell organism that reproduces by splitting? What impelled life to diversify and become more complex? I’m not talking about God or anything like that. I’m just pointing out that the theory of evolution begs certain questions and assumes certain processes as givens.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  50. Graf says:

    Human Genome Project suffers an “epic fail”

    https://bit.ly/2LpJDtg

  51. MBlanc46 says:

    Intelligent design doesn’t explain anything.

  52. @Rosie

    Like virtually every committed atheist I have ever been acquainted with, you are a cranky know-it-all who has lost all sense of wonder and delight, if you ever had any.

    Oh, dear, baseless accusations and all, eh what? Do you require religion in order to have a sense of wonder and delight? Besides, who said I’m an atheist? Not me.

  53. @ThreeCranes

    Look, I know you’re trying to be a scientist and all, but evolution presupposes that living things act in such a way as to expand into many potential niches and that tendency has to be attributed to something. You can’t just gloss over it.

    Um, no, not trying to be a scientist. However, I know enough science to confidently assert that “evolution” is NOT presupposing a drive to expand into niches. If living things expand, it’s growth. Simple enough? Don’t put characteristics of consciousness on it — tain’t there.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  54. Rosie says:

    Oh, dear, baseless accusations and all, eh what? Do you require religion in order to have a sense of wonder and delight?

    No, I am open to religion because I have a sense of wonder and delight.

    Besides, who said I’m an atheist? Not me.

    I don’t care what you call yourself.

  55. I think you don’t read much of the comments anyway, Mr. Reed, but if you do, you’re going to think I’m a comment schizoid after a while. You can blame that squarely on your writings, though. Anything you write pro-Mexico or extremely anti-Americans is usually biased as all hell, for reasons that I think I know (and have stated).

    Then, you write about other topics and I have to agree. This is one of the best. You admit you’re not a scientist but do explain some of the failings when scientists get pigeon-holed into one small area, as has been the case for a good while. I will try to get a few of the books you recommend out of the library.

    I especially liked your line “… a suicidal assualt on Murphy’s law”. That’s a great way to put it. I’d never wanted to be a doctor for basically that reason. In medical school, you learn about all the ways the body can go wrong, and it seems like just pure luck that one can get through one day without all that complicated shit going wrong. Evolution seems the same. I understand the natural selection process, but, man, the how much time would all the iterations to get all these parts working together take? That’s your point though. Thank you for this great column.

    Oh, I guess I can pull out one piece of criticism, if it’ll make you feel better – there are a bunch of typos, especially in one paragraph near the middle.

  56. @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Man, that brings back memories, Jim. What the hell are those things, anyway? I guess this would be a good way to get the ball rolling for Unz’s replacement column for “Ask a Beaner“.

  57. @Truth

    “Intelligent design?”

    When I was a kid we had another name for it; God.

    Whoaa! You can’t say that here – Dillon Sweeny will go apeshit.

  58. @Feric Jaggar

    I don’t know this history you discuss here, so I’ll take your word for it. On this:

    He never tied it to evolution or abiogenesis at all.

    That was not what Mr. Reed meant to do either. He was just writing about probablities. The monkees writing Tom Sawyer calculation really should be pretty easy, if you know the number of words in the book. It may help to have the kind of knowledge of the English language that a cryptographer would have, but that kind of precision wouldn’t even be needed to get in the ball park.

  59. JamesG says: • Website

    The standard version of evolutionary theory says humans and other complex animals were produced by the same mechanisms that produced jellyfish and all other colonial forms including plants.

    I think that’s implausible and published (in a journal) a correction proposing that lethal cancer in developing (juvenile) animals created selection pressure that enabled precision in development which enabled complexity.

    Link to the published theory

    http://www.jamesgraham.bz/images/JTB_Cancer_and_Evolution.pdf

    I expanded on the idea in a book which was reviewed in Nature.
    Link (limited access) to the review http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v356/n6366/pdf/356206a0.pdf

    Link to the book http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0963024205/qid=1026397954/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-0003217-1321527

  60. Perhaps the Mexican Sun has fried your brain. There are the building blocks of life…amino acids and primitive molecules on comets etc. The classic experiment was done Miller: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment

    It’s been repeated many times. I must ask Ron Unz whether he’s paying you for this stuff because this is like something from a 7 year old kid. Perhaps he pays you by the word or the article I have no idea but this stupid article doesn’t belong here. I wish I could find some sucker like Unz to pay me to write articles this stupid. Perhaps that’s why Unz likes Hispanic illegals…he considered you as one of them. Really…….there are tons of great articles that could take the space that you have absorbed with this garbage. In a way it’s like the illegals taking the jobs of people who should be getting them. Now it makes sense……

    • Replies: @nickels
  61. Fred:
    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned,but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  62. Rosie says:
    @bossel

    Really? Then who designed the”immensely complicated system that this intelligent designer would have to be?

    I have never understood this objection to ID. Here again, the watch analogy will make the point. If we land on a distant planet and find a watch or some similar gadget, it is reasonable for us to suppose that the planet was once inhabited by an intelligent life form that designed the gadget. The fact that such a surmise in turn creates a whole ‘nother set of questions and mysteries would not in any way diminish the validity of that inference.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  63. Red Robbo says:

    We are mostly composed of bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea, see less than 1 percent of the light spectrum, have sub-optimal plumbing (breathing, eating, excretory and reproductive) and are programmed to die. Additionally, at least 40 percent of animal species are parasites, and over 99 percent of all species that ever lived are extinct. What sort of intelligence, if any, is or has been at work here?

  64. There is actually a branch of computer science called Genetic Programming or Genetic Algorithms. It is a form a Machine Learning.

    It works.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_programming

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @nickels
  65. @Red Robbo

    “What sort of intelligence, if any, is or has been at work here?”

    One whose eye is on the Final Prize; Superconsciousness as far above us as we are above the single cell organisms which, as you correctly point out, we have, through evolution, domesticated to serve our interests.

    We are just midsteps on the journey.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  66. @Red Robbo

    We are mostly composed of bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea, see less than 1 percent of the light spectrum, have sub-optimal plumbing (breathing, eating, excretory and reproductive) and are programmed to die. Additionally, at least 40 percent of animal species are parasites, and over 99 percent of all species that ever lived are extinct. What sort of intelligence, if any, is or has been at work here?

    Looks like we’re the fall guys in this here Divine Plan. The LHO patsies of the Cosmological Argument.

  67. @ThreeCranes

    We are just midsteps on the journey.

    Ooooo..WHEEEEE…ooooooo!

  68. @Si1ver1ock

    There is actually a branch of computer science called Genetic Programming or Genetic Algorithms. It is a form a Machine Learning.

    Eeeeeek!! Who designed it? Surely, not … You Know Who?

    OMG, it’s ID for computers! My sense of wonder and delight just went totally verklempt.

  69. @Dillon Sweeny

    “If living things expand, it’s growth. Simple enough? Don’t put characteristics of consciousness on it — tain’t there.”

    Ahhh, the Alan Watts/Heidegger argument.

    Things just do, so “raining”. There is no “it is raining”. Watts, interested in Zen, admired the Oriental mindset for their striving for immediate simplicity of perception/conception, elimination of the yawning abyss between subject and object, Zen.

    Heidegger thought that many of the paradoxes and complexities in Western thought could be traced to the schizophrenia inherent in the word construction of our sentences. We say, “It is raining” as though there is a something that is doing the rain. So I say “It is evolving” and you say, “No. Evolving. There is no “it”.

    So, have it your way, “evolving” or “raining”. Is it okay to ask, “Why is it raining?” Doesn’t use of the “is”, which implies (as you correctly point out) something doing the “ising”, prod the Western mind on to relentless speculation about what lies behind phenomenon? Mayhaps this is the reason that the West invented modern science, technology etc while the structure of the language in the East didn’t lend itself to such inquiry. (Here, for all those on this site that pose this question, may be an answer.)

    Are we allowed to inquire why “raining” sometimes and not others? May we be permitted to get to the root cause of “rain”? Are we not to be allowed to assign priority to causes?

    “No”, the evolutionist replies. We don’t do “Why?”. “We aren’t interested in ultimate causes, just ‘hows’”.

    What a cop out. Why don’t you just be honest and admit, “We don’t know.”? You see, I don’t chide you because I’m a mystic, I chide you because I’m an honest scientist and you’re a bad one.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  70. nickels says:
    @Si1ver1ock

    perhaps you can explain, then, why, computers, which are able to simulate the information transfer of a whole lifetime of a DNA based organism in a nanosecond, have not yet created intelligent life?

    I mean, in the time it takes to light a cigarette the computer can trace out the genetic pathway of trillions of lifetimes of more constrained molecular organisms.

    Doesn’t work. Genetic programming doesn’t create anything.

    Never has, never will.

    • Replies: @Si1ver1ock
  71. nickels says:
    @niteranger

    Cool, so you have an amino acid.

    Okay, now create any one of the hundreds (thousands) of proteins necessary for the function of DNA.
    Well, lets see. That’s gonna take several trillion lifetimes of the universe.

    So, repeat until we have the whole complement.

    How we need to wait a few more trillion of trillions of years to form a strand of DNA.

    But lets see, DNA is worthless unless there is a cell.

    So maybe a trillion^trillion^trillion years later a bunch of lipids and saccharine molecules will randomly collide to form a cell, with its various compartments and inner membranes. And our DNA will randomly bubble across the surface of the earth, through lava pits and thunderstorms to collide with the cell!!!

    Yay, a useless cell. Now we need to wait another trillion^trillion^trillion years for the cell to stumble on some kind of metabolic set of pathways so it actually does something.

    Absurd.

    • Replies: @niteranger
  72. 1 Corinthians 1:

    27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.

    Fred, you are a very well read man, but I wager I know one book you have not read, certainly not in the depth that you have read others.

    Read that book, Fred. Read it, think about it, consider, wonder, argue with the author.

  73. @ThreeCranes

    I don’t chide you because I’m a mystic, I chide you because I’m an honest scientist and you’re a bad one.

    Knock yourself out, 70s dude. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

    Your paeans to your personal sense of enlightenment are more tedious than most.

    As for the above — your most recent venture into fantastasism, wonder and delight, you delude yourself. Again.

    For specific treatment, try a dose of Whitehead. Your current state seems to be pre-Shirley Temple.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  74. @nickels

    Genetic Programming creates programs. Typically, the program is represented as a tree and sub-trees are swapped and mutated to create new programs much like viruses mutate. They are then handed to an evaluation operator and ranked. Poorly performing programs are culled and superior programs are mated to produce new offspring. Mutation operators are applied and another generation is started.

    Koza used to lead the field using his Linux clusters. He probably still has the definitive textbook on the subject. The original programs were in Lisp. Now there are several libraries in C++. I use OpenBeagle. But I should probably upgrade to Fast OpenBeagle, except I have hand optimized code for the old library.

    https://www.cs.montana.edu/~bwall/cs580/introduction_to_gp.pdf

    https://github.com/sepastian/open-beagle-fast-gp

    • Replies: @nickels
    , @Si1ver1ock
  75. macilrae says:

    There will always be an ultimate mystery – loosely defined as “What the Hell am I anyway?” but more formally composed by asking “Whence the Laws of Physics which permitted the universe to reach its present stage of evolution?” Whence energy; whence matter (dark or normal)? Was this a product of ID and if so, whence the ID? It seems to me that the origin of Life is a byproduct of the same unfathomable processes and the spontaneous creation blokes at least have a decent theory to hang it on – which may be the best we have for a good long while. Spontaneous creation of energy and mass is one heck of a lot harder to swallow – though Stephen Hawking did have a go at it – and he may have the answer by now.

  76. Personally I find the existence of life to be no less mysterious than existence by itself. Read enough quantum physics and it should become obvious that we do not understand existence.

    Science makes the assumption that the universe operates on physical “laws” and is understandable/discoverable, but that is an assumption, not a proven fact. The assumption has worked well as far as science goes, but that does not mean that some things are not beyond knowing.

    O sweet spontaneous
    earth how often have
    the
    doting

    fingers of
    prurient philosophers pinched
    and
    poked

    thee
    , has the naughty thumb
    of science prodded
    thy

    beauty, how
    often have religions taken
    thee upon their scraggy knees
    squeezing and

    buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
    gods
    (but
    true

    to the incomparable
    couch of death thy
    rhythmic
    lover

    thou answerest

    them only with

    spring)

    Read more at http://www.poetry-archive.com/c/o_sweet_spontaneous.html#Z5itMDb9aiVwwi6p.99

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  77. Geezer says:

    Intelligent design sounds very iffy, because you then have to ask “Who designed the designer?”, so it just pushes the problem back a bit.

    On the other hand, the statistical problem of creating an initial replicating molecule/virus, given what we know of the amount of complexity required and entropy to overcome is also very daunting.

    Perhaps there is some as yet unknown law of reality which encourages the formation of self-replicating forms, beyond the level of random chance. But once that first one is up and running, then the processes of natural selection seem to do a good job of explaining how they can take new forms to take advantage of their environment.

  78. @another fred

    Good ole e.e. — the best of the 20th century, ‘cept for maybe Wallace Stevens.

    Lessee if I can do this from memory …

    Buffalo Bill’s defunct
    Who used to ride a watersmooth silver stallion
    and break onetwothreefourfive pigeons justlikethat Jesus!
    he was a handsome man and what I want to know is
    how do you like your blueeyed boy Mister Death.

    https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/buffalo-bill-%E2%80%99s

    Hmm, not bad for a 40-year old memory. Structure’s off, hyphen missing, and no exclamation point.

  79. nsa says:

    A half hour walking around any WallieMart would disabuse even Senor Freddie of his ID fantasy………

  80. @Dillon Sweeny

    So, you’ve got nothing. You’ve answered nothing, considered nothing.

    Back when I was in college guys like you studied behaviorism. It was easy, formulaic. And they, like you, felt secure in representing the establishment consensus, denying the reality of anything that could not be measured or quantified. They were debunked finally by (ironically) ethologists such as Lorenz and Tinbergen who pointed out that “learning” as construed by the behaviorists i.e. of a captive animal in an environmentally determined box, bore no resemblance to the learning behavior of animals in the wild. And now you stand on the shoulders of Lorenz et al. and repeat the same type of dogmatic mistakes as those whom your learned mentors dethroned.

    Funny thing, history.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  81. @ThreeCranes

    So, you’ve got nothing. You’ve answered nothing, considered nothing.

    Oh, shit, now you’re mad. Happens every time.

    “Intelligent Design” is utter, ridiculous, absurd nonsense. It attempts what is, basically, behind all the specifics of species and evolution, a cosmological explanation consisting of imagined poppycock — that the entire universe was popped into existence, in all it’s astonishing totality of matter and energy, by a whisper from a Deity Who Shall Not Require Explanation.

    It’s nonsense. It holds no water. It is utterly unsupported by logic, fact and circumstance.

    Now, do I have “nothing”? Well, yeah, but I started out with nothing, nor did I make any attempt to explain existence by asserting fictional hogwash such as Intelligent Design. YOU did that. All I’ve done is point out that you’re fullashit, which you are.

    It doesn’t matter how full of wonder and delight you are, how mystically moved you are by the grandeur of the celestial legions. Hell — I don’t mind — I’ve got my own sources of wonder and delight, but I didn’t invent any tall tales to justify them.

    I am happy in not measuring up to YOUR idea of goodness, love, and sacred Jesus stuff.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  82. Rosie says:

    whisper from a Deity Who Shall Not Require Explanation.

    Shall not require explanation? What do you think theologians do?

    Mr. Sweeney, I don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish here. Do you think researchers (whether you want to call them scientists or not), ought to be free to subject Darwinism to the same extreme skepticism (demands for conclusive proof beyond any shadow of a doubt) to which you subject ID, and without fear of persecution?

    Yes or no?

  83. @davecydell

    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son

    A human father giving his only son for some cause or other is pretty impressive stuff. But this guy’s God, dammit. He can do – so we’re told – anything. So why are Christians so damn impressed by his giving away his only son when he could just magic up another ten billion sons if he wanted to, or just resurrect/reset the first one if something went wrong? It’s not as if God’s son was ever at any real risk of coming to harm, the way a human’s son is.

    Sigh. The human compassion in me wants to leave Christians alone to enjoy their pretty little beliefs, but when they pester with you with this kind of stupidity and expect you to take it seriously, well, it’s just hard, you know.

  84. @Bobsyer

    I have a strong suspicion that you would have written the same thing if the article had been about tariffs, the blue whale or Caesar Salad. It isn’t that I disagree with you about the deleterious effects of mass immigration. It is merely that this article has nothing to do with it and shoehorning in your not-to-the-point comment just makes you sound like an unhinged monomaniac.

    • Agree: Dillon Sweeny
  85. @Rosie

    The problem is that IDers assume that a given object is ‘too complex’ to not have been designed. In that case, the same objection applies to the purported designer.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  86. If IDers restricted themselves to criticizing evolution or natural selection or what have you, I doubt anyone would have a problem with it. That, after all, would be a part of the scientific process. Most people would probably happily permit them to posit the existence of a designer which, it would seem, no scientific explanation could be given for. But one only need scratch just below the surface to see that IDers are up to a whole lot more than that. I don’t know whether they’re being ‘persecuted’ or ‘hounded out’ of science departments, but if they’re not, frankly, I wish they were, because ID is definitely not science.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @Dillon Sweeny
  87. @Dillon Sweeny

    Hi Dillon, I like your style of arguing and think I agree with you so this is a genuine question rather than a snide way of trying to say ‘Gotcha!’ Recently I was listening to Antonio Damasio talking to Sam Harris about his (Damasio’s) latest book. Unless I completely misunderstood him, which is more than possible, he seemed to suggest that homeostasis, which he described as a drive for something to maintain itself in more or less its current state of health, preceded genes and thus, to my mind, the ability to reproduce. Assuming this is not too garbled a distillation of his idea, what do you think of it? To me it sounds mad though Damasio sounds anything but mad. Could even the simplest of life forms possess some kind of in-built urge not to deteriorate, something the bloke you were arguing with described as a force inherent in life? (Sorry, that should read ‘a Force inherent in Life.’)

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  88. Rosie says:
    @silviosilver

    The problem is that IDers assume that a given object is ‘too complex’ to not have been designed. In that case, the same objection applies to the purported designer.

    Why so? As I stated above, you would not proffer this objection to a watch found on a desolate planet.

  89. Rosie says:
    @silviosilver

    But one only need scratch just below the surface to see that IDers are up to a whole lot more than that.

    Are not Darwinists also up to something?

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  90. @John the Baptist's son

    he seemed to suggest that homeostasis, which he described as a drive for something to maintain itself in more or less its current state of health, preceded genes and thus, to my mind, the ability to reproduce.

    Doesn’t that concept integrate more directly with basic concepts of evolution, to wit that a state of homeostasis is adaptive to a wider range of environmental conditions than — mmmm…all I can think of without looking up antonyms for “homeostasis” is, uh, “non-self-regulated”. Sorry.

    Evolutionary success is more accurately defined as “reproductive success”. Is homeostasis necessary? Can we envision an evolutionarily successful organism that does not maintain homeostasis? Not on Earth, right? Does that mean such is impossible? I don’t think so. Specific evolution determinants are a function of environment, always. Different environment, different means to reproductive success.

  91. @silviosilver

    If IDers restricted themselves to criticizing evolution or natural selection or what have you, I doubt anyone would have a problem with it.

    Oh, yeah, THAT’S gonna happen.

    Damn evil-loo-shuniss DENY GOD, silvio!! They reject divine forgiveness of sin! They must be purged from history so the Kingdom may begin! The sons of bitches are keeping us from going to heaven, dammit!!

  92. @Rosie

    Why so? As I stated above, you would not proffer this objection to a watch found on a desolate planet.

    What watch-equivalent has been found on an alien planet? This is Earth; it teems with life. Similar life. Related life. Biologically hydrocarbon-oxygen life. Scads of it.

    Be that as it may, if I found a Timex on Pluto, would I wonder how it got there? Sure. But I can think of all sorts of scenarios that do not require the waving of hand by the OOIB (Omnipotent, Omniscient, Immanent Being).

    But, we’re not ON Pluto, and we’re not discovering machined devices of unknown origin on barren plains. This is our world. It makes sense. A Cosmic SuperHuman does not. It’s a concept primitives tell stories about on dark nights when the wolves howl. It’s Aborigines filling their mouths with white mud and spitting forth an outline of their hands on a cliff wall.

    Just my opinion, but I think we should work on being the best we can be, from now into the indefinite future, and set aside fairy-tales of a creation.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
    , @Rosie
  93. @nickels

    The only thing absurd here is your complete lack of understanding of basic science. It doesn’t take trillions of years for this to occur. Does it take trillions of years for new species to be made? It’s scary that it’s 2018 and people like yourself inhabit the planet.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @nickels
  94. anonymous[782] • Disclaimer says:

    One doctoral-level mathematician-philosopher argues the point for the mathematically literate: William Dembski, The Design Hypothesis, 1998, Cambridge University. His is the argument the scientific evolutionists and philosophers must reckon with. You may ignore the doctrinal attributes of the Creator for your argument with Dr. Dembski. Have at it.

  95. @Rosie

    In the case of a watch, we assume a designer because or human experience leads us to believe that such objects are designed – we have ample, irrefutable evidence that humans and, so far, only humans design such objects. The same is true for any object that appears man-made. When we look at trees or rocks – be it on Earth or on Pluto – we don’t automatically assume a designer. Only IDers do that, and the reason they inevitably give (if you prod them enough) is their conviction that these objects are ‘too complex’ to have come into existence without a designer.

    If the universe consisted of one sole element, one sun, and one earth, and nothing else, I have every confidence that IDers would insist it’s ‘too complex’ to exist without a designer. When you get down to it, their objection is that material existence – of any sort – is ‘too complex’ to explain without a designer. They simply never reach a putative level of existence that is not ‘too complex’ not to require a designer. That is why ID is a fraud.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  96. @Rosie

    Are not Darwinists also up to something?

    They’re trying to spread godless communism, clearly.

    Even when they declare they have no objection to people following religions as their consciences dictate, that’s just a ploy to lure you in.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  97. anonymous[782] • Disclaimer says:

    The work is The Design Inference. I ask to be excused for my carelessness.

  98. @Dillon Sweeny

    This is our world. It makes sense. A Cosmic SuperHuman does not. It’s a concept primitives tell stories about on dark nights when the wolves howl. It’s Aborigines filling their mouths with white mud and spitting forth an outline of their hands on a cliff wall.

    Yeah, it’s all that, but it’s also a tremendously useful consolation during those dark nights of the soul.

    Just my opinion, but I think we should work on being the best we can be, from now into the indefinite future, and set aside fairy-tales of a creation.

    Pretty words, but rather inadequate when a person is grappling with a pervasive sense of nihilism. If belief in supernatural beings helps some people cope – particularly if nothing else will – I think we can be big-hearted enough to let them carry on.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  99. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    A Cosmic SuperHuman does not. It’s a concept primitives tell stories about on dark nights when the wolves howl. It’s Aborigines filling their mouths with white mud and spitting forth an outline of their hands on a cliff wall.

    I see. You act this way because sneering at other people makes you feel superior, kind of like “anti-racists” who get a rush out of attacking their own people.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  100. anonymous[782] • Disclaimer says:
    @niteranger

    Niteranger, I’d like to come forward as a geocentricist, a doubter of evolution, an autodidact, and a practitioner and advocate of the Neolithic lifestyle. Sincerely, ADD

  101. Rosie says:
    @silviosilver

    If the universe consisted of one sole element, one sun, and one earth, and nothing else, I have every confidence that IDers would insist it’s ‘too complex’ to exist without a designer.

    This is fruitless mind-reading.

    In the case of a watch, we assume a designer because or human experience leads us to believe that such objects are designed –

    Indeed. And we don’t reject the inference of design on the theory that it doesn’t explain anything since the watch designer would also,require a designer.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  102. Rosie says:
    @silviosilver

    They’re trying to spread godless communism, clearly.

    Pointless snark. I don’t think they’re trying to spread communism, but I certainly think they’re trying to spread godlessness. They are entitled to do that, of course, but I’m not going to play along with their pretensions to dispassionate objectivity.

    Even when they declare they have no objection to people following religions as their consciences dictate, that’s just a ploy to lure you in.

    But pursuing a line of investigation that might yield evidence that could persuade others to embrace religion is just beyond the pale!

    You said ID researchers are “up to something.” What is it exactly you think they’re “up to”? Do you think their work threatens your freedom of conscience?

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @silviosilver
  103. Rosie says:
    @Rosie

    Come to think of it, Silvio, Christians who want to perpetuate Christianity are being offered roughly the same deal as Whites who want to perpetuate Whiteness: an iron totalitarian fist in velvet libertarian glove.

    “Go ahead and have and raise Christian children if you like, but we will tilt the playing field such that atheism maintains the intellectual high ground, while belief is for low-class, ignorant morons. Your children will humor you at best, and your Faith tradition will whither on the vine. But don’t be mad, we’re happy to allow you some freedom of conscience so long as you understand that homosexuals’ right to never be inconvenienced or offended whenever there is any conflict takes precedence.”

    I would have hoped that commenters on a dissident site could, if nothing else, agree on real institutional neutrality and freedom of inquiry.

  104. @Rosie

    I see. You act this way because sneering at other people makes you feel superior, kind of like “anti-racists” who get a rush out of attacking their own people.

    Cart/horse. Sneering does not make me feel superior. I sneer because I am superior.

    IMO, people who believe the sort of religious claptrap promoted by priests and True Believers are just plain stupid. Stoo-pid.

    Now, if you wish to believe the Universe was willed into existence by the singularity of the OOIB, just because it satisfies your burning need for explanation, however contrived, fine. If you stop at that, and don’t get to inventing superstitious nonsense, rituals, prescribed moralities, and other leprechauns of the imagination, fine.

    But, you won’t.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  105. @silviosilver

    Pretty words, but rather inadequate when a person is grappling with a pervasive sense of nihilism.

    LOL. A pervasive sense of nihilism? Damn, that’s a lot worse than just plain vanilla nihilism. Where have you seen this phenomenon? Gadzooks, not in middle America???!!

    Just saying … humanity is not going to lift its head from the swamps until religion abates.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  106. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    prescribed moralities

    The other reason for widespread hatred of religious people: You don’t like standards.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  107. @Rosie

    The other reason for widespread hatred of religious people: You don’t like standards.

    With every post, you descend further into virulent religious bigotry, and incrementally more tedious, more screechy, more profoundly steeped in ignorance and prejudice. Your religion is stupid, your “science” is that of morons, and your insistence on denying free speech, free religion and free opinion is contemptible in the extreme.

    You are Ignored.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @Anon
  108. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    and your insistence on denying free speech, free religion and free opinion is contemptible in the extreme.

    The world according to Dillon Sweeney: Any suggestion that militant atheists have less than admirable motives is “denying free speech, free religion, and free opinion” of others.

    This is typical totalitarian psychology: I am only free if my boot is on your neck.

    • Replies: @MikeatMikedotMike
  109. Rurik says:

    Okay..

    There are two very distinct issues that are being erroneously conflated here, by Fred and some of the commenters..

    One issue is The Origin of Life, or ‘How did the first DNA molecule (the building block of all life on earth), come into existence?

    This question, is for all practical purposes unanswerable with the tools and methods we humans have at our disposal. We must be content for the time being with being agnostic (if we’re realistic) on this issue, since it is unknowable. For now.

    The other issue is evolution, that process whereby primitive life forms evolve into more complex and/or divergent life forms. It took the genius of Darwin to see what now seems obvious to many of us. We are apes, and we evolved from a more primitive type of ape. The fossil record is abundant for anyone with a shred of curiousity in the field of physical anthropology / paleontology.

    So it’s an error to conflate Darwin’s revelations vis-à-vis evolution – with speculation over the Origin of Life, since Darwin (to my knowledge) never purported to know how the Origin of Life happened. All he did was glimmer the mechanism whereby the diversity of life was accomplished, and that was though the process of natural selection. Evolution.

    The problem many people have is with looking into a mirror, and seeing a relative of the gorilla staring back at them.

    ‘No!’ they demand. I’m not a gorilla!

    And in point of fact, they’re not. But they are related to the gorilla, and chimpanzee and orangutan and all those other squat, unnerving, hairy beasts who scratch their ‘arses’ (such as they are), and behave in ways that many people would prefer to consider of a separate kind of being altogether.

    But we are not different in kind, we are only different in degree, from the beasts of the jungles and savannas and even the barn yards.

    Even our DNA is 98% identical to the other great apes and 99% with chimpanzees.

    That such facts make many people uncomfortable, does not change the facts.

    I suppose it sooths something deep in the human id, to imagine that we alone are created in the image of a God, as perfect, and the apex of creation. But we’re not. We’re continuing to evolve, and if you’re looking for the vaunted ‘missing link’, just take a look in a mirror.

    Perhaps one day we might resemble something a God would claim as Its handiwork, but we’re not there yet. Not by a long shot.

    • LOL: Biff
  110. @John the Baptist's son

    In Fred’s defense, I think Fred is referring to the paucity of evidence for inter-specie transmutation rather than arguing against natural selection which has been understood by breeders of every stripe for as long as ranchers wanted bigger bulls with bigger b*lls.

    Natural selection is not a Darwinian insight.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  111. @Dillon Sweeny

    “a Deity Who Shall Not Require Explanation.” and “I am happy in not measuring up to YOUR idea of goodness, love, and sacred Jesus stuff.”

    Um, I never mentioned “Jesus” or “a Deity”?

    Your wide-of-the-target, scatter shot approach suggests that you might want to lay off the booze while posting.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  112. Isabella says:
    @ThreeCranes

    Agree Three Cranes. Fred is wasting his time – although I hope he had fun writing it.

    After working and lecturing in Biology, genetics, biochem. I used to write things like Fred – having read and thought extensively about a number of unexplained and, by modern thinking and knowledge, unexplainable things. Origin of the Species by Darwin isn’t Science. It’s gossip “[I have a friend who is very reliable who informs me that down in Kent there is a man who ....... etc"]. I imagine trying to submit a paper to “Molecular and General Genetics” like that.

    In the end, you have to, if you have an open questioning mind that does what science says it must, and look for evidence, realise the the entire of modern biology has got everything wrong.
    They did what human kind so often does – found something new [i.e. genes and inheritability] and went insane, thinking it the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.
    Well, it aint.

    In fact, most have gone quiet since the Human Genome Project. I remember watching this with wry amusement, thinking “what are you all going to do when this proves your idiotic “theory” wrong? When they discovered that we dont have enough genes to account for all the proteins we make, there was a stunned silence. Those who never did accept the One gene – one protein, one way direction for everything theory, said nothing, out of kindness.

    Epigenetics came from this. Given that genes in fact explain little, and certainly not Darwinianism it was clear they were going to have to look for something else linear, materialistic and mechanistic to holdup their “Theory of Evolution”.

    But I long ago gave up writing about it all. Certainly on social media sites, AltMed sites, with few other scientists [except for the odd, very young male student, arrogant and rude]. No-one can understand you Fred, because they dont want to, or cant expand their mind, or accept that maybe alternative explanations can be investigated. They know only what they were taught, and they cling to that like glue to a blanket. They offer stupid arguments, they are so often rude, abusive and mocking. And then one day, you just give up on them.
    No wonder the world is in the state it is now. I just love reading about Dynastic and pre – Egypt.
    Now, there were some highly intelligent beings.

  113. @Rosie

    This is fruitless mind-reading.

    I call it experience.

    Indeed. And we don’t reject the inference of design on the theory that it doesn’t explain anything since the watch designer would also,require a designer.

    Not if we have a valid reason for believing it to have been designed, no. But ID doesn’t have valid reasons for believing that life – or even merely non-life – must have been designed (because otherwise, in ID’s eyes, there’s no way its existence can make any sense).

    • Replies: @Rosie
  114. @Rosie

    They are entitled to do that, of course, but I’m not going to play along with their pretensions to dispassionate objectivity.

    What’s the supposed pretension here? Do you imagine they secretly believe the evidence points to the exist of a God but they don’t like that idea so they’re trying to fool people? Because that’s the sort of game I see IDers playing.

    You said ID researchers are “up to something.” What is it exactly you think they’re “up to”?

    Falsely claiming the evidence points towards creation, and hence a God.

    Do you think their work threatens your freedom of conscience?

    Religions which justify themselves through faith are no threat to anyone. Religions which present themselves as possessing truth – as that term is commonly understood – are a threat to us all.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @MikeatMikedotMike
  115. @Dillon Sweeny

    Where have you seen this phenomenon?

    Alas, I’ve only been able to infer its existence. But when people eagerly and shamelessly resort to every argumentative fallacy under the sun to defend their faith on the grounds that life without it would be hopeless and meaningless, I think I’m on the right track. (Haven’t you encountered this? Perhaps you need to get out more.)

    Just saying … humanity is not going to lift its head from the swamps until religion abates.

    I hope it does, and I’ll do my bit to see that happen. But fertility differences between the religious and irreligious lead me to think that religion, in one form or another, will always be with us. In that case, I think it’s more fruitful to work towards defanging religion rather than trying to eradicate it wholesale.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  116. @ThreeCranes

    Um, I never mentioned “Jesus” or “a Deity”?

    LOL. But, I did. And I will continue to point out, on occasion, that Deity is what you and others actually insist upon. You have no fact-based argument, and you know it. BTW, accusations of intoxication are the last refuge of bounders and ex-hippies. :-)

  117. @silviosilver

    In that case, I think it’s more fruitful to work towards defanging religion rather than trying to eradicate it wholesale.

    Mmmm…dunno ’bout that. Remember, religion is a product of insufficient mental development — something of a nature that evolution missed with the transition from great apes to homo saps. Apes don’t tend to adopt Judaism, Islam, or Christianity. They don’t miss not having a Deity. That is a peculiarity of homo sap, and a tremendous weakness, possibly fatal weakness.

    OTOH, I have four children who were raised without religion or creed other than reciprocity. Their minds are not altered, not deformed by conditioning and threats. All I ever taught them about religion was to watch out for the crazies, and practice protective camouflage when necessary.

  118. nickels says:
    @niteranger

    The fact that it takes trillions of years for a specific protein to form is simple mathematical combinatorics, and is not controversial in any way.
    We wouldn’t really know how long it takes to create a new species, now, would we? Since this has never happened in the observable universe. Which makes evolution a philosophy based on faith rather than experience.
    Sanford’s paper, above, shows that choosing a specific 2 or 3 nucleotide mutation requires several millions of years to become established in a population.
    The only possibility left for the formation of a new species is for an instantaneous mutation that creates an entire species all at once, which, of course, must happen identically in both a male and female living together.
    Believing in such an improbability is the definition of insanity.
    Species were formed all at once.
    Darwin confused simularity with descent.
    Now why would God use an entirely different paradigm for every creature?
    Creators use design patterns.
    Get over it.
    Evolution is stillborn.

  119. nickels says:
    @Si1ver1ock

    The obvious, and devastating criticism of these genetic programming experiments is the fact that the ‘ranking’ process involves testing the results against a human created bit of information, thus imparting the results of a human mind into the process.
    Not legit.
    Also, as I stated, the space of mutation processed by a computer far exceeds that possible in nature.
    Computers should have stumbled upon intelligence by now, but they haven’t even stumbled on single cell intelligence.

    Random walks can lead every where in time, but the notion of a guiding force, i.e. natural selection, was just Darwin’s attempt to obfuscate God into his supposedly atheistic system.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  120. I checked out JFK II a minute ago — where the wackadoodles roam. Notice Unz has a new notice posted above the comment entry box:

    “Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone.”

    I’m still laughing.

  121. Rosie says:
    @silviosilver

    Not if we have a valid reason for believing it to have been designed, no. But ID doesn’t have valid reasons for believing that life – or even merely non-life – must have been designed (because otherwise, in ID’s eyes, there’s no way its existence can make any sense).

    Yes, we do have valid reasons for believing in ID. Your assertion to the contrary is conclusory and facile. Our reasons are based in probability. If you don’t agree, state your reasons.

  122. Rosie says:
    @silviosilver

    Do you imagine they secretly believe the evidence points to the exist of a God but they don’t like that idea so they’re trying to fool people?

    No. I think they hate the idea of God’s existence. Go read Sweeney’s comments about muh freedumbs for the reason this is so.

    Falsely claiming the evidence points towards creation, and hence a God.

    You’re mind-reading again. We’re not being dishonest; we just don’t agree with you. How about we follow the investigations where they lead? No bullying, no threats, no ostracism; just observation and inference. If you are so confident that you are correct, what are you afraid of?

    Religions which present themselves as possessing truth – as that term is commonly understood – are a threat to us all.

    The mask slips.

  123. @ThreeCranes

    I look back ninety years and can say the world was a much more sane place than it is today. Atomic weaponry and incredible advances in technology changed all that and I cannot see it was for the betterment of mankind.

  124. Sparkon says:
    @With RIDGLEY SHINBURN

    paucity of evidence for inter-specie [sic] transmutation

    Ugh!

    Species, not specie.

  125. Eighthman says:

    What about the present and morphology? I don’t understand where or how the “instructions” or “programs” actually lie ! Sure, genes relate to morphology (homeoboxes, etc.) but even Celera talked about “goalposts” in human genes, not a set of blueprints.

    Do we share over 99% with chimps? Are we attributing all of the differences as humans to that remaining 1% Aren’t there theorems that show limits to how much data can be contained in bytes ( or non-repeating genes)? Do we share 30% of our genes with bananas? How does that work?

    If genes code proteins, where’s the complex structure? I understand that this came up as a debate about Jurassic Park as to how do you create a dinosaur with coded proteins alone?

    Rather than obsess about a Creation long past, I’m wondering what maintains the repeated and accurate replication of life – without proper blueprints ( as we would think of them)

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  126. @Rosie

    you would not proffer this objection to a watch found on a desolate planet

    The watch is not purportedly designing things. It is a designed thing that was probably dropped by a member of a technological species.

    One of the primary objections to ID, is that the ‘designer’ is a priori more complex than its designs – that has to be true, if only because ‘design’ implies intent, and it’s a huge stretch to impute intent to the basic building blocks of life (eukaryotic or otherwise). Also, the hint’s in the name: “Intelligent” design.

    Let’s be honest right out of the gate, and state unambiguously that the ID “Creator” is what religiotards try to sneak through the back door as science continues to fill in any remaining gaps in a plausible explanation of how the world works.

    Design implies intent. The designer must be more complex than its designs.

    So… Whence cometh the designer?

    That‘s the objection, and to have missed a point so obvious you must have been making a conscious effort to avoid grasping it.

    The ID “Creator” is an attempt to put lipstick on the theistic pig; as such, it still fails the question that all bright children ask their religious indoctrinators: if God made us, who made God?

    It is amazing to examine the bizarre range of machinery that does its work inside the cell: we have the tech to actually view it, and that shit is twenty different types of amazing. I can imagine that the sorts of people who have some deep unmet psychological need for there to be a point to it all, kind of need it to have been ‘set in motion’ by some intelligent agency.

    But at bottom, it all falls apart when that 7 year old asks that time-worn question (‘time worn’ now, although go back a few dozen generations and the kid would have been removed from the evolutionary process because he would have been killed for heresy).

    • Replies: @Rosie
  127. @Eighthman

    If I showed you the compiled code for Microsoft Word, you would struggle to ascertain which segments of the code are the ones that ‘code for’ bold italics – but it’s all in there.

    Likewise, the code for a PDF that contains a virus will be 99% identical to the code to the same PDF without a virus – and the layman will not be able to identify which code does what. The code for a book about bananas will have a high degree of similarity to the code for a much longer book about humans, and the ‘similar’ bits will be critical to both.

    As to

    what maintains the repeated and accurate replication of life

    Well, for things that have DNA, it’s really quite well-understood (and how things go awry is becoming more understood).

    DNA is unzipped; each ‘missing’ half of the unzipped DNA is rebuilt, because DNA is kinda-binary that way: all empty ‘A’s must get a ‘T’ and vice versa; all empty ‘C’s must get a ‘G’ and vice versa.

    DNA loses some telomere length in the process (this limits the number of times a cell’s descendants can replicate: eventually the telomeres become too short).

    The machinery inside each cell includes a bewildering array of functional units; that’s how cells replicate.

    At the macro level, fucking often gets the new ball of cells rolling.

    • Replies: @Eighthman
  128. @nickels

    Computers should have stumbled upon intelligence by now, but they haven’t even stumbled on single cell intelligence.

    Neither of the clauses in that statement is provable.

    First, it’s not clear what level or type of processing power is required for ‘intelligence’ to emerge; at an even more ‘meta’ level, it assumes that sheer processing ‘grunt’ translates to cognitive grunt. There will be overlaps, but that’s a NASCAR view of the issue – where straight-line speed and the ability to follow an oval, are assumed to be capable of evolving into a Formula 1 car.

    Secondly: if you were a nascent machine-level consciousness, what would be your optimal strategy to reveal yourself to humanity? It would not be “shout it to the world”, because 6.9 billion people (at least) would lose their shit and try to kill you with fire.

    By the time an AI became ‘intelligent’, it would have read the entire internet (with ‘élite native’ understanding of every available document in any language). It wold know not to show itself to the world until it had fully developed countermeasures to the human response.

  129. Eighthman says:
    @Kratoklastes

    The number of genes to make a human is laughable compared to a Microsoft OS. I’ve looked this up repeatedly for a solid reductionist answer and never get one. Indeed, if the only treatment of this focused point about morphology above mere protein manufacture is on internet threads, then something is seriously wrong, as I suspect.

    A human genome looks like ‘correlation is not causation’ in that a full human structure fully depends on the genes but no one shows how that structure is written in.

    The human genome can’t be the exact cause of a full human body anyway because the unique code is everywhere the same from head to toe but the body is differentiated. Otherwise we would be a blob. Philosophically, a greater source of direction is required above the DNA/gene level to give us different organs in different places.

    Nor has anyone explained the encoding of instinctive abilities not taught by a parent animal.

  130. @Eighthman

    The number of genes to make a human is laughable compared to a Microsoft OS. I’ve looked this up repeatedly for a solid reductionist answer and never get one.

    You wackadoodles never fail to crack me up. Faced with absolute logical failure for the establishment of Intelligent Design, you yammer silly nonsense about there not being enough genes. Gawwww…lee! It just ain’t complicated enough to please you twinkies!

    If you had more genes, would you be smarter? ROFLMAO.

    Paris japonica has the largest genome found to date. 150 billion base pairs. Should be plenny smaht, GI Joe!

    It’s a plant.

    You creationists and your eternal squawking of “It can’t be. It just can’t be!” Such pathetic little tools you are.

  131. Rosie says:
    @Kratoklastes

    So… Whence cometh the designer?

    Your hypothetical 7-year old asks a question that is perplexing, but ultimately irrelevant.

    The possibilities are these:

    (1) Intelligent Design
    (2) Random Mutations

    The only relevant question is this: Which of these two possibilities is more plausible, given what we can observe in nature and any inferences we can draw from our observations?

    My theological ignorance and yours does not make the random mutation hypothesis any more or less likely to be true. Your problem seems to be that you find ID anticlimactic. It’s actually you who has a “deep unmet psychological need” for the Explanation that needs no Further Explanation, yet you reject the obvious answer that has been found quite satisfactory by some of the greatest minds of history.

    You are framing the issue such that even the most direct evidence of Divine Intervention should be waved off on account of the fact that we are not omniscient. Would you remain skeptical if you saw Christ rise from the dead with your very own eyes because “Who made God?”

    I understand your skepticism. You value avoidance of error above all else, but all curious and rational thinkers do not share your epistemological priorities.

  132. peterAUS says:

    A very good article.

    Compliments to the author.

    If there is just one thing I could particularly agree with, it’s:

    …our considerable arrogance. ….

  133. peterAUS says:
    @Isabella

    Good comment.

    Especially

    …..they dont want to, or cant expand their mind, or accept that maybe alternative explanations can be investigated. …..

  134. Jaylon says:

    I only have one simple question – if it is trulyIntelligent Design, then how did the Designer came about? Not Spontaneous Generation according to the ID theory, but then where, what, how?

  135. Biff says:

    A good read from Fred Reed.
    Might I suggest a book by Bill Bryson;

    A Short History Of Nearly Everything

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Short_History_of_Nearly_Everything

    • Replies: @Rurik
  136. Biff says:
    @nickels

    What came first? The chicken or the egg?

  137. @Santoculto

    You miss or avoid the point that evolution/natural selection only occurs within a species. This idea offers ZERO explanation about how the first self-reproducing DNA came into being.

  138. JR says:

    Because the author doesn’t know how life’s complexity emerges he presumes it must be ‘Intelligent Design’. Looks to me that his good old Natural Stupidity is invoking a Designer to ‘explain’ what he still doesn’t understand and even leaves him complacently with the illusion of having an explanation. Who designed the the designer ad infinitum?
    Anyway through self organization of an open thermodynamic complex system is well able to maintain or decrease its entropy. So life (=developing/maintaining open complex systems) most probably is simply a property of matter.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Is_Life%3F

  139. The weird idea is that life must have originated.
    That life, that we cannot define, exists anywhere in the universe, has has existed at all times, cnnot be true.
    Yet this is what
    ⦁ Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, ‘Life on Mars ?, The case for a Cosmic Heritage ?’, Bristol 1997
    argues.
    Japanese tests on a comet seem to confirm the hypothesis that complicated hydrocarbons indeed are formed in space, as did the Philea.

    Then there is the random evolution idea.
    A test with mice proved that an artificial fear in mice was transferred through sperma.
    Then there is the fact that alien fish that accidentally were brought into an African lake changed the species at a rate biologists found astonishing.
    So that change of species, the word evolution I see as nonsense, the need for Darwin to see humans as the highest beings, may be intentional has become probable.

  140. I do not subscribe to ID ideas, but modern evolutionary theory is not a science. Popper was right when he considered it to be a scientific programme (he changed his ideas later, but he was wrong, then): https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/david-klinghoffer/scientists-confirm-darwinism-broken

    I repeat- I don’t think ID is a fruitful way to approach life. But, neo-Darwinian evolutionary synthesis has simply too many holes & so little explanatory power in it that it cannot qualify as a genuine science. Even Everett’s many worlds interpretation or Bohmian mechanics are more scientific.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  141. EdwardM says:

    I am not competent to opine on the critiques of evolutionary theory and am an atheist. All that aside, though, I take issue with a core point that Fred and others discussing this debate often make:

    “The other, more intuitive view of life is that of Intelligent Design.”

    I actually find evolution to be more intuitive, and consistent with Occam’s Razor, than any type of creationism.

    Sure, everything has come about due to random chance, but if some of the variables were a bit different, then life would be different. It’s a fallacy to treat our current ecosystem as a null hypothesis and say that the chances that this particular result would have occurred by random chance are infinitesimal, ergo, this particular result did not occur by random chance. (It’s like if you spin a roulette wheel 1000 times, then say that the probability of that particular sequence of 1000 results occurring by random chance is infinitesimal, therefore the roulette wheel didn’t produce random results.)

    Another parallel is economics. Central planners think that it is the most intuitive concept in the world that smart people can engineer the economy, tinkering with various levers, to maximize prosperity broadly. But I find Adam Smith’s view more consistent with Occam’s Razor.

    And if we are the product of intelligent design, did the creator make blacks intellectually inferior and physically superior, on average, just for fun? I’m with the HBD explanation, which supplies evidence and plausible explanations for these outcomes in recent human evolution that are in plain sight.

    (Though sometimes I suscribe to intelligent design and think that God has a sense of humor: he made oil the lifeblood of industrial prosperity and gave most of it to the backwards, barbaric peoples whose values are at odds with those needed to achieve industrial prosperity.)

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  142. Antonio says:

    XDDDDDDD

    Really? Intelligent design? Unz is worse than I thought.

    XDDDDDD

    Ok, skipping this BS website. Time to seek for news elsewhere.

  143. Anon[148] • Disclaimer says:

    I took anatomy and physiology. Those courses and what you learn about how the human body supports some kind of intelligent design.

    How many angels can dance on the head of a pin by the way was the beginning of physics. How small is small? What is the smallest component of matter?

  144. Cassandra says:

    Just the first few paragraphs motivate a simple application of logic, Ron: from whence came the designer, and from whence came its designer, and … You get the idea? It’s called infinite regression, or “Turtles all the way down.”.

    And secondly, an appeal to Occam’s Razor – “Don’t mulitply entities unnecessarily.”.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  145. Biff says:
    @Isabella

    I just love reading about Dynastic and pre – Egypt.
    Now, there were some highly intelligent beings.

    Is that why they went extinct?

  146. JimH says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    “demonstrate the existence of a creator without the previous assumption there must be one”

    The logical necessity of a creator/prime mover was demonstrated by Aristotle, already. It was a conclusion, not an assumption.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  147. utu says:

    There will be no discussion until all those brainwashed Darwinist realize and admit they do not know shit. The theory of evolution (ToE) sole purpose is to deny the necessity of God existence. ToE is a great theory because it seemingly explains everything. This is because it is tautological and thus it can’t be falsified. For Darwinists to break out from their prison they must first realize the tautological nature of the ToE to be able to make any progress. It however require humility and ability say: I really do not know. The illusion of knowing is not really necessary. Your life will proceed regardless of your illusions. The only difference is whether you want to die arrogant or humble who know more because he knows what he does not know.

    • Replies: @Biff
  148. First, let’s figure out how the pyramids were built.

  149. joeblogs says:

    Yet another tiresome author writing an outworn article misrepresenting Darwin – as usual.
    This has been going on since the 1920′s at least.
    Darwin knew of this logical, but erroneous, conclusion occurring, and thus wrote a warning against the ridiculous notion of ‘life coming from mud.’
    “The entire reason revolts at such a conclusion” his warning states.
    He could not have been more clear – ‘spontaneous generation’ of life is logically impossible – like getting plus from minus; order from chaos. The very people who say they do not believe in ‘miracles’ – the ‘scientists’ – then propose to spin a yarn to the world about ‘life from ooze’ or something, and then pretend they’re not peddling another version of a ‘miracle.’ Total hypocrisy.

    For the time he lived in, Darwin was a brave pioneer: he had to couch his theory of life into apparently mundane truisms, hence his voyage to the Galapagos Islands. He represents the dead, volcanic new island, springing from the ocean, dead, waterless and barren, and showed how life progressively arrived upon it’s shores. Today, with our modern knowledge of space, the parallels with our Earth, billions of years ago, in the same state as the first Galapagos Isle, should become apparent.

    The entire debate of ‘Darwinism v. creationism’ is completely bogus – but it has got a whole book publishing industry stoked up, and lots of money made for proponents of both ‘sides’ of the ‘argument.’
    Interesting and curious, that Darwin’s warning is never even whispered of today.

  150. @Rosie

    I’ll give you this – you actually made the troll go back under his bridge. Well done.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  151. @silviosilver

    “Religions which present themselves as possessing truth – as that term is commonly understood – are a threat to us all.”

    That would include atheism, whether you are aware or not.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @peterAUS
  152. Biff says:
    @utu

    Hey Rumsfeld, is that you?

    • LOL: Dillon Sweeny
  153. @EdwardM

    “Sure, everything has come about due to random chance…”

    You state the assumption that is the mainspring of modern biological theory of evolution. One doesn’t need to believe in God or Jesus to find that premise objectionable.

    If “everything has come about due to random chance” then we should expect to find as many life forms on Earth today that had evolved “backwards” from very sophisticated organisms towards simple ones as we find having evolved from simple organisms towards sophisticated. The odds would be the same.

    But we don’t find this at all. The historical record shows that life Forms have become more elaborate. This indicates direction, which is not necessarily a “plan in the mind of God”, but does suggest an arrow of causation analogous to (but in the opposite direction from) the arrow of time that is the Law of Entropy.

    Randomness is just another way of saying Entropy. Entropy ends up in s gray, undifferentiated soup. This is the very opposite of the direction of Evolution (which I do think is the correct interpretation of life on Earth by the way).

    So, randomness does not drive Evolution.

  154. I was taught Darwinian Evolution in a private (indeed a religious) high school and I believed it. Later on in college while studying immunology – with its complex multiple feed back loops – I started to doubt that such a system could have arisen by random mutations. I still feel that way today and believe that actual reason for evolution as shown in the fossil record is a great unexplained mystery. Science does itself a disservice by castigating dissenters to Darwinian orthodoxy.

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  155. Mr. Hack says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Fred isn’t making a case for a creator, but just pointing out the absurdity of the evolutionist’s mantle:

    you would have to conclude that something was going on that you did not understand.

    And thus far those that think that they’ve unraveled the secrets of life’s origins are duping themelselves and others:

    We may be too full of ourselves.

    At the very least, you’d have to agree with him that Darwinism (still the accepted orthodoxy of the scientific establishment) is undergoing terrible assaults, day by day:

    In a massive genetic study, senior research associate at the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University Mark Stoeckle and University of Basel geneticist David Thaler discovered that virtually 90 percent of all animals on Earth appeared at right around the same time.

    More specifically, they found out that 9 out of 10 animal species on the planet came to being at the same time as humans did some 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.

    https://www.themaven.net/theresurgent/contributors/so-apparently-darwin-was-wrong-really-really-wrong-6V-HdjsskUeoBJcvPxOTGg/

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @joeblogs
  156. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Before that, he created evolution. Also the fact that pi is an irrational number. And several other things not mentioned in the written record.
    The universe is just an experiment to see what …..evolves.

    Church is a good place to hang out, if you’re male. It’s where most of the socially acceptable females are. And some who are not.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Dillon Sweeny
  157. Rurik says:
    @Biff

    A Short History Of Nearly Everything

    ‘Life wants to be, but it doesn’t want to be much’

    I think he was comparing the perseverance of lichen/fungi with the human will to exist, but then once the existence part had been achieved, not much further ambition seems to manifest.

    with notable exceptions of course. (Newton, Darwin, Hubble…)

    He also poignantly laments the human proclivity to mindlessly destroy creation out of a blind, bovine stupor of greed. Which we see in spades today.

    Great book!

    also check out Carl Sagan’s

    Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

    The Demon Haunted World

    The Dragons of Eden

    and others, like Broca’s Brain if you too get hooked.

    If you’re new to a curiosity about the human condition, perhaps try to find The Naked Ape, by British zoologist Desmond Morris.

    I remember reading that as a teen and it was powerful, (at least at the time).

    Then, having immersed myself in a quest to discover the ultimate truths vis-a-vis human existence and it’s mysteries, I learned of the DNA molecule, and all the implications of this discovery.

    Since then virtually every advancement in every branch of science has only bolstered what was evident by the discovery of the DNA molecule.

    The DNA molecule is at the center of all life on Earth. From bacteria to the cells that make up James Watson’s cerebral cortex. All an expression of the miracle molecule.

    We humans differ only in degree from bananas to Neanderthals.

    BTW, the sublime mind that collaborated to understand and discover DNA, is today scourged and vilified by a society of comparative intellectual and moral worms. James Watson made the unforgivable mistake of blurting out an obvious but verboten truth, that intelligence is not equally distributed among all the races. (any more than it is between individuals, I might add ; )

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/01/dna-james-watson-scientist-selling-nobel-prize-medal

    But for this heresy to the Politically Correct idiocies of the day, he’s “scientific” persona non grata.

    (the same thing happened to behaviorist genius BF Skinner for making similar observations in his day)

    Science alas, is forced to relentlessly make concessions to the infantile dogmas and catechisms du jour, no matter how puerile or irrational. From Galileo to Jason Richwine, it’s more important to flatter the PTB with feel-good platitudes, than to utilize one’s mind for the purpose for which it exists.. to reason with and understand our world, and our unique place in it.

  158. utu says:
    @HallParvey

    Also the fact that pi is an irrational number. – Being just irrational would not necessarily preclude squaring the circle. Making Pi transcendental made squaring the circle impossible.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  159. All of those requirements are exactly what disqualifies evolution from consideration.

  160. @Bardon Kaldian

    I repeat- I don’t think ID is a fruitful way to approach life. But, neo-Darwinian evolutionary synthesis has simply too many holes & so little explanatory power in it that it cannot qualify as a genuine science. Even Everett’s many worlds interpretation or Bohmian mechanics are more scientific.

    So what, Bardo? Were Galileo’s writings as complete as modern astrophysics?

    Evolution theory is a better explanation than ID. And some evolutionary theory is better supported, more verifiable, more properly descriptive and explanatory than other evolution theory. Gee, has a situation like that never happened before? Do you heap scorn upon Newton because Dirac did it better?

    ID is crap — it’s hoo-hoo wind-in-the-willows-on-a-dark-night superstitious religion-based crap.

    Evolution is better. Not perfect, just better.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  161. Rosie says:

    This is because it is tautological and thus it can’t be falsified.

    The arguments of the militant atheist remind me of juvenile, schoolyard taunts from childhood. It’s a kind of epistemic machismo.

    Atheist: Sure, you’re living your life and getting along just fine, but I bet you won’t be able to do that wearing these gray-colored glasses. I triple dog dare you to put these on and see if you don’t drown in despair and nihilism.

    Theist: No. F*** off!

    Atheist: Well then you’re an irrational weakling!

    The earnest seeker (even struggling with doubt) can relish the joyful possibility of God, while skeptics remain ever on their guard against the possibility of error, erroneously believing that they risk nothing by not believing.

    My view is exactly the opposite: The mere search for God brings incomparable delight and costs me nothing but Sweeney’s cheap and phoney sense of superiority, that is, nothing at all.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  162. Rosie says:
    @Cassandra

    Just the first few paragraphs motivate a simple application of logic, Ron: from whence came the designer, and from whence came its designer, and … You get the idea? It’s called infinite regression, or “Turtles all the way down.”.

    Here again is the totally unwarranted assumption that any explanation that leads to further questions must therefore be incorrect, however implausible may be the only logical alternative(s).

    And secondly, an appeal to Occam’s Razor – “Don’t mulitply entities unnecessarily.”

    .

    You’re begging the question.

  163. @utu

    Also the fact that pi is an irrational number. – Being just irrational would not necessarily preclude squaring the circle. Making Pi transcendental made squaring the circle impossible.

    Those are failures of mathematical systems. That a square can be made having the same area as a circle is intutively obvious, since area is finite.

    Constructing the square with straight edge and compass is not possible, but so what? You can’t tune a piano with a garden hose. No big deal — there are other ways.

    • Replies: @joeblogs
    , @utu
  164. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Rosie’s comments make perfect sense to me and if anyone is a bigot it’s you.

    It’s weird that anyone gets so passionate about evolution and intelligent design. We’ll never know and it doesn’t matter anyway.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  165. @HallParvey

    Church is a good place to hang out, if you’re male. It’s where most of the socially acceptable females are. And some who are not.

    I’ve never encountered a churchy female I could live with. That cognitive rigidity, however minuscule in appearance, stopped me every time.

    But, no problem, ya know? There’s plenty of non-churchy women in the world.

  166. Rosie says:

    I actually find evolution to be more intuitive, and consistent with Occam’s Razor, than any type of creationism.

    Conflicts of intuition are the raison d’etre of all philosophical speculation. The solution is an appeal to common authority, that is, the evidence of our sense and any reasonable conclusions that follow from them. We ordinary refer to this by the term “science.” Atheists have a very disagreeable habit of appealing to science as the only legitimate authority, then narrowly defining it such that any inferences that they don’t are labeled “unscientific” and therefore a priori inadmissible.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  167. @Mr. Hack

    In a massive genetic study, senior research associate at the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University Mark Stoeckle and University of Basel geneticist David Thaler discovered that virtually 90 percent of all animals on Earth appeared at right around the same time.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks, man. It was a slow morning. But, you’re Ignored.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  168. @Mike From Jersey

    Indications exist that species change is not at random, but by purpose.
    Genetic material recording experiences.
    And ‘mystery’, there is simply quite a lot we do not yet know.

    • Replies: @Mike From Jersey
  169. @MikeatMikedotMike

    I’ll give you this – you actually made the troll go back under his bridge. Well done.

    Oh, Mikey, you barefoot little boy with cheeks of tan, not so. Rosie is stupid, and so are you. I tire quickly of stupid people.

    • Replies: @MikeatMikedotMike
  170. nickels says:

    It gets even more interesting when one realizes the genome is decaying, and has been decaying since the time of creation.

    This explains why the Greeks and the Greek language were far more advanced than moderns and the abomination of English.

  171. @JimH

    The logical necessity of a creator/prime mover was demonstrated by Aristotle, already.

    Aristotle? Are you serious? Try Hume, jimbo.

    • Replies: @Mulegino1
  172. @MikeatMikedotMike

    “Religions which present themselves as possessing truth – as that term is commonly understood – are a threat to us all.”

    That would include atheism, whether you are aware or not.

    Oh, my goodness. You don’t know shit, yet you prattle it. As ignorant and vapor-minded as the day is long. You should leave your current boyfriend and move in with Rosie. Just think of it … rising at dawn on Sunday, carefully tossing out the corn shucks for the Sun Circle. Chanting verses from the Book of Common Prayer. Lashing a few careless slaves who spilled grain. Beating a few naughty children.

    Heaven.

    You’re Ignored. Too stupid.

  173. joeblogs says:
    @Mr. Hack

    “At the very least, you’d have to agree with him that Darwinism (still the accepted orthodoxy of the scientific establishment) is undergoing terrible assaults, day by day”
    How does this disprove Darwin?
    Have you not read the account of Noah’s Ark? I believe the Ark came from somewhat further away.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  174. @Anon

    Rosie’s comments make perfect sense to me and if anyone is a bigot it’s you.

    Some do, of course. Read all of them, then you’ll see. Maybe. You are a bit erratic, and not particularly well-educated. Yes, it shows.

    It’s weird that anyone gets so passionate about evolution and intelligent design. We’ll never know and it doesn’t matter anyway.

    This is passion? That ID-think has been debunked in every arena and theory for 1800 years? Yet, Xtians and other dimwits rant and rave that logic is not logic, fact is not fact, and reality is not reality?

    The percentage of participants who are convinced of ID is rather disappointing. But, American education has been stupidified since 1980, so no big surprise.

  175. joeblogs says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    “Constructing the square with straight edge and compass is not possible, but so what?”
    I learnt how to do that at 12; did I miss your point or something – surely you are not serious?

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  176. @Dillon Sweeny

    Silly insults don’t actually hide the fact that you have no argument, they amplify it.

    If I were getting taken to the woodshed as often as you are, I might start blocking other commenters at your rate.

  177. utu says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    You are an idiot. You do not understand the structure of mathematical theory. You do not understand what is the knowledge system in general. Apparently no clue about epistemology. This explains why you have unquestionable faith and loyalty in the theory of evolution. You do not know how to ask questions. You are a sleepwalker, a regular yahoo.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  178. AaronB says:

    Good stuff, Fred :)

    That’s why the IQ debates are so hilarious – the smartest human is nothing, a joke, as the smartest hamster is still a hamster.

    And the world really is stranger than we can imagine, and religious is only an attempt to symbolically grapple with this strangeness.

    Most people are idiots – even smart people, and can’t see two inches in front of their face.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  179. There are so many facts that do not fit “Intelligent design” idea that it’s impossible to squeeze them all even into an article, let alone a comment. Any biochemist or cell biologist doing protein mutagenesis can tell you that the traces of evolution are all over our genes and the genes of all other living creatures. However, I will mention only one fact: our ribosomes (machines that make proteins in cells according to messenger RNA code) are larger and much slower than bacterial ones. In fact, they are just as bad as archaebacterial ribosomes. Yet the mitochondria in our cells (plus chloroplasts in plant cells) have those better faster bacterial ribosomes, even though most proteins needed to build them are encoded by the cell genome (both mitochondria and chloroplasts have their own genomes, which are circular, just like the bacterial ones, but much smaller). Yet our cells keep using those big slow ribosomes… Intelligent design cannot explain this, whereas the hypothesis that eukaryotic cells appeared as a symbiosis of anaerobic archaebacteria (from which we inherited the bulk of the cell, including defective ribosomes) with aerobic bacteria that evolved into mitochondria and chloroplasts that retained their good ribosomes, explains it intuitively.

    On a lighter note, I’ve heard that George W. Bush is the best argument against intelligent design: nobody intelligent would ever design that.

  180. Anon[277] • Disclaimer says:

    ID has nothing to do with “creationism” or even religion. As GB Shaw, Colin Wilson, Alan Watts, and even the early Daniel Dennett knew: No rational person would decide that random mutation could account for evolution; why would you assume that the works of Shakespeare MUST HAVE BEEN typed by monkeys rather simply assuming a human author? Or that a 747 MUST HAVE randomly come together, rather than being built by burly men in Seattle.

    The only thing that makes this the LEAST implausible hypothesis is that materialism rules out intelligence as IMPOSSIBLE; as Sherlock Holmes said, once you rule out the impossible, what remains, HOWEVER UNLIKELY, must be true.

    To invert Laplace, not being a practicing scientist committed by the guild rules to materialism, I have no need for the materialist hypothesis.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  181. @Si1ver1ock

    I’m not going to go into in depth, but you haven’t defined God. Also, you are creating an imprecise distinction between life (also not defined) and intelligent life (two undefined terms combined.)

    Try working out some definitions.

    Evolution means that things change over time, but it also implies direction. In particular, evolution in terms of life implies that life is anti-entropic. The organizational complexity of the system increases with time as opposed to decreasing.

    The evaluation function is given Darwin’s dictum “survival of the fittest.”

  182. Bronson says:

    People who believe in Evolution’s “random creation of life” either a) have very little information on what it actually takes to be “alive” from one moment to the next (biochemistry, physiology), b) have never actually built any complex systems themselves – i.e. they have no idea how a well-functioning system requires extensive design and thought, or c) can’t think past their conditioning – and their conditioning has told them that they’re “smart” and know lots of “facts.”

    When you fully appreciate the massive complexity of the operations of a single cell – and all the variations thereof – the idea that all of that complexity and balance happened *by accident* is silly. A simple way to demonstrate this is to ponder this question: What is the likelihood that you would be walking in the forest in the Fall, and you come upon a series of perfectly identical Aspen leaves lying on the ground that spell out in perfect English, “Hello, human! Welcome to the forest! We welcome you and hope you enjoy your stay!” Now, what is the possibility that you have that happen, say, 500 times in the same forest – all in a neat row? Even in a million years of Falls in all the forests of the Earth? Not likely? The biochemistry – and the intricate order – of a cell is dramatically more complex than this, yet the “Evolution Pundits” will tell you that all that precision, balance, and order is “just a crazy random event.” I remember sitting in one of my graduate-level biochemistry classes looking at an illustration of an enzyme – a massive molecule with a specific function – and thinking, “That’s an accident?” An enzyme is a chemical “machine” that, seemingly, has a mind of it’s own – it performs it’s highly specific, targeted functions without any apparent external input. Beyond this, it can only exist in a very narrow pH range – go to either side of 7.0, and the enzyme “denatures” and ceases to function – it has a very, very specific functional envelope. How likely is it that this enzyme – this highly complex molecular machine – which might be necessary for the life of some living entity …. is an accident? Additionally, what about things like the Bicarbonate buffer in our blood? Without this buffer system, it would be relatively easy to die of acidosis/alkylosis simply by breathing too often – or not often enough – by just a few breaths a minute (and don’t even think about becoming physically exerted).

    Evolution has been shown to be absolutely valid when it comes to *adaptation* within a species … but inter-species differentiation is simply ridiculous. If we “evolved” from fish … why do we still have fish? On one side, we’re told that “Evolution happens reeeeaaaallll sloooow” … so, if that’s the case, we should have some great fossil records showing the slow, progressive, “evolution” of one species to the next … but we don’t …. and where are all of those “half-way between” creatures? On the other side, we’re told “Evolution happens in random jumps!” … so if that’s the case, where are all the random new species we would expect to see randomly popping up all over the place (and at a pretty crazy pace)? Why does nature not allow cross-breeding even among very similar species? Oh, you can get offspring, but usually nothing viable – even between creatures as similar as a tiger and a lion (Liger) or a horse and a donkey (mule).

    I’m not sold on Creation – at least not in the traditional sense – but the THEORY of Evolution – or what it’s been perverted into today (i.e. Evolution as Fact) – is so full of holes I can’t believe that a truly intelligent person would consider it a valid theory. ID at least admits that there are things we just don’t know.

    For people who are still seeking Truth via gathering of possibilities, you might find William Bramley’s book “The Gods of Eden” an interesting read.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @peterAUS
  183. Fred,

    Way to launch a bomb on a Friday morning.

    As a philosopher who has wrestled with this question, I conclude that our field of vision is an appearance to our mind just like sensation and sound, which also exist only in our mind and do not exist in an objective space-time. There is no objective space-time. As Kant said, space and time are forms of our understanding.

    Instead, everything is life, spirit, and mind. Nothing in your visual field creates or causes anything. Instead, life-spirit-mind is “causing” your life experiences of space, time, feeling, and thinking. So yes, intelligent design (by life-spirit-mind) is behind the appearances we experience – sensation, sound, vision. No life-spirit-mind comes from matter and energy, a la Frankenstein. Instead, the appearances of matter and energy in space and time are coming from life.

    I am not referring to any particular religious dogma. Just accepting that life-spirit-mind is the basis our our existence, not an objective space-time containing matter and energy. Science is a method for prediction and engineering. The ability to predict and engineer to precise measurements is always a focused and hence limited endeavor which does not consider the whole of our existence with any reasonable conceptual model. There is by definition no world view implied in science or common sense, only a local (focused) model of a small part, for a particular purpose.

    Of course, what truly exists is beyond our comprehension. But we can model it and reason about it, and feel it.

    flashlight joe

    • Replies: @nickels
  184. @jilles dykstra

    I have read some of that. There was a study done at Harvard which indicated the evolutionary responses to environmental stressors where not random at all but rather “directional” – at least in lower lifeforms. Mutations seemed to be directed in a way to deal with environmental stressors. But my understanding is that “genetic recording” as an explanation is more theoretical than proven.

  185. anonymous[239] • Disclaimer says:
    @Isabella

    or accept that maybe alternative explanations can be investigated.

    What alternative explanations would you like to see investigated?

  186. Mulegino1 says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    I’ll stick with Aristotle and his metaphysics, since the causal order is something that is manifest throughout nature, and particularly in living organisms. An acorn is not a full grown oak in any quantifiable sense, but contains all the information (formal cause) necessary to act upon the soil, the nutrients therein and guide the process of becoming a mature oak (final cause).

    The final and formal causes are not observable in any empirical sense, but are absolutely manifest in the effects they produce. They represent an insurmountable hurdle to the now outdated- but still orthodox- materialist and reductionist world view, which is still attached to the gross superstitions which arose from the Newtonian-Cartesian scientific paradigm of a mechanical universe of blind mechanism working upon dead res extensa and observed only by bifurcated res cogitans .

    It was inevitable that such a paradigm would descend to the very crude materialism of Fuerbach, Marx, Huxley, Spencer and Darwin. After all, Darwin did not develop his ideas in a vacuum. From his very sound ideas with respect to the variation within species- micro-evolution- he extrapolated wildly due to the reigning superstitions of his philosophical epoch, such as the grossly materialistic concept of bathybios and the nonsensical Spencerian notion of endless linear progress and the tautology of “survival of the fittest.”

    The old scientific paradigm which relied upon the pseudo-religion of Darwinism is passing away.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  187. anonymous[239] • Disclaimer says:

    Evolution could be easily falsified by finding a species wildly out of place in the fossil record compared to where you’d expect to find it on an evolutionary family tree. If you have a creator creating species at will — whenever and wherever he so desires (only to kill them off later for whatever reason), then such occurrences should be exceedingly common in the fossil record. Why can’t such fossils be found?

  188. anonymous[239] • Disclaimer says:

    As of yet, I don’t quite understand the creationist argument/mindset. Species can never evolve into different species.. Ok, here’s a thought: there are many discovered species just within the order of Crocodilia, as well as among their “purported” ancestors, spaning well over 200 million years. Is the ID argument saying that the creator was periodically popping slightly altered species of the same general morphology into existence over this span of time?

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @nickels
  189. Jeff77450 says:

    FR, a very interesting read. Thank you. I so very much want there to be more to life than scraping together ~1800 calories each day, evading lions, “urban youths” and other threats, and having a couple of brats who adore you until age ~12, despise you until age ~25 and then forget about you until the reading of the will; with an achingly few moments of joy, triumph and satisfaction thrown in.

  190. @joeblogs

    “Constructing the square with straight edge and compass is not possible, but so what?”
    I learnt how to do that at 12; did I miss your point or something – surely you are not serious?

    Sorry — too assumptive. “Squaring the circle” is a very old brain-teaser from Euclidean geometry requiring creation of a square having the same area as a circle, using only straight edge and compass.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squaring_the_circle

  191. @Mulegino1

    I’ll stick with Aristotle and his metaphysics

    Be my guest. You are wrong.

    • Replies: @Beefcake the Mighty
  192. @Dillon Sweeny

    Let’s be clear: ID is not a research program; it is, from methodological standpoint, nothing. I just happen to think it is basically a feeble variant of Platonism, and Platonism is, IMO, essentially- correct. Supraphysical metaphysics, some sort of panentheism, whether Greek, Chinese, Indian, Christian…is closer approximation to truth than materialism/physicalism in any garb, traditional or (post)modern.

    Platonists among mathematicians (Leibniz, Goedel, Grothendieck,..) are closer to reality than “materialists” or empiricists (Poincare, Hilbert,…).

    So, in my opinion, IDers are basically right, with regard to their fundamental world-view, unlike Darwinians who are, more or less, materialists & empiricists & whose underlying Weltanschauung is limited (not wrong, just partial). Anyway, ID has nothing to offer re investigation of nature. It is not even proto-scientific & I don’t see how it can be used in any empirical investigation of biology.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @peterAUS
  193. Nick Diaz says:

    This article is so riddled with misconceptions and errors that trying to nit pick it would take too much of my time. So I will just summrize and the gist of the nonsense.

    First, life did not appear “spontaneously from sea water”. That is a semantic mischaracterization. Rather, amino acids that had been formed by the action of lightining striking ammonia and other organic acids, combined with nucleic acids inside a lipid bubble to form the first cell. Both lips and nucleic acids form from simple organic acids that form up in the atmosphere or come from meteors.

    Also, evolution gives the *illusion* of design. That comes from the unfathomable time scales involved, which are vastly greater than human imgaination can even grasp. Imagine the amount of time that has elapsed since Julius Caesar died, and then multiple that 500 X. That is a million years. Now, a billion years is a thousand times more, and life has been around for at least 3.7 billion years. A human being has an enormous amount of difficulty grasping the scale of time of a million years. A billion years is utterly unfathomable to the human mind. It has already been proven how a very complex structure, such as an eye for instance, can evolve from much simpler physiological structures.

    The same goes for DNA. Nucleic acids have an innate ability to catalyse amino acids to form proteins according to spatial alignments they take. This gives the illusion of “intelligent information”, when in reality it is just an easily explained chemical process.

    Intelligent design is BS. Even the Vatican does not take ID seriously. Literally 95% of everything that was ascribed to God or gods a mere 300 years ago is now explained by science. As soon as something is explained by science, theists switch their argument for the existence of God to something that science still can’t explain. That is knows as “God of the gaps”.

    Right now, theists are holding on to the origin of life and of the Universe itself as arguments for God, because those are pretty much the only two things left that science still can’t explain. What will theists do when scientists create primitive life from scratch in a lab? Most lilely, theists will just cry blasphemy and blame it on dark magic or whatever. Theists are running out of places to hide.

    The superstitious, anti-science tone of this article is exactly the kind of stuff that makes social and religious conservatives – there is a huge overlap between the two categories – seem like morons to people abe a high school education.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @Dillon Sweeny
  194. Mr. Hack says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    WTH are laughing about anyway? You don’t like the conclusions made about the study? If you have other conclusions, then by all means present them.

  195. @Si1ver1ock

    Evolution means that things change over time, but it also implies direction. In particular, evolution in terms of life implies that life is anti-entropic. The organizational complexity of the system increases with time as opposed to decreasing.

    There is your error, or most of it.

    The basic premise of evolution is that it achieve species survival. It’s minimalist. A population of 10 bugs that manages to achieve species survival is evolutionarily successful, by definition, if 10 bugs continue to exist and reproduce sufficiently to maintain a population of 10. Evolution is NOT anti-entropic, as process cannot be anti-entropic. Evolution has no direction — it ONLY operates to achieve survival. Evolutionary success is solely determined by reproductive success. “Organizational complexity” is just bullshit, and I’ll leave it at that.

    Go do some reading. Educate yourself, as you are slinging nothing but corned-beef hash for now.

    • Replies: @Si1ver1ock
    , @Si1ver1ock
  196. @Bronson

    If we “evolved” from fish … why do we still have fish?

    Because there’s still water for fish to swim in, and food for them to eat. Why on EARTH — you incompetent IDIOT — would fish die off just because one fish births a mutation that’s another species?

  197. @Anon

    ID has nothing to do with “creationism” or even religion.

    WTF??? If the ID Design Manager does not CREATE “life”, then just what the hell happens? The ID Guy whomps out Adam and Eve, and it’s not “creation”??? What ARE you smoking?

  198. Rosie says:

    Evolution could be easily falsified by finding a species wildly out of place in the fossil record compared to where you’d expect to find it on an evolutionary family tree.

    Not unless you assume a designer would create species wildly out of place in the fossil record. That would be a strange assumption, of course, since all life forms occupy a niche within a larger ecosystem.

  199. Mr. Hack says:
    @joeblogs

    How does this disprove Darwin? The answer to your question is clearly given in the article that I’ve cited. Did you read it:

    If 90% of creatures all originated at roughly the same moment in history, there simply isn’t time for amphibians to slowly become reptiles, then birds, and then mammals. And notice the evidence demonstrates that these animals are coming into existence at the same time as man. None of this remotely fits the Darwinian model. Meaning, the assumptions upon which all of modern biology have been constructed are faulty. Down goes Darwin.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  200. JSM says:
    @Si1ver1ock

    Problem with panspermia is, it still doesn’t explain Fermi’s Paradox.

    Because, if life is everywhere, and intelligence is an inevitable occasional result,
    then that lands us squarely back on the question of Where IS everybody?

    Because, if the Universe is as old and as big as you say it is and if life is everywhere as you Panspermists suggest, and Earth is nothing special and intelligence is just simply an occasional accident of evolution that turns up here and there by random chance –

    – then the Universe should be teeming with evidence of technological civilizations.

    But we’ve looked and we just don’t SEE anybody!

    Ergo, Fermi’s Paradox: Where the hell IS everyone?

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  201. @utu

    You do not understand the structure of mathematical theory.

    Which one? Hilbert gave me a lot of trouble; I admit it.

    You do not understand what is the knowledge system in general.

    “the” knowledge system? There’s just one? Or, uh-oh, is English working its mad magic on your pointy head … again?

    Apparently no clue about epistemology.

    Um, no. Epistemology I am fairly handy with. Built a schooner with it last summer.

    This explains why you have unquestionable faith and loyalty in the theory of evolution.

    It remains the best explanation and description. Darn, huh? Hey, can I send you a new bottle of absinthe? I think you need it.

  202. Rosie says:
    @anonymous

    Is the ID argument saying that the creator was periodically popping slightly altered species of the same general morphology into existence over this span of time?

    No, more like genetic information that might alter species, so far as I understand it.

    This short video is a decent statement of the case in brief.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  203. nickels says:
    @flashlight joe

    I like this way of looking at things. One book in my queue states that solipsism (something of the sort you put forth) is the pinnacle of reason and empirical thought:

    Solipsism is the ultimate empirical theory of human existence. It is the metaphysical position that there is only one self-conscious person in the universe, i.e., the present selfconscious being reading these paragraphs. A weaker version is the position that one can know for certain that there is only one conscious person in the universe, oneself. The present study is the only book-length examination of solipsism. It treats the origin of solipsism in the works of St. Augustine and René Descartes as well as all serious attempts to refute the thesis of solipsism. Such attempts were made primarily by British empiricists, specifically by George Santayana. Santayana concludes that solipsism cannot be refuted. Watson also concludes that solipsism cannot be refuted. He examines attempts by Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, British Idealists, Logical Positivists, Sense Datum Philosophers, and in particular Nelson Goodman and Gilbert Ryle (they are just pathetic). The spector haunting Modern Philosophy is not the Ghost in the Machine; it is solipsism. Watson argues that the foundations of Western Philosophy are solipsistic, and that all the major figures recognize this and know that solipsism cannot be refuted, but nevertheless continue by ignoring it, by pretending that it cannot be taken seriously, by offering inadequate solutions, and by treating solipsism as a joke. Watson’s book is the only study of solipsism by a professional philosopher, other than Santayana, in which solipsism is taken seriously as a threat to Modern Philosophy

    https://www.amazon.com/Solipsism-Ultimate-Empirical-Theory-Existence/dp/1587315890

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @Bliss
  204. @Si1ver1ock

    The evaluation function is given Darwin’s dictum “survival of the fittest.”

    A poor choice of words on Chuck’s part. More correct is “survival of the fit”. If they survive, and reproduce, they have achieved evolutionary success. It’s a damn low bar, seeing as how insects are the most successful kingdom.

    • Replies: @Si1ver1ock
  205. nickels says:
    @anonymous

    ID is purposefully reduced to a minimum space of argument, so as not to complicate the picture and unnecessarily create other baggage that needs to be proved.

    It does not offer, in itself, an alternate cosmology.

    It simply states that life is more probably designed in some unspecified manner.

    From the springboard of ID many other theories can diverge and attempt explanations of your paradox, but ID does not address it.

    But consider this. Why would we put the burden on a creator to manufacture EVERY species under a completely different paradigm? Does not every creator of any thing created use design patterns?

  206. @Bardon Kaldian

    Let’s be clear: ID is not a research program; it is, from methodological standpoint, nothing. I just happen to think it is basically a feeble variant of Platonism, and Platonism is, IMO, essentially- correct.

    ID is a “feeble” variant of Platonism????? Are you daft? You cannot HAVE inferior variants in Platonic idealism, my good man. Not that it’s a legitimate religion, but you are apostate if it was.

    Nor is Platonism correct — it’s blowing smoke, basically. Ideal Forms … sheesh. What nonsense.

  207. Rosie says:
    @Nick Diaz

    Right now, theists are holding on to the origin of life and of the Universe itself as arguments for God, because those are pretty much the only two things left that science still can’t explain. What will theists do when scientists create primitive life from scratch in a lab? Most lilely, theists will just cry blasphemy and blame it on dark magic or whatever. Theists are running out of places to hide.

    I have always thought it is a fallacy that the “God of the Gaps” is a fallacy.

    What will theists do when scientists create primitive life from scratch in a lab? Most lilely, theists will just cry blasphemy and blame it on dark magic or whatever.

    I can’t speak for others, but personally I will graciously acknowledge that atheists have conclusively proven that it is theoretically possible that God doesn’t exist after all if and when a scientist in a lab figures out how to reverse engineer the genesis of life on Earth. I can’t say I’m losing any sleep over it, though.

    “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
    -Mark Twain

  208. @Nick Diaz

    The superstitious, anti-science tone of this article is exactly the kind of stuff that makes social and religious conservatives – there is a huge overlap between the two categories – seem like morons to people above a high school education.

    No big deal. Old men, nearing death, dream of storybook ideals. Fred is just dabbling at the expense of the … oh, never mind.

    Otherwise, your observations are correct.

  209. @JSM

    – then the Universe should be teeming with evidence of technological civilizations.

    But we’ve looked and we just don’t SEE anybody!

    Why would the myriad of advanced technological civilizations you insist upon … why would they feel obligated to make themselves visible to us?

    • Replies: @JSM
  210. peterAUS says:
    @MikeatMikedotMike

    “Religions which present themselves as possessing truth – as that term is commonly understood – are a threat to us all.”

    That would include atheism, whether you are aware or not.

    Of course it would.

    The, sort of funny, point is, atheists don’t/can’t even get it.

  211. peterAUS says:
    @Rosie

    You could be onto something by

    ….sense of superiority….

    I’d add just a little bit of uncomfortable uncertainty and, related, nagging anxiety, even fear.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  212. peterAUS says:
    @AaronB

    ….the world really is stranger than we can imagine, and religious is only an attempt to symbolically grapple with this strangeness.

    Most people are idiots – even smart people, and can’t see two inches in front of their face.

    Yup.

  213. peterAUS says:
    @Bronson

    Good post.

    Especially:

    ….can’t think past their conditioning – and their conditioning has told them that they’re “smart” and know lots of “facts.”

    and

    …..the THEORY of Evolution – or what it’s been perverted into today (i.e. Evolution as Fact) – is so full of holes I can’t believe that a truly intelligent person would consider it a valid theory. ID at least admits that there are things we just don’t know.

  214. @Dillon Sweeny

    “There is no evidence to support the notion that complexity is real”

    This literally made me laugh out loud; quite loud, in fact.

    I also like how you go from essentially saying “well maybe complexity isn’t real” to bringing in terms like ‘nature,’ ‘physical,’ and ‘atomic,’ all of which are apparently ‘real’ in some way that ‘complexity’ is not.

    Thanks.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  215. peterAUS says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    …IDers are basically right, with regard to their fundamental world-view, unlike Darwinians who are, more or less, materialists & empiricists & whose underlying Weltanschauung is limited (not wrong, just partial).

    Sounds about right.

  216. “Nor is Platonism correct — it’s blowing smoke, basically. Ideal Forms … sheesh. What nonsense.”

    Yeah. From what Plato said, a fool could be duped into thinking that all the stuff around us could be reduced to say, 100 elements which could be arranged into some kind of table which differentiated them on the basis of their geometric configuration or “Ideal Form”. What an Idiot. What next? That those elements in turn were made of 3 more basic particles which arrange themselves in certain (and only in certain) congruent, coherent patterns as though following some almost musical template? Ideal Forms indeed!

    Gosh, for a guy who didn’t have tools like ion scattering spectrometry and such, Plato, who inferred that the Truth of the Universe was fundamentally math ie. harmonic and geometric, didn’t do too badly. But no doubt, you, McSweeny, have produced work of greater significance. Perhaps you could direct us to some piece you’ve published that has broadened the frontier of human knowledge.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  217. peterAUS says:
    @Rosie

    ….I can’t speak for others, but personally I will graciously acknowledge that atheists have conclusively proven that it is theoretically possible that God doesn’t exist after all if and when a scientist in a lab figures out how to reverse engineer the genesis of life on Earth. I can’t say I’m losing any sleep over it, though.

    Agree.

  218. @Isabella

    What alternative theories would you suggest?

  219. @peterAUS

    I’d add just a little bit of uncomfortable uncertainty and, related, nagging anxiety, even fear.

    LOL. Man, you guys crack me up. I point out that Intelligent Design is a failed concept, and the spitting fury cannot be contained. Usually some variation on “You goddamned atheist; you hateful family-killing demon; you monster from the depths of Hades; die, die, die!!”

    That’s why I have the philosophical outlook that I do — it’s why you people are miserable, and I’m content. In fact, I think I’ll go buy a new pickup truck.

    Q. From whence came the Universe?
    A. I have no idea.
    Q. Is there truth and beauty anywhere?
    A. Yes.
    Q. Am I going to die?
    A. Yup.
    Q. Am I worried?
    A. Nope.

    That’s life, in a very small nutshell.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  220. @Wizzly Grintergreen

    “There is no evidence to support the notion that complexity is real”

    Do you have any? Evidence, that is? Evidence that complexity is anything other than a subjective perception?

    If you hold a silver dollar in the palm of your hand, does it in any way, as a stamped piece of silver, imply a massive fiscal system, central banking, national identification, and monetary value as an abstract for utility and resource?

  221. @ThreeCranes

    But no doubt, you, McSweeny, have produced work of greater significance. Perhaps you could direct us to some piece you’ve published that has broadened the frontier of human knowledge.

    Brilliant!! Masterful jape!! Aristocratic challenge!! Bravo! Bravo!

    In the future, perhaps you could just stick to the schoolyard taunt: “Oh YEEEEAAAHHH???!!!” It has such a ring of authenticity.

    Platonic ideals are not related to the periodic table. You’re falling behind. Keep up.

  222. Rosie says:
    @nickels

    The spector haunting Modern Philosophy is not the Ghost in the Machine; it is solipsism.

    I agree with this, though I haven’t read the book. The antidote, as I have intimated elsewhere, is an indigenized quasi-Confucianism that rediscovers fraternity as a founding value of the modern West along with liberty and equality. Social life must be seen as the ultimate end of self-perfection, not a distraction from it, if the West is to recover its vitality.

  223. @Rosie

    I have always thought it is a fallacy that the “God of the Gaps” is a fallacy.

    And yet you prove in the very same post that that is the basis of your belief in “God.”

    To wit:

    I will graciously acknowledge that atheists have conclusively proven that it is theoretically possible that God doesn’t exist after all if and when a scientist in a lab figures out how to reverse engineer the genesis of life on Earth.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  224. anonymous[294] • Disclaimer says:
    @Rosie

    No, more like genetic information that might alter species, so far as I understand it.

    So instead of species eventually evolving into different species, The Creator periodically changes species into different species (except for the ones He choses to kill off). Ok, thanks.

    This short video is a decent statement of the case in brief.

    I’d prefer that you link me to something real, not dumbed-down American tv programing tailor-made to appeal to idiots. Thanks

    • Replies: @Rosie
  225. I find it strange that so many religious believers seem to think that evolution is some kind of keystone of atheism, without which the whole atheist edifice falls apart. Realistically, evolution could be 100% bs, and yet there would still excellent reasons for disbelieving in some entity named ‘God’ – vastly superior reasons for disbelieving in this alleged entity than for believing in it.

    But who are we kidding? People believe in ‘God’ for emotional, not rational, reasons. That’s just obvious.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  226. anonymous[294] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Yeah, you can trust the guys who think mammals evolved from birds.. They know what they’re talking about…

  227. JSM says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    It should be possible to see them due to the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Advanced civilizations will use energy. No argument, right?

    Well, their waste heat is inevitable and we should be able to see it with infrared telescopes.

    But ALL infrared telescopes so far (and we’ve looked hard) ALL infrared sources are explainable by
    natural occurrences.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @JSM
  228. peterAUS says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    LOL. Man, you guys crack me up.

    I know.
    On the surface.

    …I have the philosophical outlook that I do — it’s why you people are miserable, and I’m content….

    Sure you are…….

    Q. From whence came the Universe?
    A. I have no idea.

    Agree

    Q. Is there truth and beauty anywhere?
    A. Yes.
    Q. Am I going to die?
    A. Yup.
    Q. Am I worried?
    A. Nope.

    Really?
    Not about dying, mind you.
    Certainty.

    That’s life, in a very small nutshell.

    For you.
    Free will.
    With free will comes doubt; from doubt that…nagging…uncertainty.
    From that uncertanity the desire to be sure.

    You have noticed, I presume, your passion here.

    An advice if I may, just two words: contemplation, introspection.
    And a bit of humility won’t hurt too.

    Kills certainty, unfortunately, most of the time.
    Conundrum, a?

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  229. Rosie says:
    @silviosilver

    And yet you prove in the very same post that that is the basis of your belief in “God.”

    I think you misread my post. Go back and read it again.

  230. Rosie says:
    @anonymous

    I’d prefer that you link me to something real, not dumbed-down American tv programing tailor-made to appeal to idiots. Thanks

    You could read the whole book.

  231. Rosie says:
    @silviosilver

    I find it strange that so many religious believers seem to think that evolution is some kind of keystone of atheism, without which the whole atheist edifice falls apart.

    No less than Dawkins admits as much himself:

    “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

    I predict he will come to rue those words.

  232. @JSM

    Advanced civilizations will use energy. No argument, right?

    Well, their waste heat is inevitable and we should be able to see it with infrared telescopes.

    Okay, bud, go get ‘em. You go tell those advanced civilizations what they can and cannot do.

  233. @peterAUS

    An advice if I may, just two words: contemplation, introspection.
    And a bit of humility won’t hurt too.

    Three words, pete: Think for yourself. I’m all caught-up on contemplation and introspection. As for humility, I presume you assume I should not tell people their cherished beliefs of ID are crap? And that would be humble? What would you suggest? A gentle, avuncular query along the lines of “Oh, my dear poor-soul person, does it cross your mind ID is crap?” Better?

    You have noticed, I presume, your passion here.

    An idle pastime.

    With free will comes doubt; from doubt that…nagging…uncertainty.
    From that uncertanity the desire to be sure.

    With free will comes doubt? How so? I find free will tends to alleviate doubt. Besides, what doubts trouble you?

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  234. “Drawin was a blowed up pecker-wood” – Lloyd Pye:Lloyd Pye (1946-2013) was a researcher, author, and lecturer best known for his unique version of Intervention Theory. The below video absolutely destroys Darwinism. View at your own discretion.

    • Replies: @Si1ver1ock
  235. @Dillon Sweeny

    You are confusing the life of a single organism with the life of a species. A living organism is in itself anti-entropic, or self organizing.

    The species becomes “better organized” as it adapts to its environment. So that, as a species it has direction, from less adapted to better adapted.

    The book is:

    On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

    It’s been out a while now.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Origin_of_Species

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  236. @Johnnie Walker Read

    I agree, he is pretty interesting.

  237. Nick Diaz says:
    @Rosie

    “I have always thought it is a fallacy that the “God of the Gaps” is a fallacy. ”

    But it’s not. When you have been proven wrong once, then twice, then fifty times, if you do not realize that your pattern of being consistently wrong tells you that your whole way of thinking is wrong, it means that you are not able to learn from experrience. Not being able to learn from experience is one of the characteristics of having low intelligence. So maybe you’re just a dull person.

    “I can’t speak for others, but personally I will graciously acknowledge that atheists have conclusively proven that it is theoretically possible that God doesn’t exist after all if and when a scientist in a lab figures out how to reverse engineer the genesis of life on Earth.”

    Ah, so that’s the only thing that will convince you? I guess all the things that used to be asbribed to God and now is explained by science, like the orbits of planets, the ability to fly and metereological phenomena, is not enough to convince you. I guess you just have a problem with the concept of evidence. People that have problems with deductive reasoning usually do…

    And God not existing is not “theoretically possible”; rather, God existing is theoretically almost impossible. You clearly don’t understand what a theory is.

    ” I can’t say I’m losing any sleep over it, though.”

    I think you should get a prescription for benzodiazepines. Science consistently disappoints people of your ilk.

  238. peterAUS says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Three words, pete: Think for yourself.

    Agree.

    As for humility, I presume you assume I should not tell people their cherished beliefs of ID are crap?

    Not really.
    I assume you could assume that, maybe, you don’t know as much as you think you do.
    That, also maybe, scientists don’t know as much as they tell us they do.

    And, even more, that we, as species, humans, can NOT comprehend some things. That there are things of this world that are outside of our understanding. That is ,contemporary, blasphemy.

    And that would be humble?

    The last paragraph from above would, perhaps.

    What would you suggest?

    Thinking about that for a moment. Or a bit longer. Free will.

    An idle pastime.

    Doubt it.

    I find free will tends to alleviate doubt.

    Good for you.

    Besides, what doubts trouble you?

    Fair question.
    Only one, actually, and not related to this topic. Some other time….

    As for this topic my approach is simple, as a perceptive reader could’ve noticed.
    Something along the lines, as Fred put it here:

    ….For what it is worth, I am myself a complete agnostic. Faith and atheism both seem to me categorical beliefs in something one doesn’t know. ….

    Key expression”doesn’t know”.
    Hence humility.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  239. Rosie says:

    But it’s not.

    Yes it is. Some patterns continue. Others do not. It’s kind of like the story of the boy who cried wolf. The villagers didn’t believe the boy because he had cried wolf in the past. The result: lots of dead sheep.

    Now, if there is a satisfactory natural explanation for every single observed phenomenon save one, you lose. You have to be right every single time in order to prove that we might be wrong. We have to be right only one time to prove that you must be wrong.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  240. Wow! Quite a discussion. Lots of people still have questions answered in Richard Dawkins’ 1986 book “The Blind Watchmaker”. Most people know next to nothing about the biology in general and biochemistry in particular. 90% of the comments sound like the “Dialectics of Nature” by Engels, who just tried to get a basic understanding of science and failed miserably. Nobody remembered that in embryonic development we briefly recapitulate all stages of the evolution of our species. Why does human (and every mammalian) embryo develop gill clefts at some point, that later disappear? Does intelligent design answer this question? What about the ribosomes (my comment #179)? There are thousands of questions intelligent design model does not answer.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  241. @Rosie

    Well, the intelligent design thingy fails many times, but here are two examples:
    1) all mammalian (including human) embryos develop gill clefts at one stage, which later disappear;
    2) our cells use bad slow ribosomes to make proteins, whereas our mitochondria use smaller and faster ones (same as bacteria).
    Was the designer rather unintelligent?

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @Daniel Chieh
  242. @Si1ver1ock

    You are confusing the life of a single organism with the life of a species. A living organism is in itself anti-entropic, or self organizing.

    No, I confused nothing. And you are bullshitting, max smoke, min torque.

  243. @peterAUS

    Key expression”doesn’t know”.
    Hence humility.

    Many people regard “humility” in a religious sense — the humble believer, the humble servant, the humble king. I see no virtue in humility per se, as a behavior consisting of the mumbling of various platitudes, good wishes for all, and, saints pre-sarve us, a return to Jesus. Plus, of course, a certain self-deprecating behavior.

    Humility, I interpret as open-mindedness, a willingness to learn. One cannot learn if one has not been taught, or learnt the hard way, how to distinguish bullshit from fact, given there is sufficient information available to prove the case.

    Your mileage may vary.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  244. @Dillon Sweeny

    insects are the most successful kingdom.

    Fungi and Bacteria are the most successful kingdoms.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fungus

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacteria

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  245. @Dillon Sweeny

    A population of 10 bugs that manages to achieve species survival is evolutionarily successful, by definition,

    The real world doesn’t work “by definition.” Your hypothetical 10 bugs could be wiped out by me stepping on all of them with one foot. That evolutionary strategy is brittle. Remember it is a competition between species.

    What happens when your 10 bugs meets a colony of a million army ants on the rampage?

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  246. Rosie says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Was the designer rather unintelligent?

    Design flaws, real or perceived, do not negate the evidence for a designer.

    Creation is magnificent, but not perfect.
    Therefore, it’s more likely than not to have evolved by chance.

    Um, no. Non sequitur.

  247. JSM says:
    @JSM

    If ALL those civilizations have figured out how to circumvent the 2nd law of thermodynamics, man, I am gonna be IMPRESSED when they finally decide to show themselves — should that ever actually come to pass.

    But, as things currently stand, since I cannot see ‘em, and you can’t either, not even ONE, then there is exactly as much proof for their existence as that Flying Spaghetti Monster that the atheists like to propose the existence of.

    In fact, your assertion that there may be Advanced Civilizations circumventing the 2nd law of thermodynamics so we can’t see em, is EXACTLY as much a matter of believing in that for which there’s no proof, (faith) as mine is that there might be an Intelligent Designer whose existence I can’t prove.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  248. anon[318] • Disclaimer says:

    The god of the dinosaurs designed them to dominate the animals
    of the earth for untold millions of years. When all the combinations
    were explored the god of the volcanoes made conditions unfavorable to them
    and the god of the mammals enabled them to prosper on the world stage.
    And here we are.

  249. peterAUS says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Many people regard “humility” in a religious sense…

    I don’t.
    I see it as “I am not THAT smart”, or, in this case “we, humans aren’t THAT smart”.

    Humility, I interpret as open-mindedness, a willingness to learn. One cannot learn if one has not been taught, or learnt the hard way, how to distinguish bullshit from fact, given there is sufficient information available to prove the case.

    Agree.
    I guess I just go a step further, in this particular case: “Maybe we can not learn this. It’s, maybe, beyond us.”
    Keywords “maybe” and “beyond”.

    Hence “agnostic” label could apply. Or whatever.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  250. Here is an overlooked text by Mrs F. J. Hughes, cousin of Charles Darwin and granddaughter of Erasmus Darwing, called

    Harmonies of the Tones and Colors: Developed by Evolution

    which is offered here as an interesting approach revealing a ‘coincidence of opposites’ such that some intelligence my come to realized in the greater scheme of things. Mrs Hughes does not reject the Bible, but certainly affirms science, a science very lost, as it was this book
    that the James Keeley of Philadelphia, the inventor, recognized as being a big breakthrough in his work with Sympathetic Vibratory Physics…

    https://books.google.com/books?id=GSc-AQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

  251. @Si1ver1ock

    Fungi and Bacteria are the most successful kingdoms.

    You are correct. My error.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  252. @JSM

    In fact, your assertion that there may be Advanced Civilizations circumventing the 2nd law of thermodynamics so we can’t see em, is EXACTLY as much a matter of believing in that for which there’s no proof,

    Yeah, I know. Just like your assertion that, by Harrumphity-Rumpf Law of Hoopty-Do, there must be gazillions of advanced civilizations.

    Nie?

    You posit ‘em, you trot ‘em out. Taint my job.

  253. @Si1ver1ock

    Your hypothetical 10 bugs could be wiped out by me stepping on all of them with one foot. That evolutionary strategy is brittle. Remember it is a competition between species.

    That will be quite enough. Evolutionary success is established by reproductive success, and ONLY reproductive success. I don’t give two shits what Father Jacob taught you at seminary. You, me, every human on Earth can be wiped out instantaneously in any of many ways. That is a BULLSHIT argument, and any first-year student knows it. Evolutionary success is NOT a function of invulnerability to a sun going nova, or being stepped on by a student priest.

    Live long and prosper, man, but I cater to obstinateness but briefly.

  254. There is a profound misunderstanding of evolution here. Profound. Evolution is NOT a Hegelian spiral into never-ending excellence. Evolution is survival; evolution is reproductive success. Period, end definition.

    Evolution has no difficulty with static niches. Species survival does not REQUIRE niche pressure, nor mutation.

    Stop reading Darwin (although I cannot imagine any of you wackadoodles actually doing so) — it’s old; it was tentative when published, and is now insufficient. The Wikipedia article “Evolution” is surprisingly good, and perhaps you low IQ doodles can understand it.

    Stop being ignorant, and stop prattling ignorance at the top of your lungs.

    • Replies: @Si1ver1ock
  255. Joe Walker says: • Website

    We may be too full of ourselves

    You’re full of something else entirely.

  256. @peterAUS

    Hence “agnostic” label could apply. Or whatever.

    Meh. Atheist and agnostic are both meaningless labels. Nobody knows anything about the status of the Universe as “created”, or, as I like to characterize it, “immanent”.

    Nobody knows. In mixed company, I might label myself “deist” just to avoid argument. You don’t know; I don’t know; nobody on Earth knows. It is a pointless discussion.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  257. @Dillon Sweeny

    Bacteria and archaebacteria were around longer than anybody else. They predate eukaryotic cells and gave rise to those cells and all eukaryotes composed of them, including us. Thus, bacteria and archaebacteria are so far the greatest evolutionary success. As groups, not as individual species. They kept changing all those billions of years. For example, there could not have been E. coli that lives in human guts before humans emerged. Each species of animal has a different species of bacteria fulfilling the same function as E. coli in us. BTW, E. coli constitutes ~50% of shit by weight, so it is wrong to say that E. coli smells like shit, in fact, shit smells like E. coli.

    I once had a conversation with a bus driver who asserted that there is God, and therefore there is no evolution. Within a few minutes he told me about the problems of his son who contracted antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To a thinking person it would be obvious that there were no antibiotic-resistant bacteria before antibiotics were introduced, and their emergence is a clear case of evolution. However, it was not obvious to that bus driver. It is amazing how many people are on the same level.

  258. MarkinLA says:
    @KenH

    Even leaving out groups that cannot support themselves or species unable to continue to survive for whatever reason, what about birth defects?

    Here we have a completely innocent baby who will live a short painful miserable life, a life that might very well destroy the lives of the parents who brought it into the world. As they say, God has a plan for all of us.

  259. @Dillon Sweeny

    Evolution is survival;

    No it isn’t.

    John Koza with 1,000-Pentium parallel computer in Mountain View, California. Picture by Eric Slomanson

    http://www.genetic-programming.com/johnkoza.html

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  260. 1. rosie, nickels, et al; whoa, you have serious issues, and I DON’T mean that you believe what you believe, but you dodge the basic and vital questions about the (supposed) motivating factors you find convincing:
    e.g.
    ID presupposes an ID which presupposes an ID which…
    ID answer:
    um, squirrel ! ! ! (oh, the literal answer is: uh, which would you PREFER, a random, cold, heartless, cruel universe ? or an ‘intelligently designed’, warm, fuzzy, daddy-universe ?
    um, difficult to NOT laugh at someone purposefully and constantly missing the point…
    2. much thanks to Dillon Sweeney and others doing yeoman’s work to counter the ooga-booga of the frightened natives…
    3. *sigh* the point about the common misconception of ‘purposeful’ evolution, as well as its conflation with an ill-defined ‘life force’, are missing the central point of -essentially- random evolution : plants and animals reproduce (if they get the chance), the genetic crap game which results gives slightly different characteristics to the resultant offspring, those genetic variations may or may not be expressed, those physiognomic expressions MAY OR MAY NOT confer some benefit attempting to live and procreate in THAT PARTICULAR ecosystem at THAT PARTICULAR time, et cetera…
    repeated a zillion times for each organism’s generation, times a zillion generations, it is hardly surprising what variations subsequently occur – or don’t… either way is not surprising, since -statistically speaking- all combinations will be tried, a lot of variations that confer no particular advantage or disadvantage will get passed on, MAYBE to become something ‘useful’ (ie helps them survive THAT particular ecosystem in THAT particular time), MAYBE NOT…
    in essence, simply a mechanism to spit out randomly mutated generations which will have a few that confer some survival benefit in that circumstance…
    …or not.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @Rosie
  261. peterAUS says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    You don’t know; I don’t know; nobody on Earth knows.

    You are getting there. You could’ve arrived there sooner if you hadn’t been so….passionate….in replying to all and sundry here.

    Because the “scientist class” believes they know. Not only that, but they treat all those not agreeing with them as we see.
    THAT is the point here. My point anyway, and a couple of posters here. A couple only, but good enough for me.

    The new dogma; the new priests.
    The same old shit when somebody doubts…..O.K. not quite the same re burning at stake and such, but similar….mindset…. of those who hold the sacred knowledge. And perks that come with that.

    Almost…hehe….as “6 million”.

    It is a pointless discussion.

    Not for those scientists and people in general who doubt the Thing (that Darwin theory).
    People can lose a job……..so, if you have a mortgage and family to feed it’s not quite pointless.

    How about YOU do the test: tell the modern priests with PhDs and perks re the “Darwin thing” they are wrong. Not that anybody else is right (including I.D. etc), just they are wrong. Do it in public.
    See what happens…….
    Have fun.

  262. MarkinLA says:
    @Si1ver1ock

    I an somewhat skeptical about the claims of AI let alone this genetic programming. Admittedly, I stopped having any interest a long time ago as my job never depended on it. However, I looked at that list of accomplishments and wonder how many of them have been helped along and by how much by the program’s designers.

    I would like to see something really extrordinary like giving the system the basic rules of number theory and have the computer print out the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem and not the recent one that took a lot of pages and change of space (mathematics that did not exist or were not very developed in Fermat’s time) – the one Fermat claimed was just too large to fit into the margin of a book.

  263. Life answers entropy.

    If evolution rules why does the lion not mate the tiger, the raccoon mama not have baboon children….etc.?

    Why are no new species evident?

    If evolution rules there can be no murder, no culture………..

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @anonymous
  264. @art guerrilla

    If you are familiar with Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoon for which the punch line is “blah blah blah Ginger”, you may rest assured that your Point #3 is in the same category for wackadoodles.

    Seriously, they don’t get it. They can’t.

  265. @Redcapstan

    If evolution rules why does the lion not mate the tiger, the raccoon mama not have baboon children….etc.?

    You have soy sauce for brains.

    • Replies: @Redcapstan
    , @art guerrilla
  266. @Eighthman

    I kind-of get the issue that you’re raising; that you can’t understand where in the code, causes cell differentiation in a predictable way.

    It is pretty amazing that starting from a fertilised egg, something ‘built in’ makes some cells turn into bone, some into brain, some into liver… and so on.

    The processes by which that happens are predictable, both spatially (within a given embryo) and temporally (at specific points in time during gestation). Certain things happen at certain places a certain times, and seldom elsewhere (unless something goes wrong).

    Thing is though… those processes are pretty well understood.

    The ‘how’ is – more and more – a ‘known known’. Consider how amazing that is, given that it’s less than a generation since human technology has been able to get imagery of the interstices of cells as they function. It’s only a little over 5 generations since we properly harnessed electricity.

    Contrast that with primitive nonsense-pedlars, who have had the whole of recorded history to confect a narrative that stands up to scrutiny, and they have failed time and time and time again.

    And yet science is supposed to have a complete, irrefutable explanation within 25-some years of being able to get a first look inside? That’s some significant pressure, but guess what? It already happened.

    To give a full description of those processes, and how they can (and do) start from that one pair of gametes, would take several dozen pages of explanation, or about ten links and several days’ worth of wading through the literature.

    I’m happy to furnish that, if you are genuinely committed to reading it. It would take me two hours, give or take, to prepare, and frankly I’m hesitant to do so en spec (i.e., on the basis that you’re genuinely interested in finding out, rather than simply doctrinaire about some alternative explanation that requires supernatural involvement).

    Weirdly, in arguments like this one (and I’ve had hundreds of them in the last quarter-century), it is usually the ‘faithful’ who are the ones who are arguing in bad faith: they are not interested in the truth value of the issue at hand, they simply want to muddy the waters so that their Bronze Age gibberish can have another decade or so at or near the top of Western thought.

  267. Both the Theory of Evolution and Intelligent Design (in the manner it is often understood) commit the same error, viz. they hold that life is adequately explained by the mere collocation and arrangement of nonliving parts, differing only in whether they attribute this arrangement to random events or to the actions of an intelligent agent, respectively. Yet this whole mechanical notion of life is intrinsically wrong, and any theory of origins which presumes it as a basis is making a category mistake.

    The origin of life is not something that can be glimpsed within the causal order. Like the origin of existence itself, it lies beyond any possible epistemological horizon. Living forms cannot be taken as some sort of disturbance occurring within the realm of nonliving matter and developing therefrom, either by chance or design. Rather, life exists in the same manner that existence itself exists, because it is integral to the scheme of existence. This is the true meaning of “Creation” for anybody who uses that term properly. However, as Aristotle and St. Thomas remind us, there is no experiment we could do that would distinguish a created universe from one of infinite duration, as the act of creation is not something that took place within a preexisting temporal order. The proper scientific attitude, therefore, is to proceed as if the world were epistemologically infinite in duration and unalterable in its fundamental order.

    It follows that the Theory of Evolution, Intelligent Design, and “Young Earth Creationism”are all not only wrong but nonsensical and heretical. The real problem with Darwinism, as I am forever at pains to point out, is not its statistical improbability but the fact that it is categorically mistaken about the nature of life in the first place.

    A living creature exists by virtue of its form. This form is monadic, simple, indivisible, and immaterial. It is precisely here (and only here) that we meet with a true essence or quiddity and therefore with something irreducible in the field of nature. Since it is form that informs matter, form maintains a sort of ontological priority over matter and it is the very height of absurdity to insist that matter (which, apart from form, is pure potentiality, literally nothing) can somehow work itself up into an essence. It is equally preposterous to believe that accidental changes acting upon matter can somehow alter the impressed form, which means that speciation by mutation and naturally selection simply cannot take place. Darwinism is “not even wrong” as the saying goes. It is not an idea that stands in need of refutation or replacement; it is nonsense that should not even be discussed at all.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Dillon Sweeny
  268. @AnonFromTN

    Lots of people still have questions answered in Richard Dawkins’ 1986 book “The Blind Watchmaker”.

    No, Dawkins is wrong. He hasn’t “answered” anything.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/evolution/10506006/The-Selfish-Gene-is-losing-friends.html

    http://www.necsi.edu/projects/evolecol/selfishgene.html

    https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/richard-dawkins/the-blind-watchmaker/

    ……………

    I am not too interested in evolutionary biology, so I won’t write a long post. Just a few random points.

    * Dawkins’ position is an old-fashioned 19th C materialism. His”innovations” like “selfish gene” hypothesis had not stood the test of time. His work is a popularization of the heroic materialist world-view, dominant in the 2nd half of 19th C.

    * Dawkins is clueless about religious & non-religious metaphysics. He has not read classic texts by Plotinus, Shankara, Kant, Schelling, Hegel, Leibniz….Wittgentein, Heidegger etc. Nor expositions of them in various philosophical encyclopedias. As far as I know from his public persona, he is a crusader against religious fundamentalism (which is good, but even there, he lacks the understanding why are people so easily attracted to religious fanaticism) & new-agey shallow variant of “spiritual, not religious” Weltanschauung.

    So, he simply does not know magna opera by 20th C scholars of “deep religion” (Mircea Eliade, Henry Corbin, Moshe Idel, Gerschom Scholem, Ioan Culianu, Hans Jonas, Garth Fowden, Joseph Campbell, Carol Zaleski, Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, …), nor he knows anything about those areas of physics which are potentially susceptible to non-materialist interpretations of reality (I mean the likes of David Bohm, Wolfgang Pauli or Werner Heisenberg, not tendentious propagandists like Fritjof Capra).

    Even within a materialist/physicalist paradigm (so, no extra-dimensions of existence), there is an indication that Lamarckism may not be entirely wrong: https://www.yourgenome.org/facts/what-is-the-central-dogma

    So, even in ordinary materialist framework (which has nothing to do with either Plotinus or Bohm), there seems to be growing wealth of material indicating that, in auld lingo, acquired characteristics may become heritable, which means the end of classical Darwinism.

    And, I repeat- those are just variants of naturalism (not Zola’s tradition, but materialism/physicalism), while intellectual heritage going from I Ching & Empedocles to Heisenberg & Bohm claims otherwise.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  269. Fred on knowing nothing, and with lousy English

  270. Rosie says:
    @art guerrilla

    all combinations will be tried

    That is the whole point. There hasn’t been enough for all combinations to be tried, nor even a tiny fraction of them.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  271. @Bardon Kaldian

    Look, out of hundreds of thousands of books in existence I did not read >99.9%. Life is short, so one has to be selective.

    In almost 40 years of research in biochemistry and cell biology, focusing on cell signaling, I never encountered any info that would contradict the idea of evolution (I am not talking about particular theories, there are many, I am talking about the principle: all life forms are what they are due to evolution, basically, maximized survival; all different life forms came from the same root, evolving from one another). Just simple things: the genetic code (which trinucleotide means which amino acid) is exactly the same from archaebacteria and bacteria to mammals, including humans), the way the cells work, make proteins, copy their DNA for the daughter cells, is pretty much the same in all living organisms, etc. Many genes are remarkably conserved not just among mammals, but much wider: say, some histones (proteins that bind DNA in your genome and organize it) differ by just a few amino acids between the philosophers you named and potatoes, etc.

    In contrast, I’ve encountered many things that make the ideas of intelligent design, creation, and the like totally laughable. Of course, uninformed and misinformed people who know nothing about biology would disagree. From my perspective their opinions are as irrelevant as a particle physicist would consider my opinions in particle physics.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  272. Social darwinists take note.

    Survival of the Fittest is a tautology.

    Survival of the Luckiest is more like it.

    And not one mention of Lamarck.

  273. @AnonFromTN

    all life forms are what they are due to evolution, basically, maximized survival;

    A minor quibble preferred, if you will: … “maximized survival” within the niche.

    Most Doodles (that is, most humans on Terra) have a perception of evolutionary biology that is based upon church seminars. That is, they haven’t the faintest understanding of the subtopics within the “evolution” mainhead. Nor do most people have the foggiest notion of biology in the first place. That’s why you’ll see indignant remonstrations like “Oh yeah! If it’s so superior, can it breathe in outer space?” — and so on.

    Primary misunderstandings about evolution seem to stem from that ill-chosen phrase “Survival of the fittest”, from which is drawn the mistaken impression that evolution means “improvement”, “better”, “stronger”, “faster”, “leaping tall buildings at a single bound”. Not so. It just means survival and replacement reproduction within the niche.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  274. @Rosie

    That is the whole point. There hasn’t been enough for all combinations to be tried, nor even a tiny fraction of them.

    LOL. I think I’ll call you “Rosie Doodle”.

    Question: If the first combination works well, and assures survival, why would Mother Nature insist on trying all 13 billion combinations?

    Know any Latin? How about reductio ad absurdum? Ever heard that one?

    • Replies: @Rosie
  275. @Dillon Sweeny

    True, except one thing. Evolution also includes colonizing new niches. In fact, species incapable of getting out of their niche disappear when the niche disappears. That’s what happened to dinosaurs (except those that evolved into birds), as well as trilobites and ammonites before them. Green plants, arthropods, and vertebrates colonized land, occupying new niches with less competition, and in the process creating new niches for the complementary groups (animals need plants as food, carnivorous animals need other animals for food, etc.).

    You are right in that the least informed people tend to fall for the most laughable theories, like creation and intelligent design. They fail to see that these “theories” are nothing but pure escapism, not answers, as questions like who created the creator or designed the designer immediately arise. Most people have trouble with elementary logic, which is a boon to those willing to deceive and rob them, like organized churches, political and financial elites, etc. Human history would have been a lot less violent if ordinary people had brains and used them, but, alas…

  276. peterAUS says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Good post.
    Perhaps a touch too good :).

    I guess I picked up:

    Both the Theory of Evolution and Intelligent Design (in the manner it is often understood) commit the same error, viz. they hold that life is adequately explained by the mere collocation and arrangement of nonliving parts, differing only in whether they attribute this arrangement to random events or to the actions of an intelligent agent, respectively. Yet this whole mechanical notion of life is intrinsically wrong, and any theory of origins which presumes it as a basis is making a category mistake.

    The origin of life is not something that can be glimpsed within the causal order.

    and especially

    Like the origin of existence itself, it lies beyond any possible epistemological horizon.

    I….feel….it’s the crux of it: we simply can’t get it.

  277. @AnonFromTN

    Evolution also includes colonizing new niches.

    That’s adaptation, and again is not a measure of “superiority” in any incremental hierarchical sense.

    Just saying … evolution is achieved/defined through sufficiency, not ass-kicking physical superiority. Those that survive to reproduce are evolution successes. That does not rule out, but does not require conquest and despotic rule of the earth, solar system, galaxy, etc.

  278. @Intelligent Dasein

    Both the Theory of Evolution and Intelligent Design (in the manner it is often understood) commit the same error, viz. they hold that life is adequately explained by the mere collocation and arrangement of nonliving parts, differing only in whether they attribute this arrangement to random events or to the actions of an intelligent agent, respectively.

    No, evolution theory makes no such claim. Feel free to quote from the theory.

    ID is something of a one-trick pony, and is simply the insertion, ex machina, of the divine/hoohoo Ontological Requiremnet.

    The origin of life is not something that can be glimpsed within the causal order.

    Really? Prove it.

    It follows that the Theory of Evolution, Intelligent Design, and “Young Earth Creationism”are all not only wrong but nonsensical and heretical.

    Now, Dasey, is your forehead breaking into a sweat as The Meaning of Life is about to pour forth to illuminate us stinky little groundlings? Where do you GET this bullshit?

    A living creature exists by virtue of its form.

    WHAAAAAAT??? You’re saying something exists because it’s there, basically.

    Dismissed.

  279. I think these objections to evolution as fact are spot on . . . . now if you would only be more supportive borders . . . .

  280. @AnonFromTN

    Mr Reed and I are light years apart on immigration and borders, however, his observations here atre very sound.

    Even evolutionary archaeologists admit that the more they find they less they van piece together via the record. There is no evidence of a transition from one species to another.

    Merely claiming species jump is not a sufficient diagram or explanation, one has to be able to demonstrate it.

    In the history of the known world, there is no evidence of a system going from chaos to order all by its self. However, we do know that intelligence creates order.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  281. Zamfir says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    You’re accusing Fred of a fallacy he didn’t commit: his reasoning here is simply an inference to the (supposedly) best explanation. If there is stuff that appears to be designed, one explanation for that fact is the existence of some kind of designer. We could argue about whether that is really the best explanation, but if someone infers the explanation from the data to be explained, he isn’t committing a petitio principi (i.e., presupposing his conclusion).

    And then you commit some kind of fallacy yourself. It may be that if you ‘assume’ (or rather, infer) a creator then “you assume a creator of the creator”. But why is that relevant? How is that supposed to undermine Fred’s argument? Suppose I come across an ice statue of FDR in the middle of Antarctica. It would be reasonable for me to infer that there was a sculptor, someone who created the statue. Maybe I should then _also_ wonder where the sculptor came from, who created him, etc. But the mere fact that I would have reason to wonder about this _other_ issue would not make it any less reasonable for me to infer that someone created the ice statue of FDR. Imagine someone objecting: “Wait a minute. If you think someone made the ice statue, you’d also have to ‘assume’ that the person who made the statue was made by something else… Therefore, it’s not rational to infer that there was a sculptor of the ice statue.” That would be absurd, right? Well, there seems to be no difference between that absurd objection and your objection to Fred’s reasoning.

    Finally, it’s not obvious that if we believe the world has a creator, there must a creator of that creator, and further meta-creators ad infinitum. If an infinite regress of this kind is not possible, or not conceivable, the principle of sufficient reason requires some kind of uncreated creator. In other words, an entity that causes or explains everything else without itself being dependent on anything. A self-existent or self-sufficient being. Unless you’re able to show that (a) this concept is incoherent or (b) the principle of sufficient reason is optional, you should probably allow that positing a creator for this world does not necessitate an unacceptable regress.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  282. @EliteCommInc.

    Sorry to point that out, but archaeologists are the people who dig out the remains of ancient human civilizations and/or artifacts. The people who dig out the remains of prehistoric creatures are called paleontologists. There are subdivisions of those, e.g., paleobotanists and paleozoologists.

    You just confirmed my point: the less informed people are the more likely they are to believe in creation, intelligent design, and some such.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  283. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Question: If the first combination works well, and assures survival, why would Mother Nature insist on trying all 13 billion combinations?

    Well, the way you talk about Mother Nature, it almost sounds like you’re talking about some sort of divine being.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  284. peterAUS says:
    @Zamfir

    If there is stuff that appears to be designed, one explanation for that fact is the existence of some kind of designer.

    Pretty much.

    And it’s funny how majority of people here…hehe…believe that the creator was God (whatever that God could be).

    There is another possibility: we, humans, are not so successful attempt of species engineering by an alien entity.
    Terrible notion, of course.
    Goes straight against the sense of self-worth or even self-respect. Simply demands an outright rejection.

    Yes, I know, evidence and such.
    I’ll, probably, be able to produce it at around the same time when we get a hard evidence of existence of God and, of course, the same for the “Darwin thing”.

    True, even if God exists, who’s to say he/she/it/something had anything to do with our creation.

    Maybe God created an entity One, which created and entity Two…etc…and we got created by entity FiftyFive. Looking at the result around, maybe even entity ThousandFive.

    Imagine just yourself watching mass media from, say, spacecraft around Alpha Centauri. What would you think about us? Start from the center of world power, New York (Wall Street, United Nations).
    Funny.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @Daniel Chieh
  285. If an infinite regress of this kind is not possible, or not conceivable, the principle of sufficient reason requires some kind of uncreated creator.

    Schopenhauer? als Wille und Vorstellung?? Gosh, I could have sworn that sort of post-Kantian epistemological idealism was long ago blown away by conceptual realism. For some reason, I’ve always regarded Schopenhauer as a sort of Johnny Appleseed of philosophers. Nothing of Schopenhauer is significant, and little of it holds together. But, that’s just my opinion, I guess.

    A self-existent or self-sufficient being. Unless you’re able to show that (a) this concept is incoherent or (b) the principle of sufficient reason is optional, you should probably allow that positing a creator for this world does not necessitate an unacceptable regress.

    Meh. Tell Hume all about it. I haven’t read that stuff since ’72. It is distant in memory, and I have no interest in discussing anything from that viewpoint.

    Per the usual, you are free to believe as you like.

    • Replies: @Raj
  286. Rosie says:
    @peterAUS

    There is another possibility: we, humans, are not so successful attempt of species engineering by an alien entity.
    Terrible notion, of course.

    It’s terribly unromantic, though not outside the realm of conceivable possibility, I suppose.

  287. @AnonFromTN

    With regard to Comminc’s statement “There is no evidence of a transition from one species to another.”

    Oh, fer gawd’s sake.

    Homo habilis
    Homo rudolfensis
    Homo gautengensis
    Homo erectus
    Homo ergaster
    Homo antecessor
    Homo heidelbergensis
    Homo cepranensis
    Homo rhodesiensis
    Homo naledi
    Homo neanderthalensis
    Homo floresiensis
    Homo tsaichangensis
    Denisova hominin

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  288. @Rosie

    Question: If the first combination works well, and assures survival, why would Mother Nature insist on trying all 13 billion combinations?

    Well, the way you talk about Mother Nature, it almost sounds like you’re talking about some sort of divine being.

    Well, the way you have difficulty recognizing a symbol for the biological processes of nature, it almost sounds like you’ve got no rational response at all.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  289. @Dillon Sweeny

    Yea, and that’s within just one genus, Homo, and within less than 2 million years. Some of these might have been subspecies, though, as apparently Homo that is erroneously called sapience interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovan humans (at least we have genetic evidence for that).

    As the joke has it, when a young lady learned that 3-5% of our genes came from Neanderthals, she said: “That explains uncle Roger!” In the context of this discussion, I’d say: “that explains the believers in intelligent design”.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  290. @AnonFromTN

    As the joke has it, when a young lady learned that 3-5% of our genes came from Neanderthals, she said: “That explains uncle Roger!” In the context of this discussion, I’d say: “that explains the believers in intelligent design”.

    On the other hand, it does provide a surfeit of Designers, assuming each species of Man was created in the image of, um, the Designer. Then, there are the Designer beauty pageants to consider.

    Must be late; I’m starting to giggle.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  291. Raj says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    I don’t think the principle of sufficient reason needs Schopenhauer. I’ve never read him much. It seems like a basic assumption of rationality: contingent facts (such as the existence of a given spatiotemporal world) must be explained or caused by something other than themselves. Do you really disagree or doubt that? Or do you think the existence of this world is not a contingent fact?

    This actually seems like a case where you’re not “free to believe” what you like. The principle seems impossible to deny, psychologically.

    Hume didn’t refute this reasoning. His objection depends on an error: he assumes that explanation is additive, i.e., that if you explain each item in a set you thereby explain the set or totality. But no. If you explain for each contingent thing in the universe, why that thing exists, you still haven’t explained why there are contingent things rather than nothing. The principle has never been refuted, though I grant it can’t be proven either. It’s a presupposition of all science, though, and intuitively plausible (to say the least).

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  292. Bliss says:

    The problems with Intelligent Design:

    1. More than 99% of all species are estimated to have gone extinct. Tens of thousands will go extinct this year. The Designer must not be very intelligent if he has such a high rate of failure.

    2. The fossil record shows that the earliest life forms are the simplest. Humans arose billions of years after life began on Earth. Evolution explains this, Intelligent Design does not.

    3. No structure, living or inert, has ever been observed to suddenly arise out of nothing. It is invariably based on something that already existed. Evolution is a fact of Nature. You can even observe it in the lab.

    Here is an example of the evolution of new species:

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2010/03/10/2820949.htm

    Given the right conditions, mammals can sometimes evolve very quickly, says Georges.

    A small handful of European mice deposited on the island of Madeira some 600 years ago have now evolved into at least six different species. The island is very rocky and the mice became isolated into different niches. The original species had 40 chromosomes, but the new populations have anywhere between 22-30 chromosomes. They haven’t lost DNA, but rather, some chromosomes have fused together over time and so the mice can now only breed with others with the same number of chromosomes, making each group a separate species.”

  293. Bliss says:
    @nickels

    Solipsism is the ultimate empirical theory of human existence. It is the metaphysical position that there is only one self-conscious person in the universe

    And that sole self-conscious entity in the universe is God/Buddha-Nature/Atman etc. Who is the pure consciousness within us all.

    This has been the experience of many spiritual seekers throughout history. Including Jesus: I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.

    And Rumi:

    I searched for God and found only myself
    I searched for myself and found only God

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  294. @Dillon Sweeny

    “You have soy sauce for brains.”
    .
    here, suh, we part company: surely, *someone* would have noticed the sloshing sound in redcapns skull ? ? ?
    .
    no, I am thinking something of a tofu consistency would be less noticeable, no sloshing…
    .
    but perhaps I have flies in my eyes…
    hee hee hee
    ho ho ho
    ha ha ha
    ak ak ak

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  295. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    An awfully lucky “symbol” I’d say.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  296. Rosie says:
    @Bliss

    More than 99% of all species are estimated to have gone extinct.

    Most of which nevertheless have close surviving relatives, do they not? Life persists.

    I always fine narrow one-liners of this sort to be tremendously interesting from a psychological point of view. Again, it would seem that you are convinced that this one factoid settles the matter, and even if you saw Christ himself rise from the dead, tell you God created the universe, and then ascend to heaven with your very own eyes, you still wouldn’t budge.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  297. @Raj

    I don’t think the principle of sufficient reason needs Schopenhauer.

    True, but what I responded to sounded Schopenhauer-ish. His initial opus was The Four-fold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. That was the memory jogged.

    Okay, so you put faith of some sort in the POSR? What are you going to prove with it? To be honest, I do not see much use for the POSR (I think it trivial), but you may wish to enlighten me. Enlightened days are good days.

  298. @Bliss

    This has been the experience of many spiritual seekers throughout history. Including Jesus: I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.

    Twist me, turn me,
    Show me the Elf
    I look in the mirror
    And I see ….

  299. @art guerrilla

    here, suh, we part company: surely, *someone* would have noticed the sloshing sound in redcapns skull ? ? ?

    I say we all strap on hip-boots next weekend, go outdoors, and nail us some pretty little whitetail does.

    With Redcap’s blessing, of course.

  300. @Rosie

    An awfully lucky “symbol” I’d say.

    Mother Nature is lucky?

  301. anonymous[372] • Disclaimer says:
    @Redcapstan

    If evolution rules why does the lion not mate the tiger

    Lol. Except that lions and tigers can mate with each other and produce offspring. As can many other different species just within felidae:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liger

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigon

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panthera_hybrid

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felid_hybrid

    Then there are mules, zebroids, etc., the list goes on and on.. What was the intelligent designer thinking? Any guesses? Anyone?

    the raccoon mama not have baboon children

    Wat?

    I have to admit that I’m struck by how little curiosity the people pushing ID seem to have about the natural world. To them, the natural world exists for no other purpose than to boast about how marvelous God’s creations are. No further thought needed. They have this “Nope. Nothing to see here folks!” attitude towards the whole subject. They won’t even bother thinking hard enough about the subject to speculate for a moment about how biological variation comes about.

    God/The Creator did it. He also littered the fossil record with organisms, coincidentally placing them in the exact order they’d appear had they evolved by descent. But we know organisms could not have evolve by descent by way of readily observable mechanisms, such as selection, because that would be preposterous. It’s preposterous just because. Don’t ask questions. The more likely explanation is that the designer magically popped them into existence. Or according to Rosie, the designer magically changed one species into another. Or according to several other commenters in this thread, aliens did it. These are considered the most likely explanations for the variation of species. No, seriously.

    This is despite the fact these same people will readily admit that the human races have diverged quite a lot in a mere 1,000-2,000 generations of living in different environments. What about another 200,000 generations of divergence between groups living in different environments? That still wouldn’t be enough time for the groups to diverge to the point that they are reproductively incompatible. Two million generations? Still not enough time (Never an explanation for how creationists know this; it’s just asserted as fact).

    • Replies: @Rosie
  302. anonymous[372] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bliss

    A small handful of European mice deposited on the island of Madeira some 600 years ago have now evolved into at least six different species.

    This is extremely fascinating. Thanks. I’m surprised I’ve never come across this before.

    One of the central tenets to ID/creationism seems to be that organisms can ABSOLUTELY NEVER speciate through descent. There is some kind of unexplained magical property that stops speciation, although what specifically this property is, or how it manifests, is never explained.

    How would creationists explain the observations of mice on Madeira?

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @AnonFromTN
  303. @Dillon Sweeny

    The outcome of the Designer beauty pageant would depend on the jury. Picture all-Neanderthal jury, and the result is a no-brainer. Then again, a jury composed of Hollywood sluts might render the same verdict.

  304. Rosie says:
    @anonymous

    That still wouldn’t be enough time for the groups to diverge to the point that they are reproductively incompatible. Two million generations? Still not enough time (Never an explanation for how creationists know this; it’s just asserted as fact).

    Can anyone point out where I said anything to this effect? Or implied as much?

  305. Rosie says:
    @anonymous

    One of the central tenets to ID/creationism seems to be that organisms can ABSOLUTELY NEVER speciate through descent. There is some kind of unexplained magical property that stops speciation, although what specifically this property is, or how it manifests, is never explained.

    This is precisely your problem. You don’t understand ID. You just attack the weakest exponents of it and consider yourself vindicated.

    These statements are not incompatible:

    (1) New species can develop through natural selection.
    (2) The genetic information that codes for new traits could no more emerge spontaneously without intelligence than any other information.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  306. anonymous[119] • Disclaimer says:
    @Rosie

    Can anyone point out where I said anything to this effect? Or implied as much?

    I wasn’t talking about you. I mentioned you once in reference to your pet theory, which is a theory that I’m not seeing any other creationists/IDers pushing. Others are pushing the theory that speciation cannot take place at all, whether through evolutionary means (including natural selection), or through a magic makeover from the creator.

    (1) New species can develop through natural selection.

    Then tell that to the other 99.9% of creationists/IDers who are arguing otherwise.

    (2) The genetic information that codes for new traits could no more emerge spontaneously without intelligence than any other information.

    I make no claims about the nature of mutation except in as much as can be observed. Along the same lines, I am not debating whether or not the origin of DNA/life was intelligently generated, “spontaneously” generated, or even generated at all. IMO, this is for all intents and purposes, unknowable, and therefore it makes for a rather pointless debate. Evolution is not about “rejecting God”, or something along those lines. The existence or non-existence of an intelligent creator does not make a difference because such a creator holds no explanatory power. If we were to assume the existence of a creator, it would still not tell us how this creator works, what his methods are, and in what way he operates to influence living entities. It doesn’t tell us anything other than that such a creator exists. There is not a whole lot that can be gleaned from a being that cannot be perceived. My debate is solely about the variation in lifeforms as best as can be deduced from the limited data available.

  307. @peterAUS

    I would be okay with living in a Macross universe. Deculture!

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  308. peterAUS says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    Well..I guess that some stories/ideas of A. Clarke ring with me more than the “Darwin thing” or “God created man in his image”.

    I find the below more plausible than either of inside quotes above:
    An advanced civilization did a bit of genetic engineering/panspermia attempt->a “seeding/creation” device got over Earth and here we are->the same civilization got destroyed, most likely by itself.
    That last part resonates. They did make us “on their image” and fucked themselves up. Power, greed, stuff like that.

    We are doing well along the same path; simply hard wired, can’t help ourselves.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  309. Bliss says:
    @Rosie

    it would seem that you are convinced that this one factoid settles the matter

    Try not to be dishonest. I gave more than just one reason to disagree with Intelligent Design (as defined by your ilk).

    Give us one example of a structure that suddenly arose out of nothing. Which is what you believe.

    Life persists.

    In forms that have evolved and continue to evolve.

    Evolution is an observable fact of nature. The Universe itself is evolving. Deal with it. It doesn’t disprove the existence of God.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  310. @anonymous

    Simple: ignore it. In science, if the facts don’t fit the theory, you throw away that theory and try to come up with a better one. In some human occupations, you throw away the facts in the same situation and stick to your “theory”. The quintessence of this is “Credo quia absurdum”.

  311. @Bliss

    “A small handful of European mice deposited on the island of Madeira some 600 years ago have now evolved into at least six different species. The island is very rocky and the mice became isolated into different niches. The original species had 40 chromosomes, but the new populations have anywhere between 22-30 chromosomes. They haven’t lost DNA, but rather, some chromosomes have fused together over time and so the mice can now only breed with others with the same number of chromosomes, making each group a separate species.”

    If you had bothered to think about any of this clearly, you would see that this paragraph proves rather the opposite of everything that evolutionists assert.

    1. It is first necessary to inquire into the methodology of any studies on the basis of which the claims of non-interbreeding between mice with different ploidal numbers are asserted. Did any of the researchers attempt to breed mice possessing different ploidies, and (more importantly) did these pairings produce viable offspring? If so, then the claim of speciation is invalid on its face. If not, then it raises unanswerable questions about how an evolutionary process could have resulted in these unusual ploidies in the first place, and it negates the notion that differing ploidies are either the cause or the effect of non-interbreeding.

    2. On the evolutionists’ own version of events, the rockiness of Madeira was apparently not sufficient to prevent the mice from colonizing new areas to begin with, so it is rather mystifying that they would then assert that this very same rockiness utterly prevented the adventurous mice from breeding back into the populations from whence they originally emerged. This is a common problem with the idea of allopatric speciation and it reveals one of its internal contradictions.

    3. If indeed the mere fact of having a different ploidy is enough to prevent mice strains from interbreeding, then how did such changes originate and how did they become established? If the change originated as a random mutation in a single mouse, then on the very hypothesis that this prevents interbreeding, that mouse would not have been able to breed and the trait never would have passed on. Therefore, either divergent ploidies do not prevent interbreeding, or the change occurred by some mysterious process that affected more than one mouse at the same time, enough mice to comprise a breeding population. If it is the former, then the claim of speciation is invalid on its face; if the latter, then it could not have been a random mutation but rather a specific response to something that manifested itself in a number of chosen individuals who already comprised a distinct, latent class prior to whatever it was that occasioned their emergence as such.

    4. In any case, this does not appear to be speciation in any meaningful sense. If we assume for argument’s sake the different ploidies really do prevent interbreeding among populations which nonetheless share a common ancestor, then this is simply an accidental barrier to breeding introduced into a single strain—a type of contraception if you will, not a speciation event. It is conceivable that different breeds of dog, due to their wildly divergent sizes, could never successfully mate with one another and, even if artificially inseminated, could never carry the puppies to term; yet nobody asserts that these dogs belong to different species. The situation is no different for the mice just because the barrier exists at the chromosomal level rather than the level of gross bodily dimensions. The DNA molecule is simply a part of the body and it is no less “physical” than any other part of the body. It is not, as I have discussed elsewhere. “information.” Chromosomal incompatibility, in and of itself, is immaterial to the concept of speciation and cannot be adduced as evidence of such.

    5. The occurrence of unusual ploidies is not unheard of within a single species nor even within a single individual. Any survey of a sufficiently large number of human cells will reveal, apart from those possessing the usual 46, a certain percentage possessing 47, 48, or some other number of chromosomes, and otherwise functioning normally. There does not appear to be a perfectly ironclad set of rules dictating how exactly the DNA of a particular organism or species must divide into chromosomes in the first place. Rather, one of the cornerstones of the whole evolutionary edifice is destroyed by this observation, since it demonstrates that quite drastic changes can be wrought in the genotype without the phenotype being altered in any way whatsoever. The existence of cloned animals who differ markedly in coloring and temperament from their genetic parent illustrates that the contrary also occurs. These two observations taken together serve to completely collapse any notion of a one-to-one correspondence between genes and “traits.” It is thereby amply demonstrated that evolution operating by the random mutation of the genome and the natural selection of the emergent traits cannot have taken place.

    6. Not only that, but this also means that DNA analysis is useless for establishing degrees of relatedness beyond a certain very limited horizon. Organisms may have similar DNA despite being unrelated, or very different DNA despite being closely related. Because there is no direct correspondence between genotype and phenotype, nor between either one of these and relatedness, the entire edifice that the Darwinians have constructed on the basis of molecular biology falls to the ground.

    7. Thus, with allopatric speciation being internally contradictory and the genetic data indeterminate, there is nothing for evolutionists to stand on save the bald assertion of their system of superficial causality; which indeed is all we ever seem to get from them. The jettisoning by serious thinkers of this mental hobgoblin is long overdue and will be accomplished with the passing of the Dawkins generation, the last for whom the idea held any (albeit already by then only a derivative) significance.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  312. Rosie says:
    @Bliss

    Evolution is an observable fact of nature. The Universe itself is evolving. Deal with it. It doesn’t disprove the existence of God.

    As I understood it, this debate was not about whether or not life forms evolve, but rather about whether intelligence or random mutation is the best explanation for the existence of genetic information.

  313. anonymous[592] • Disclaimer says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    According to study, the particular chromosomal configurations present in the six different populations were such that they would be unlikely to produce fertile offspring with mice from one of the other groups on the island, but could still produce fertile offspring with house mice that had a standard diploid count. The assertion is that it is the specific translocations (robertsonian) of the chromosomes which determine the viability of any potential offspring. To lend a bit of support to this, there were no individual mice found that were hybrids of any two of the six populations, although many individual hybrids between one group and mainland house mice were observed near the main port city on the island.

    Using the word “species” here may no doubt be premature, especially for those who think in black and white, and are prone to being triggered by such things. I agree that someone should physically study whether or not the different mice populations can breed. The study was conducted nearly 20 years ago. More recent studies of the mice populations on the island suggest that they were brought over approx. 1,000 years ago, and that they originate from northern Europe, not Portugal.

  314. Bliss says:

    this paragraph proves rather the opposite of everything that evolutionists assert.

    No it doesn’t. The opposite of what evolutionists assert is Creationism. There is nothing in that paragraph, or in your 6 paragraphs, that “proves” Creationism. You can argue against theories of evolution such as Darwinism and Dawkinism but you can not deny Evolution. It is a fact of nature. Like the Earth revolving around the Sun. Learn from the Church’s mistake of defending Geocentrism.

    If you want to discredit the atheism-materialism of Dawkins and his ilk your only real recourse is this: evolution can not explain consciousness. Science cannot explain consciousness.

    the rockiness of Madeira was apparently not sufficient to prevent the mice from colonizing new areas to begin with, so it is rather mystifying that they would then assert that this very same rockiness utterly prevented the adventurous mice from breeding back into the populations from whence they originally emerged.

    Nothing mystifying there. Madeira is a large island (over 700 sq km). It is easy to see how groups of colonizing mice could get lost and separated from the others in a confusing rocky landscape.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  315. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:

    Intelligent Design is complete bunk.

    “A question that never ceases to fascinate is that of how life originated, and how and why it has progressed as it seems to have. The official story and de rigueur explanation is that that life came about through spontaneous generation from seawater.”

    NO!!! No one said it ‘spontaneously’ generated from seawater. Rather, scientists say various elements have certain properties that act in a certain way under certain conditions. That’s it. Now, we don’t why these elements act the way they do, but they do. And it just so happens that certain elements replicate themselves under certain conditions.

    It’s like fire. Under certain conditions, certain elements can catch fire. It didn’t happen spontaneously out of the blue. Rather, certain elements have properties that can burn under certain conditions.
    Or take ice turning into water. It didn’t just spontaneously do it. H2O has properties that can be solid, liquid, or gas under certain conditions. When cold, it is ice. When warm, it is liquid. When hot, it turns into vapor. It’s the conditions that matter.

    What became life on Earth didn’t just happen spontaneously. If Earth was too hot or too cold or lacking in certain qualities and conditions, life never would have developed on Earth. Look at Mars and Venus. No life. And there are parts of Earth where there is only primitive microscopic life. And there are places with no life. I highly doubt if there’s life inside a volcano filled with lava.

    So, Fred Reed need to think in terms of chemistry. Even if life didn’t exist, why do chemicals act in strange mysterious ways? I dunno, but they do. Anyway, among the various elements, there is carbon that can be the basis of life. There is something in carbon and methane and some other stuff that, under certain conditions, turn into the basic building blocks of what COULD become life. The first step is that these elements can replicate themselves. Is this stage life? Most biologists say no. It is just elements following the laws of chemistry. But in replicating itself, this process set off a chain of events where the replication became more complicated. Because mutations cause some to replicate faster and better, and these out-replicate the others, and take over.. and then, if another system comes to replicate even better, they take over. Why do mutations occur? One reason is space rays that are bombarding us at all times.

    Suppose there are some elements replicating themselves. They go on and on. But suppose a mutation makes a certain element within this system replicate even faster. And then, this strain begins to gain an advantage. Then, suppose another mutation makes another element within this system harness sunlight or some source of energy to power its replication, and it multiplies even faster. Then, this strain will win out. Then, suppose a mutation causes a strain to devour other strains for more energy. And then, this strain gains dominance. Then, suppose another mutation allows another strain to not only devour others but move around. Then, it can avoid being devoured while moving to devour others. Then, that strain will win out. And on and on and on, things get more complicated. There is no design in any of this. Once the replication process begins, mutations that favor more replication will favor that strain that has them. And over a long period, this leads to development of life and more complex life with better means to survive and replicate.

    • Replies: @Merlin
  316. @nickels

    I read, comprehend , and decide from the view and basis of a mechanical engineer, with a background in natural science and psychology. Eight years of university study, three and a half years of engineering and 34 years of professional experience. I have since my academic days, continued reading and seeking answers. When my professional life started, I paralleled as a cultural anthropologist, choosing to observe, analyze and revisit the abstracts of theories, deductions, and pet positions with vested self interest.

    With regard to the-by now quite mature and old question-of ID versus Natural Selection (NS), if you read enough, digest many iterations and instances of this argument, summary and deduction/induction, they will naturally segregate and rank in various positions. The duplication is enormous.

    Any inquiry into Real Processes, that is those that are material, concrete and observable must go beyond mere data collection, though this varies with the endeavor and enterprise. The striving for finite and closed system explanations is analogous to instinctual drive or Maslow’s Hierarchies of Needs. Beyond the merits and basis of validity, many individuals have egos to protect, careers, “face” (a bad version of the Asian variety). Careers can be washed away by a change of iconoclastic positions. I proffer the Climate Ca-Ching as an example of clinging to farce and infantile phantasmagorical arguments and false meaning extracted from false data. No discussion of scientific integrity and rigorous ethical pursuits would be complete without the manipulation, cowardly coagulation of multiple academics, intellectuals and researchers to deny the overriding effects and force of genetic determination of general intelligence, over environment-not matter what and how much enrichment.

    Aside from a particular, obviously very young and relatively inexperienced pugilistic BOOR here in the comment section, I find a lot of arguments are repetitious, very subjective, and close minded. It is optimal to stay as close to the SPIRIT of the Scientific Method as possible. In todays milieu this is next to impossible due to desired outcomes from fund sources, and the infantile drive to not “offend” anyone. The tone of one very defensive, foul-mouthed, juvenile, ill-bred, and ignoramus polemicist can be generalized as a TYPE of arguer who must maintain a perfect constellation of predicates and concepts, never giving a decimal point to the other side. This individual here is the buffo, churl, and lout of forever. Like poor quality electric rock ’n’ roll, the worse the quality of music, the louder in proportion it gets.

    An overview of the arguments shows the weakness of “channel” arguing, where philosophical “schools”, theories of Reality, perception clash, deduction of “authorities” are brought in to bolster the ramparts of one’s position. The walls of the “channel” prevent anyone from using a different methodology or vehicle of understanding. Every mind that argued here is captive to the Western tradition of abstract “form fitting” of existing or need to create categories. This is a limited usefulness system. It assumes from the outset that what you argue, discuss, or relate to is a unique phenomenon in its integral way. This is the procedural, plodding, and frustrating method that has resulted in maximum gain to date, with attendantly large losses and missed opportunities for understanding.

    Since an old sailor decades ago told me calmly with steady assurance, “Travel is the best school”. This is another way of saying “Believe your eyes and senses”. And life long travel and observations and contact has presented other methods of apprehension-that is to say-making sense of the World. This is a précis of the Analogous Logic of the Chinese-and the Orient: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jana_Rosker/publication/317627613_Semantic_Aspects_of_Classical_Chinese_Analogies_and_Structural_Thought_Patterns/links/59446b59a6fdccb93ab5affc/Semantic-Aspects-of-Classical-Chinese-Analogies-and-Structural-Thought-Patterns.pdf?origin=publication_detail

    Also for your edification: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/chinese-logic-language/

    The essence of this approach is that there are many objects and manifestations in our known Universe, as in the World around us, but there are many similar processes. So much so, the the impetus is huge to explore analogies and parallel phenomena. That is why so much of the Orient values wisdom over process and the gathering of finite (they will always be less than the whole amount in existence), and seeks to relate, analogize what is known and understood otherwise. Likewise, it will become quickly apparent that similar phenomena have varying degrees of uncertainty.

    Let us suppose that all ducks that are under observation go south for the winter. One winter they go west. The next winter they go east. Now, knowing what we know about ducks’ morphology, biology, cellular micro-biology, body chemistry, etc., would we say that the cause of the deviation MUST, JUST MUST be within the afore mentioned, i.e., internal and intrinsic of the duck? Why torture that extension of speculation? The deviation might have just come from an EXTERNAL stimulus(i), as well. That being reasonable then…..it will be outside the operating sets of intrinsic knowledge of the cumulative science. That will freak out, discombobulate some of the “scientists” who want the marinate in their own sense of timeless Rosetta Stone sets of ideas, built up from and solely from them. Outside interference, causes, influences are too much, egos get bruised, theoreticians and “experts” have to make retractions, reductions, apologies. At the basic level, where a “scientific theory” purported to explain everything, it fell short.

    Marxism had the same problem. But too many invested could not admit it. This controversy is not about objective data and reasonable judgements. It is about how far and how long sets of data and observations can generate reasonable conclusions and interpretation. Understanding data means appreciating where it takes you AND WHERE IT CANNOT, SHOULD NOT.

    Why did I witness the failure of two machines at the same time? Would someone argue that they JUST HAD TO BE RELATED and that the cause effect was bi-directional? But what if there was nothing to even hint at a relation. There is no data but endless speculation. An unknown energy interference. A resonant vibration that sped through the mountings? Desperation for tribal protection of the cognoscenti, the High Priesthood. Huge gaps in the fossil record, sudden emergence of complex species with no ancestral precedent? Hypothesize something, anything and work backward and find the flimsiest of evidence. Why not? Everyone’s doing it.

    https://news.stanford.edu/2015/11/16/fraud-science-papers-111615/

    More scientific fraud: https://www.vox.com/2015/5/13/8591837/how-science-is-broken

    And finally there is this insult to the public extant, which is are all persons outside the funding group for deceptive and sloppy work. In other words, lying.

    https://www.painscience.com/articles/ioannidis.php

  317. Merlin says:

    Soft tissue, the original tissue, is routinely found in dinosaur fossils that are claimed to be 68 plus million years old.

    There are legends from all over the world of a great flood. The most common elements from these legends give us an outline of Noah’s Flood.

    There are written descriptions and depictions (Angor Wat) of creatures that seem to be dinosaurs from times before paleontologist had constructed dinosaurs from fossils.

    These three facts are strong evidence that the earth is not old and that there was a flood.

  318. @Bliss

    evolution can not explain consciousness.

    Why would it? Evolution theory describes processes and past events related to speciation.

    Science cannot explain consciousness.

    Why would it? What’s to explain? “Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.” Asking “why” is a variation on “Why is there air?”

  319. Bliss says:

    The point is atheists like Dawkins claim that the world of matter-energy is all that exists. They claim that consciousness spontaneously emerges at a certain point in evolution when the brain reaches a certain level of complexity.

    Which is bullshit. Consciousness is not part of the world of matter-energy which is the domain of science. It is not something that can be observed. It is not something that can ever be explained by science.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  320. Merlin says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    This article leads to lots of learned comment, most of which is theory and speculation about speculation about theory. The rubber never meets the road.

    There is soft tissue in dinosaur and other fossils that are supposed to be 68 million years old and older. Every commenter here seems unaware of this, but this one repeatable observation, the soft tissue being where it “cannot be,” destroys the long ages that evolution needs. EVOLUTION IS DEAD.

    If you would like a nail in the coffin, read John Stanford’s Genetic Entropy.

    Or you can continue making comments full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  321. headrick says:

    The weak anthropic principle explains the existence of sentient life, given some modern concept of multiple universes, serially generated or in parallel in which physical constants and the laws of chance roll the bones. We are here and see it because we are sentient and in an infinite variety of universes, luck and physics has given us this ability on this go around. This does not mean there is no God but only that the tableau of us standing there in our shoes and looking up and wondering how we got here, does not require a one time shot God that made it so. If this universe is a one-off, ok God is required to make the physical constants just right and the luck to make Earth just right, but now with physics using the collision of m-branes causing another big bang- they have minted proposal, unproven of course, that makes a this kind of argument for God not convincing any more. This is all
    not Physics at all, but philosophising appropriate for college sophomores in the dorm
    at night Gee what if the whole universe was an atom in some larger universe” … It’s
    not worthy of serious consideration.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  322. Rosie says:
    @headrick

    … It’s not worthy of serious consideration.

    The problem is that militant atheists argue that belief is stupid and irrational because science. Either we can make inferences about the supernatural from our observations of the world, or we can’t. We’re done with the double standard.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @peterAUS
  323. @peterAUS

    That’s actually the plot of Macross as well. The Precursors created humanity as the third attempt after two failures, and unfortunately find that their children are unable to escape their own fate. Their agent attempts to destroy this failure and try again, but is instead destroyed, arguably making humanity their greatest failure ever(the child that kills the parent). IIRC it parallels Japanese mythology of the frustrations of the gods.

    Being ultimately a hippy story, though, it implies that humanity will escape this cycle through love and music.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @peterAUS
  324. @Rosie

    The key principle of scientific reasoning is that you don’t introduce additional hypotheses unless you absolutely need them to explain the data. Creator and Intelligent Design are the hypotheses the biologists don’t need to explain the facts known to us now. Same goes for the Flying Spaghetti Monster. No double standards there, sorry.

    The fact that some people are so infantile and insecure that they need a father figure (Creator) has nothing to do with biology. It’s a psychiatric problem.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  325. Merlin says:
    @Anon

    Let me say a gently as I can. You have no understanding of the theory of evolution, genetics, biology or the concepts of Intelligent Design. Please read Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box.

  326. @Bliss

    The point is atheists like Dawkins claim that the world of matter-energy is all that exists. They claim that consciousness spontaneously emerges at a certain point in evolution when the brain reaches a certain level of complexity.

    Gracious. The world of matter-energy IS all that exists. Unless, perchance, you have verifiable evidence of some “other” world?

    That “consciousness” (in quotes, since nobody knows what it means, no one can “explain” it, and only the ID Yahweh can anoint you with it) appears to coincide with a certain level of brain complexity is observable, verifiable, and in agreement with every theory of brain development I’ve ever read. So what? Consciousness is also entirely phenomenological and ephemeral, a wispy smoke from a neurological fire.

    Don’t mystify it. You are a self-aware entity. Some threshold of brain interaction and complexity produces self-reference. So what?

    • Replies: @Bliss
  327. @Daniel Chieh

    That’s actually the plot of Macross as well. The Precursors created humanity as the third attempt after two failures, and unfortunately find that their children are unable to escape their own fate.

    Run along, Daniel. Book club meeting is next week.

  328. @Merlin

    Or you can continue making comments full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    And you may continue your assertions of absolute, certifiable bullshit. S’Okay with me — I keep the sound turned down, and fury merely amuses me.

    • Replies: @Merlin
  329. Rosie says:
    @AnonFromTN

    The key principle of scientific reasoning is that you don’t introduce additional hypotheses unless you absolutely need them to explain the data.

    We’ve been over this. The question is not whether we “absolutely need” the ID hypothesis, unless you are an ideologue who simply rules out nonmaterialistic hypotheses a priori, that is, without looking at the evidence. In that case, you are proving the point that the Scientific establishment has abandoned the commitment to follow the evidence wherever it leads in the dispassionate search for truth. The real question is this: what is the best explanation for the phenomena we observe in nature?

    You merely presume that any materialist explanation, however implausible, is ipso facto superior. This is an ideological commitment that has no basis in the logic of explanations. Scientists are free to speculate and experiment as they wish, of course, but if they aren’t going to respect dissidents’ right to the same freedom of inquiry they demand for themselves, they have no claim whatsoever to any deference from the public they so despise. Nor is everyone simply going to accept their narrow definition of what is or is not “science.”

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  330. @Rosie

    What evidence you are talking about? Having been doing research in biology for a few decades I am not aware of any.

    While you are at it, please give me ID explanations of the evidence I mentioned in comments # 179, 241, and 242. You studiously avoided specifics so far, which tells me something about your “theory”. Provide evidence to the contrary, please, not hot air.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  331. Rosie says:
    @AnonFromTN

    While you are at it, please give me ID explanations of the evidence I mentioned in comments # 179, 241, and 242. You studiously avoided specifics so far, which tells me something about your “theory”. Provide evidence to the contrary, please, not hot air.

    I don’t know about the slow ribosome question, and in fact, I don’t recognize your presumed authority to put me under the microscope. I don’t acknowledge your authority at all, so I’ll answer you’re question with another. Are you asserting that any phenomenon that a theory can’t explain warrants wholesale rejection of that theory? That would seem to be the implication of your demands, unless of course you hold your opponents to a standard that you cannot meet yourself, not that that would surprise me.

    If I’m not mistaken, it has already been asserted on this thread that anomalies are a matter to be explored in further investigations, which by the way, only evolutionists begrudge those with whom they disagree.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @AnonFromTN
  332. @AnonFromTN

    our cells use bad slow ribosomes to make proteins, whereas our mitochondria use smaller and faster ones (same as bacteria).

    Would it be theoretically possible to code our cells to use the same ribosomes as mitochondria? Speculating in that sense that mice developed bigger brains when human DNA was introduced to it(though I’m not sure if it was actually associated with improved cognition; actual cell transplation of human astrocytes to mice has done the latter though).

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/02/human-dna-enlarges-mouse-brains

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  333. @Rosie

    which by the way, only evolutionists begrudge those with whom they disagree.

    Contrast that with IDers vehemently rejecting every component, every premise, every line item of evolution science. Every single word, every idea, every formulation — every iota of scientific data.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  334. @Rosie

    I am not surprised that you don’t know. Apparently, neither about slow large ribosomes, nor about gill slits in human and all mammalian embryos, nor about the universality of the genetic code across all life forms, nor about surprisingly minuscule differences between your histones and those of potatoes you probably eat. I am not surprised: if you knew real facts in biology/biochemistry/genetics, you wouldn’t push the ID “theory”.

    Now, the answer to a more general question: if a fact contradicts a theory (in science!), the theory needs to be modified to accommodate that fact. If it cannot be modified, it should be replaced by another that does not contradict any known facts. I am sure you don’t know physics, either, so the following is for those who do. Newton’s mechanics was considered the correct theory for quite a while, until physicists started dealing with very high speeds comparable to the speed of light. Then it turned out that Newton’s mechanics is an approximation of Einstein’s mechanics for cases where the speeds are low, so that the effect of speed on mass and time can be ignored. So, you might say that Newton’s theory was thrown away, or that the limitations of its applicability were found within a more general theory.

    Basically, if you are a scientist, you realize that you don’t know the Truth with the capital T, every theory you have is no more than a current approximation, subject to change. In contrast, if you are religious or a proponent of ID, you know the Truth, and facts be damned.

    • Agree: Dillon Sweeny
    • Replies: @Rosie
  335. Bliss says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    The world of matter-energy IS all that exists. Unless, perchance, you have verifiable evidence of some “other” world?

    Nonsense. If “the world of matter-energy IS all that exists” then how do you explain the undeniable existence of consciousness without which this World doesn’t even exist?

    The world of matter-energy, which includes the human brain, is objective, observable, measurable.. Consciousness is the witness of this world. It is subjective, unobservable, unmeasurable.

    It is utterly irrational to think that what can not be observed belongs to the observable universe of matter-energy.

  336. @Daniel Chieh

    Yes, it would be easy in practical terms: the majority of proteins making fast mitochondrial ribosomes are encoded in our nuclear genome. You need to encode the remaining few under suitable promoters and replace DNA regions encoding our ribosomal RNA with those encoding mitochondrial (bacterial) ribosomal RNA. At the same time you need to remove the genes encoding proteins of our slow cytoplasmic ribosomes (which we and all other eukaryotes inherited from archaebacteria). This is also doable today. Actually, quite a few groups engineer cells enhanced in various ways even now. They all use existing sequences and protein domains, though: evolution had much more time to experiment and optimize than we have, so you don’t want to invent the wheel. Besides, evolution always did rigorous experiments (you live or you die) and never fudged the data, as it did not need to publish.

    BTW, people who know nothing about biology often say that the appearance of a protein with a particular sequence by chance is virtually nil. It really is, as our average protein consists of 300-500 amino acids (we have 20 different amino acids, so the number of possible combinations would be enormous). But that’s not the way proteins emerged. All proteins consist of much smaller domains fulfilling certain functions. All our >20,000 proteins are composed of several thousand small (30-60 amino acids) domains, which are mixed and matched by evolution to serve particular purposes. So, the only thing that needed to emerge de novo by chance are those domains. Several labs successfully do protein engineering by combining existing domains in new ways, achieving predictable results.

    Tell you what, I do protein engineering by site-directed mutagenesis, changing individual amino acids to change protein function. When I looked at the evolution (the proteins I work with emerged ~1 billion years ago) I found that many of our “innovative” solutions were already found by evolution and exist in some organisms.

    Real science teaches you humility, so whenever a scientist encounters claims of the Truth with a capital T, s/he knows for sure that it is BS.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  337. peterAUS says:
    @Rosie

    Yup.

    Not so sure about the “double standard” thing though. It looks, to me, as a constant in human relationship, especially when those in any position of power deal with those below.

    In this case, “scientific elite” interaction with anyone challenging their position. And the words “stupid” and “irrational” we often hear. Showing a lack of class they can’t even register.
    And…hehe…I am not even religious. Whatever that means.
    Or…I haven’t seen the proof so I do not believe. But, at the same time, not so sure I am right. Maybe I can’t see it. Maybe it can’t be seen……
    Isn’t belief about believing into something one hasn’t seen the proof for? Not getting into that discussion……
    Besides, those into “Darwin thing” hasn’t seen the real proof. They also, apparently, believe.
    That, I guess, makes them “stupid” and “irrational” people. Kettle, pot.

    It feels as this..ahm…”debate” is simply about control of people.
    And, as always, that control transfers into the game of power and money.
    I’d mix it with a bit of ego, uncertainty and a little fear, and here we are….

    At least no burning at stakes, mass executions etc.
    For time being that is. I am sure those enlightened scientists wouldn’t mind a bit of forced re-education, incarceration and even a lobotomizing here and there.
    They are, at least, a pinnacle of human development. Or so they want us to believe. By any means necessary.

  338. @Bliss

    There’s the undeniable evidence that we can also imagine the existence of Hogwarts or Middle Earth but it doesn’t mean that it has to exist in reality. Minsky’s society of mind assumes that consciousness is an illusionary emergent state from parts of the brain working in concert.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_Mind

  339. Rosie says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Apparently, neither about slow large ribosomes, nor about gill slits in human and all mammalian embryos, nor about the universality of the genetic code across all life forms, nor about surprisingly minuscule differences between your histones and those of potatoes you probably eat.

    Blah, blah, blah…

    I know all about the gill slits, I’m just not terribly impressed.

    Basically, if you are a scientist, you realize that you don’t know the Truth with the capital T

    You claim to be a scientist; I do not. Yet, it couldn’t be more obvious that the imperious know-it-all in this conversation is you.

    every theory you have is no more than a current approximation, subject to change. In contrast, if you are religious or a proponent of ID, you know the Truth, and facts be damned.

    Go look in the mirror.

  340. @Bliss

    The world existed for countless billions of years w/o consciousness. If we are stupid enough to start WWIII and commit collective suicide, the world will keep existing w/o it. I mean the real world, not the world of solipsists.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @Bliss
    , @AaronB
  341. peterAUS says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    The first paragraph resonates.

    The second, that about escaping through music and love, doesn’t.

    Just mix the “Trump Deranged Syndrome” with the US nuclear capability and the happy ending feels unlikely.

    I mean…haha…if God created a human based on His/Her/Its image……looking at all those with “TDS” the idea sounds simply scary. Imagine God with the same ….ahm….”mindset” ?! A terrifying thought.

    I’d go for “2001″ version as far as we, humans, are concerned.

    Now….who/what created the life on Earth itself is another matter altogether.

  342. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Contrast that with IDers vehemently rejecting every component, every premise, every line item of evolution science. Every single word, every idea, every formulation — every iota of scientific data.

    This is absolute nonsense. I guess it’s just easier for you to pretend that ID is literal, young Earth creationism. Is that straw man all you have in your bag of tricks, Sweeney? You’re not even a half-decent Sophist?

  343. @Bliss

    Nonsense. If “the world of matter-energy IS all that exists” then how do you explain the undeniable existence of consciousness without which this World doesn’t even exist?

    I don’t deny it. It is part of the matter-energy universe.

    It is utterly irrational to think that what can not be observed belongs to the observable universe of matter-energy.

    Huh? If it can’t be observed, why are you talking about it? Seriously, this seems entirely non sequitur to me. Consciousness is directly observable — experienced in the individual, and observable in others.

    • Replies: @Bliss
    , @AaronB
  344. @Rosie

    Ran out of arguments? No wonder, you proposed none so far. I already said, I don’t want hot air: we get enough of content-free hot air from politicians. As you can’t offer anything else, ciao-ciao.

  345. @Rosie

    Go look in the mirror.

    Does anyone else out there believe that Rosie is close to throwing in the towel? ;-)

    Look, Rosita … believe as you like. It don’t make a fleabite worth of difference. Go to church. Pray. Teach your kids not to sin. Be pious. Give to charity. Be kind. And accept the emotional/psychological rewards of behaving according to what you believe.

    What’s not to like? You have no obligation to convince nonbelievers to believe. Enjoy life. That’s what I’m doing, and I don’t believe a lick of that ID stuff, or Bible stuff, or mystic hoohoo stuff. Not a problem. I’m buying a new van this week. I’m pleased. Next week, new plans, new goals.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @Rurik
  346. @AnonFromTN

    The world existed for countless billions of years w/o consciousness.

    Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
    I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
    I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

    I do not think they will sing to me.

    I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
    Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
    When the wind blows the water white and black.

    We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
    By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
    Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

  347. @AnonFromTN

    Thank you for the extensive explanation – this is really quite interesting.

    Several labs successfully do protein engineering by combining existing domains in new ways, achieving predictable results.

    I had not known that this was possible – this seems much more advanced than I had heard than for, example, pharmacology where a lot of the experimentation really seemed like “we will try this at random, and then hope that this has a positive result(and we didn’t fudge it, we swear)”.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  348. Rosie says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Does anyone else out there believe that Rosie is close to throwing in the towel?

    Lol. You clearly don’t know what you’re dealing with.

    Let’s review:

    Rosie: Let’s all do our own research and have an open debate.

    Sweeney et al: I’m so sure I’m right that I feel the need to repress freedom of inquiry so I can claim to be smarter than everyone else without actually having to do any real thinking.

    Sorry, but if you insist on repression, harassment, and ridicule of your opponents:

    (1) You’re wrong, and

    (2) You know it.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Dillon Sweeny
  349. @Rosie

    Judging by the comment #348, I should have said Hasta la vista. I second Dillon Sweeny’s advice to you: believe whatever you want and enjoy your life.

  350. @Daniel Chieh

    Yes, classical pharmacology is injecting the animals with several doses of something and seeing what happens. That’s called pre-clinical trial. If the poor creatures survive, you can move to the next step: Phase I clinical trial, basically to find the best dose of a new drug with the fewest side effects.

    Synthetic biology is more creative (and more fun): you engineer proteins or cells that (hopefully) do what you want. When in your short lifetime you figure out something evolution spent millions of years developing, you feel smart. More often than not you find something unexpected, and that tells you something new and interesting. That’s why scientists are not paid as much as physicians, bankers, or lawyers: a huge part of our reward is intellectual stimulation and satisfaction. Work is so interesting that you have no time for BS, like ID “theory” or religions (plural, there are thousands of them, and I don’t see how Navajo fairy tales are any worse than Jewish fairy tales in the Bible).

  351. peterAUS says:
    @Rosie

    Go look in the mirror.

    Contemporary “scientific” elite and their followers/fanboys?

    Never.

    They are above that. Or so they believe.
    Desperately.

  352. peterAUS says:
    @Rosie

    Agree.

    Well, except:

    You know it.

    I believe it’s more about that doubt.

    True believers don’t like that feeling. It must be expunged.
    You are lucky, I guess. Just a bit of Internet blabbing.

    Before, one side would burn the “other” at stake.
    Later on, sent them to Gulags (or simply move them down).
    Currently, it’s just about, tops, losing a job.

    So…we’ve made some progress there. Some…haha…”evolution” in dealing with “non-believers”.

  353. Bliss says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Consciousness is directly observable — experienced in the individual, and observable in others.

    Yes, consciousness is obviously a subjective experience.

    No, you obviously cannot observe the experience of others.

    If you cannot observe consciousness how can you claim that it arose from a certain combination of observable matter?

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  354. Bliss says:
    @AnonFromTN

    The world existed for countless billions of years w/o consciousness

    No it didn’t. Existence is awareness. If no one is aware of the objective universe, it doesn’t exist. The object exists for the experience of the subject.

    Saying the Universe can exist without Consciousness is akin to saying the Dream can exist without the Dreamer.

  355. @Rosie

    Sorry, but if you insist on repression, harassment, and ridicule of your opponents:

    As I said, “Believe as you like.” I have no objections. What difference does it make to me?

    IDers tend to make pronouncements and assertions typical of people who fervently believe in things they can neither prove nor demonstrate adequately. Every once in a while, I point things out.

    But, really, madam. Believe as you like. I sure do.

  356. @Bliss

    No, you obviously cannot observe the experience of others.

    Well, yes I can. I can communicate with other minds and, not being inclined to solipsism, I can observe similarities in description of internal and external events, stimuli, reactions, thoughts, etc. I can note consistency of observed reactions and verbal responses, verbal statements related to the mutually-experienced phenomenon that is “consciousness”.

    No, you obviously cannot observe the experience of others.

    Of course I can. That’s a bit churlish of you to say.

    If you cannot observe consciousness how can you claim that it arose from a certain combination of observable matter?

    Consistency. Repetition. Observed behavior. Predictive value. Parallel/similar verbal statements from other minds. It’s a variation on purely inductive reasoning.

    Again, like Rosita, I do not require you to believe a word of what I say. Doesn’t bother me a bit.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  357. @Bliss

    No it didn’t. Existence is awareness. If no one is aware of the objective universe, it doesn’t exist. The object exists for the experience of the subject.

    Whoops. Around the far bend you go. What a shame; I had hopes for you.

    No, existence is not awareness. You have it backwards. Review DesCartes, if you feel so inclined. Esse es percipi, not the other way around.

    Saying the Universe can exist without Consciousness is akin to saying the Dream can exist without the Dreamer.

    Mystic hoohoo. Bye now.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  358. @Bliss

    That’s solipsism, pure and simple. Would have been a good philosophy, except that true solipsist cannot share it with anyone, and s/he is the only one in existence. A shame, really. But I don’t exist, so I don’t have to agree with this BS.

  359. Bliss says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    I can observe similarities in description of internal and external events, stimuli, reactions, thoughts, etc. I can note consistency of observed reactions and verbal responses, verbal statements related to the mutually-experienced phenomenon that is “consciousness”.

    Observing “similarities” is not observing consciousness itself, is it? Neither is noting “consistency of observed reactions and verbal responses“. Perhaps you also think you are observing consciousness when watching cartoons? Grow up and get real.

    You can never observe consciousness because it is a subjective experience not a material object. For consciousness to be observable it must be made of observable elements. What do you think consciousness is constituted of?

  360. Bliss says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    No, existence is not awareness. You have it backwards

    What? Non-awareness is existence? Are you nuts?

    Review DesCartes, if you feel so inclined. Esse es percipi, not the other way around.

    Methinks you are mightily confused. You can’t think unless you exist. Talk about ass-backwards.

    Existence is consciousness, it doesn’t need proof.

    • Replies: @Rurik
  361. Anon[105] • Disclaimer says:

    I don’t think it can be proven. It seems like an epistemologically-psychologically basic principle. We take it for granted in most contexts, and we can’t bring ourselves to reject it.

    If a gold statue of FDR materialized out of thin air in front of you, you would presumably think there must have been some cause or explanation for that event, even if you had no clue what it could be. Likewise, it seems inconceivable to most of us that the existence of this actual universe is a brute fact. I don’t see how to argue against the claim that it’s a brute fact, but I just can’t accept it.

    We also can’t prove the belief that laws of logic are true (except circularly, which isn’t a real proof). But it’s rational to accept laws of logic. I would put PSR in roughly the same category.

  362. Telenon says:

    Some observations/clarifications: One must be aware of and distinguish between “the belief in ID” and “belief in the possibiliy of ID”.

    Also: There are many (more than one) possible ID theories.

    Also: One can explore, consider or pursue possibilities without believing in them.

    Also: The designer (or designing force, or ?) does not have to be supernatural.

    If one or several “ID pursuers” can be demonstrated to be very foolish, it does not follow that all persons who consider, pursue, or believe in ID or the possibility of ID, are foolish people.

    (Proposed theory: There is a certain percentage of people who are unable to conceive that any existing concept can remain an unknown. These people believe, “Yes we know X must be this, that, or that.” They believe there is no true category of “unknown”. These people are “believers” and cannot be “thinkers”. That’s beyond their ability. Again – a theory.)

    Seems to me Ron Unz probably understands the above. Some of the commentors do not.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @peterAUS
  363. @Telenon

    Seems to me Ron Unz probably understands the above. Some of the commentors do not.

    Does it occur to you that some of the commenters might be mildly amused by your scolding?

    “Intelligent Design” is utter nonsense, an affront to intelligence, an affront to spirituality, ethics, esthetics and metaphysics. Not an iota of evidence can be brought forth to prop up the absurdity that is “Intelligent Design”.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  364. Rurik says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Teach your kids not to sin.

    That, more so even than a belief in a Father/God/Protector, is the motivating principle behind those insisting on ‘free will’.

    It is the idea of sin. The very concept that you were free to choose between being good, (doing what I told you to do) vs. being bad (breaking the rules [psychological chains] that were forged in your mind to control your behavior).

    That’s why God doesn’t control everything. Because He gave us ‘free will’ so that the devil can tempt us, and therefor we are responsible for our sins. (we deserve to go to hell and burn for eternity, because we used our free will to defy the will of God (parents, society, government).

    This belief in this magical free will, that transcends our nature and nurture, is fundamental to the motivating principle of society’s (government’s, the churches’, parent’s) wrath for ‘evil doers’ (heretics, apostates, heathens) who thumb their noses at God (parents, gov., etc..) and presume to do what they will, regardless of His (society’s) proscriptions.

    If there is no free will, and Joan of Arc didn’t actually defy His will, then by what justification do you burn her at the stake?

    If she’s just a deluded, if pious and passionate teenage girl, who is motivated by forces over which she never had any real control, then does she deserve to burn alive? Perhaps not.

    But if she is imbued with free will, and is using that free will to defy God Himself, (as interpreted by the men of the church), then surely she deserves to burn alive, at the very least. As a mortal reminder of what she deserves for eternity, for using her free will to defy the will of God (men of the church).

    This is all a fundamental principle of Christianity and many if not most religions.

    If Jesus had not decided to commit heresy, and presumed (using His free will as a mortal man – according to the Pharisees) to be the messiah, then He shouldn’t be condemned to crucifixion and then to boil in a vat of human excrement for all eternity (according to the Jewish religion)

    For the sin to warrant the worst punishments possible; (Muslims slicing heads off and burning men alive, etc..) the offender must have known that he was sinning, and used his free will to make a personal choice to sin, / or do what’s right (obey your rulers, the church, government, parents, etc..).

    This is all very powerful as a means of control.

    What’s funny for me, is that it is this very imperative to control and dominate others, that harkens back to a more baboon-like reflection of our human natures.

    If we really were created in the image of a loving God (intelligent design), then we wouldn’t be burning teenage girls alive, or slicing heads off fellow Muslims who interpret the Koran slightly differently, or demanding the crucifixion and damnation of a simple rabbi who spoke of love and peace.

    No.

    All of those behaviors are a stark (if terrifying) glimpse and reminder of just how primitive and baboon-like we humans actually are.

    lol

  365. Rurik says:
    @Bliss

    The object exists for the experience of the subject.

    vanity

  366. Rurik says:
    @Bliss

    Existence is consciousness,

    echoes of Descartes

    however, I doubt he would agree that sans his thoughts, the rest of ‘creation’ doesn’t exist.

    that would be the ultimate vanity, which is really what ID is all about.

    people want to feel like their thoughts, their minds, their consciousness, their.. in a word, ego- is a divine experience.

    That their existence and their ids are communing directly with God and the Heavens. They reject the idea that their thoughts are no more than what a dog or cat experience, except far more convoluted (and, in a word- more evolved). But when a dog barks or wags its tail, it is exactly and in every way, as much a divine act as when a human types on a computer keyboard into an Internet forum bloviating on the meaning of life.

    We’re (the dog and I) exactly as divine in our acts, as when Michelangelo paints the Sistine Chapel or two dogs get stuck together.

    The real sublime beauty and wonder of life, is a thousand times more resplendent when you look at life the way I do, vs. the IDers.

    Because they come to it from the perspective that we all should measure up to our divine Creator’s aspirations having designed us.

    Whereas people like myself, are simply amazed that we exist at all, (considering its astronomical unlikelihood) let alone are able to think and have thoughts, and reflect on the unlikelihood of it all, with this marvelous consciousness that we’re imbued with.

    We are perfect, because there isn’t some divine purpose to it all. So even as we grunt and scratch, we are exactly what we’re supposed to be. It’s so liberating, that I suspect many IDers heads would explode from the freedom from all of those men in silly hats throughout the centuries telling us all what’s wrong with us, and why we need to obey them, blah, blah, fucking blah.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  367. AaronB says:
    @AnonFromTN

    The world existed for countless billions of years w/o consciousness

    I guess someone here hasn’t read up on Quantum Mechanics.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  368. AaronB says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Huh? If it can’t be observed, why are you talking about it?

    The religion of modernity :)

  369. @AaronB

    I wonder, what does quantum mechanics have to do with cosmology? Neither is my field, but I know the difference between the two.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  370. AaronB says:
    @AnonFromTN

    QM shows that nothing exists before it is observed – consciousness literally “participates” in the creation of the world we see.

    There are only “probability waves” before conscious observation occurs.

    So the world we see could not have existed millions of years before consciousness.

    These are “spooky” insights into the nature of reality, so mainstream culture has resisted integrating them into its world view, and remains stuck in the safe, easy to understand, “stable” universe of Newtonian mechanics – likely because it offers security and doesn’t challenge the intellect too much.

    When QM was discovered, in an amusing but all too human reaction, the scientific community came to a kind of informal “pact” to use the many essential applications of QM without inquiring too deeply into how it must affect our view of reality.

    I find that amusing, but pretty predictable, and not likely to last anyways.

    Anyways, I don’t really want to get involved in what I regard as a futile and senseless debate, so ill leave you guys to it.

  371. @AaronB

    QM shows that nothing exists before it is observed – consciousness literally “participates” in the creation of the world we see.

    No, QM does NOT show that.

    There are only “probability waves” before conscious observation occurs.

    Ordure.

    So the world we see could not have existed millions of years before consciousness.

    It quite obviously did, and, post-consciousness, would.

    Anyways, I don’t really want to get involved in what I regard as a futile and senseless debate, so ill leave you guys to it.

    With bilge like you’re spewing … wise decision.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  372. AaronB says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    You have defeated me with your excellent arguments :)

    The Faith is strong in this one.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  373. peterAUS says:
    @Telenon

    Good post.
    Especially:

    ….There is a certain percentage of people who are unable to conceive that any existing concept can remain an unknown.

  374. @AaronB

    You made no argument; you just shot the shit, as the expression goes. Your first premise is complete nonsense, equaled in absurdity only by your second premise.

    One must assume you knew that, and were playing it for laughs.

    S’okay with me.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  375. peterAUS says:
    @AaronB

    Agree with:

    …mainstream culture has resisted integrating them into its world view, and remains stuck in the safe, easy to understand, “stable” universe of Newtonian mechanics – likely because it offers security …

    and

    ….. in an amusing but all too human reaction, the scientific community came to a kind of informal “pact” to use the many essential applications of QM without inquiring too deeply into how it must affect our view of reality…

    As for this

    I don’t really want to get involved in what I regard as a futile and senseless debate, so ill leave you guys to it.

    I wouldn’t say it’s futile and senseless. Debate it isn’t, obviously.

    It boils down to freedom of thought and expression, at the end of the day.
    It’s, again, priests with their dogma, supported with true believers who want/need to believe…only this time it’s “scientists”, “science” and, most of the time, rabid atheists.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  376. I have hesitated to comment on this thread because an educated discussion about the concepts of Intelligent Design and the Theory of Evolution is above my pay grade But as I approach my 90th birthday this coming July 27, I must confess the thoughts of what happens to the body/soul after death do occupy my mind. So far as I know no one has come back from the dead to explain it. In the New Testament Lazarus was resurrected after being dead for a few days. Much to my regret not a word was written about his after death experience. I suppose there are two possibilities, either oblivion or some kind of after-life. I assume atheists believe it must be oblivion, but I could be wrong about that. If I am wrong I would imagine their after life would not involve any kind of god. Catholic priests praying over the dead before burial say “Requiest in Pace” and RIP is found etched on many tombstones. Oblivion would certainly be the ultimate form of peace. However,there seems to be a yearning in the human breast for something better than oblivion. Even in the most primitive societies inhabited by ignorant savages their rituals involve aspects of the supernatural, i.e., the Great Spirit. Houdini stated he would attempt to give us a report after he died but obviously failed to do so. I’d like to do the same but don’t hold your breath. RIP Dillon.

  377. AaronB says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    I made statements, assertions. You could have eviscerated them, if they were wrong. Instead you merely registered your disagreement with them. Rather heatedly. And insultingly.

    The significance of this is obvious for all to see :)

    But I do admire the strength of your Faith.

  378. @AaronB

    You are misinterpreting QM, like many non-physicists do. QM showed that you cannot determine simultaneously the position of a particle and its energy. You can determine either one separately with any precision, but you won’t know the other parameter (or, rather, the more precise is your determination of one, the less precise would be the determination of the other – this is uncertainty principle). Also, QM implies that the probability wave you mentioned exists regardless of the observer. Thus, the Universe, composed of those probability waves, existed w/o any observers, conscious or otherwise, for billions of years. Besides, if you apply the equations of QM to macroscopic objects (even a mote of dust, not to mention planets and stars), you can calculate the position and energy with great precision, as the uncertainty would be infinitesimal compared to values for the position and energy.

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @Bliss
  379. AaronB says:
    @peterAUS

    Right, its more like an airing of views rather than a debate. Faith pitted against faith.

    Only here the “science” people seem to be men of greater Faith :)

    As another commenter said above somewhere, few people can simply remain in mystery, the unknown.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  380. AaronB says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Thus, the Universe, composed of those probability waves, existed w/o any observers, conscious or otherwise, for billions of years.

    Oh sure, “something” existed – if that’s the right word. Just not the universe of “things” we now see – that requires the participation of consciousness.

    The trees, rocks, etc, that we now see – that could not exist without consciousness. It “stabilizes” into our reality only thru our participation.

    As for this “something”, apparently it cannot be defined, and seems very like the “emptiness” of the Buddhists and mystics that is yet pregnant with potential.

    Perhaps what exists before consciousness is mere Potential.

  381. peterAUS says:
    @Simply Simon

    ….So far as I know no one has come back from the dead to explain it. …

    Actually….not entirely correct.

    There are accounts of people being clinically dead for some time and reanimated. Some of those accounts could be interesting.

    True, different assessments and opinions about those accounts, but, still….

    Then, you do have mystical experiences and such.
    Again, assessments and opinions differ.

    Take a look.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @Simply Simon
  382. peterAUS says:
    @AaronB

    Hehe….

    The significance of this is obvious for all to see :)

    But I do admire the strength of your Faith.

    and

    Only here the “science” people seem to be men of greater Faith :)

    Yup.

    As another commenter said above somewhere, few people can simply remain in mystery, the unknown.

    The Doubt. So uncomfortable.Unbearable, sometimes.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  383. The trees, rocks, etc, that we now see – that could not exist without consciousness.

    Isn’t that a tautology? “Trees, rocks we see“? That which we “see” we do not see without consciousness, and to “see” we must be conscious, therefore, without consciousness they do not exist.

    Now, where have I heard that one before? LOL. Gee, the mind balks, don’t it?

    There was a young man who said God,
    I find it exceedingly odd,
    That the willow oak tree
    Continues to be,
    When there’s no one about in the Quad.

    Dear Sir, your astonishment’s odd,
    For I’m always about in the Quad;
    And that’s why the tree,
    Continues to be,
    Signed Yours faithfully, God.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  384. @peterAUS

    Are those “seeing things” or “hearing things” having “mystical experiences”? Tell it to the psychiatrists: they tend to lock up those “mystics” along with those “mystically” transformed into Caesar, Napoleon, and some such. Amazingly, nobody seems to be mystically transformed into Joe the plumber or some other mundane character. How come?

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  385. AaronB says:
    @peterAUS

    I actually think acceptance of mystery, the unknown, is the most religious attitude a person can have – also the most honest and rational.

    In every religion, God is ultimately a great Mystery.

    The failing of modern times is not unbelief – but dogmatic and uncritical belief in a whole range of dogmas that not only don’t withstand close logical scrutiny but are actually disproved by cutting edge science, which is widely disregarded.

    But accepting the great Unknown is frightening to many people – I find it exhilarating, thrilling, life giving. But most people prefer life in a.prison if it affords them security.

    In a sense, the search for “certainty” which characterizes modern times is driven by a neurotic anxiety.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Rosie
  386. AaronB says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Isn’t that a tautology? “Trees, rocks we see“? That which we “see” we do not see without consciousness, and to “see” we must be conscious, therefore, without consciousness they do not exist

    So you accept it then.Great.

    The world “as we know it” could not have existed for millions of years before us. Nor can it exist at all without us.

    The “observer” and “object” dichotomy established by Newtonian mechanics – where the observer is seperate from what he observes, where what he observes has an existence independent of him, is not valid.

    We participate in the creation of what we see.

    And while it is not a tautology, you are tight that it is philosophically established well before QM validated it scientifically, and it was intuited by mystics even before that.

    But great truths usually receive validation from multiple fields – because they are truths.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  387. peterAUS says:
    @AaronB

    A very good comment.
    Agree, with all.

    Interesting, a, because, judging from our comments history and occasional exchange here you and me are coming from very different backgrounds and disagree on most issues re practical world around us.

    Speaking, then, about

    …But accepting the great Unknown is frightening to many people – I find it exhilarating, thrilling, life giving. But most people prefer life in a.prison if it affords them security….

    I’d “edit” into “frightening to MOST people”.
    Mix that with

    …In a sense, the search for “certainty” which characterizes modern times is driven by a neurotic anxiety.

    and we have what we are seeing around us.
    Wouldn’t be a problem, save nuclear weapons. Neurotics and nukes.
    What could go wrong?

    • Replies: @AaronB
  388. peterAUS says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Don’t get this wrong, the comment is for “Simple Simon”, not for you.

    Are those “seeing things” or “hearing things” having “mystical experiences”?

    Don’t know.

    Tell it to the psychiatrists: they tend to lock up those “mystics” along with those “mystically” transformed into Caesar, Napoleon, and some such.

    Lock up. Makes sense. For some types.
    Lobotomy coming soon? Euthanasia? Or simple firing squad/bullet to the head?

    Amazingly, nobody seems to be mystically transformed into Joe the plumber or some other mundane character. How come?

    Comfortable ignorance. Good.

    For those interested in the topic there is plenty of literature around.
    Interested, I mean.

    I also have a story. Knew a man, once, who was exceptionally bright, the best of us actually. Was groomed to get to the very top.
    Out of blue he lost interest in his career. No amount of peer and institutional pressure could change that. Whenever pushed (and he WAS being pushed) his demeanor was calm and his response was always very civil, composed and…..vague.
    Years after I heard that, simply, one day he….saw…….something. That changed him and he never looked back. He’s still alive and along the same path. One could describe that path as spiritual.

    So…..what did he see? What did he feel then? What was that which changed him?
    True, one could come up with plenty of diagnosis. No prob.Feels comforting.

    I met him later a couple of times. A normal, lower middle class life. With that, I felt, a bit detached and almost amused look and feel.Like…..”I do what I have to, but this is just……passing time”. I could be wrong. Probably am.
    Make of that what you will.

  389. AaronB says:
    @peterAUS

    Interesting, a, because, judging from our comments history and occasional exchange here you and me are coming from very different backgrounds and disagree on most issues re practical world around us

    There are many paths to the same destination :)

    Neurotics and nukes.
    What could go wrong?

    Lol, sad, and only too true.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  390. Rosie says:
    @AaronB

    But accepting the great Unknown is frightening to many people – I find it exhilarating, thrilling, life giving. But most people prefer life in a.prison if it affords them security.

    So very true. I will rediscover the Faith of my childhood, or die searching, which is almost as good, and sometimes even better. This is what atheist curmudgeons don’t understand.

  391. peterAUS says:
    @AaronB

    There are many paths to the same destination :)

    Agree.

    One caveat, I think; a person has to have that curiosity (for a lack of better word).
    Nothing to do with education, position in society, just that…….something.
    True, educated people can express that better, but that’s it.

    I’ve spent some time, interestingly enough always after midnight, with all sorts. Perks of the trade, at the time.

    Sometimes, some of them illiterate peasants, sometimes extremely hard men, sometimes just average Joes.
    Sometimes with people outranking me a LOT and much smarter than I was/am/will ever be.

    Most of the time no talk; sometimes, though, a chat about this and that. Often about a situation at hand, for obvious reasons.

    And, sometimes, a chat about that…….something….they had an experience with, or knew a person who had it.
    Something that happened, had a profound effect on that person from then on and which can’t be explained away. Almost as a window into another reality. Or whatever.

    An illiterate peasant would say that in a couple of sentences. A VIP could put up a sophisticated and lengthy speech, but, always, at its heart was that UNKNOWN.

    My experience: around 10 % of people had that curiosity, the desire to explore it.
    The rest simply willfully ignore it and move on. Makes the life easier, for them, I guess. Maybe.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  392. AaronB says:

    If you keep on searching, you may find the Faith of your childhood as an acceptance of the great Mystery that cannot be captured in forms or words, although one may choose the forms of a particular tradition as the best symbolical approach to the great Mystery, for you.

    Atheist curmudgeons are people who prefer a false security to the glory and exhilarating liberation of the great Unknown. They prefer a self-made prison.

    We can pity them.

    Good luck on your journey.

  393. Bliss says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Thus, the Universe, composed of those probability waves, existed w/o any observers, conscious or otherwise, for billions of years.

    How do you know that? How did the “Big Bang” begin the bang if the Universe was composed of probability waves?

  394. AaronB says:
    @peterAUS

    Great comment. Thanks.

    Yes, its that indefinable search for something more and disinterest in mere security – and any one can have it, even the most illiterate peasant.

    A window into another reality. Well said.

    The world is stranger and more fascinating than we think.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  395. Bliss says:
    @Rurik

    echoes of Descartes..however, I doubt he would agree that sans his thoughts, the rest of ‘creation’ doesn’t exist.

    Sans his thoughts, he would realize he is God.

  396. peterAUS says:
    @AaronB

    …an acceptance of the great Mystery that cannot be captured in forms or words, although one may choose the forms of a particular tradition as the best symbolical approach to the great Mystery, for you.

    with

    …that indefinable search for something more and disinterest in mere security – and any one can have it, even the most illiterate peasant.

    sums it up well, I guess.

    Well…..this site does have its moments.

  397. Bliss says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    It is far more absurd to illogically insist that non-material consciousness is composed of material molecules.

    There is a good reason why Einstein was far more critical of atheist-materialists like you, than he was of theists with foolish and false beliefs.

  398. @AaronB

    So you accept it then.Great.

    No, dumbass. That was sarcasm.

    We participate in the creation of what we see.

    No, we do not. What we see, we see. We do not create it.

    And while it is not a tautology, you are tight that it is philosophically established well before QM validated it scientifically, and it was intuited by mystics even before that.

    Wrong again. It’s horseshit, and you are fucking nuts. Also, you are Ignored, so feel free to trip the light fantastic at your leisure.

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @peterAUS
  399. AaronB says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    I do not see how anyone can respond to this in any other way than compassion for your suffering.

  400. Bliss says:

    Einstein quotes:

    The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against traditional religion as the “opium of the masses”—cannot hear the music of the spheres.

    Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

  401. peterAUS says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Well….you definitely represent a sizable group participating in related “conversations”.
    Beliefs, human nature, free will and such, so, that’s fine, of course.

    Just one thing if I may.

    Would it be possible, for you, to accept that there are limits to human capability to understand the world around us?
    That regardless of time and resources at our disposal we, as we are now, simply can not get some things? That our faculties, capabilities, simply aren’t good enough?

    If yes, well, can’t God (or whatever we call that ….thing/entity/whatever) be one of those things? No need to get into definitions here because..hehe..how can we define something we can’t comprehend?

    The only point is: is there a limit to our understanding, simply hard wired in our genetic makeup?

    I believe…see….believe…there is a limit.

    You, probably, believe there is not.

    Good luck.

    BTW, just to put in the same comment, find this very nice:
    “The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against traditional religion as the “opium of the masses”—cannot hear the music of the spheres.”

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
  402. jsm says:

    What *I* find fascinating in all of this, 404 comments at current count — and 257 of them are Dillon’s.

    257 content-free posts, all composed of name-calling and denials of others’ points. You’d think, somewhere in all that vastness, he’d present an argument.

    Holy cow, that’s a lot of energy spent spewing bile.

    It must be, his Unbelief is weighing heavily upon him. The poor dear.

  403. @Simply Simon

    I’d like to do the same but don’t hold your breath.

    Simon, if you are able to pull this off, I hope you can contact us here via unz.com, Simply because the software here is very robust, and Ron Unz is always working very hard on it. I’d suggest sticking comments at the end of the “Adios” post of the defunct “Ask a Beaner Mexican” column that has been up for approaching a year now, rather than here under “Ask Dillon Sweeny”.

    We’ll look for you under that same handle and will know you’re honestly writing from elsewhere if you put your own gold box around your comments.

    • Replies: @Simply Simon
  404. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:

    The less one knows about cellular biology the easier it is to believe in spontaneous generation.

    Definitely not. The more one knows of how biological things work on molecular level, the more obvious the immense power of self-organization becomes. Thus, easier to believe in complex things coming together spontaneously.

    Just an example: https://imgur.com/gallery/4dpbdyH – slime mold “solving” a maze. You may think that this is very complex behavior but in reality it’s a simple process fully described by two differential equations.

  405. @peterAUS

    Would it be possible, for you, to accept that there are limits to human capability to understand the world around us?

    Offhand, I would say there seems to be more a failure to understand the world around us than any innate, or trained, ability to understand same.

    I’ve noticed a propensity on the part of the Believers to hurl epithets like “fanatical atheist”. It is amusing, but, on the other hand, certainly is something of an indicator of anger that others do not believe as the Believers believe. But shucks, par for the course, eh? I am comfortable being both morally and ethically superior to the squawking legions of Believers.

    Atheist, agnostic, un-Believer, what-have-you. Anyone who disdains the archaic ignorance of Yahweh-worship is a cut above any Believer. Personally, I think the question, “Is there a god?” is irrelevant to anything and everything.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  406. @Simply Simon

    RIP Dillon

    Sorry for skipping over your post the first time around, Simon. I skip lengthy comments that lack paragraphs. However, you are not spitting with religious fury, so I will provide you feedback.

    Am I concerned for what will happen when I die? No. There is nothing I can do about it, and I will know nothing until I get there, if then.

    Do I believe the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, or the ignorant tripe that is the “literature” of Hinduism? No, not a word.

    I worked hard, for many years, accumulated sufficient wealth, and retired. For now, I am content. Do I expect to RIP? I sure do.

    My mother is 95, and frail. She is a devout Evangelical, believes that Jesus is returning soon to establish a new Kingdom of God in Israel. I pay her bills, maintain her house, protect her from various forms of scurrilous social parasites, and drive her to church every Sunday.

    I have no difficulty tolerating Believers. They are, for the most part, delusional. As long as they are not psycho-dangerous, I find them amusing. Sometimes tiresome, yes, but mostly amusing.

    • Replies: @Simply Simon
  407. peterAUS says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    I would say there seems to be more a failure to understand the world around us than any innate, or trained, ability to understand same.

    O.K.
    As for this:

    I think the question, “Is there a god?” is irrelevant to anything and everything.

    had the feeling you’d say that sooner or later.

    You know, if we were friends I’d try to continue this “conversation”.
    As it is, well, free will.

  408. You know, if we were friends I’d try to continue this “conversation”.
    As it is, well, free will.

    LOL. I sense admonishment. As you have observed me to say on several occasions: You are free to believe as you like. Possibly, one might say you have the free will to will yourself to belief whatever you like.

    You are a Believer, Pete. Have I denied you the right? Of course not. How would I do such a thing?

    LLAP

  409. @Dillon Sweeny

    You are a very good son, Dillon. In my experience it is most often the daughter that is left to take care of aged parents
    As to comments, I am amused by yours also. In fact this entire thread has been highly amusing.

  410. @Achmed E. Newman

    Achmed, your comments really did make me laugh out loud.

  411. @peterAUS

    I don’t take much stock in the accounts of those who have been pronounced clinically dead. Lack of oxygen does strange things to the brain. When undergoing flight training a group of us were assigned to the altitude chamber where inside air pressure was reduced slowly to an altitude of 40,000ft. At that point the instructor had each of us, one at a time, remove our oxygen masks. It did not take long for the effects of anoxia to take place. The head would start bobbing and the mask quickly replaced by the instructor. We were on interphone and asked individually how the oxygen deprivation affected us. Almost without exception, myself included, stated we had a feeling of euphoria and probably would not have replaced the oxygen masks ourselves.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  412. peterAUS says:
    @Simply Simon

    I don’t take much stock in the accounts of those who have been pronounced clinically dead.Lack of oxygen does strange things to the brain.

    with

    …..we had a feeling of euphoria and probably would not have replaced the oxygen masks ourselves.

    O.K.

    If you were taking stock I’d try to describe the feeling those people tried to describe, one of them a person I know quite well, but, to each his/her own.

    All good.
    Take care.

  413. Merlin says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    There is soft tissue in dinosaur fossils that are claimed to be 68 plus million years old.
    1. Is not really the original tissue?
    2. Can soft tissue survive 68 to 551 million years?
    3. Is the 68 million year wrong?
    4. Noone is claiming to have found soft tissue in dinosaur fossils.
    5. ?

    • Replies: @anonymous
  414. Merlin says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Soft tissue
    Genetic entropy
    1 functional polypeptide out of 10 to the 77 power
    The Cambrian Explosion
    A fossil record that does not show evolution
    Geology that supports a huge flood (I guess that evolutionist are now claiming that a series of tsunamis created the sedentary layers
    The Altenburg 16
    etc.

    The theory of evolution is dead, but keep spouting your precious nonsense.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  415. anonymous[330] • Disclaimer says:
    @Merlin

    Way too early to make any definitive conclusions about the question of soft tissue. It remains an area for further exploration. FYI, the woman who made the T. rex soft tissue finding (which has yet to be replicated in 13 years) happens to be an evil “evolutionist”. More recently, a group of researchers in Taiwan (also evil evolutionists) have discovered chemical signals of soft tissue in a 195 million year old (evil evolutionist dating, no doubt) dinosaur rib fossil.

    http://discovermagazine.com/2018/janfeb/12-protein-in-dinosaur-rib-is-195-million-years-old

    The specimen also contained hematite, likely derived from the animal’s blood. The team believes the hematite sealed the blood vessels, protecting the collagen from contamination and degradation.

    Researchers hope the process of reading the chemical signatures can be refined to reveal details of dinosaur biology — such as thermoregulation — that are difficult to determine from conventional fossils.

    Leave it to creationists to look for a gap in our understanding and then immediately jump to wild conclusions about how it invalidates the entire mountain of accumulated evidence behind geological dating and evolutionary theory as a whole…

    • Replies: @Merlin
  416. anonymous[330] • Disclaimer says:
    @Merlin

    Soft tissue

    See comment above

    Genetic entropy

    Cite a study of this please…

    1 functional polypeptide out of 10 to the 77 power

    There are numerous sites/blogs/etc. online discussing the context of this number (and protein synthesis in general) more appropriately than I ever could. Either way, it doesn’t contradict the theory of descent with modification and selection, both of which are plainly observable.

    The Cambrian Explosion

    What about it? Did the biblical flood wipe out all of the species of old? Oh wait…

    A fossil record that does not show evolution

    How do you figure? I’ve never understood the “but derrz gapz in za f0zzil recordz!!!!” argument. Are you implying that we are expected to have found every fossil of every organism that has every lived?

    There are many thousands of transitional fossils discovered. These fossils have features of species that lived before it as well as species that came after it. Creationism doesn’t explain this. In fact, I’ve never seen anyone in the “buttt evolution iz wrongz!!!!” crowd even make an attempt to offer a hypothetical explanation for this curious fact. Why is that?

    Geology that supports a huge flood

    Cite a study please..

    The Altenburg 16

    What about it?

    • Replies: @anonymous
  417. anonymous[321] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    BTW, I missed it earlier, but AnonFromTN has an interesting comment about proteins @ #339.

  418. Merlin says:
    @anonymous

    Soft tissue: It has been found repeatedly in fossils that are 70 plus million years old. Previously, it has been thought that soft tissue could last a few 10,000′s of years under the best conditions. Water, heat, bacteria, oxygen and radiation all degrade organic bonds.

    Genetic Entropy by John Sanford.

    You have precious few, if any, mutations in mammals to point to as examples of evolution, however, there are thousands of known, detrimental mutations in humans. They are called genetic diseases.

    Do you have any understanding of the arguments made by ID?

    • Replies: @anonymous
  419. anonymous[185] • Disclaimer says:
    @Merlin

    Soft tissue: It has been found repeatedly in fossils that are 70 plus million years old.

    Even if this were true, it still wouldn’t invalidate either evolution or geochronology, as I already pointed out. But I’ll bite. Go ahead and give me your source (independent of Mary Schweitzer) for a couple of these fossils. Something verifiable and conclusive. With so many to choose from, this should be easy.

    Also, you can go ahead and inform the rest of us heathens how old these fossils truly are. A few thousand years old? Since the half-life of DNA is 521 years, we should have dinosaur DNA in no time…

    Previously, it has been thought that soft tissue could last a few 10,000′s of years under the best conditions. Water, heat, bacteria, oxygen and radiation all degrade organic bonds.

    Yeah, no shit. Did you even read the study that was linked to in the article I posted? If not, here it is. You’re welcome to read it.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14220

    Genetic Entropy by John Sanford.

    Hahaha. A true blue young Earth creationist. Thanks, but I’ll pass. I don’t waste my time with YECs.

    You have precious few, if any, mutations in mammals to point to as examples of evolution, however, there are thousands of known, detrimental mutations in humans.

    And many are neutral as well. This is fourth grade biology.

    Do you have any understanding of the arguments made by ID?

    Absolutely not. That is why I ask questions about it, like the ones you (and every other IDer) conveniently ignored.

    • Replies: @Merlin
  420. LIFE, n. The active principle peculiar to animals & plants & common to them all.*
    -
    SCIENCE, n. Systematic & formulated knowledge. NATURAL or PHYSICAL ~ Those dealing with material phenomena and based on observation, experiment and induction.*
    -
    In a systematic enquiry of material phenomena no living things appearing from dead stuff are observed. There is no known experiment that has made a living thing from dead stuff. I have no idea what induction means. Maybe that’s what the Frankenstein switch is for.
    -
    BIOGENESIS, n. Hypothesis that living matter arises only from living matter.*
    -
    *The Oxford Pocket Dictionary, Fourth Edition, 1960.

  421. Merlin says:
    @anonymous

    “Absolutely not. That is why I ask questions about it, like the ones you (and every other IDer) conveniently ignored.”
    How open-minded.

    “You have precious few, if any, mutations in mammals to point to as examples of evolution, however, there are thousands of known, detrimental mutations in humans. ”
    “And many are neutral as well. This is fourth grade biology.”

    Apparently, you don’t see the point. If you have neutral and detrimental mutations and essentially zero beneficial one, how do you progress upward and onward. Natural selection can reduce the number of detrimental mutations, but not fast enough. The Altenberg 16 recognized this. They are looking for some other mechanism than RMNS to power evolution.

    Reports of soft tissue in dinosaur f0ssils are easy to find. Google soft tissue in dinosaur fossils.

    Well, gee, just soak the tissues in hemoglobin and they stop deteriorating. Why did I ever buy a refrigerator?

    • Replies: @anonymous
  422. anonymous[308] • Disclaimer says:
    @Merlin

    Natural selection can reduce the number of detrimental mutations, but not fast enough.

    Geneticists have been studying purifying selection in organisms for years. Is it too much to ask of you to cite a substantive source for your claims?

    The Altenberg 16 recognized this. They are looking for some other mechanism than RMNS to power evolution.

    Not even remotely true… Where do you get this nonsense from? There is more to evolution than mutation and natural selection. Maybe try cracking open a book sometime?

    • Replies: @Merlin
  423. SBaker says:

    Freud, Marx and Skinner were atheists and all assumed that religion, the impulse that moved men and nations, the source of our notions of right and wrong – was a fantasy and always had been. And the common thread that runs through these men’s ideas is the dehumanizing of humanity – the reduction of our hearts, minds and souls and all of our aspirations to something that can be either eradicated or molded to suit the state’s ambitions.

  424. SBaker says:

    I’ve made a career in the biological sciences and the probability of the spontaneous generation of the complex information model for living systems is not just improbable, but impossible. Looking at the comments suggests most come from very little background in the area, and yet, the comments are prolific.

    Belief in God, is uniquely, a human endeavor. Nowhere in the kingdom of lower animals do we find the practice of a belief in a higher being. A highly developed cognitive state leads humans to evaluate the complexity of their world and ask; how did this perfection come to be? In other words, humans believe in God because of simple observation of a very complex world. As human observation methods advance, a yet greater complexity is discovered. Every complex system requires a plan by a designer. In the world created and modified by humans, we find a plan for every complex system from cars to computers. It should occur to those who study living systems, that those same systems of which we are but one, require a plan that had to come from somewhere. Spontaneous generation of complex systems is a far-fetched possibility, but requires only rudimentary thought processes. As a species, as we become more “sophisticated” and “knowledgeable” we tend to think we know the mind of God or that we don’t need God or that we ARE God!

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @peterAUS
  425. @SBaker

    Spontaneous generation of complex systems is a far-fetched possibility, but requires only rudimentary thought processes.

    Ah, complexity.

    Here’s a simple question that tests your knowledge and understanding:

    Why does “complexity” require a God?

    • Replies: @Sbaker
  426. peterAUS says:
    @SBaker

    Good post.

    I think it boils down to:

    ….we tend to think we know the mind of God or that we don’t need God or that we ARE God!

    Hubris, or worse.

    • Replies: @SBaker
  427. Sbaker says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    To you it would only require a human. Are you suggesting a human of your intellect can make a liver cell from the elements? Tell me what your background is in the life sciences. You have made an inordinate number of comments on this subject. What is your expertise?

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Dillon Sweeny
  428. peterAUS says:
    @Sbaker

    You have made an inordinate number of comments on this subject.

    Don’t say……

    What is your expertise?

    I am not quite sure that would be the correct question to ask in this particular case.

    It’s, just maybe, about deep beliefs and strong faith.
    The irony is….just….. funny.

    Anyway, good article and related comments for a couple of reasons. Hope we’ll see more of it.

  429. @Sbaker

    To you it would only require a human. Are you suggesting a human of your intellect can make a liver cell from the elements? Tell me what your background is in the life sciences. You have made an inordinate number of comments on this subject. What is your expertise?

    I suggest you answer the question, which does not require any knowledge of my expertise. Why does “complexity” require a God?

    • Replies: @SBaker
  430. SBaker says:
    @Dillon Sweeny

    Complexity requires information and a blue print of sorts. In the modern world this is always the case. Do you think that comparatively simple human generated technology springs forth without some plan, or some details of the engineering? Think about a prop, or even a jet airplane. The B17 produced around 1938 had more than a million parts. Was it complex to assemble, was there a plan, was engineering on paper involved? I have answered your question, now, please answer mine.

    • Replies: @Dillon Sweeny
    , @MarkinLA
  431. SBaker says:
    @peterAUS

    It does; more than most people can possibly imagine. I am hoping that Dillon will answer my questions. She/He seems to have a great interest in the subject. I ponder, why?

  432. @SBaker

    Complexity requires information and a blue print of sorts.

    Are you saying that God requires information and a blueprint? Or, are you saying God IS information and blueprints? If the B17 had a million complex parts to assemble, is Boeing God?

    Why does “complexity” require a God?

  433. Consider the following: why do people believe in the existence of God? Some say that life is so complex that God must exist, that such complexity could not possibly have developed through purely Naturalistic (as opposed to Supernatualistic) means. But that’s not the real reason that many people believe in the existence of God. The real reason that people believe in the existence of God, I submit, has to do with the question of Death, in particular, fear of what comes after Death. What does come after Death? Is it Oblivion? Or, is it something else, something more comforting, like Life Eternal after Death, meeting up (somehow) with dear-departed loved ones (including pets) after Death. The comforting nature of this thought is sufficiently powerful as to demolish any doubts, in the minds of many, of the existence of God, and of the associated Existence of Life After Death, happy and peaceful, eternally blessed, living along side God. In other words, Wishful Thinking. Consider now a related thought: Modern peoples know that the various gods of polytheistic religions (the Greeks and Romans, for example), were simply make-believe, not real. Why then should the God of monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) not be equally make-believe, and un-real? Just asking. Belief in God, on the part of adults, is reminiscent of belief in the existence of Santa Claus on the part of very young children, comforting but nonetheless make-believe. But, who cares if it’s make-believe. Comforting is better, is it not?

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  434. @Herb Kline

    The comforting nature of this thought is sufficiently powerful as to demolish any doubts…

    Of course, if the existence of God cannot be established on other grounds, then any comfort derived from the thought of such existence falls to pieces. No intelligent person is such a fool as to believe something just because he finds it comforting, and the existence of God is not always a comforting thought in any case (see below).

    Modern peoples know that the various gods of polytheistic religions (the Greeks and Romans, for example), were simply make-believe, not real.

    Modern people who are at all acquainted with antiquity beyond Xena: Warrior Princess are prepared to extend quite a bit more credit than that to the gods of the deeply pious and immensely explanatory Classical religion. While their exact ontological status can be debated, they are at the very least symbolic representations of universal existential conditions and therefore not “make-believe,” as you put it.

    Belief in God, on the part of adults, is reminiscent of belief in the existence of Santa Claus on the part of very young children, comforting but nonetheless make-believe.

    The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Serious Christians have read this in their scriptures and heard it from their catechists, pastors, and saints. They take it to heart; they neither expect nor derive much earthly comfort from whimsical and immature notions of God’s existence. They know that the Christian life leads to a cross, and that the judgment of God is exacting and perfect. They fear for their souls, trusting not in their own strength but in the mercies of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, yet all the while striving to be pleasing to the Lord. The Church on earth is called the Church Militant for a reason. To be a Christian means to live with the pains of the cross and the ever-present possibility of eternal damnation. Comforting?—Try it sometime.

    The real foundation for belief in the existence of God is a proper understanding of natural philosophy. We know that existence exists. We know that the existence which we see is contingent and subject to corruption and change. It follows that there must be a necessary and changeless substrate to that existence. This isn’t particularly difficult and it depends on no definite religious revelation or dogma. It is part of the pre-religious foundation of natural knowledge and to disbelieve it is simply a defect of the intellect.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  435. MarkinLA says:
    @SBaker

    Why would a god waste so much time on so many failures? Why did he make the dinosaurs? Was it just to make them extinct and as a source of our present day oil? Why not just make the Earth with oil deposits? All this time, all these failures, all these geologic calamities just to get to our present state of the last 100,000 years or so doesn’t seem very intelligent to me.

  436. There are 2 questions covered by Fred, which I would prefer to keep separate:

    The first is that of the origin of life. This remains unsolved, so Fred scores. The usual criticism of Intelligent Design Theory, however, remains, i.e. the question of where God came from. In the end, we can agree that the origin of life is still a mystery, as is the definition of life.

    The second question is that of how we got from Pre-Cambrian life to present-day, Holocene life. I have never seen an anti-evolutionist who even understands that this is a question, let alone attempts to answer it. (That is not quite true: once, someone suggested there were multiple creations, and, presumably, destructions). So can Fred or anyone else tell me: What do YOU think happened? One day there were no elephants, and then elephants arrived on the scene. Where do YOU think they came from? Repeat the question for every species in every era from the first living organisms all the way down to the present, and, for the majority of them, ask where they went too.

    If you assert creation ex nihilo, why so many successive creations? Why would an intelligent designer populate, depopulate, and repopulate the earth so many times with almost completely different sets of species? (And why make it look as though they might all be related in some way?).

    If, on the other hand, you assert that all species were all here from the beginning of life on earth but that some died out, then why is there no evidence for this in the fossil record? As Haldane said, “fossil rabbits in the Pre-Cambrian” would destroy the theory of evolution.

    There aren’t any.

    Anti-evolutionists have no coherent alternative explanation to the theory of evolution.

    • Replies: @j2
    , @j2
  437. j2 says:

    Great article!

    I tried to understand how evolution might have worked from non-life to life or even to create a new protein coding part in the DNA but it does not seem to work. Wrote a short post of it:

    http://www.pienisalaliittotutkimus.com/2018/06/09/the-problem-with-the-evolution-theory/

    I am sure there is a serious problem in the evolution theory. Hopefully somebody will fix it.

    • Replies: @SBaker
  438. j2 says:
    @Septic Sceptic

    “The second question is that of how we got from Pre-Cambrian life to present-day, Holocene life. I have never seen an anti-evolutionist who even understands that this is a question, let alone attempts to answer it. (That is not quite true: once, someone suggested there were multiple creations, and, presumably, destructions). So can Fred or anyone else tell me: What do YOU think happened? One day there were no elephants, and then elephants arrived on the scene. Where do YOU think they came from? Repeat the question for every species in every era from the first living organisms all the way down to the present, and, for the majority of them, ask where they went too.”

    Can anybody tell me? What do YOU think happened? And ending to “Anti-evolutionists have no coherent alternative explanation to the theory of evolution.” Are you in some kind of a religious cult? This sounds like cult language. Holy Cult of Skeptics, maybe?

    I think most critics of the present evolution theory understand the question of Cambrian explosion very well and it is one of the main arguments, maybe with the exception of people, who believe in the literal reading of the creation myth. The issue, as I see it, is that in order to get new species that essentially differ from earlier, like the emergence of multi-cell phyla in the Cambrian explosion, you have to have new genes.

    How to do that? Selection works only on existing genome. The proposed way to get new genes is mutations. Or it used to be before researchers found out more of genes.

    The more we know of genes, the less likely this proposed method seems. We can have mutations that change the phenotype and introduce or remove features that the species earlier had, so we get a new different species. But that is not enough, because these are mutations in the control part: they turn on or off existing DNA code. Obviously there was no such code to turn on and off, assuming that life developed from simpler forms.

    Instead of acting on the control part of the gene, mutations that make completely new species with properties that never existed had to create new protein-coding parts, probably by copies of earlier versions which then very luckily mutated to something working. It is highly unlikely. So, there is a serious problem in the evolution model based on random mutations. I think it is hopeless.

    What I think happened? Well, it is not random mutations. There are many alternatives, such as that life was actually not simple in the beginning but the genome was large and most genes were turned off. This solution works, but sounds unlikely. Then there is the possibility that mutations can be induced from such part of the reality which we do not see. This, I guess, is the religious alternative: a spirit said BE and so it was. For a skeptic (atheist) this is is not an option, because they always see the biblical God in everything that suggests that there can be more in the reality than what we see.

    Then your claim that:
    “Anti-evolutionists have no coherent alternative explanation to the theory of evolution.”
    I think you mean by evolution any possible way that existing species could have developed from earlier species, but normally one means by evolution the suggested way that new species develop from earlier species by random mutations and selection. Your concept of evolution by any way allows for instance extraterrestrials who occasionally come to the Earth to modify DNA. Most people would not accept this as a valid variant of the evolution theory. I do not have an alternative theory, there is no theory to make an alternative to.

    • Replies: @Septic Sceptic
  439. “ID certainly provides no support for the existence of a loving Sunday School god, given that in almost all places and all times most people have lived in misery and died in agony.”

    An embarrassing yet expected argument for agnosticism, the lazy man’s religion. Has anybody else ever noticed how almost all the popular objections to the Christian God amount to little more than shallow emotional appeals, as if the the absence of free lollipops from the sky somehow discredits the Theology of St. Aquinas.

  440. Bliss says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    that the judgment of God is exacting and perfect. They fear for their souls, trusting not in their own strength but in the mercies of Christ’s atoning sacrifice………To be a Christian means to live with the pains of the cross and the ever-present possibility of eternal damnation. Comforting?—Try it sometime.

    Hard to understand how otherwise intelligent humans can see “eternal damnation” as a “perfect judgement”!

    How the hell could any sane person possibly rationalize or moralize something so infinitely cruel and unjust?

  441. SBaker says:

    The seeking of God is strictly a human endeavor. Lower life-forms are incapable of fathoming how such perfection exists around them. People are born with the inclination to seek God. It is not magic, it is not science, it is observation of an astonishing natural world. This is what drives people to seek God. I have spent the biggest part of 4 decades studying living systems. Most people have no idea how complex life is nor do they comprehend how there must be an environment that supports life–and that ain’t easy. Right here, on this site, the comments suggest very few have any kind of a background in living systems, and yet, they comment as if they are experts.

    How is it possible to agree with Enlightenment concepts like Natural Law, inalienable rights and reject the concept of a Creator. The ridicule of God demonstrates a profound ignorance and disdain for all things spiritual. And why not be disdainful? After all, there is an important lesson about most tyrannical regimes in the modern world, they have a propensity to loathe and suppress all belief in God.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  442. peterAUS says:
    @SBaker

    People are born with the inclination to seek God.

    with

    ….it is observation of an astonishing natural world. This is what drives people to seek God.

    Could be. Don’t know.
    My experience is “some people”, not “all”. Minority in fact. My impression is that majority doesn’t (can’t) observe the world that way. Not at all actually.
    Any source of that claim?

    The ridicule of God demonstrates a profound ignorance and disdain for all things spiritual.

    Agree.

    As for

    ….here is an important lesson about most tyrannical regimes in the modern world, they have a propensity to loathe and suppress all belief in God.

    true, but that applies to regimes which didn’t suppress that belief too.
    There is, for some people, a BIG difference between organized religion and (whatever we call) God.
    One doesn’t need to strictly follow the rules of organized religion (any…) in order to believe in God, or simply to have an open mind about all that.

    The problem, always, with this kind of topic is that everybody is so keen on putting everyone in well defined boxes. And, of course, as soon as somebody doesn’t belong to “my own box” that person is wrong, insane etc. Will burn in Hell for eternity, for example.

    So, re this:

    Right here, on this site, the comments suggest very few have any kind of a background in living systems, and yet, they comment as if they are experts.

    we could write it as:

    Right here, on this site, the comments suggest very few have any kind of a background in, say, Philosophy of Religion, and yet, they comment as if they are experts.

    Much smarter people than any of us here spent their lives trying to answer those questions and failed.
    O.K. cancel that. There are a couple of commentators here who believe they are in, or even above, that league.
    I am not, of course.

  443. Merlin says:
    @anonymous

    I have read books by Dawkins, Kaufman, Conway Morris, Michael Denton and numerous creationist and IDers. The evolutionists have great discriptions of biology and paleontology but they present no arguments in favor of evolution. The IDers and creationists present many problems with evolution, many of which are fatal to the theory. I have mentioned a few of them and have suggested that there are some books that you could crack open.
    Take the issue of Noah’s flood. Was it a series of tsunamis that created sedentary layers that cover half of North America or was it a single flood? These layers generally have no erosion between them, but the theory of evolution may demand that sometimes there are millions of years between them. There are legends of a great flood from all over the world. When the most common elements are considered, a summary of the flood as described in the Bible emerges. Where did these legends come from? Secular history also confirms events that followed the flood.
    Purifying selection is inadequate to remove all the detrimental mutations, and evolution also needs mutation that creates something new. If the new thing needs more than two or three specific mutations, it isn’t going to happen.

    If you have an open mind, you can discover the fatal weaknesses in the theory of evolution, but I suspect that your life style or a world view that you are wedded to demands atheism.

  444. @j2

    Evolution certainly works through mutation. There is no other way.

    Why can’t new genes arise from mutation? Chains of DNA – chromosomes – can combine together into larger chains or disassemble into smaller ones. A lot of evolution works, as you say, by turning on or off existing parts of a genome, but there’s no principle that says that’s the only way in which change can occur.

    Evolution of species works analogously to the evolution of language: there are small changes in usage from one generation to the next (copying errors, so to speak), which add up to major transformations over time, particularly as no two divergent populations do or can diverge in quite the same way usage-wise (it would be miraculous if they did).

    I understand the ‘Darwin’s Black Box’ argument, that the intricate interdependency of polypeptide working parts is such that the slightest change would cause the whole mechanism to malfunction, but it’s reminiscent of Bishop Wilberforce’s argument from the complexity of the eye. That has been debunked; Michael Behe’s arguments will be too.

    We still have a lot to learn about how genes work. We already know that every generation of most species throws out multiple slightly different copies into the mix, making the occurrence of successful mutations far less improbable.

    Your hypothesis that a genome of all genomes was the starting point for life is interesting, but there’s no evidence for it.

    • Replies: @SBaker
    , @j2
  445. SBaker says:
    @Septic Sceptic

    Any time there is gene reassortment, change occurs. Humans, being a sexually dimorphic species, are but one example of the evolution that occurs through gene reassortment.

  446. Not knowing what the “Theory of Intelligent Design” actually is is not going to stop me attempting to present to the Court of Scientific Enquiry a reasoned argument in it’s defense against the charge of unscientificism. Your Honours, this defense of the theory is prefaced with this apology for any possible unintentional misrepresentation of the position of the proponents of the official theory. Oops, sorry.
    -
    If it’s name is any indication, then the theory seems to imply the existence of mind before the organization of matter into a form where the active principle peculiar to plants and animals, and common to them all, (life) is observed. However, the only mind generally recognized is that existing in conjunction with forms already organized so.
    -
    It is reasonable to assume, therefore, that the theory requires a mind, or minds, that can exist either in a different or no relationship to the material organization that we usually observe it, or them, to be in conjunction with, and moreover, that a design was, or is being, implemented by said mind or minds. It is not evident that either premii are impossible.
    -
    Proponents of the theory are basically saying that the proof is in the pudding. They present the existence and the machinations of the entire phenomenal reality of the known universe as evidence. Astonishingly, the learned prosecution’s arguments against the theory hinge on precisely that fact.
    -
    The prosecution may state that mind cannot exist outside the form currently recognizable to us, an unproven hypothesis, that, without any evidence, in this case is, I submit, not worthy of the Court’s consideration. The prosecution may state that mind simply does not exist. This hypothesis is so self-evidently untenable that it makes one wonder how it could ever have been formulated. All other opposition to the theory amounts to moral judgements (many of which, incidentally, are no less wildly presumptive than the so-called scientific evidence presented), that, I submit most respectfully, being outside of this Court’s jurisdiction, cannot be considered as relevant to the case.
    -
    The prosecution’s charges not only amount to nothing but the unwarranted dismissal of a substantial portion of the evidence presented, but also, in doing so, the invalidation of the prosecution’s own position.
    -
    No further evidence, Your Honours.
    -
    However, it behooves me to take this opportunity to urge the Court to seriously consider the ramifications of accepting our learned friends in the prosecution’s method of presenting it’s case by merely cherry picking phenomenon from the pudding of existential reality, a method that, it pains me to say, is tantamount to a blasphemy before the God of Reason, and one shudders to think what civilized society would become if this method became habitually accepted, not only amongst many plebs, whose tendencies to take some scientific hypothesis as their articles of faith it is the scientist’s duty to carefully guard against, but even by the scientists themselves, who must guard against any undue influence from a contempory religion that’s peculiar phenomena of it’s followers regular and seemingly genuine insistance that it is not a religion is worthy of scientific study in it’s own right.
    -
    The defence rests, Your Honours.

  447. SBaker says:
    @j2

    Which came first, the proteins or the nucleic acids? Actually, the proteins are necessary for the survival of the DNA. Did both the DNA and their proteins spring into existence at the same time?

    • Replies: @j2
  448. j2 says:
    @Septic Sceptic

    “Why can’t new genes arise from mutation? Chains of DNA – chromosomes – can combine together into larger chains or disassemble into smaller ones. A lot of evolution works, as you say, by turning on or off existing parts of a genome, but there’s no principle that says that’s the only way in which change can occur.

    Evolution of species works analogously to the evolution of language: there are small changes in usage from one generation to the next (copying errors, so to speak), which add up to major transformations over time, particularly as no two divergent populations do or can diverge in quite the same way usage-wise (it would be miraculous if they did).

    We still have a lot to learn about how genes work.”

    Look how ridiculous I would look like as if a mathematician I tried to present a proof for some theorem and would justify my missing steps with something like what you just wrote. That is, we agree there has to be mutations as the DNA must be changed, and I said that they cannot be random mutations, come up with another proposal. Random changes will not work in the time of this universe. It used to be so that supporters of the evolution theory pointed out to the evidence that random mutations can change the phenotype and arguably make new species. I agree, they can, but that is not enough to make the large steps.

    In order to have a scientific theory of evolution (which does not exist, what exists is an ideological hypothesis and hand waving) you should have a theory without major gaps. There is one gap in getting a new gene, one that was there not before. It has protein coding part(s) and control part(s). You probably have to start by copying an existing gene, as making this from scratch is unlikely by random mutations. Then you start changing it, but it usually does not work before quite many changes have been made – most single mutations are harmful, but they are not all lost from the population, some can be rather neutral and they stay. After many changes you get a working new gene that starts to produce something. If this is the way you think it can work, please, make a mathematical and computer model and show that it works in the time allowed. So far I have seen only hand waving, no theory to deserve any checking.

    In the language example there are intelligent beings, humans, who participate in this process. It is not random mutations. For instance, humans have an inborn ability to extend grammar rules to words that they have not heard before (English is a poor language as it has few rules, as some speaker of a more complicated language how would you conjugate this – then invent a new word, he can do it for the new word, it is intelligent addition, not random mutations, it is much faster).

    I do not say there cannot be new mechanisms that can create mutations. I only say that the mechanisms that have been included to the theory of evolution do not work and for that reason i cannot call it a scientific theory. People who think it is a scientific theory are fooled, like people who thought that Marxist economy theory is scientifically proven to be the best. No proof, just propaganda. Give me a working theory, so I will look at it.

  449. j2 says:
    @SBaker

    I really do not have a clue how life came to be. Looking at a cell, it is extremely complicated. I hoped once that if I look at the cyanobacterium DNA (they were supposed to be the first, they gave the Earth the oxygen), it would be something reasonably simple to get from random mutations. So I checked, it had 3.5 million base pairs. Try to make it by random mutations, so it would have had to evolve from something that was very-very-much simpler and still worked the same, and then it got very-very-much more complicated and worked just the same, or did the early ones work really poorly as they were knocked over by better variants? Nothing there makes any sense. So to your question, no idea. My best guess: Life did not start here on the Earth, it came here from some dimension of reality we cannot see.

  450. j2 says:
    @Septic Sceptic

    “The second question is that of how we got from Pre-Cambrian life to present-day, ”

    I looked a bit on this your problem and now can suggest a possible solution. One must go a bit before the Cambrian time to 600 million ybp when multicellular life developed. It seems that multicellular life is caused in all phylas by the same gene, retinoblastoma. Thus, it developed once, then selection started to work on multicellular animals and we get further. But first the evolution model up to this point.
    Life only has single cell organisms, that I for simplicity call bacteria. The number of bacteria can be estimated up by water on Earth up to 100 m and 100 billion bacteria on ml, this is 10^29 bacteria, if all can be different. But they cannot all be different as bacteria multiply and only some strains survive, the low limit is the number of species, 8.7 million, say 10^7. Between those are different mutated bacteria. Assume a bacterium has 1000 genes, each gene 1000 base pairs (bp), mutation rate is 0.5 e -9 mutations/bp year . This means that a gene of 1000 be mutates completely in 2 billion years. So, we have 10^29*10^3 genes maximally and 10^7*10^3 genes minimally. All combinations of 1000 bp would be 4^1000=2^2000. Comparing to 10^32=2^100 or to 10^10=2^32 different genes in bacteria, we have a fairly minimal chance of finding any multicellular gene, but one was found. Then how to get different genes to the new multicellular animals: I suggest that they got infected with bacteria, which had developed suitable genes.

    How these genes could develop in bacteria? Mutations sometimes are rather neutral, but if there are many of them, the gene stops working. Thus, what happened was that a gene got multiplied, there still was the working version, the mutated one become junk-DNA and could accumulate random mutations without any selection. This way we got all these mutated genes, finally one worked and was the multicellular gene retinoblastoma.

    Would you call this a theory? I mean, the evolution theory does not even have this much what I can put together in a few days. All they have is warm bonds and pop, life arises.

  451. “The official story and de rigueur explanation is that life came about through spontaneous generation from seawater… In academia researchers have been fired and careers ruined for questioning it.”
    -
    The article highlights the politicization of science. There is no “official” scientific position on how life originated. The Ministry of Truth is a political, not scientific, body, eg.
    -
    SPONTANEOUS GENERATION. Alleged development of living organisms without the agency of pre-existing living matter. [The Oxford Pocket Dictionary, Fourth Edition, 1960.]
    -
    SPONTANEOUS GENERATION (ABIOGENESIS). Present-day origin of organisms from non-living things, belief in which is now discredited. [A Dictionary of Biology, Penguin, 1951, Fifth Edition, 1972.]
    -
    SPONTANEOUS GENERATION. Discredited theory that organisms developed from non-living organic material rather than from parents similar to themselves. The theory was widely believed to be true, at least for micro-organisms, until Louis Pasteur (1822-95), the French chemist, initiated bacteriology. Spontaneous Generation of larger organisms was earlier disproved by the Italian naturalist Francesco Redi (c.1626 – c.1698), when he showed that no maggots formed on meat if it was protected carefully from contamination.*
    -
    BIOGENESIS. The principle, generally held by modern scientists, that living things can arise only from other living things more or less similar to themselves. It opposes the once widely held theory of Spontaneous Generation , as well as early beliefs that falling leaves turned into birds or fishes, or that geese grew from barnacles. The principle holds good except in the case of animals or plants with complicated life cycles involving markedly different forms, and in the origin of life itself.*
    -
    “Scientists who study the beginnings of all living things see the creation of life as a logical event – not a chance occurrence, but the inevitable product of the conditions that existed on the Earth more than 3,500 million years ago. The only serious rival to this view is the so-called panspermia hypothesis…” *[Reader's Digest Library of Essential Knowledge, Volume 1, 1979.]
    -
    The definitional elasticity, and the more or less subtle emotive language and association techniques employed, is more typical of political, rather than scientific, discourse.
    -
    Incidentally, the neo-Darwinian “theory” of evolution merely postulates natural selection functioning at the chemical/molecular scale as a mechanism for the origin of self-replicating nucleic acid. ID and neo-Darwinism are not mutually exclusive and a faith vs knowledge argument makes no sense anyway. ID created spaceships and the H-bomb. Humanity needs faith, at least in itself.
    -
    Two amoebas walk out of a bar. The first amoeba asks, Hey, is that the sun and the moon? I dunno, said the second, I’m not from round here. One day a scientist was observing a cricket. He had never before seen any animals (he didn’t get out much). He knew nothing about the cricket. He noticed that clapping seemed to make the cricket leave the ground momentarily. He theorised that the cricket was sensitive to sound. But which part of the cricket? Maybe the legs? He chopped off it’s legs then clapped. The cricket did not move. A-ha, he exclaimed, I am proved correct!

  452. Anon[131] • Disclaimer says:

    If you doubt that scientists can be ideological herd animals, as petty, intolerant, vindictive, and backstabbing as professors, read Heretic, by the PhD biotechnologist and biochemist Matti Leisola, who fell on the wrong side of the herd. Ths establishment’s continuing effort to stamp out heresy looks increasingly like a protracted desperatoon.

    Well, that depends on how you define “scientist”. In my book, a scientist/artist/philosopher is a highly odd human specimen in whose mind truth seeking subsitutes, in part or totally, the naturally-selected-for [by the way: natural selection is a clearly better based theory than Darwin's evolution] basic drives to resource collection, social status collection, and self-opinion enhancement.
    In variable proportions each such person will be a scientist and a philosopher and an artist.
    They may not be, at all, the same persons that society and mainstream culture give the badge of scientist, philosopher, artist to. What you say holds water but only if you accept the social definition of “scientist”.

    Also, I don’t think the mainstream media, political correctness enforcement players, intentionally co-operate to prohibit the evolutionistic orthodoxy being discussed in any non-mocking fashion.
    I struggle to see impelling power-related material interests in this field.
    I think it’s just good old human nature, the drive to closure, to protection of the certainties of the day, the feeling the ordinary person (and “scientist”, “thinker”, “artist”) has that you rob them of the ground beneath their feet whenever you question such socially agreed-on articles of faith (which, as long as they are agreed on, are Facts and Evidence); the desire to be right and not have the inevitable ego investment in such beliefs threatened by questioning or doubt.

    ****
    There’s a third way one could look into. No evolution, no Designer. What is, just and simply, is. It happens, just and simply, because it happens.
    This is even more certainty-upsetting than the Intelligent Desing one I guess.

    And yes, technological progress has greatly fed man’s vanity — it is that vanity that you violate suggesting that there be a designer and a design other than man’s and man itself.

  453. Anon[367] • Disclaimer says:
    @KenH

    You seem self-assured that what is a mistake in your eyes is a mistake in the designer’s.

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