Monday, January 04, 2010

ARN: The Key Darwin and Design Science News Stories of the Year

ARN (Action Research Network) - Reflecting on 2009:

"In a year in which Darwin’s disciples were celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth that the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, mainstream scientific journals published articles declaring:

1) the modern synthesis was dead,
2) Darwin’s tree of life should be abandoned,
3) new “missing links” were a bust,
4) limits to Darwinism were demonstrated in the lab,
5) evolutionary icons like the peppered moths reverted back to their old colors,
6) the Cambrian Explosion lacks any plausible materialist explanation, and
7) an interdisciplinary revolution is occurring in biology that rejects the reductionist paradigm of Darwinian evolution.

Meanwhile the evidence for design continues to mount with

1) peer-reviewed articles and books by ID theorists,
2) the information content in DNA demanding a non-materialistic source,
3) scientists continuing to “reverse engineer” amazing designs from biological systems, and
4) the irreducible complexity in living systems continuing to be discovered and documented.

Read all about it, here.

52 comments:

Joe_Agnost said...

That's the problem with "mainstream scientific journals" publishing articles to sell magazines instead of science.

Many times science publications (the "New Scientist" does this a lot!) will publish an article with a sensational title to draw in readers. It's a shame because the articles do nothing of the sort (since the ToE is such solid science and backed by EVERY single piece of evidence to date!)

I don't believe your list of "evidence of design" though... please provide evidence for your assertions like:

"peer-reviewed articles and books by ID theorists"

-- I have not heard of ONE single ID paper being peer reviewed. That's why "ID" is considered a joke in science circles.

"the information content in DNA demanding a non-materialistic source"

-- That's not true at all. Where's your evidence?

"scientists continuing to “reverse engineer” amazing designs from biological systems"

-- So?

"the irreducible complexity in living systems continuing to be discovered and documented"

-- Except that it's not true. "I.C." has been debunked so many times it ridiculous. Behe tried to raise IC in the Dover trials of 2005 and got his ass handed to him. IC was debunked then and hasn't been shown to be useful since that time...

Once again you've got nothing.

Oh - and "Joe" made a comment in a thread last week that I called him on but he ignored (or didn't see).

Joe wrote: "Somehow you believe that science stood still 150 years ago when Darwin exposed his theory because you reject all the science since that time that shows Darwin's theory is little more than a wish that there is no God."

This is SO wrong! I wrote at the time: "150 years of scientists TRYING TO DISPROVE the theory of evolution and every single one confirms it. Every one. From DNA to fossils every single advancement in science has confirmed the ToE."

Seriously - provide one, just one, example of science disproving the ToE... just one will do it! You won't be able to of course because there are none!

And then you (Joe) wrote: "Well if Darwin is right Einstein is wrong..."

Again.... WTF? Seriously - what does that mean?

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Joe-Agnost,

Hello again. We began on this line in a previous thread but there were probably 150 comments so I guess you just didn't follow that one any longer. I'll try to re-frame my question here to continue.

You said: "Seriously - provide one, just one, example of science disproving the ToE... just one will do it! You won't be able to of course because there are none!"

First, if I might be so bold, let me say I think the premise of your statement might not be completely accurate in that you are trying to advance a theory (namely evolution; which I assume in this context to mean a step-by-step non-thinking process whereby a single celled organism changed both in degree and in kind to our current forms: inclusive of physical, psychological, moral, logical, etc. function and process) which places the burden of proof on you and those who wish to advance the theory to fact. Evidence that it did not happen is not required, just missing pieces or problems that would cause the theory to not be advanced is all that is needed. This might be seen as just semantics, but I thought i'd bring it up all the same.

To move on to the question, if the above definition of evolution is accepted as the one being proposed to have been advanced from theory to fact, how would you as an evolutionist explain the so-called "Cambrian Explosion", where a multitude of fully-formed creatures of all kinds just show up in the fossil record? It would seem that if observable and testable evidence of a step-by-step change from a single cell to the current human form were to be called fact, there would have to be some fossilized transitions recorded that show the advancement from the single cell to the complex form of the trilobite, for example. In all the fossil record, with the numerous different forms present in the cambrian period, there must be scores of these transitions available. Have these fossilized transitional forms from the single cell to the cambrian finds been discovered and reported? If so could you present a primary source for reference so I can do some research as I haven't seen any such finds presented in what i've read.

Thanks in advance for being willing to discuss the topic. I ask also that you'll be patient with me as I have a number of similar "problems" and will try to just go one at a time to keep focused if that's alright. The broader the example, the more difficult to really get at the heart of the matter, i've found.

Joe_Agnost said...

Jeremy wrote: "you are trying to advance a theory (snip snip)... which places the burden of proof on you and those who wish to advance the theory to fact."

It won't ever be "fact". The "theory of evolution" is the best theory we have to describe the fact of evolution (in other words - it's a fact that living things evolve, and the ToE best describes this.)

"Evidence that it did not happen is not required, just missing pieces or problems that would cause the theory to not be advanced is all that is needed."

I don't know what you're saying here... You ~do~ need evidence if you want to debunk the theory - this is because there is SO MUCH evidence to support the theory (and NONE that debunks it) that it stands as a solid theory.

Every piece of evidence, every single experiment for the past 150 years has ~supported~ the theory. Every single one. Show just one that doesn't support and the theory will fall - this hasn't happened (yet).

It should be easy to debunk if it's wrong - you'd only need ONE piece of evidence (like a rabbit fossil found in the pre-cambrian earth for example) and the theory would come down.

Jeremy continued: "if the above definition of evolution is accepted as the one being proposed to have been advanced from theory to fact..."

Who said anything about the "theory" of evolution moving to fact? Nobody.

Jeremy asks: "how would you as an evolutionist explain the so-called 'Cambrian Explosion'?"

What do you feel needs explaining? There was an explosion of life about 500-600 mya, so what? Fossils are found dating back this far all the time and so far have ALWAYS confirmed the ToE.

Jeremy continues: "where a multitude of fully-formed creatures of all kinds just show up in the fossil record?"

Ah... now I see what you're getting at. Unfortunately it isn't true - there are many, many fossils of intermediate forms within this time period (actually - every fossil is an 'intermediate' form.)

Here's a link to the site at UC-Berkeley on the subject:

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VIIB1cCambrian.shtml

Take your time - it's a great reference site!

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Joe_Agnost, i'll take the time to research the site you gave, but I think maybe it would help if you gave me a definition of what you mean by the following: theory, fact, evidence. In the previous thread on moral sense in which we dialouged, you stated that evolution was a fact. I believe you even used all caps to emphasive it's factualness. Even in your answer here you wrote,

"The "theory of evolution" is the best theory we have to describe the fact of evolution (in other words - it's a fact that living things evolve, and the ToE best describes this.)" You cannot stipulate that evolution (as I have defined it in my previous post, not just mutation or changes in degree but changes in kind (reptile to bird, e.g.)) is a fact and then go on to say the evolutionary theory best explains the evolutionary fact. Again, this may just be semantics, but evolution began as a theory and the attempt over the years has been to prove the theory to be fact. It was not introduced by Darwin as a fact and the drive from that time to this been to dis-prove the fact with various theories as you would suggest.

Again, i'm not deliberately trying to be obtuse. Please look at the definition I stipulated for 'evolution' and let me know if you disagree with my assessment, or if it unfairly represents your definition. I'd like to take the time to make sure we are comparing apples to apples.

Also, give me a day to look over the link you provided and i'll try to get back with a response tomorrow.

Joe said...

Actually Agnasty I've given up on 'Scientific Journals' as well. I mean since they started spreading that peer reviewed AGW nonsense there was no reason to even open the cover anymore.

Joe_Agnost said...

Perhaps this will help you Jeremy:

The theory of Evolution by natural selection is a "theory". This means that it has moved past the "hypothesis" stage and is supported by mounds of "evidence".

The fact I refer to when I call evolution a "fact" is the fact that biological things change over time. This is not disputed by anyone (that I know of). Creationists claim that animals can't change enough such that it's a different 'type' (but they won't define 'type' so that's not really helpful), but it's a "fact" that they ~do~ change over time.

Scientists take this "fact" and form an hypothesis (or many) to explain the "fact". In the case of evolution by natural selection, there is enough evidence now to move it from an "hypothesis" to a "theory". It won't ever by a "fact" though because it's used to explain "facts".

It's clear that you're slightly misinformed when you wrote:

"evolution began as a theory and the attempt over the years has been to prove the theory to be fact."

Evolution didn't begin as a theory - it began as an hypothesis with the goal of one day achieving "theory" status (which is the highest of high in science!). Nobody is trying to get it from "theory" to "fact", it doesn't make sense to talk about it that way.

Much like the Theory of Gravity and Germ Theory aren't moving to "fact", neither it the ToE.

Gravitational Theory is the best theory to date that explains the "fact" of gravity.
The Theory of Evolution by natural selection is the best theory to date that explains the "fact" of evolution.

Take your time with the UC-Berkeley site..... :)

Joe_Agnost said...

Hey Joe: care to answer for your ridiculous statement I quoted you on in my opening comment??

Come on! Here it is again:

Joe wrote: "you reject all the science since that time that shows Darwin's theory is little more than a wish that there is no God."

Show me ONE piece of evidence for this... just one.

Joe said...

If you are looking for evidence of a wish for no God Agnasty simply look in the mirror.

Any other evidence I or anyone else provides will not pass your non-scientific defenses anyway.

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Thanks Joe-Agnost for your further explanation. I do believe I get where you are coming from now. I am not arguing against change either. You are offering what you consider the best explanation, and I can go with that. And I believe we can go on with a discussion in that light, provided you are willing to stipulate that you would be willing to consider an alternative "best explanation" of the available evidences if it is offered?

Also, could you provide me what you consider evidence to be? I'd like to make sure if I write 'evidence' in the future we're on the same page there as well.

I've already done a bit of review on the Berkeley site and will try to get back with a response tomorrow morning.

Joe_Agnost said...

Joe wrote: "Any other evidence I or anyone else provides will not pass your non-scientific defenses anyway."

Okay then... fun discussion Joe!

(note to self: Joe will make scientific claims, but when asked to back them up will claim 'you won't believe me anyway' and run and hide.)

I knew you had nothing..... and everyone else does too.

Joe_Agnost said...

Jeremy wrote: "provided you are willing to stipulate that you would be willing to consider an alternative 'best explanation' of the available evidences if it is offered?"

I will always consider ALL the evidence and come to whatever conclusion is appropriate... I'm not at all closed minded that way.

Jeremy continued: "could you provide me what you consider evidence to be?"

Any piece of data that is verifiable... fossils, DNA, geology, etc.

Joe said...

Well Agnasty I have made all kinds of scientific points which you simply dismissed without due consideration. When you decide to be more than an annoying little gnat we can have an adult conversation.

Until that time have fun with your 'no God delusion'.

Just one question though; what experiments have ever been done to 'prove evolution'?

Like a fellow engineer although atheist likes to say, 'Science proves nothing, it only seems to indicate'.

Joe_Agnost said...

Joe wrote: "I have made all kinds of scientific points which you simply dismissed without due consideration."

Of course you have Joe... I've called you out on the mistakes that interest me. Bring any others up too if you like - should be a good laugh...

Your little bob-and-weave display here makes it clear to anyone reading that you have NOTHING to back up your ridiculous, demonstably wrong statement about the ToE.

Joe asks (not wanting an answer): "what experiments have ever been done to 'prove evolution'?"

First of all - nothing is being done to "prove" evolution, just learn more about it. Proofs are for maths, not biology.

Here are a few sites for your perusal:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029150610.htm

http://www.genetics.org/cgi/reprint/169/2/523.pdf

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ol0269897

There are 3 right there.... and there are many, many more.

Regarding your quote at the end of your post ("'Science proves nothing, it only seems to indicate'") - I'd have to say CORRECT!
This is exactly right and something you don't seem to understand - science isn't about "proof"!

Joe said...

Nice sites Agnasty however I was asking you to explain your point of view not simply defer to 'authority'. Do you understand them or are you simply deflecting. What proof do you have for evolution? What problems do you have with evolution? Can you explain through natural occurrence the coding of DNA? These are allegations you have made therefore it is incumbent on you to provide evidence. I say that Supernature (GOD) wrote the DNA code because of its complexity and its ability to transmit information. What say you? Explain it in your own words.

Joe_Agnost said...

Joe asks: "What proof do you have for evolution?"

You're not using language properly (again)... science isn't about "proof", it's about evidence.

Joe continues: "What problems do you have with evolution? Can you explain through natural occurrence the coding of DNA? These are allegations you have made therefore it is incumbent on you to provide evidence."

The "allegations" I've made are that every piece of evidence to date (including DNA and fossils) support the ToE. You claim that the science since Darwin refutes the ToE yet you cannot provide (even) 1 example.

Joe continues: "I say that Supernature (GOD) wrote the DNA code because of its complexity and its ability to transmit information. What say you?"

I say that all you've done is added another level of complexity to the solution. It's not at all useful since you can't define 'god' let alone provide evidence of it's existance.

Your evidence appears to be that DNA is "complex" - is that all the evidence you've got? A snow flake is pretty complex too and requires no designer... you're left having to show that being complex requires a designer - no easy task.

"Explain it in your own words."

If it's DNA that you're inquiring about I'll have to pass... I'm not a geneticist and thus no authority on the subject... generally it's something like: species are all related. Changes in DNA among organisms backs this up every time. They have literally documented the DNA changing through species in a manner which makes sense given the ToE and heredity.

Joe said...

So Angnasty lets put your last post in layman's terms, "You don't have a clue what you are talking about but you stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night".

Joe_Agnost said...

OK - you got me.... god did it.


Now I can hunker down and think about burning babies for god (a la abraham). Since god's the answer for everything my life just got a whole lot easier!

Look - just because you don't have a decent answer to the question, and I'm not a geneticis so I don't have the answer, doesn't automatically mean god did it!

I have provided evidence for my assertions. You have not.

Here's another gem from the "joe archive":

Joe wrote: "either Darwin was wrong or Einstein was".

Care to explain that nonsensical blather Joe? It'll be the first time you actually address my question if you do...

lastchancetosee said...

Joe_Agnost: Best ignore the other Joe, he's just trolling. All the gunk in between makes it hard to follow your discussion with Jeremy.

Joe said...

I'd explain Einstein/Darwin to you Agnasty but I'm certain your Holiday Inn smarts would miss it.

In other words until you can explain the formulation of DNA by 'natural means' you are going to have to do a little digging on your own to find out the difference in opinion between Einstein and Darwin.

Joe said...

Ah last to see, nice to hear from yet another illogical non-scientist. Maybe you can help Agnasty understand the 'natural causes' of DNA. Agnasty thanks you in advance.

RkBall said...

@ Joe Agnost: You said, "I don't believe your list of "evidence of design"... please provide evidence for your assertions like: "peer-reviewed articles and books by ID theorists"

*Joe --did you read the article that I linked to -- this provides the details.

"Seriously - provide one, just one, example of science disproving the ToE... just one will do it! You won't be able to of course because there are none!"

*The ToE (whatever flavor you are referring to) is pretty resilient -- as long as it is theoretically possible that it could have perhaps happened, it is not disproven. This is not the same thing as saying that it has been proven, or that it is true. For example, call me agnostic on the idea of dead matter producing consciousness and moral sense all by itself without additional input.

"IC was debunked then and hasn't been shown to be useful since that time..."

* Yeah, Intelligent Design and Irreducible Complexity have been debunked in the same way that AGW science has debunked AGW deniers.

Chew on this:

All of medical science is predicated on the idea that our organs are designed and purposeful, and behave either properly i.e., as they were designed to and ought to, or improperly. All of medical science. So, materialism and atheism are great to get you off the hook temporarily from moral accountability, but are utterly unlivable in practice.

RkBall said...

* Yeah, Intelligent Design and Irreducible Complexity have been debunked in the same way that AGW science has debunked AGW deniers.

BTW, how's that "the science is settled" thing working out for you?

Joe said...

I'm not sure if Agnasty realizes it but most of the evidence he cites has more than one interpretation. The weaker explanation is often evolution. Not that it matters to folks like Agnasty because his mind is made up.

Take for instance snowflakes and DNA. Both are complicated therefore they both could be naturally occurring phenomena.

His problem is that snowflakes follow a simple chemical pattern whereas DNA does not follow a simple or even complex chemical pattern. In fact there is no known reason for DNA to pattern itself as it does. Add to that fact that DNA is actually a code that transmits information and that information controlling extremely intricate processes ....

Nah Agnasty just likes to stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

Joe_Agnost said...

lastchancetosee wrote: "Best ignore the other Joe, he's just trolling."

I can see that now... the strange thing is that the only reason I bothered to start commenting on this blog again is because of something Joe wrote in another thread. Just classic classic stuff that I couldn't resist responding to (which he ignored).

I'll reproduce Joe's comment here so you can have a good laugh:

*** start of Joe's comment ***

"So let me get this straight SDC you are not logically correct, not philosophically valid and not scientifically sound but I am to believe you because???? On top of that you say that an answer isn't an answer because it isn't proven. Yet your position is not only unproven it is unprovable, after all you can't prove the negative. Somehow you believe that science stood still 150 years ago when Darwin exposed his theory because you reject all the science since that time that shows Darwin's theory is little more than a wish that there is no God.
Well if Darwin is right Einstein is wrong and no Einstein was not a theist. I do not speak for the personal beliefs of Einstein one way or the other I simply apply his theory to the universe and expose Darwin as a fraud.

Now if you don't want to believe in Yahweh then please enjoy your life or what ever it is you choose to call a life and leave it at that. However please don't engage in serious debate with people who know far more than you do by belittling their understanding of the universe. As it is you sound a bit like Lucy of Charlie Brown fame calling Aristotle and Plato dummies because they didn't speak English."

*** end of Joe's comment ***

Hard to resist commenting on that stupidity.

Joe_Agnost said...

Joe wrote: "I'd explain Einstein/Darwin to you Agnasty but I'm certain your Holiday Inn smarts would miss it."

Or you're just a troll... either way you are on record avoiding to explain your words. You make an idiotic statement and then refuse any attempt to make sense of it - nice job.

Joe continues: "In other words until you can explain the formulation of DNA by 'natural means' you are going to have to do a little digging on your own to find out the difference in opinion between Einstein and Darwin."

First off - why does ~my~ explanation regarding the formation of DNA have any bearing on your Darwin/Einstein mischaracterization? Strange.

And secondly - I'm not interested in Darwin/Einstein's "opinions", I'm interested in what they ~knew~. You claim that there is something that they cannot both be right about - I say you're full of it.

Anyway - room service is at my door now, Holiday Inn offers an awesome BLT for breakfast!

Joe_Agnost said...

Ball wrote: "did you read the article that I linked to -- this provides the details."

Yup - and I can't find one instance of creationist crap being submitted for peer review. It's doesn't appear to be true.

Ball continued: "as long as it is theoretically possible that it could have perhaps happened, it is not disproven. This is not the same thing as saying that it has been proven, or that it is true."

Of course it's not the same thing as "proven" - for the zillionth time: Science is about evidence, not proof!

But there are plenty of things that would INSTANTLY disprove the ToE. Finding a rabbit fossil in the pre-cambriam strata would instantly disprove the theory for example.

150 years and counting - not one piece of evidence to disprove the theory. It's solid I'm afraid.

(but note: please continue to test the theory! It will only yield good results for if you disprove the theory then it's great for science, and if you don't it only strengthens the theory!)

"All of medical science is predicated on the idea that our organs are designed and purposeful"

BUZZ - right out of the gate you get it wrong.

Medical science is predicated on the idea that organs have 'functions' ~not~ "purpose". It's an important distinction because "function" does not imply "design". The ~function~ of the heart is to pump blood to the body, there is no "design".

Ball conts: "...and behave either properly i.e., as they were designed to and ought to, or improperly. All of medical science."

Since your first statement is wrong your subsequent statements don't follow...

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Joe_Agnost. So I checked out the Berkeley site you provided (thanks by the way for primary source). I also did some additional searching and read a couple articles from the PNAS site and learned quite a lot. I'll give a brief synopsis of what I found and let me know if I missed anything.

Ediacaran fossils have been dated to about 100 million years before the Cambrian period and have been catagorized as follows:
Cyclomedusa davidi - used to be thought a jellyfish, now thought to be holdfasts (most common)

Dickinsonia costata - jellyfish with apparent head end

Tribrachidium - jellyfish with three-way body plan

Mawsonite spriggi - originally thought to be jellyfish, not thought to be another holdfast type

Spriggina floundersi - tube-like unit with head, mouth and through-gut

Parvancorina minchami - may be three-dimensional, central ridge with arched lobes

The following summary of their form was given as follows:
"The various elements of the Ediacara fauna are united by one common character, none have any hard parts. There is no evidence of mineralisation in any fossil so far found. Thus the preservation of essentially 'soft bodied' organisms presented something of a quandry, especially as they are preserved in what is now quartzite".

The physical characteristics of the trilobite (which is said to have evolved from the previous) are as follows:

"When trilobites are found, only the exoskeleton is preserved (often in an incomplete state) in all but a handful of locations

The cephalon of trilobites is highly variable with a lot of morphological complexity.

While there is direct and implied evidence for the presence and location of the mouth, stomach and digestive tract (see above) the presence of heart, brain and liver are only implied (although "present" in many reconstructions) with little direct geological evidence.

The pair of antennae. suspected in most trilobites (and preserved in a few examples) were highly flexible to allow them to be retracted when the trilobite was enrolled.are probably similar to those in extant arthropods and as such could have sensed touch, water motion, heat, vibration (sound), and especially olfaction (smell) or gustation (taste).

Even the earliest trilobites had complex, compound eyes with lenses made of calcite (a characteristic of all trilobite eyes). Trilobite eyes were typically compound, with each lens being an elongated prism. The number of lenses in such an eye varied: some trilobites had only one, while some had thousands of lenses in a single eye. In compound eyes, the lenses were typically arranged hexagonally."

My follow-up question to you after having reviewed these sites is how does the evidence (the fossil record as you have defined it) show evolution took the jellyfish, tube-like, sea worm forms with no hard parts or even any traces of calcium to the trilobite which had an exoskeleton, a fully developed digestive and sensory system of antennae and eyes? I didn't see any other fossils listed in between the ediacaran and cambrian so it seems a stretch to just conclude that evolution is the best explanation, unless you are simply basing that premise on other evidence you may have that comes after these most dated finds.

Do you know of any fossils in between the ediacaran and cambrian finds (such as a jellyfish form with signs of calcification, or better yet with a hardened shell, or a sea worm with hexagonal eyes)?

Another problem I have is that even if evolution is stipulated as the best explanation of the differences between the ediacaran and cambrian forms does it then follow that only 100 million evolutionary years is all that is required to make a step-by-step series of changes to get what appear to be major physiological changes? I have heard the explanation for the formation of the eye to be in the range of billions of years, not 100 million?

Can you shed some light on this?

Joe said...

Oh my dear Agnasty: It is so wearisome to discuss things with twits like you whose only comeback to a valid debating point is 'no it isn't. You see that is why I keep asking you to explain the formulation of DNA. I look at a HUGE and I do mean HUGE!!!! amount of computer coding in a strand of DNA and I look at the fact there is NO chemical or physical reason for it to formulate that way and I realize that an extremely competent programmer wrote the code. Then an equally smart chemical engineer put that code into the actual material being used. Then some very very smart being set the whole thing in motion.

You see you haven't even told me what LIFE is yet. You can take all the chemicals in a strand of DNA and give it all the electrical shocks you want and you still don't have life. Now it is one thing to dismiss my understanding but in so doing you have to come up with a plausible explanation as to the formulation of DNA. So far your only explanation is 'I'm not a geneticist'. I'm not a geneticist either but I have read several who have gone from evolutionist to creationist because of the work they have done in the field. I don't know that they became Christian but they witnessed the irreducible complexity of DNA and realized the statistical impossibility of evolution causing DNA to form.

Therefore until you come up with a real plausible detailed explanation as to the development of DNA any bleatings you psst will be regarded as the equivalent of a school boy laughing at Einstein because he didn't comb his hair.

RkBall said...

Function def1: the purpose for which something is designed or exists; role.

The heart has no function according to this definition; according to atheism, there is no purpose for the universe, or its constituent parts, it just "is"; the heart is just a collection of cells, which have no purpose; they're just a collection of molecules, which have no purpose.

Function def2: the kind of action or activity proper to a person, thing, or institution;

The key word here is "proper". Under atheism, there is no coherent basis for defining proper or improper functionality of an organ. Cancer cells are not a bad thing, or a thing to be eradicated. They are just the darwin god doing its thing. And, remember, survival is not a goal -- it's just a neutral, happenstance outcome of an unintended, unintentional universe.

lastchancetosee said...

RKBall, we already had this discussion. You can't go around randomly claiming words for your theistic beliefs. Furthermore, you won't be able to disprove evolution through semantic games (and arguing about whether or not the word "function" implies design is just that). Biology stays the same no matter how or if we talk about it.

The heart IS a pump, that's what it DOES, it pumps blood. If it stops, we die.
Now explain to me, please, how exactly am I implying a designer by saying that the latter result is not good for the individual in question?

I'm sorry, but your argument is stupid. I expect better of you.


Joe_Agnost:
I'll reproduce Joe's comment here so you can have a good laugh:

Speaking of good laughs:
I have spent a goodly amount of time trying to figure out why Oxygen acts differently than Nitrogen. The longer and deeper I look the more convinced I am that a Supernature determined the nature of both Oxygen and Nitrogen.

Joe said...

Well last to see since it appears that Agnasty is incapable of answering my query perhaps you are able. How is it possible for aproximately 2 metre long strings of protean that contain all the information for living cells develop out of inert material? Now realize that the proteans have no chemical or physical reason for being in their place. I do hope you can offer more help than deny the nature of water. I mean without your help Agnasty may start to question Darwin!

RkBall said...

"scientists continuing to “reverse engineer” amazing designs from biological systems"

-- So?

Being able to reverse-engineer something that was never forward-engineered in the first place is not odd?

Engineers are finding all kinds of useful designs in nature to emulate and exploit -- exactly as would be predicted based on a design hypothesis.

RkBall said...

Lc2c:

I am referring to words and semantics because I have never read a substantive description of darwinian evolution that does not resort to teleological language, i.e., the language of purpose and design.

I regard this as intellectually dishonest -- borrowing language from theistic framings of reality.

"The heart IS a pump, that's what it DOES, it pumps blood. If it stops, we die. Now explain to me, please, how exactly am I implying a designer by saying that the latter result is not good for the individual in question?"

Well, step back a bit. Philosophically, since life was never intended, whether life carries on or ceases is neither good nor bad -- it, like life and darwinian processes, "just is". Life is not good and death is not bad -- neither were intended, the universe "just is".

Secondly, strict materialists deny the objective existence of "the individual in question" -- we are nothing more than molecules in motion. So it is meaningless to talk in terms of what is good or bad for the individual. The molecules will carry on in some form or another, and, at base, that is all we are.

Now consider this:

a) when we speak of the development of life we necessarily speak in teleological terms.

b) when we think of our existence, we naturally think "we" -- something over and above mere molecules or the body -- do exist, and, moreover, that our life has value, purpose, and means something.

c) we naturally think that living is good and dying is bad.

Why?

All three points are coherent in a theistic universe but incoherent or absurd according to the nihilistic philosophical out-workings of atheism and strict materialism.

Now, what is the best explanation for a) b) and c) -- the easiest and most ready answer is we think this way because the universe we inhabit is indeed teleological and therefore theistic.

RkBall said...

Agnost: I have not heard of ONE single ID paper being peer reviewed.

http://tinyurl.com/lxzvyc

This is the article referred to in the link cited above.

Punch line: "Thus, for μ ≪ 1, there is a near-zero probability of generating a lower fitness, since doing so requires both offspring to be of a lower fitness and has a probability on the order of μ2."

RkBall said...

IEEE must have been asleep at the switch to let this pass through. Aren't known IDers on some kind of "watch list"?

AGW scientist David Suzuki has suggested that those who disagree with the settled science should be thrown in jail. Shouldn't we at least consider doing the same for those who question darwinism?

RkBall said...

"150 years of scientists TRYING TO DISPROVE the theory of evolution "

Good one. I can't think of one evolutionary scientist who has stated that his or her working goal in life is to seek to disprove this theory. Most of the scientific work has been seeking to validate the theory; very little attempts to disprove -- otherwise, contrary interpretations of the evidence would be considered and weighed, rather than denounced.

RkBall said...

"(since the ToE is such solid science and backed by EVERY single piece of evidence to date!)"

Including but not limited to:

Haekel’s faked embryonic drawings

Piltdown Man

Peppered Moths

"Junk DNA"

The plain and obvious fact is that, contrary to your assertion, scientists have been busy trying to prove the theory rather than discredit it.

And, while the darwinian model remains the official dogma, many scientists are expressing misgivings about its adequacy to explain the origin of species -- especially at the DNA level.

Like the Climategate scandal, it's a good thing there are critics on the marginalized sidelines picking away at the circle-the-wagons scientific hegemony.

RkBall said...

"The "theory of evolution" is the best theory we have to describe the fact of evolution (in other words - it's a fact that living things evolve, and the ToE best describes this.)"

I thought the purpose of the theory was to explain the origin of species -- which is much greater in scope than explaining the fact that living things evolve.

Joe_Agnost said...

Ball wrote: "Engineers are finding all kinds of useful designs in nature to emulate and exploit -- exactly as would be predicted based on a design hypothesis."

You can't just put "hypothesis" after any word to make it scientific. "design hypothesis" doesn't make sense. A scientific hypothesis is a ~testable~ idea that is put forward for testing. If it passes all of the tests is moves on to "theory" status (the highest of high in science!).

Until "design hypothesis" is defined (and testable) it will not be an hypothesis.

And that humans see usefulness in nature is not at all surprising (or a problem for the ToE) - lot's of nature "works", why shouldn't we try and maximize on that knowledge?

And: "since life was never intended, whether life carries on or ceases is neither good nor bad -- it, like life and darwinian processes, 'just is'."

Strictly speaking this is correct. There is no universal "caring" going on. The universe doesn't care who lives and who dies.
Individually we do though. Evolutionarily speaking, if we're dead we have no chance of spreading our genes. And personally we have plenty of reasons to call death "bad" and life "good".

I enjoy spending time with my wife, and were she dead that fun would cease. Therefore ~I~ think it's "good" that she's alive.

"Life is not good and death is not bad -- neither were intended, the universe 'just is'."

In a universal sense this is true - but indivuals care. Our living is not "good" nor "bad" on a universal scale, but personally and subjectively most of us agree that life is "good" and death is "bad".

Joe_Agnost said...

Ball wrote: "http://tinyurl.com/lxzvyc"

Ah yes... William Dembski in all his glory.

Too bad it has NOTHING to do with biological science. It's printed in an (obscure) engineering journal.

The "punch line" is that you think this supports ID in some way...

Ball continues: "I can't think of one evolutionary scientist who has stated that his or her working goal in life is to seek to disprove this theory."

That's because no ~reputable~ scientist believes it can be done. It's the most solid scientific theory to date - more solid than 'germ theory' and 'gravitational theory'.

But there isn't a biologist alive today that wouldn't LOVE to disprove the theory - they'd be rich, famous and according to most creationists would get a 'get out of hell free' card! ;)

"Most of the scientific work has been seeking to validate the theory; very little attempts to disprove..."

Showing your utter ignorance of science once again. How do you think they go about validating the theory? By trying to disprove it! When all attempts at disproving it fail an "hypothesis" moves to "theory".

And: "ontrary to your assertion, scientists have been busy trying to prove the theory rather than discredit it."

Again you're just showing how ignorant you are here! There is no "prove the theory" in science. Proof is for maths, not biology.

Nobody expects to "prove" the theory - like nobody expects to be able to prove god exists. It's simply about evidence and what that evidence tells us about the world. All of the evidence points to common decent... all of it.

RkBall said...

"And that humans see usefulness in nature is not at all surprising (or a problem for the ToE) - lot's of nature "works", why shouldn't we try and maximize on that knowledge?"

Not usefulness - don't side-step. Designs. Usable design principles. Usable design solutions. Usable design techniques.

ID, a voice, biomimicrying in the wilderness!

RkBall said...

" It's printed in an (obscure) engineering journal."

Ah, yes. I was hoping for this. What could be more obscure than the IEEE!

RkBall said...

" How do you think they go about validating the theory? By trying to disprove it!"

Like when they find a tiny piece of a fossil, and reconstruct an entire image of what the thing might have looked like in a way so it neatly fits the darwinian model -- is that what you mean by trying to disprove it?

Get. Real.

RkBall said...

"All of the evidence points to common decent... all of it."

Evidence of common descent is not evidence for the darwinian mechanism.

Joe said...

Actually I would love to be an evolutionary archeologist. If I were able to find even the top of a skull I could immediately conclude I had found the "Missing Link" and from the top of that skull recreate an entire skeleton and with the help of a good artist come up with a rendering of the animal I want to show as the "Missing Link". Should anyone dare question me I could simply show them the fossil as proof positive that such an animal existed. I mean it worked on Agnasty and Last To See didn't it?

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Joe_Agnost, I see you've been responding to other issues; have you had a chance to read over my synopsis of my research on our last interchange and my subsequent questions?

I'd like to read your comments and continue on the line we had started down if you'd care to continue.

Thanks.

Joe_Agnost said...

@jeremy: Sorry, it seems that your reply (to me) got lost in the pile of BS that the resident yahoos have been posting.

I'll head to ~your~ blog to continue with you - this thread is already being spamed by Joe, and dragged down by Ball. I'd rather not have to weed through the mess that Ball/Joe spew to find your comments.

RkBall said...

Agnost: "150 years of scientists TRYING TO DISPROVE the theory of evolution "

RKB: Good one. I can't think of one evolutionary scientist who has stated that his or her working goal in life is to seek to disprove this theory. "

Agnost: That's because no ~reputable~ scientist believes it can be done.

So, only disreputable scientists are working on the theory of evolution?

Joe said...

"That's because no ~reputable~ scientist believes it can be done."

Guess that why Agnasty is such a fan of AGW. No one is allowed to question it. I'm certain that Agnasty would have opposed Galileo for the same reason.

RkBall said...

"That's because no ~reputable~ scientist believes it can be done."

The Climategate scientists were the ~reputable~ ones, right? And their critics were the lunatics that everybody laughed at and made sure their submissions never got past peer review, isn't that right?

Because all the funded AGW scientists were working hard to disprove their own predictions and computer models, right?

Because that's the way science works, right?

RkBall said...

Agnost: "First of all - nothing is being done to "prove" evolution, just learn more about it. Proofs are for maths, not biology."

RkB: There is more than one sense to the word "prove". I, (and I suspect Jeremy) was not using it in the formal mathematical QED sense that you accuse us of doing.

Prove in the non-mathematical sense simply means to establish the authenticity, validity, genuineness or truth of something.

And if scientists have not been seeking to do this with darwinian evolution, I will eat my hat.

Joe said...

Extrapolating from the apparent fervor the Darwinists with which push their theory rather than test it one could assume that its their religion.....

Oh wait a minute it IS their religion.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"