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Evolution in chat, with Null

16 posts in this topic

Posted

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    I've been arguing with another creationist who has literally lapped up everything from the ID movement, so I'm having a hell of a time just setting him straight about who thought what when.

    It amazes me that the ID crowd has been able to convince its legions of witless followers that allegedly finding function for junk DNA is a refutation of "Darwinism".


  • Darwinism, if it's to mean anything, must indicate the view that natural selection is the primary engine of evolutionary change. So a view that holds that most everything about the organism is the result of selectable function is utterly stymied and flummoxed by the news that elements of the genome are functional. :shock:


  • I said that I would be prepared to bet that if the ID crowd thought they could get away with it, they'd be out there claiming that protein-coding DNA is a challenge to Darwinism.

  • 16:45
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Carnivores have sharp, tearing teeth while herbivores have flat, grinding teeth and beneficial bacteria that break down cellulose: "Darwinists" are stumped and cannot possibly explain this arrangement!


  • davidm
    But it is not true that all junk DNA has been found to have a function, is it?
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    :clap2:
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Oh, no it isn't true at all.
    Hardly any instances have been found.


  • They're all cases of functions being found (or alleged to be found: some of the experimental results are unconvincing) for RNA, which is a tiny part of the genome, or for single instances of pseudogenes, transposons, endogenous retroviruses (remnants of infections of past retroviruses), etc. being found to have been subsequently recruited.


  • Anyway, we already knew that RNA could have function, even if it weren't mRNA (which is translated into protein). Susumu Ohno in his original paper proposing the existence of junk DNA mentioned transfer RNA and ribosomal RNA.


  • davidm
    So, why does junk DNA figure in at all?


  • The reason junk DNA figures in their argument is that ID advocates are all panadaptationists.

    The IDists think that panadaptationism is not only the consensus, but the universally held dogma of evolutionary biology. This was never the case, not even 50 years ago.


  • But rather than critiquing panadaptationist logic, which would put them in the modern trend starting with Kimura, Jukes, Comings, Ohno, and others at the molecular level, and Lewontin, Gould, Eldridge, Eberhard, at the organismal level, instead they take the position that "my panadaptationism can beat up your panadaptationism".


  • Dembski called ID the "logos of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory", but really ID is Matthew 10:29 restated as an argument against evolution: "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father."

    Darwin's insight naturalized that, but otherwise kept the logic the same: "Not a sparrow shall fall on the ground without Natural Selection."


  • Now the logic is even more unfamiliar: the falling of the sparrow is a purely natural process that may slightly bias the transmission of the sparrow's alleles and result in a long-term shift in allele frequency, but the sparrow's demise most likely had nothing to do with its overall fitness.


  • IDists continue to pretend as if natural selection remains the only game in town. In the recent release, Science and Human Origins, they don't even deal with genetic drift at all, even in their discussion of fitness landscapes. It's all organisms being pushed incrementally up the fitness peak and then getting stranded at the top. In reality, nearly neutral theory gives the answer: slightly deleterious alleles can be fixed by genetic drift.


  • which allows organisms to gradually scale down one fitness peak and move across a valley before finding another, perhaps even higher fitness peak. If the local fitness peak is lower, then of course natural selection will influence the survival of the older variant rather than the newer.

  • 16:50
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    So natural selection and genetic drift work together, are widely seen to work together, and by refusing to admit it as part of their analysis, the IDists end up sniping at a scientific "parade" that has already long since moved on.


  • They don't even deal adequately with gene-centric views, like those of G.C. Williams, Bill Hamilton, and Richard Dawkins. As much as they claim to be focused with laser-like precision on the molecular level, they ignore intragenomic conflict, transposons, etc.


  • I just searched through the entirety of Signature in the Cell and both intragenomic conflict and transposons are not mentioned in the body of the text. IC isn't even mentioned at all, and transposons only put in an appearance in the titles of papers in a couple endnotes.


  • This despite the fact that Siggy is about "DNA Evidence for Intelligent Design". This is like covering the history of mathematics, but omitting algebra: it's not exactly the simplest stuff, but it's widely known and something that should be discussed.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    OK, copy pasting this.
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    The last person to have held the positions that ID attacked was probably Ernst Mayr, and even then he would have found their treatment of evolution too simplistic. They simply don't address anything relevant to modern evolutionary theory.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    So in additin to having no evidence for ID, they construct a strawman of evolution. :deal:

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Nullifidian

Same strategy comes up over and over again in the works of "creation science". Sometimes the misrepresentations are absolutely comical.


  • 16:55
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Anyway, getting back to my creationist, he's convinced himself that the "Darwinists" jumped at the junk DNA hypothesis because they were convinced that an undirected process would accumulate lots of junk.


  • Here's my response: "But a bacterium has virtually *NO* junk DNA. It was never thought to have any. So did "Darwinists" accept that bacteria didn't have junk DNA because they thought that bacterial evolution was directed and purposeful? God—I mean, "the Designer"—reached down and touched the bacteria and archaea and left eukaryotes alone? Do the "Darwinists" think that "the Designer" has a special plan for the pufferfish, with a


  • the size of humans' that lacks junk DNA too? Did "the Designer" shape the genome of the bladderwort, in the evolutionary view? Or is it that we know that this undirected and purposeless process can generate genomes with lots of junk AND those with very little?"


  • It's so easy to blow holes in these claims if you just stop and think about them for a moment that it amazes me anyone takes them at face value.

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My creationist: "My major point to you is you're making a theological argument now."

How can this possibly be a theological argument if intelligent design isn't a religious idea?



  • My creationist: "When you dip into this area, you're making the mistake of thinking we have to identify the 'intelligent agent' when in fact we do not. ID makes this abundantly clear. 'MUST' SETI tell you the nature of the intelligent agent(s) they're seeking in the universe? NO!"


  • IDists always return to waving SETI around, even though it's a terrible analogy. For one thing, SETI *does* have to have an idea of the intelligent agents they're seeking in the universe. They base their entire search on the assumption that somewhere out there there is at least one species that has passed through a period of having radio broadcasting technology, wonders about its place in the cosmos, thinks the best way to investigate would be


  • to listen in for signals from other planets and broadcast its reply, and that it would know how to broadcast this reply in such a way to distinguish it from the cosmic noise and natural phenomena that surrounds us. In short, they assume that aliens are like humans.


  • But in a more important respect SETI fails as analogy because SETI doesn't try to explain any *currently observed phenomena on earth* in terms of alien intelligence. If SETI did, then we would be more than justified in demanding how they know that aliens exist and came to earth and are capable of and interested in designing the things ascribed to them. That is what makes SETI different from Zecharia Sitchin's "ancient astronauts". In fact, it's a


  • great analogy, because the proponents of the "ancient astronaut" hypothesis don't advance positive evidence of their own, but say that the mere existence of the Egyptian pyramids are evidence for their own view, critique the mainstream explanation for the formation of the pyramids and assert that any holes in the mainstream explanation are evidence for their views. If you're to be intellectually consistent, you must accept the hypothesis that


  • ancient astronauts built the Egyptian pyramids because it's precisely the same form of argument that buttresses intelligent design in biology.

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  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Tjat


  • That's a great reply. I've seen this SETI shit before, too, a completely empty comparison as you successfully point out.

  • 17:10
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Thanks. :yo::oops:
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Plus, it is in thread now. :nod:


  • working, :ballchain: quiet a bit but keep going...
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Dembski is responsible for the SETI argument.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Yes, it would be fine to say that they don't have to identify the Intelligent deisgner, if there were evidence for intelligent design. But, there is not.
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Also, if they weren't proposing to make it a basis of a new scientific theory.

  • 17:15
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    You need theories to be able to make predictions that are limited in their scope, otherwise you won't know what to look for or how to recognize it when you find it.


  • It's all very well to talk airily of detecting design, but at the biological level they don't have an explanation for what that actually means. Partly it's because most of them don't know biology, and partly because even if you do know it it's impossible to infer what consequences should result.


  • That's all a consequence, of course, for refusing to state explicitly what the designer is.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    We don't have evidence for aliens, but SETI is a consequence of the Copernican principle: there's nothing special about the earth. Given the vastness of outerspace and what we now know are the plenitude of planets out there, it's reasonable to search for aliens, because we have reasonable grounds to believe they could exist, even without current evidence. SETI is a search for that evidence.


  • Now, people are welcome to search for evidence of design in biology. That is the ID of equivalent of SETI: search for evidence of a deisgner. But they can't find any, and whenever they offer what they take to be evidence, like irreducible complexity of specified complexity, it is easily shot down.


  • The analogy falls apart because no one is seti is saying that there are aliens, even though we can't find them. They are saying we don't know if there are aliens.

  • 17:25
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Exactly.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    If we got a signal, that would be evidence for aliens. If we got a "design signal" in biology, that would be evidence for deseign. But there is no such signal. It gets worse in that I don't think anyone can identify what such a signal would like like, whereas we know what it would look like with SETI.
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    And the range of evidence that is claimed to be explained by a designer is ridiculous. There are IDists who argue that the designer explains the origin of life, the origin of animal phyla (even though these two events are separated by approximately three billion years, especially if you take the Cambrian as representing the origin point), that it explains human intelligence (again, a 500 million year time lag), and even that it explains the


  • origin and "fine tuning" of the universe.

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Nullifidian

This range of phenomena 'explained' can only indicate one thing, however much they want to dance around the identification.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Well, as I've said, the problem is that most IDists actually support the Christian God. They don't recognize how stupid the fine-tuning argument is for their position. If God made everything, then everything is designed, a rock as much as a person. Therefore there is NO "design evidence" possible, because under their own idea, there is no 'non-designed entity" with which to contrast design.
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    What's always amused me is when they argue that the universe is fine-tuned and that the origin of life or evolution is impossible. :heh:


  • So the universe is fine-tuned to be friendly for the purely natural emergence and diversification of life, but it didn't happen anyway. No way, no how. :shakehead:
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    I know, that is the other stupid thing!


  • God made the universe fine-tuned for life, but life was impossible unless God made it!

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  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    The logic of the fine-tuning argument is that a naturalistic universe is very unlikely to be life-friendly, therefore the existence of a life-friendly universe means it's very unlikely to be naturalistic. But, while intuitive, probabilities are not necessarily commutative in this way.

  • 17:40
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    For example, if I say that I am very unlikely to win a poker hand with a royal flush, that is true because there are many more probable winning combinations than being dealt a royal flush. But if I then go on to argue that having a royal flush in my hand, I am therefore very unlikely to win the poker game, that would be a comical misunderstanding.


  • Apply the same logic to the universe, and one concludes that the presence of fine-tuning that permits the natural emergence of life is strong evidence that the universe is naturalistic.


  • If the universe were life-unfriendly — that living organisms could not form and be maintained in the universe except by a constant suspension of natural law — but life existed anyway, that would be strong evidence for the supernatural. But the apologists will have it that the absence of any requirement for supernatural intervention is also evidence for the supernatural. In short, any arrangement must be evidence for a God.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Yes, exactly. it would be evidence for supernatural intervention if the universe were found to be wholly inimical to life, yet here we are!



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  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    That's also why I'm not convinced by William Lane Craig's firing squad analogy (which he attributes to John Leslie) for refuting the weak anthropic principle.


  • Have you heard that counterargument?
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Yes, I've heard of that, in fact I read LEslie's book.


  • Go ahead and lay it out, for inclusion in the thread. :deal:

  • 17:55
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Well, there are several problems with the argument, chief of all being that the firing squad wants to kill you. There's no similar evidence that the universe wants to be barren of life.


  • And even if we take the analogy at face value, what are we to think if our lucky condemned prisoner does escape the hail of bullets? We can't infer anything from that fact.


  • It might be the result of collusion, it might be the result of angels pushing the bullets out of the way, it might be the result of a sudden high wind, it might be the result of them practicing the day before with blanks and forgetting to load live ammunition, and it might be the result of chance.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Right, exactly, the first part especially. The analogy is misaaplied.
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    But the fact of the prisoner's survival is consistent with all these scenarios and the argument itself gives no reason for preferring one above the other.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm

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  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    :yup:

  • 18:00
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    If you wanted to settle the issue of chance, you might start looking at how many trials (i.e. executions) you have in the whole world from the very first to this final moment. In reality, there have been remarkable stories of survival, e.g. cases where the trapdoor of the scaffold unexpectedly jammed. But when you look at the overall rates of hangings in the world, these relatively few instances do fit a chance result.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Keep going, I am adding to thread as we go ... also working. :ballchain:

  • 18:05
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    So to apply this to the universe: how many trials has the universe had? We simply don't know. We don't know if there's a multiverse (and there's strong theoretical reasons why there might be, and getting one-universe results out of inflationary theory requires making assumptions that aren't necessary), if there's been a series of "Big Bounces" where a period of expansion has been followed by a crunch and another expansion of a new universe with
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Reporter has sent a fix file. :shakehead: I'm afraid he is going to have to be fixed, with a tip of the hat. :yo:
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    different laws, we don't know how many universes would result in life if all the constants were free to vary independent of one another (the fine-tuning argument always holds the rest steady while varying only one), and we don't even know if the constants are free to vary at all. There may be deeper laws at work that constrain the results.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Right, even Leslie, in his book, stressed that if the universe is a one-time-only event, it might make no sense at all to talk about odds, probabilities or fine-tuning

  • 18:10
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Naturally, William Lane Craig ignores those finer details. ;)
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Of course!


  • At least Leslie's books is a honest look at the issue, both pro and con. His own position is decidedly weird, however.
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Really, if the theist is going to say that all possible outcomes that involve life are evidence for God, then I think the skeptic is perfectly entitled to point out that if the universe weren't life-friendly in whatever way, we wouldn't be here to discuss it. :-D


  • Weird how? I'd love to hear the details, please. :)


  • And then they could also be copied and pasted into the thread. :cheer3:
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Yes, will copy and paste all, :swamped: at the moment but back in a bit ...

  • 18:15
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Okay, that's fine. I can wait. :)
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    Leslie evidently is some kind of Platonist. HIs argument is that the universe admits of life because of "ethical requiredness." Life is good, thefore it ought to exist, therefore it exits. Perhaps it is a special particular case of the Platonist concept of an ideal Good.


  • Needless to say, he is a philosopher, not a scientist. :)

  • 18:30
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Yeah, I think a scientist would have a great deal of problems with that statement, starting with the essentializing of the word "life".


  • Of course, if you're a Platonist, I guess essentializing things is the name of the game. :-D


  • But it really does imply that he's thinking of life as a unique property that organisms possess, in at least a similar way to the manner that they possess DNA. In fact, life to a scientist is just carbon-based chemistry operating at far from thermodynamic equilibrium.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    right, the idea of it being "good" is useless in a scientific eprspective.


  • *perspective*


  • Besides, what's so good about it? :noidea:


  • To stay far from thermodynamic equilibriaum, an organism has to constantly take in new energy; iow, it has to eat enough to have enough energy to eat some more. And then, later, it dies anyway! Life is perfectly absurd, when you think about it.

  • 18:35
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Yeah, but some of the eating can be diverting. :hungry:
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    **is playing Epicurus in this conversation. :-D**
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    :heh:



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Posted

Thread is now up to date ... this isn't a bad idea for doing threads. We have a lot of great conversations here, and with others too. Since so few people start threads, maybe we should do more copy pasting of chat covos.

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Indeed. :yes:

  • 18:40
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    And thanks again for offering to send me "the best science book ever written". :yo:
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    You are :welcome:


  • :brb:
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    They're really getting desperate in their hype. Over at Evolution Snooze & Abuse, they were thrilled to get this endorsement from George Gilder:


  • "I spend my life reading science books. I've read many hundreds of them over the years, and in my judgment Darwin's Doubt is the best science book ever written. It is a magnificent work, a true masterpiece that will be read for hundreds of years."


  • Gilder is a writer on economics (whom you should never take investment advice from), a Republican activist, and... co-founder of the Discovery Institute.


  • Remarkably, David Klinghoffer omitted to mention that when he was crowing about getting Gilder's endorsement. :noidea:
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    :heh:


  • Plus, the book is dishonest right from the back cover. "The Evidence Darwin Could Not Explain." Er, right. He couldn't. Later on, when we found out more, it was explained.


  • Darwin also couldn't explain the mechanism for heredity. So? :noidea:


  • Because science, unlike religion, changes. :yup:

  • 18:50
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    I suspect the hype is because they're desperate for a new hit.

  • 18:55
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    They're like the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise of evolution-denial. ;)


  • They haven't had a book take the public imagination since Dover, and I don't think that's a coincidence. Once the creationists saw that there was nothing to be gained by cloaking "creation science" in the mantle of "intelligent design", they decided to go back to being forthright creationists once again.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    They definitely need some new shtick.
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Their latest shtick seems to be "teaching the evidence for and against Darwin's theory".
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    :roll:
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0 Nullifidian
    Of course, a) it's not Darwin's theory anymore, and B) they don't have any evidence. What they do have are misrepresentations that will cripple the students' understanding of evolution. But that's what they want.
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0 davidm
    That's not very new. And of course, it's no longer just Darwin's theory; 150 years of advanced have happened since then. :deal: You'd think they'd be aware of that. :noidea:

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Well, I think you two gentlemen highlight the problematic notion of a variation of 'design' argument, not necessarily to the effect of demonstrating supposed structural flaws in the theories concluding a non-teleological universe, but design via the "goodness" of creation, and ultimately, life. Not merely that a benevolent designer (perhaps said designer is not omnipotent) might have so designed a universe where life is not contingent upon such violence, suffering, bloodshed, but why would a benevolent designer create such as to actualize beings with an ethic (or system of values) so at odds (in principle anyways) with his own? Would he just enjoy quashing rebellion?

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Posted (edited)

Copy-pasting chat discussions into forum threads might be the wave of the future, since the best discussions here always go on in chat, and then vanish into the void when chat is done.

To expand on some points:

As Null noted, it is richly ironic that many (most?) of the same people who endorse the fine-tuning argument for the existence of a designer/God, also endorse ID in biology.

Do they not notice the blatant contradiction in their position? The whole point of the fine-tuning argument is that God fine-tuned the universe to make it able to support life: i.e., life friendly. But at the same time the ID exponent argue s that given antecedent physical conditions -- those that presumably had been "fine tuned" -- we should not expect life to arise by chance alone! Hence a designer/God is needed to tinker with stuff to make life come about. These two positions cannot consistently be jointly held, because they are mutually exclusive.

In addition to the fact that fine-tuning and ID contradict each other, both are in conflict with the Cosmological Argument. ID argues that without a designer's intervention, life would not arise. Fine-tuning argues that without carefully calibrated constants, the conditions for life could never arise. So these are supposed to constitute evidence for God. Implicit is the idea that a universe without ID or fine-tuning would be evidence for the non-existence of God. But this contradicts the C.A. For the C.A. says that EVERYTHING was designed -- designed by God. To suggest that a world minus ID or fine-tuning could exist, and would constitute evidence for the non-existence of God, is to concede that the C.A. is false, since the C.A. rules out ANYTHING AT ALL existing, if God does not exist. The C.A. says that if God does not exist, nothing exists; since something exists, God exists. So you cannot embrace either ID or fine-tuning without implicitly discrediting the C.A.

All of which demonstrates the deeper problem for fine-tuning: If God exists and is responsible for everything, as the C.A. holds, then everything is designed, a rock as much as a man. A rock is just less complex than a man, but designed nonetheless. Therefore there can be no evidence for design, since everything is designed. In order for there to be evidence for design, there must be a non-designed thing with which design can be contrasted. Since under the C.A. no such thing exists, then there can be no evidence for design no matter where we look. Put another way, design would be indistinguishable from non-design.

Edited by davidm

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If all is designed and hence design is indistinguishable from non-design, is this problematic for the contention that all is "non-design," for if all is "non-design" how would one even begin to conclude 'there is design,' as non-design would be indistinguishable from design? What would, per the contention 'all is un-design' "design" even look like? Is it fair to contend/ask:

In order for there to be evidence of non-design, there must be a "designed" thing with which "non-design" can be contrasted...but if all is "non-design," no such thing exists.

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Posted (edited)

In an undesigned world, we can still distinguish design from undesign, because "design" is a name we give to contrivances by humans, and by some other animal as well. Thus we can say that a watch is "designed" but not a rock, because we can observe a watch being designed by humans; whereas no one has ever observed a rock being designed.

Hume pointed this out long before Darwin, and undercut Paley even before Darwin did. The only way we know that things are designed is because we observe them being designed. But no one ever saw a universe being designed.

But if the Cosmological Argument is sound, then a rock is as much designed as a person -- designed by God. The rock may be a far less complex design, but it is still designed, by God. This is why one cannot consistently hold to both the C.A. and the fine-tuning argument (just as one cannot consistently hold both to fine-tuning and I.D.) The fine-tuning argument implicitly supposes a comparison: with a world that is not fine-tuned for life. But if a world fine-tuned for life suggests a fine-tuner, the world that is not fine-tuned for life, and in which life fails to exist, must suggest the absence of a designer. But this does not work if one accepts the Cosmological Argument. If one accepts the C.A., then the absence of a designed world must be no world at all. The C.A. is a supposed solution to why there is something rather than nothing at all: something, indeed all things, exist, because God exists to design/create/uphold all these things. Therefore if God did not exist, nothing would exist. But since God is supposed to be a necessary being, then existence is necessary as well, provided God wills it to be.

Edited by davidm
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FROM NEW CHAT...

  • Nullifidian
    In all honesty, I find intelligent design richly ironic. They critique what they call "Darwinism" and only that — apparently unaware of neutral and nearly neutral theory and genetic drift — and yet their own approach is to erect a system that's even more panadaptationist than the "Darwinists" are.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    The question is whether they do that out of ignorance, or dishonesty

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Any argument you can advance against "Darwinism" can be applied with double the force against ID. It's a hopeless position to be arguing.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    Logic is not their strong suit.
    :deal:


  • Hopefully yoiu will make further comments in the extant thread.
    :nod:

  • 19:25

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    In all honesty, I think it's ignorance. None of them are experts in evolution, even when they have some marginally biological background, they don't even understand natural selection, and their belief about the centrality of natural selection is about that I'd expect from a layman who watches the Discovery Channel and reads
    Scientific American
    .

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    Well, then it's also like Ray Comfort, who thinks that evolution says a first dog evolved and looks around futilely for a female dog.
    :heh:
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Yeah, pretty much. There's a slight difference in the apparent sophistication, but when you break it down, they're equally ignorant.



  • However, they do have a habit of knowing when to omit relevant evidence.


  • 19:30

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    For example, in
    Signature of the Cell
    , he refers to a "protein within the ribosome known as a peptidyl transferase" doing the process of bond formation in a polypeptide. This is completely wrong.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    Well, I think Meyer isn't as ignorant as Comfort. I think he is interested in selling books. It is also possible that he has convinced himself of his position because he desperately wants it to be truel



  • What is correct in the above?

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Now, to set it up, Meyer devotes a great deal of the book to the "chicken and egg" problem of the translation of DNA into a protein being guided by proteins which are encoded within the DNA.



  • Now, since he deals with that topic, you'd think he'd be interested in something that could serve as the genetic material and catalyze protein formation at the same time. Something like RNA, perhaps.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    He ignored RNA?


  • 19:35

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    In fact, the entire core of the peptidyl transferase is made up of RNA: the ribosome is a ribozyme. It is not a protein that is promoting bond formation, but the RNA itself.



  • Yes, he did.
    :shakehead:


  • The closest he gets to admitting RNA's role is when he says that it "promotes" bond formation... 176 pages after the part where he mentions peptidyl transferase.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    :doh:


  • I'm sure you'll enjoy his latest book, then.
    :)


  • You should write a review of it online.

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    And even then he still makes it sound like a cofactor, not the very thing that causes bond formation in the first place.



  • And he cites a 1992 article by Harry Noller. Noller's work was a critical early indication of RNA's catalytic role, but it was the structure of the ribozyme that left no doubt. That wasn't mentioned at all.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    I'm copy pasting this into thread.
    :work:

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Posted

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Edit this in: Ironically, the very year that Meyer published
    Signature in the Cell
    , the Chemistry Nobel was awarded for working out the structure and function of the ribosome, so this is not a trivial omission.



  • Also, in the Physiology and Medicine category, Jack Szostak was one of the laureates, who Meyer implied was a crank in
    Siggy
    too. 2009 was not kind to Meyer.
    :heh:

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  • 19:45

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Behe does the same thing in
    Darwin's Black Box
    and
    Edge of Evolution
    , but especially the former.


  • 19:50

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    He goes into great detail about the clotting cascade and describes the health problems that arise when people's clotting cascades are damaged by disabling mutations, but what's notably absent is a molecular comparison of the clotting system (especially the clotting factors) and a detailed examination of the conditions under which blood clotting would have originally evolved.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    The edge of evolution is also a phrase Meyer uses. It's weird that they seem to think evolution works, but only to a point. then Jesus has to step in and tamper with stuff. You'd think if Jesus liked a little evolution, why wouldn't he like a lot of it and just let it work out?
    :noidea:
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    So if you omit any evolutionary explanations, then evolution cannot explain the clotting system!
    :nod:
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    :heh:


  • Yeah, the clotting stuff and the flagellum are their big things.
    :shakehead:
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    If you want some sadistic enjoyment, aside from that which you get by
    :stab:
    ing colleagues, then I suggest checking out ERV on Behe's
    Edge of Evolution
    .
    :-D
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    ERV?



  • Link?

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian



  • Check out the comments too, especially those from Ian Musgrave.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    Ty, Null.
    :yo:


  • This person is taking behe apart.
    :lol:

  • 19:55

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    It will not surprise you to learn that Behe didn't like that criticism.


  • 20:00

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    So he reached deep into his cranium for the most wounding retort he could come up with, and it turned out to be that his critic was a
    woman
    .
    :faint:
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    Ah, this is six years old! how has it played out? What did Behe say?

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Which prompted this response:

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    ."..and yet another opportunity to expose the fact you are a charlatan to the entire planet! Yay!"
    :-D
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Here's the roundup of l'Affaire Behe et vpu:

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    "Though you, Behe, hump your credentials on the legs of every book you write and presentation you give, you curiously made the decision to exclude all of *my* research experience and chose to refer to me as some ‘woman.’ ‘Woman’. Powerful observation, Michael Behe."
    :p


  • I like the way she keep calling him "behe," without any respectful honorific.
    :deal:


  • "the gaps are ultimately filled, and you are left with your pants around your ankles."
    :heh:
    :heh:



  • This is fantastic!


  • 20:05

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    This conversation also prompted an Uncommon Dissent reader who named himself "Erasmus" (I suspect the one from Rotterdam is turning over in his grave, and maybe too the one from Kent) to provide an ID-based prediction about HIV/AIDS.

  • photo-thumb-426.jpg?_r=1370287278DaveT
    has left the room

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    “[A]nd by the way, ID predicts that AIDS will outrun any attempts to cure it since it is a curse sent upon sinful humanity. I don’t know if you have read the bible but it is abundantly clear that although G*D is just merciful and loving, he does not suffer a witch to live. and as far as I can tell the pottymouth [Abbie Smith, a.k.a. ERV] is very likely a Wiccan.”



  • But ID isn't a religious belief.
    :shakehead:
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    "basically acting like a common gutter creationist."
    :p


  • Holy shit! Really? Someone wrote that??
    :jaw:

  • 20:10

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Yup.
    :nod:
  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    "So whats your deal? Is it just for the money? You’ve got a litter of kids, and I admit I would find the $20K you get for selling out rather tempting in todays funding climate."
    :rofl:


  • Wow! she doesn't mince words. this is six years old, though, is she still blogging?



  • Just started reading the third link. She got Behe to admit he was wrong??
    :jaw:


  • There must be a cavaet somewhere, tho


  • 20:15

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Yes, she is. She's been writing at Scienceblogs.com recently, but that's been taken over by
    National Geographic
    which wanted to emphasize science content (i.e. don't piss off the religious) so I'm not sure if she's still delivering smackdowns to creationists elsewhere.






  • The caveat — as mentioned in the comments — is that it still looks like vpu.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    :rofl:


  • That is incredible.

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Wow, so now he's saying that Vpu can evolve new functions, but it still looks like the original Vpu?


    Ummm... isn't this the molecular version of "But how come I've never seen HIV evolve into a water buffalo?"


    Oy.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    Poor Michael Behe.



  • :lol:
    water buffalo



  • or a chimp evolve into a human. If chimps evolved into humans, why are there still chimps?
    :noidea:


  • That is funneh

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    And the answer to that question is, "Yes, yes it is."

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    Also nice to see Behe revealed as a sexist creep, but no surprise there



  • Ah, good, she is at scienceblogs.



  • What great stuff.
    :)


  • Behe hasn't actually said much in the last several years, has he?


  • 20:20

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Basically, Behe just recycled Casey Luskin's original counterattack despite the fact that it was completely insipid.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    His own university disowns him

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    Not much, though he's made personal appearances.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    Before creationist crowds, one must assume.



  • The thing that makes Behe so disgusting is that he probably knows better, and so is just doing it for the money and his "litter of kids" as this blogger so forthrightly pointed out.
    :deal:
  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    He's also written a few papers. Jerry Coyne ably dissected one a few years back.





  • 20:25

  • photo-thumb-190.gif?_r=0Nullifidian
    In that article, you can tell that Behe is setting up the argument that all observed instances of evolution are just "microevolution" (an infinitely flexible term in creationists' hands which seems to refer to any study of evolution they can't refute or ignore) or due to mutations "breaking things" as a result of "the Fall".



  • In short, his transition to arguing like a creationist is nearly complete. Now all he needs is to drop his ostensible acceptance of common descent.

  • photo-thumb-8.gif?_r=0davidm
    Right, that's it. the same old "microevolution happens" but macroevolution is impossible. Which even if you knew nothing about evolution, you can immediately spot how lame this is. If microevolution happens, then of necessity there must be an incremental series of changes over ever increasing time that must result in macroevolution.

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