Friday, January 08, 2010

The Darwin-Friendly News Cycle

I am a scientific layman (as my detractors have abundantly observed), yet I remain strongly persuaded that the darwinian mechanism is inadequate to explain the results obtained. It does not follow from this observation that, e.g., intelligent design must therefore be (scientifically) true. It is simply a reflection on the inadequacy of the darwinian mechanism. I suspect in 25 years it will have been supplanted by a theory that includes principles of self-organization and self-repair -- one that gets us closer to acknowledging that there is more to evolution than meets the pondscummy eye!

I've noticed that Darwin-friendly news stories seem to run in a cycle. The cycle goes like this:

1. A breath-taking new discovery of a missing link that supports the darwinian theory is announced.

E.g., "It's a really amazing, remarkable intermediate fossil," scientist Neil H. Shubin told The New York Times. "It's like, holy cow."

2. This breath-taking event leaves the media, er, breathless. They breathlessly goo and gush over it, and duly report it as given to them by the scientists. Like the apostle Paul, a mere messenger, they deliver unto us what they first received.

Someone observes, "The fact is, factually, the theory can now be viewed as a fact, and, that's a fact!"

3. Two, three, four years go by. The discovery is discredited, or downgraded.

4. This is quietly noted in scientific journals. No meaningful retractions are made by the MSM -- especially by those who actively seek to discredit anti-darwinists. Certainly no exposé of the original, false report is made, and certainly no apology is made by the media for bearing false witness. Meanwhile, the original article has served a useful propaganda purpose by reinforcing darwinian notions in society.

In the case of discoveries made in 2009, the 3-4 year cycle collapsed to mere months. And yet the theory itself remains intact, unbruised, unchallenged, and, indeed, unassailable.

Over at EV&N, they're discussing the latest on Tiktaalik.

The money quote: "So where are the fish that turned into tetrapods? According to Nature, they must exist in the "'ghost range' — that is, a period of time during which members of the groups should have been present but for which no body fossils have yet been found."

Because the theory dictates they should exist, they must exist, and they do exist, even if only as ghosts.

Message to scientists: keep looking; keep digging. Christians have nothing to fear and are only interested in the truth.

33 comments:

Big Red Magnum said...

I'm afraid we are stuck with nonsense like evolution and dark energy/dark matter/Higgs boson until the crop of scientists making their living off these frauds die off.
The biggest roadblock to the advancement of science is scientists.

lastchancetosee said...

For some real information on Tiktaalik (by someone who is actually capable of understanding the paper, not just quote-mining it, head over to here:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/01/casey_luskin_embarrasses_himse.php

RkBall said...

A very good article. Thanks for the link. Two small comments:

1. The darwinian tree of life has now become a cloud? That's progress.

2. I don't think the Discovery Institute and Young Earth Creationists (YEC) share the same tent. But, that's a minor quibble.

3. As noted earlier, it's not an either-or between evolution and theistic design. Darwinism is "too cold", 6-day creationism "too hot", and the truth is "just right" somewhere in the middle (Goldilocks analogy).

Am I at least right on the downgrading of the 2009 amazing breath-taking discoveries?

RkBall said...

6:22 am? Either you're an earlier riser, or you live in some interesting time zone

Joe said...

Well last to see I read phyaryngula and the only thing I can see is a bunch of clowns pulling numbers out of the air to bolster their latest mistake. Of course they fool the foolish with their cartoons and timelines but the foolish are too foolish to recognize the deceit.

Oh by the way have you come up with an explanation of DNA yet????

RkBall said...

The "team" has been strangely silent about the DNA. We know that information comes from intelligence. For darwinism to be true, information must also come from an unintelligent source. Or, maybe, like design and purpose, it just "looks" like information. Just like a thumbprint just looks like something that would come from a thumb.

Joe said...

Ah yes pharyngula, a blog named after the discredited embryo development theory. Of course I wonder if the origins of the name might actually have something more to do with the idolizing of Caligula which was regaining fame about the time pharyngula had its beginning.

davidmbeach said...

For your information there are many researchers discussing self-organization in the context of evolutionary theory and evolutionary dynamics, so your ideas are neither new nor interesting. What's more, evolution is in no danger of being damaged by these fascinating research directions.

You should really stop calling it Darwinism. It shows how ignorant you are.

Actually, can you please define 'Darwinism' for me?

We know that information comes from intelligence

Please provide your definition of information and evidence to illustrate this. Equations would be nice.

philosoraptor said...

I have another question.

If I ask you to provide me your single best argument for your belief in the existence of God, and I show you how that argument is flawed or otherwise invalid, will you abandon your belief in God?

RkBall said...

DMB. Thank you for your friendly little contribution to this discussion.

"For your information..."there are many researchers discussing self-organization in the context of evolutionary theory and evolutionary dynamics, so your ideas are neither new nor interesting. What's more, evolution is in no danger of being damaged by these fascinating research directions."

Perhaps not. But these findings will demonstrate my point about the insufficiency of the darwinian mechanism. Plus, they will raise a further problem for naturalists -- why mindless matter turned into life should be self-organizing, self-repairing itself.

Everything that begins to exist requires a sufficient cause. What is the sufficient cause for such natural processes?

"You should really stop calling it Darwinism. It shows how ignorant you are."

Thanks for the compliment. When the secular world has just engaged in an orgy of worship of the man, I think Darwinism is an apt word.

Plus, Darwinism is not just science, it is also a philosophy and a faith. Thirdly, I Dawkins uses the term. If I'm ignorant, I'm in good company.

"Please provide your definition of information and evidence to illustrate this."

It's whatever you meant by, "for your information...".

RkBall said...

...will you abandon your belief in God?"

My belief in God is not based on arguments. God is not an equation or the end of a syllogism. He is a person whom I know, and in my feeble way, love.

I provide you and others with arguments for the existence of God merely to show that faith in God is rational and should be sought.

As for rational argument --

Without God, rationality has no foundation, it's just "out there" like burps and hiccups. For argument to have validity, there must be an undergirding mental reality to the universe such as God, or, to be more precise, Logos. So, what you are suggesting is incoherent. If there is no God, rationality can neither prove nor disprove anything.

RkBall said...

"Please provide your definition of information and evidence to illustrate this."

Information is what the authorities were seeking in the Prisoner. The evidence? It's encoded in the DVDs. You might need a microscope to see it, and a "player" to unravel its mysteries.

Joe_Agnost said...

Ball wrote: "Everything that begins to exist requires a sufficient cause."

Except your little 'god' character that you've made up though right?

This is what is so utterly stupid about the whole 'god-did-it' assertion. To make that assertion even a possibility you have to invent special 'rules' for god - namely that he doesn't need a "cause".

So you attempt to hammer the science with your "Everything that begins to exist requires a sufficient cause" assertion - and then break this very 'rule' with your solution! Not logical, rational or at all believable.

philosoraptor said...

My Google account keeps screwing up my names. philosoraptor and davidmbeach are the same person.

But these findings will demonstrate my point about the insufficiency of the darwinian mechanism. Plus, they will raise a further problem for naturalists -- why mindless matter turned into life should be self-organizing, self-repairing itself.

No they won't. They illuminate the characteristics of the dynamics and strengthen our understanding of the connections between thermodynamics, complexity, and evolution. What's more, they emphasize that organization does not require an 'organizer', so I fail to see how it strengthens your particular argument.

Moreover, you can throw $20 words around, but you haven't given me any indication of your meaning. Can you quantify self-organization? What makes a system self-organizing? Can you give me an example? How do you measure self-organization?

Finally, your problem seems to stem from the fact that you blindly attribute something special to 'life'. There is no evidence of this 'animating force', and there's plenty of evidence that it is unnecessary. In any case, it is an ad hoc hypothesis that contributes nothing to the discussion.

Everything that begins to exist requires a sufficient cause. What is the sufficient cause for such natural processes?

You keep coming back to this question, but it is ill-formed, and has been addressed many, many times in various forms. Who caused God? How do you define cause and effect without time, as were the conditions during the Big Bang? And what does ANY of this have to do with evolutionary theory, or even abiogenesis?

When the secular world has just engaged in an orgy of worship of the man, I think Darwinism is an apt word.

Plus, Darwinism is not just science, it is also a philosophy and a faith. Thirdly, I Dawkins uses the term. If I'm ignorant, I'm in good company.


Dawkins' conception of 'Darwinism 'is far different from yours, so it is dishonest to compare yourself to him in this regard. Modern evolutionary theory is complex, rich and dynamic. It presents a much more beautiful, fascinating and compelling picture of the universe and our place in it than any primitive religious belief. Perhaps your twisted definition of 'Darwinism' qualifies it as a philosophy and/or a faith, but the scientific theory of evolution - and in general, scientific naturalism - has nothing to do with faith. It is based on objective quantifiable evidence; faith is not, by its very definition. Fortunately, philosophy and science have gone hand-in-hand since long before your anyone was nailed to a cross. And the intellectual Greeks at that time - you know, the ones that provided the foundation for Western civilization - weren't Christians. Most were adamantly outspoken about the fact that gods did not exist. They were bright guys.

RkBall said...

"My Google account keeps screwing up my names. philosoraptor and davidmbeach are the same person."

Hah -- good one. I'm not falling for that one.

Joe said...

"If I ask you to provide me your single best argument for your belief in the existence of God, and I show you how that argument is flawed or otherwise invalid, will you abandon your belief in God?"

And if I supplied enough information would you believe in God?

However my believe in God is bolstered by argument not founded on argument. My belief in God is based on shared experience. Experience shared with others born in different centuries and millenia.

BTW how's that DNA explanation coming along?

I'm waiting!

Joe said...

"Everything that begins to exist requires a sufficient cause."

Except your little 'god' character that you've made up though right?"

Uh Agnasty do you have a comprehension problem? It would seem so, based on what you just wrote.

Richard wrote "begins to exist". Richard did not say God began to exist. You see one of the Christian understandings of God is that He is beyond space and time. He has no beginning and no end. Since He never came into being He has no cause for coming into being. To use His words "I AM"
The space time continuum came into existence at the big bang therefore it has a cause. What can cause the temporal but the Eternal.

Joe_Agnost said...

Joe (no relation) wrote: "You see one of the Christian understandings of God is that He is beyond space and time."

How convenient (and retarded).

That's also exactly the point I was making. Think of all the problems we could solve if we could just make up special rules for the solutions? Unfortunately such "solutions" always end up being completely useless... just like your god solution.

(heeheehee... "I AM"... "beyond space and time"... too funny.)

philosoraptor said...

And if I supplied enough information would you believe in God?

Sure. Tell him to make an unequivocal appearance to me, and have it confirmed by people that I trust. I also will need to run tests, to give me confidence that it is not an illusion. Give me some outright obvious thing - like healing an amputee. Why doesn't God ever do that? Allow me some verifiable, testable evidence, and I'll change my views. I'm open to new discoveries, but not without objective evidence. To do otherwise is foolish.

However my believe in God is bolstered by argument not founded on argument. My belief in God is based on shared experience. Experience shared with others born in different centuries and millenia.

Sure. I imagine belief in God comes from the Bible, from prayer, from logical arguments, from other believers and from a personal relationship, to name a few sources. They are all mutually supportive. However, none of these things stand up to the demand for quantifiable real objective evidence, and therefore, they are all irrelevant in establishing the existence of said being.

BTW how's that DNA explanation coming along?

What? You mean this:

Oh by the way have you come up with an explanation of DNA yet????

What are you asking for? This question makes no sense. How about you try and ask a question that can be answered. Try narrowing your focus a bit. Is this one of those ridiculous assertions about DNA and information? If it is, please tell me how you measured information to begin with. You see, I use information theory in my graduate work and I would love to know what information measure you have used to prove this assertion. Is it algorithmic information, mutual information, physical information, functional information, etc? Also, what equations are used to design a test that can establish such a claim, and what is the methodology?

So that you know, many people have already written about information increase or optimization in genomes, using various information measures. Schneider, e.g., has verified that evolution optimizes information at binding sites of real DNA. Others (e.g., Adami) have demonstrated that the entropy at spots on the genome associated with evolutionary adaptation to the environment shows decrease as adaptation progresses.

Please tell me how you (or whatever papers you are reading) have managed to discredit the work of these researchers, as well as others. It would be of immense value to the scientific community.

Joe said...

Now if anyone misunderstood what I said about Agnasty comprehension problems his "(heeheehee... "I AM"... "beyond space and time"... too funny.)" should remove all doubt.

Of course base materialists like Agnasty can't comprehend that there is more to existence than a bunch of atoms bumping together.

davidmbeach said...

Richard wrote "begins to exist". Richard did not say God began to exist.

What does existence even mean? If God didn't begin to exist, then he doesn't exist. Period. You can't reinvoke time and say that he existed before time, or, equivalently, 'outside' of it. Just because you can put some words together in a sentence doesn't mean the phrase makes sense. You are treating existence as a property, and when you do that you can say all manner of nonsense. The only existence that impacts this universe is existence in space and time. Also, space and time are not necessarily 'things' that have an outside and an inside. They are the measure of things, more precisely. Finally, if you want to say that God exists in some other dimensions - i.e., you want to postulate a multidimensional reality - then you have to have proof or evidence of that. What's more, the implications are that a) God is no different from us, just living in other dimensions, and b) there is no way he could interact with us.

If you want to claim that God can affect physical things, then he must have at least a temporary physical existence. Thus, he becomes the object of physical science, and his existence only makes sense in terms of metrics that can be used to measure existence: i.e., space and time.

You see one of the Christian understandings of God is that He is beyond space and time. He has no beginning and no end.

What a load of rhetorical nonsense. God is both "A" and "not-A"? He is therefore the null set. Nothing. Zip.

Since He never came into being He has no cause for coming into being.

You can't just postulate that a being exists that never came into being in order to get around the 'first cause' stipulation. Where is the evidence of that? How does that work?

To use His words "I AM"
The space time continuum came into existence at the big bang therefore it has a cause.


Please, please, please just stay away from discussing cosmology. I guarantee you have no idea what you're talking about.

If you want to get a clue, watch Lawrence Krauss' A Universe From Nothing . Then pick up some textbooks and start learning general relativity and quantum theory.

Joe said...

Cute dodge there Dino lover too bad you don't understand the question. I didn't ask about the existence I asked about the genesis of DNA. If you think the existence is sufficient proof regarding its genesis then you wasted you money completing grade 12. That is what you meant with Graduate isn't it?

As for God showing Himself to you. Ha ha ha ha ha. He shows Himself every day except you're too thick to understand. After all the entire world is full of His Glory.

davidmbeach said...

I didn't ask about the existence I asked about the genesis of DNA

Read some papers on abiogenesis. Try Jack Szostak's work for starters. Come back when you have something worthwhile to say. At the moment you sound like a fool.

As for God showing Himself to you. Ha ha ha ha ha. He shows Himself every day except you're too thick to understand. After all the entire world is full of His Glory.

Your imaginary friend is not a God. It's a creeping low-grade psychosis.

Joe said...

Dinolover you seem to have a reading comprehension problem too. I didn' ask for book titles I asked YOU to explain in YOUR own words the autogenesis of DNA.

You see I often run into Christians who tell me to read this book or that book and I ask them to forget the book and explain their understanding in their own words.

I have a very good reason for this. A person can read a book and be swept along by the fine 'facts and arguments' presented. However when the person is actually forced to think about those same fine 'facts and arguments' they come to understand that the author is lying through his teeth.

So instead of insulting me for having read the books and found them wanting, try to think for yourself.

davidmbeach said...

Joe

Szostak hasn't written a book. I'm recommending researchers. If you go to their web pages, you can read original research papers. I doubt that you've read their 'books', as you claim, because they don't exist. I thought Christians weren't supposed to lie, although I doubt there was stipulation in the Bible to be intellectually honest.

As for giving you a lesson in abiogenesis, no deal. I've done the reading and research, and I don't have the time to give you free lessons. Nor would I do the research justice, as it is not my area of expertise - precisely why I gave you a few names, so that you could get the information first hand.

As for theories as to the origin of DNA, do check Szostak's work. He is in the process of constructing a living cell, and his research sheds a lot of light on possible mechanisms for the origin of replicating molecules. For a simple introduction, watch this video and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/potholer54?blend=1&ob=4#p/u/17/v8nYTJf62sE</a>this video</a>. You can also start reading about autocatalytic cycles.

davidmbeach said...

Here's a link to the second video:

this video

Joe said...

Ah poor ole Dinolover missed it again.

Did I ever say which books I read and found wanting? Did I say that I had read any book listed by you?

NO!!!

Now I want you to think for just as second.

"He is in the process of constructing a living cell"

This is a statement for intelligent design not random chance. He is attempting to manipulate all kinds of factors to attain a set end. That dear sir calls for intelligence not randomness.

If he were using randomness he would take a bucketfull of nothing and wait until life appears. Anything else is poisoned by intent based on intelligence.

davidmbeach said...

This is a statement for intelligent design not random chance

This is preposterous. By this assertion, any experiment 'designed' to test a hypothesis is an illustration of intelligent design.

I suspect you haven't read anything of Szostak's work, or you would see that he is demonstrating a possible mechanism by which a living protocell could evolve under known chemical processes and thermodynamic laws. Thus, he is exactly *refuting* intelligent design. Perhaps using the word 'constructing' misled you. I recommend you actually go and read some of these things before you comment, so that you don't appear the fool.

Joe said...

Well Dinodavid you are now confused. When science can take a bucket of nothing, leave it to natural causes and produce life I will believe that science has proven natural causes until then well let me tell you a little parable.

A scientist boasted that he had created life from dirt which proved natural causes.

God replied nice experiment next time start with your own dirt.

So how's that bucket full of nothing doing?

Oh I'm sorry I asked you a second question before you answered the first.

Where's your explanation for DNA

davidmbeach said...

When science can take a bucket of nothing, leave it to natural causes and produce life I will believe that science has proven natural causes

You're implying the only way to prove natural causes is to leave a bunch of chemicals subject only to natural forces, and have them produce a cell?

davidmbeach said...

Well, I was going to lead you into answering the above in the affirmative so that I could inform you that that is exactly what Szostak has done. However, I fear that you are just that much of a dumbass that you either a) won't acknowledge that what I wrote above is a perfectly appropriate general methodology for testing a scientific hypothesis, or b) you'll just shift the goalposts when I point out that you were duped.

Stay blissful in your ignorance, Joe. You won't read, and I don't have the time for someone who won't be critical of himself. Besides, I now believe that you're a parody. No one is that stupid.

Joe said...

"You're implying the only way to prove natural causes is to leave a bunch of chemicals subject only to natural forces"

NO. What I am stating is you start with absolutely nothing. NO Space no Time, no Matter, no Energy and then it until life appears.

You see science is merely trying to recreate what is already evident. And by the way despite his boasting it hasn't happened yet. But even if he succeeded he would only succeed in showing that under the right circumstances given the right chemicals and enough time an Intellegent being can manipulate the conditions for life to form.

But you see in that kernel of untruth lies a greater fact. Supposedly all life on earth evolved from a one time development of life. How come? Why hasn't the conditions been right hundreds of time over to 'create' all kinds of life forms with completely different formulations of DNA? Is the life forming 'creation event' so special that it only occurred once in the Billions of years of the Earth's existence? Doesn't speak well for your pet theory. Random forces random conditions etc etc etc. In the mean time keep trying I'm having great fun bursting your bubbles.

Joe said...

Oh by the way how's that DNA explanation coming along? I mean you're the one who claims to be reading all the books.

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