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IDist claim by using such terms as "specified complexity" and "irreducible complexity" that certain structures, whether it be DNA or flagellum, are too complex to have arisen naturally. The problem comes down to how does one generate complex information from simple sources. The IDists claim intelligence is the only possible source. As is their wont, this is simply asserted as true. The test is left to real scientists.

Enter genetic algorithms (GA). My apologies if these have been discussed before.

GA were derived to examine natural adaptation mechanisms. An introduction to the concept can be found here: http://www.rennard.org/alife/english/gavintrgb.html .

We can then see that the principle of genetic algorithms is simple :

1. Encoding of the problem in a binary string.
2. Random generation of a population. This one includes a genetic pool representing a group of possible solutions.
3. Reckoning of a fitness value for each subject. It will directly depend on the distance to the optimum.
4. Selection of the subjects that will mate according to their share in the population global fitness.
5. Genomes crossover and mutations.
6. And then start again from point 3.


The results of GA are startling. GA turns out to be remarkably efficient at finding optimization solutions for problems, often generating highly complex solutions. Notably, it has proven to be adept at solving problems in engineering (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471127418/103-7843133-0879820?v=glance&n=283155), which seems relevant given the central role these processes are believed to have in the evolution of what Idists like to call "machine-like" living things. Turns out that many of the designs and solutions generated by GA are "irreducibly complex" according to the criteria of Behe.

GA are also being used to optimize artificial intelligence programs (http://www.aaai.org/AITopics/html/genalg.html), an ironic reversal of the ID proposal.

So it seems that there is evidence that selection, random mutation, and recombination can generate informational complexity of the type required by evolutionary theory. Now I suspect the creationists will reply with all sorts of rationalizations why the genetic algorithms are not an accurate representation of biological evolution, but here's the thing. This is their chance to try to prove it.

Come up with a set of algorithms that more accurately reflect biological evolution and show that these cannot produce the kinds of complex information deemed impossible by natural means by Dembski and Behe. Dembski is supposed to be this information theory expert. He should have the expertise to perform the experiment. I think it an obvious thing to do, though I wouldn't hold my breath waiting.
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Don't hold your breath....

It has been known for many years (decades?) GAs can create arbitrary networks of XOR, NAND or NOR gates and therefore can grow any Boolean function you want. Computers are essentially built from networks of XOR, NAND or NOR gates. Computers are certainly as complex as anything and can produce behaviors as complex as anything - in fact they are Turing complete. Therefore a GA can grow a computer and be as complex as needed and produce as complex behavior as needed.

The only way out for IDers is to deny computers are complex and don't really produce complex behavior.

Laughable? Yes. But I don't expect reason from IDers.

Bill B.
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IDist claim by using such terms as "specified complexity" and "irreducible complexity" that certain structures, whether it be DNA or flagellum, are too complex to have arisen naturally. The problem comes down to how does one generate complex information from simple sources. The IDists claim intelligence is the only possible source. As is their wont, this is simply asserted as true. The test is left to real scientists.


Could you clarify something for me . . . when you use the term "IDist", who are you referring to?

If you are talking about Dembski, Behe, etc., the major proponents who are developing ID theory, then you have mischaracterized their argument. Unfortunately I can't say anything more about this, because while you misrepresent Dembski (if that's who you're referring to), you have stated that you don't want to read quotes from Dembski because "he doesn't know what he's talking about". If we can't let him speak for himself, then I have no way to contribute to the discussion on what "IDist" in this sense claim. I have officially resigned as this boards "Corrector of Misinformation for those who Wish to Remain Misinformed".

Now if you are using "IDist" in a general sense of "Any Tom, Dick or Harry who argues for intelligent design in the public square", then again I have nothing to say, because they would be wrong if they made the claims you say "IDist" have made.

Why spoil another man's fun in disassembling scarecrows?

Bryan
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Could you clarify something for me . . . when you use the term "IDist", who are you referring to?

The main cast of characters, Dembski, Behe, Denton, etc.

Unfortunately I can't say anything more about this, because while you misrepresent Dembski (if that's who you're referring to), you have stated that you don't want to read quotes from Dembski because "he doesn't know what he's talking about". If we can't let him speak for himself, then I have no way to contribute to the discussion on what "IDist" in this sense claim.

No need to get your shorts all bunched up. Just because I think Dembski is a dingbat doesn't mean you can't quote him. I just don't find him convincing is all. Certainly feel free to correct any errors I make/made.

Here is the post I made that is in question:

IDist claim by using such terms as "specified complexity" and "irreducible complexity" that certain structures, whether it be DNA or flagellum, are too complex to have arisen naturally. The problem comes down to how does one generate complex information from simple sources. The IDists claim intelligence is the only possible source. As is their wont, this is simply asserted as true. The test is left to real scientists.

At the time, I was glancing at this dialogue between the major characters in the creationism/evolution debate (http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/nhmag.html).

Here is a quote from Dembski from that site that I base my statement upon:

"Intelligence leaves behind a characteristic trademark or signature -- what I call "specified complexity." An event exhibits specified complexity if it is contingent and therefore not necessary; if it is complex and therefore not easily repeatable by chance; and if it is specified in the sense of exhibiting an independently given pattern. "
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IDist claim by using such terms as "specified complexity" and "irreducible complexity" that certain structures, whether it be DNA or flagellum, are too complex to have arisen naturally.

Ok, this is the first part that I have problems with. Irreducible complexity does not argue that the flagellum is "too complex to have arisen naturally". This seems to me a very non-technical summary that is most often used by anti-ID critics (though I won't rule out IDiots using it).

IC argues that there can be no direct darwinian route to the flagellum. IOW, there is no conceivable process by which the flagellum could evolve from no flagellum by small, step-wise changes, each having a selectable advantage for bacteria. I hope this is obvious and doesn't need further comment.

That leaves an indirect route, where functional subunits of a flagellum, being used by bacteria for some other functions, magically realign themselves to form a flagellum. ID doesn't say this is impossible, only highly improbable.

The problem comes down to how does one generate complex information from simple sources.

I don't think this is accurate either, but I'd have a harder time explaining why (due to lack of depth in this area). Simply focusing on complex information is to ignore what Dembski said in your quote "an independently given pattern. " Certainly there are complex things in nature that don't exhibit specified complexity . . . weather patterns, fractals, come to mind.

As far as genetic algorithms, where do they come from? I thought this quote relating to GA, by an researcher in the field, was very informative:

Sir - Stephen Meyer's article (Opinion, January 28) on intelligent design was a thoughtful and calm outline of the background to the debate.

In my own research area of evolutionary algorithms, intelligent design works together with evolutionary principles to produce better solutions to real problems.

Sometimes the results are novel and surprising, but, on reflection, they were always inherent in the initial formulation. Without the initial activity of an intelligent agent, the evolutionary mill has no grist to work on.

As molecular biology advances, the Darwinist dogma becomes ever more implausible as an explanation for the sort of complexity that Meyer describes.

Prof Colin Reeves, Rugby, Warwickshire


Turns out that the the good prof is Professor of Operational Research in the School of Mathematical and Information Sciences (MIS) at Coventry University, and his research focuses on genetic algorithms, and the good doctor is in the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology department at University of Sheffield.


http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/02/noted_scientists_respond_to_me.html


Bryan


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"IC argues that there can be no direct darwinian route to the flagellum. IOW, there is no conceivable process by which the flagellum could evolve from no flagellum by small, step-wise changes, each having a selectable advantage for bacteria. I hope this is obvious and doesn't need further comment."

This, agrugment, to me, simply implies a lack of imaginatation. But then a lack of imagination is something believers Of ID are ofter accused of.

An alteration in the the cell wall using the components that comprise a flagellum would be a reasonable starting point requireing minimal alterations and yet affording the organism an ability to manipulate its cell wall to avoid attack could be a reasonable original source for the flagellum. More plausable would have been the equivalent of "protista" sex. bacteria have external stuctures similar to flagellum called pilli. Pilli serve multiple functions from adhesion to gene transfer.
If a bacteria has a phenotypically similar structure that is not necessarily dedicated to propulsion, one can argue that by a series of very small steps, a previously static structure could become a method of locomotion.
I don't think that it is a stretch at all for a static tube to evolve into a marginally mobile tube that is stillused for gene transfer or attachment to eventually become a neans of locomotion meanwhile losing its gene transfer and adhesion functions.

To claim that no one can fathom a pre motility use for a structure that is currently used for locomotion simply suggests a lack of imagination.
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This, agrugment, to me, simply implies a lack of imaginatation. But then a lack of imagination is something believers Of ID are ofter accused of.

Like here, for example:

Miller claims that the problem with anti-evolutionists like Michael Behe and me is a failure of imagination -- that we personally cannot "imagine how evolutionary mechanisms might have produced a certain species, organ, or structure." He then emphasizes that such claims are "personal," merely pointing up the limitations of those who make them. Let's get real. The problem is not that we in the intelligent design community, whom Miller incorrectly calls "anti-evolutionists," just can't imagine how those systems arose. The problem is that Ken Miller and the entire biological community haven't figured out how those systems arose. It's not a question of personal incredulity but of global disciplinary failure (the discipline here being biology) and gross theoretical inadequacy (the theory here being Darwin's). Darwin's theory, without which nothing in biology is supposed to make sense, in fact offers no insight into how the flagellum arose. If the biological community had even an inkling of how such systems arose by naturalistic mechanisms, Miller would not -- a full six years after the publication of Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe -- be lamely gesturing at the type three secretory system as a possible evolutionary precursor to the flagellum. It would suffice simply to provide a detailed explanation of how a system like the bacterial flagellum arose by Darwinian means. Miller's paper, despite its intimidating title ("The Flagellum Unspun") does nothing to answer that question. (http://www.designinference.com/documents/2003.02.Miller_Response.htm)


I don't think that it is a stretch at all for a static tube to evolve into a marginally mobile tube that is stillused for gene transfer or attachment to eventually become a neans of locomotion meanwhile losing its gene transfer and adhesion functions.


Well, no one can say you Darwinists don't have imagination, thats for sure. But why are you satisfied with such sketchy explanations, ones that would never fly in other scientific disciplines? Why is evolutionary biology unable to provide detailed explanations? From the same article linked above:

To sum up, the Darwinian mechanism requires a selectable function if that mechanism is going to work at all. Moreover, functional pieces pulled together from various systems via coevolution and co-option are selectable by the Darwinian mechanism. But what is selectable here is the individual functions of the individual pieces and not the function of the yet-to-be-produced system. The Darwinian mechanism selects for preexisting function. It does not select for future function. Once that function is realized, the Darwinian mechanism can select for it as well. But making the transition from existing function to novel function is the hard part. How does one get from functional pieces that are selectable in terms of their individual functions to a system that consists of those pieces and exhibits a novel function? The Darwinian mechanism is no help here. Darwin himself conceded this point. Writing in the Origin, he noted: "Unless profitable variations do occur, natural selection can do nothing." To say that those profitable variations are random errors is to beg precisely the point in question.

Finally, I will note that, although you seem to think direct pathways are plausible, most refutations of Behe that I've read appeal to indirect pathways. I'm surprized, if direct pathways are so obvious, none of the major anti-ID scientists use this argument.

That's why I thought it was settled that IC can't be explained by appeals to direct paths.

Bryan

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Bryan cites a creationist site that states:

It would suffice simply to provide a detailed explanation of how a system like the bacterial flagellum arose by Darwinian means. Miller's paper, despite its intimidating title ("The Flagellum Unspun") does nothing to answer that question.

Bryan then adds:

"Well, no one can say you Darwinists don't have imagination, thats for sure. But why are you satisfied with such sketchy explanations, ones that would never fly in other scientific disciplines? Why is evolutionary biology unable to provide detailed explanations? "

Which as it turns out is totally irrelevant to the paper being talked about ("The Flagellum Unspun").

Have you actually read "The Flagellum Unspun" or do you confine your reading to stuff that that has been prefiltered by people who believe the way you do? If you had read the article you would know that Miller's intent was not to describe a mechanism for the evolution of flagellum, nor was it to disprove intelligent design (Miller is a devout Christian afterall). Rather it was to argue that the ID proposal is a very, very poor argument because it rests on faulty assumptions, one of which is that the flagellum is IR.

Quote from "The Flagellum Unspun" (not some third-hand, fourth-rate editorial of the article) that describes the issue Miller is going to address(http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html):

"However, the notion at the heart's of today intelligent design movement is that the direct intervention of an outside designer can be demonstrated by the very existence of complex biochemical systems. What even they acknowledge is that their entire scientific position rests upon a single assertion – that the living cell contains biochemical machines that are irreducibly complex. And the bacterial flagellum is the prime example of such a machine."

What Miller goes on to question is whether flagellum is IR as defined by Behe. Again a quote from the original article:

"Such an assertion, as we have seen, can be put to the test in a very direct way. If we are able to search and find an example of a machine with fewer protein parts, contained within the flagellum, that serves a purpose distinct from motility, the claim of irreducible complexity is refuted. As we have also seen, the flagellum does indeed contain such a machine, a protein-secreting apparatus that carries out an important function even in species that lack the flagellum altogether. A scientific idea rises or falls on the weight of the evidence, and the evidence in the case of the bacterial flagellum is abundantly clear.

As an icon of anti-evolution, the flagellum has fallen.

The very existence of the Type III Secretory System shows that the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex. It also demonstrates, more generally, that the claim of "irreducible complexity" is scientifically meaningless, constructed as it is upon the flimsiest of foundations – the assertion that because science has not yet found selectable functions for the components of a certain structure, it never will. In the final analysis, as the claims of intelligent design fall by the wayside, its advocates are left with a single, remaining tool with which to battle against the rising tide of scientific evidence. That tool may be effective in some circles, of course, but the scientific community will be quick to recognize it for what it really is – the classic argument from ignorance, dressed up in the shiny cloth of biochemistry and information theory."


So a subset of the components in the flagellum has a different function, one involved in secretion. There is also growing evidence that several components of the flagellum may not be necessary for flagellar function, but that is a different can of worms.

I suggest that if you do want to criticize evolutionary explanations of flagellum, it would probably be more honest to refer to papers that actually attempt to present an evolutionalry explanation. Here is one that you should feel free to dissect (http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/flagellum.html#primitive).

A small snippet:

"Figure 7: Summary of the evolutionary model for the origin of the flagellum, showing the six major stages and key intermediates. White components have identified or reasonably probable nonflagellar homologs; grey components have either suggested but unsupported homologs, or no specific identified homologs, although ancestral functions can be postulated. The model begins with a passive, somewhat general inner membrane pore (1a) that is converted to a more substrate-specific pore (1b) by binding of proto-FlhA and/or FlhB to FliF. Interaction of an F1F0-ATP synthetase with FlhA/B produces an active transporter, a primitive type III export apparatus (1c). Addition of a secretin which associates with the cytoplasmic ring converts this to a type III secretion system (2). A mutated secretion substrate becomes a secreted adhesin (or alternatively an adhesin is coopted by transposition of the secretion recognition sequence), and a later mutation lets it bind to the outer side of the secretin (3a). Oligomerization of the adhesin produces a pentameric ring, allowing more surface adhesins without blocking other secretion substrates (3b). Polymerization of this ring produces a tube, a primitive type III pilus (4a; in the diagram, a white axial structure is substituted for the individual pilin subunits; all further axial proteins are descended from this common pilin ancestor). Oligomerization of a pilin produces the cap, increasing assembly speed and efficiency (4b). A duplicate pilin that loses its outer domains becomes the proto-rod protein, extending down through the secretin and strengthening pilus attachment by association with the base (4c). Further duplications of the proto-rod, filament, and cap proteins, occurring before and after the origin of the flagellum (6) produce the rest of the axial proteins; these repeated subfunctionalization events are not shown here. The protoflagellum (5a) is produced by cooption of TolQR homologs from a Tol-Pal-like system; perhaps a portion of a TolA homolog bound to FliF to produce proto-FliG. In order to improve rotation, the secretin loses its binding sites to the axial filament, becoming the proto-P-ring, and the role of outer membrane pore is taken over by the secretin's lipoprotein chaperone ring, which becomes the proto-L-ring (5b). Perfection of the L-ring and addition of the rod cap FlgJ muramidase domain (which removes the necessity of finding a natural gap in the cell wall) results in 5c. Finally, binding of a mutant proto-FliN (probably a CheC receptor) to FliG couples the signal transduction system to the protoflagellum, producing a chemotactic flagellum (6); fusion of proto-FliN and CheC produces FliM. Each stage would obviously be followed by gradual coevolutionary optimization of component interactions. The origin of the flagellum is thus reduced to a series of mutationally plausible steps."
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Bryan cites a creationist site that states:

Why is it relevant what kind of site it is? Are you trying to make a point here?

Which as it turns out is totally irrelevant to the paper being talked about ("The Flagellum Unspun").


And in turn, your observation is irrelevant to this thread. Your comment might make sense if we were discussing Miller's paper. I'm responding to Dr. Rick's comments, and quoting Dembski to that end.

But to humor you for the moment, take this quote from Miller:

If we are able to search and find an example of a machine with fewer protein parts, contained within the flagellum, that serves a purpose distinct from motility, the claim of irreducible complexity is refuted.

Utter nonsense, and shows to anyone who understands what Behe and Dembski claim how useless Miller's line of argumentation is. Are you sure you've read Darwin's Black Box, The Design Inference, and No Free Lunch like you claim? All I see is recycled arguments from The Panda Thumbsuckers.

Here is one that you should feel free to dissect

Don't need to, as Behe in effect dissected it 10 years ago when he pointed out there are no detailed explanations. It's whats called the "A -> B -> C -> D" type of explanation, which is untestable and therefore useless in establishing whether the flagellum could actually evolve in the way roughly outlined by the paper.

Of course Dembski has already dealt with your geography grad student's paper:

So has Matzke in fact filled in the gaps that intelligent design claims are insurmountable for the Darwinian selection mechanism? In particular, has he provided a detailed, testable, step-by-step Darwinian model for the origin of the bacterial flagellum? Matzke claims that he has. Thus we read at the beginning of his article: "This article will propose a detailed model for the evolutionary origin of the bacterial flagellum." And at the end of his article we read: "Finally, in light of the organized complexity and apparent 'design' of the flagellum, the very fact that a step-by-step Darwinian model can be constructed that is plausible and testable significantly weakens the suggestion that extraordinary explanations [read intelligent design] might be required."

In fact, such claims by Matzke about what his article is supposed to have demonstrated are highly misleading. Matzke at one point in his article refers to the bacterial flagellum as an "icon of intelligent design." Certainly it's understandable (and even commendable) that as a Darwinian he should want to knock this icon down. But to do so he must make good on his claim to provide a detailed, testable, step-by-step Darwinian model of how the bacterial flagellum could have originated. Unfortunately for him, that claim is false under any reasonable construal of the terms "detailed," "testable," and "step-by-step." The further claim that he has significantly undercut intelligent design is therefore false as well.


http://www.designinference.com/documents/2003.11.Matzke_Response.htm

Does the best explanation for the flagellum really come from a geologist?

Bryan
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Why is it relevant what kind of site it is? Are you trying to make a point here?

Isn't the point obvious? You rarely, if ever, refer to any original article supporting evolution. Instead you generally cut-n-paste something from a creationist web site. Suggests to me that you don't actually read the original stuff and try to assess its credibility. Instead you seem to immediately assume the paper is wrong and your "research" extends no further than finding an "authority" who criticises the paper.

In other words, you are far less interested in objectively exploring the issue and far more interested in proselytizing.

That's okay. But I wish I had known ahead of time.

And in turn, your observation is irrelevant to this thread. Your comment might make sense if we were discussing Miller's paper. I'm responding to Dr. Rick's comments, and quoting Dembski to that end.

Then why quote the section of the web site that misrepresents Miller's paper?

Utter nonsense, and shows to anyone who understands what Behe and Dembski claim how useless Miller's line of argumentation is. Are you sure you've read Darwin's Black Box, The Design Inference, and No Free Lunch like you claim? All I see is recycled arguments from The Panda Thumbsuckers.

Suppose a structure is made up of components A, B, C, and D. All four are needed for function-1. Therefore A, B, C, D are irreducibly complex for function-A according to Behe. But suppose A, B, C act in function-2 and in this case, B is redundant to C. And suppose B,C,D act in function-3, but B and C are not absolutely required. So the combination ABCD can exhibit redundancy depending on which function is being considered.

Is redundancy compatible with irreducible complexity?

Don't need to, as Behe in effect dissected it 10 years ago when he pointed out there are no detailed explanations. It's whats called the "A -> B -> C -> D" type of explanation, which is untestable and therefore useless in establishing whether the flagellum could actually evolve in the way roughly outlined by the paper.

It's testable because it predicts the kind of intermediates that should be found. In any case, you demand a step-wise explanation but when one is provided you simply reject it as a "A -> B -> C -> D" type of explanation. How convenient.

Does the best explanation for the flagellum really come from a geologist?

Didn't say it was the best. But since your willingness to do research seems restricted to web sites, I am limited to what is available on the internet.

Would Matzke's paper pass peer-review in a quality journal? I doubt it as it is too speculative. Unlike the Discovery Institute, science groups have standards. But it is a far more detailed and consistent explanation than anything Dembski or Behe has presented for the origin of flagella.

In any case it is noteworthy that the Dembski counterargument is largely limited to "there isn't enough detail". He never claims that the model presented by this geology grad student is implausible or improbable. He never addresses the details of any particular proposed step with any substantive criticism other than "there's no proof". My reading of both Matzke and Dembski tells me that between the two, there is far more evidence that Matzke is capable of (1) understanding the scientific literature in biology, (2) the nuances of flagellar biochemistry, and (3) deriving a testable scientific theory from empirical observations.

In this exchange, Dembski doesn't come off all that well.
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Isn't the point obvious? You rarely, if ever, refer to any original article supporting evolution. Instead you generally cut-n-paste something from a creationist web site. Suggests to me that you don't actually read the original stuff and try to assess its credibility. Instead you seem to immediately assume the paper is wrong and your "research" extends no further than finding an "authority" who criticises the paper.

In other words, you are far less interested in objectively exploring the issue and far more interested in proselytizing.


There is another way of looking at the situation. I have to admit, that after a year on this board arguing these points, I have less enthusiasm for going over it in detail again. That's not your fault.

Cutting and pasting is a valid way of contributing to the discussion. After all, while I too have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express, I'm still not an authority on ID. Dembski and Behe are. And in order to establish that "Dembski says this" or "Behe says that", what other choice do I have but quoting them.

Ultimately your argument against ID is with them, not me. I have no standing in the debate. I'm willing to share what I know and understand of the issues, that's all. I'm sorry that I disappoint you.

Bryan
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Cutting and pasting is a valid way of contributing to the discussion. After all, while I too have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express, I'm still not an authority on ID. Dembski and Behe are. And in order to establish that "Dembski says this" or "Behe says that", what other choice do I have but quoting them.

But when the issue is the legitimacy of Dembski's or Behe's argument then I think one needs to have one's own rationale for accepting or rejecting. Or do you accept what they say without question?

Ultimately your argument against ID is with them, not me. I have no standing in the debate. I'm willing to share what I know and understand of the issues, that's all.

My argument is with anyone who supports political changes that I think will adversely affect the education of my kids. If you "have no standing in the debate" or don't understand the issue then I hope you will not vote for the redefinition of science and the forced inclusion of ID into the secular school curriculum if/when that issue comes up.

I have met many creationists who can quote chapter and verse from web sites and occasionally Behe's, Well's, or Denton's books (most mention Dembski but don't seem to understand it well---for good reason IMO) and who make passionate statements about the deficiencies in evolutionary theory. I have yet to meet one who has critically studied even the popular literature describing and supporting evolution, which is the minimum effort required to at least partially understand the evidence supporting evolution.

I'm sorry that I disappoint you.

Well, I don't think you are truly concerned about whether I am disappointed, nor should you be. But, pardon my pontificating, if your criticism of the judge's decision on the Dover case came without first reading a detailed unbiased account of the case (or better yet, the actual decision itself which is readily available on the web) then I think you should be disappointed with yourself. Same if you believe all the criticisms of Miller's critique of ID without first reading what Miller actually wrote.
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But when the issue is the legitimacy of Dembski's or Behe's argument then I think one needs to have one's own rationale for accepting or rejecting. Or do you accept what they say without question?

I have studied both Behe and Dembski's works in depth. I find them very persuasive. I understand Behe much more than Dembski in general. Dembski's logical arguments are easier to follow to me than his mathematical. I get lost pretty quickly there.

But it's not just me . . . there are a growing number of much more credible judges, actual scientists in the relevant fields, who agree with Behe and Dembski. That gives me warrant to believe that I'm not crazy for siding with the IDiots. Personally, I can't stand Dembski's "attitude" in some of his writings, but I look past it to the arguments.

I realize that brilliant, credible scientists disagree with Behe and Dembski. So they too, as you, must have warrants for their belief. But both sides can't be right.

I have read the critics of both, to a lesser extent. What I have seen makes me highly suspicious of their case. When I see Miller and others misrepresenting what Behe and Dembski are saying, I find it hard to agree with them.

My argument is with anyone who supports political changes that I think will adversely affect the education of my kids. If you "have no standing in the debate" or don't understand the issue then I hope you will not vote for the redefinition of science and the forced inclusion of ID into the secular school curriculum if/when that issue comes up.


I think I understand the issues pretty well. I wish it were as simple as you make it out to be. The reasons there is so much opposition from the average guy to evolution are varied, as are the reasons people push ID in the schools.

You oppose changes that you think are detrimental to your kids. Let's say ID is forced on your kids by a political process in your state. Will you then accept the status quo, or will you seek ways to reverse the damage you see has been done to education?

Assuming you would not just let it slide, then why criticize those who take a different view from you, those who think (right or wrong) that teaching evolution as uncontroversial fact is actually damaging THEIR kids? What you and others seem to miss is that what motivates you may well motivate your opponents . . . seeking what's best for your children.

I think there must be a middle ground somewhere, and that's what I would advocate for if I were into the political process.

But, pardon my pontificating,

No problem. I've read the judges decision. When he misrepresents Behe and the case for ID (by selectively quoting or taking statements out of context), or when anyone for that matter uses such methods of argumentation, I am turned off.

Bryan
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But it's not just me . . . there are a growing number of much more credible judges, actual scientists in the relevant fields, who agree with Behe and Dembski.

I don't believe there are a growing number of scientists who agree with Behe and Dembski. There have always been scientists who disagree with various aspects of evolutionary theory. That is how it should be. About 40% of scientists are theists, so they probably believe in some form of creationism. But I doubt that you can demonstrate a growing number who believe that IR demonstrates intelligent design or that "specified complexity" means anything of significance.

When I see Miller and others misrepresenting what Behe and Dembski are saying, I find it hard to agree with them.

What have you read by Miller and others outside of web sites?

I think I understand the issues pretty well.

Why do you think that? I'm not trying to be obnoxious but why do you think you understand the evidence in support of evolution sufficiently to so passionately criticise the theory? What unbiased book or reference have you read about the process of evolution and the evidence in support?

I've read a ton of stuff on quantum mechanics and have a science Ph.D. but I still don't understand quantum mechanics and wouldn't dream of trying to legislate which flavor of quantum theory should be taught in schools.

Assuming you would not just let it slide, then why criticize those who take a different view from you, those who think (right or wrong) that teaching evolution as uncontroversial fact is actually damaging THEIR kids?

I don't mind people disagreeing with me. I would just like it to be an informed and intelligent disagreement. If someone is going to criticize evolution then they should at least read some unbiased material about evolution. Very few creationists do.

For example, if people are going to advocate changing the definition of science they should damn well know how and why science is defined the way it is today. They should read Descartes, Kant, Kuhn, and Popper and understand both the power and limitations of inductive and deductive reasoning, empiricism and the like.

I've read the judges decision. When he misrepresents Behe and the case for ID (by selectively quoting or taking statements out of context), or when anyone for that matter uses such methods of argumentation, I am turned off.

But when asked to substantiate this rhetoric all you did was cut and paste some web site that also made only unsubstantiated claims. It seems to me that Behe says one thing on creationist web sites and something else when under oath in a court of law. That's not the judge's problem.

But you think the judge was unfair. So provide an instance when the judge took Behe's testimony out of context.
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I don't believe there are a growing number of scientists who agree with Behe and Dembski . . . But I doubt that you can demonstrate a growing number who believe that IR demonstrates intelligent design or that "specified complexity" means anything of significance.


What would you accept as proof? I see a growing list of intellectuals and scientists that are willing to sign the Discovery Institutes statement of "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism". I find it hard to believe that given all the controversy surrounding ID, that NONE of the 500+ scientists have ever read Behe or Dembski, have never read any critiques of ID, and blindly signed their name to the list. I'm willing to bet some would fall into that category, but not the majority. So I assume that most are fully aware of the company they are associating with when they sign up.

Proof that they agree with Behe and Dembski? Not at all. But strongly suggestive.

why do you think you understand the evidence in support of evolution sufficiently to so passionately criticise the theory?

I understand the evidence. You have the fossil record, comparative DNA analysis, and observations in the field and lab of current processes. I think that someone who had no prior theistic worldview would have no reason to question the case for evolution. It's good enough for most people who have no dog in the fight. Gaps? Who cares, science will eventually fill it in. Always has.

But some, like Behe, have questioned the evidence a little harder, and has decided he can't give evolution the kinds of "passes" that typically are given by Darwinists. That goes for the other 500 on the list. They aren't convinced. Neither am I.

I don't mind people disagreeing with me. I would just like it to be an informed and intelligent disagreement.

We can go back and forth over which of us has read more on evolution. I'm happy to concede that title to you. But do you really think you know more about evolution than all 500 on the list? Are you arguing that no one who disputes Darwinism is intelligent? I don't think you are, and so the issue is not one of intelligence.

For example, if people are going to advocate changing the definition of science they should damn well know how and why science is defined the way it is today. They should read Descartes, Kant, Kuhn, and Popper and understand both the power and limitations of inductive and deductive reasoning, empiricism and the like.

Behe, Dembski, Meyers, Wells, and many other intellectuals are arguing for just such a change. Are you saying that you are sure they don't have the philosophical background to understand the issues. You should take a look at their degrees sometime . . . it would have been hard for them to miss the kind of education you propose.

But you think the judge was unfair. So provide an instance when the judge took Behe's testimony out of context.


I've been debating whether or not to take the time to do this. One reason I haven't is that it tends to lead to the kind of fruitless debates over what was implied or intended when so-and-so said whatever.

On a technical note, how do I find the exact location in the trial transcript that is refered to by the judges opinion? The only link to the transcript I have does not have the same reference scheme.

Bryan

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This probably isn't a productive discussion so this will (likely) be it for me.

What would you accept as proof?

How 'bout a poll asking "Do you agree with Behe and Dembski?"

I understand the evidence.

Well, if you say so. But I still don't think you've read an unbiased, substantial description of evolutionary theory (you've never replied to questions asking where you've learned about evolution). I'm guessing (mostly from what you've written in past posts) that the great majority of your knowledge of "the evidence" has been filtered through creationist web sites.

Behe, Dembski, Meyers, Wells, and many other intellectuals are arguing for just such a change. Are you saying that you are sure they don't have the philosophical background to understand the issues. You should take a look at their degrees sometime . . . it would have been hard for them to miss the kind of education you propose.

Why are you so dependent on these guys? Every time you get challenged with something you hide behind these icons. My degrees are as impressive as theirs (Harvard, Cal-Tech) and my publication record is easily comparable but I don't think anyone should blindly believe what I do. But then what I try to instill in my students is the willingness to think for themselves, which come to think of it is probably why so few espouse IDism.

On a technical note, how do I find the exact location in the trial transcript that is refered to by the judges opinion?

Don't know. In any case, don't do it on my account. My sabbatical is nearing an end as will be my visits to these boards.
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bd: But it's not just me . . . there are a growing number of much more credible judges, actual scientists in the relevant fields, who agree with Behe and Dembski.


What exactly is that number?

More importantly, is the proportion of ID-supporting scientists to evolution-believing scientists also growing?

If not, then the actual figure itself is irrelevant. A tenth of a percent is still a tenth of a percent, not matter how big your sample is.
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This probably isn't a productive discussion so this will (likely) be it for me.

It can be as productive as you want it to be. Dodging my questions tends to limit it.

How 'bout a poll asking "Do you agree with Behe and Dembski?"

That would do it. Unfortunately, I'm in no position to undertake such a poll.

But I still don't think you've read an unbiased, substantial description of evolutionary theory (you've never replied to questions asking where you've learned about evolution).

And just what do you think I would get out of such a description? One issue you keep dodging is the fact that highly educated intellectuals like yourself HAVE read the descriptions, and they STILL doubt Darwinism. What makes you think, if I read the top 10 books on evolution, that I'd come to some different conclusion?

BTW, what would be your #1, can't-fail-to-convert-an-IDiot-to-Darwinism book for me to read? I'll gladly read it if I haven't already.

But then what I try to instill in my students is the willingness to think for themselves, which come to think of it is probably why so few espouse IDism.

This is nothing but insulting to all the intellectuals who publically disagree with you. If you think you are the only one, or your side of the debate are the only ones who think for themselves, then there truly is nothing further to discuss.

There's a whole lot more going on than you are letting on. Why do you suppose ID theorists warn young scientists/grad students to not be too "out of the closet" for ID?

You know, come to think of it, you've never addressed my questions about what you've read on ID either. Have you read "The Design Inference", "No Free Lunch", and "Darwins Black Box" ? "Uncommon Dissent" is an excellent book from a much wider variety of intellectuals than you normally see.

You don't have to answer, but if you are challenging me to read the other side, make sure you practice what you preach. Do you also challenge your students to be open-minded about the Darwinism-ID debate?

Bryan
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Try

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District_trial_documents


I did. What I need is some way to decipher the notation found in the decision, like in:

Stated another way, ID posits that animals did not evolve naturally through evolutionary means but were created abruptly by a non-natural, or supernatural, designer. Defendants' own expert witnesses acknowledged this point. (21:96-100 (Behe)
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Tempers are flaring, so I shall tread carefully here.

I said: But I still don't think you've read an unbiased, substantial description of evolutionary theory (you've never replied to questions asking where you've learned about evolution).

Bryan replied: "And just what do you think I would get out of such a description? "

If you don't see why reading an unbiased account of evolutionary theory would be important for fairly evaluating its credibility then you are probably right, you wouldn't get anything out of the exercise.

Bryan continues: "One issue you keep dodging is the fact that highly educated intellectuals like yourself HAVE read the descriptions, and they STILL doubt Darwinism. What makes you think, if I read the top 10 books on evolution, that I'd come to some different conclusion?

I have no idea whether it would change your opinion. In fact I doubt that it would as your mind seemed to have been made up a long time ago. The only reason for attempting an unbiased appraisal of evolution and the supporting evidence is that by doing so, your opinion will be an informed one. It's your call whether that's important.

BTW, what would be your #1, can't-fail-to-convert-an-IDiot-to-Darwinism book for me to read?

Don't know of any "conversion" books. I'd suggest any evolution text you can borrow from the local library to get a better handle on the basics of evolution. You would learn for example that the modern synthesis is not just NS/RM but also includes neutral mutations, genetic drift, etc., and might get a better appreciation of the supporting evidence for evolution that you so easily dismiss.

As for books that directly address the creation-evolution debate, there are two that come to mind. To address IR, I would read Miller's "Finding Darwin's God". To deal with Dembski, I'd suggest Prakash's "Unintelligent Design". To read a theistic attempt to find common ground between God and evolution I'd suggest Haught's "God after Darwin: the theology of evolution".

You know, come to think of it, you've never addressed my questions about what you've read on ID either. Have you read "The Design Inference", "No Free Lunch", and "Darwins Black Box" ? "Uncommon Dissent" is an excellent book from a much wider variety of intellectuals than you normally see.

I've read "No Free Lunch" and skimmed Dembski's earlier book. I've read the book that had in the title "...Theory in Crisis" and skimmed one of Johnson's books, don't remember which, while on an airplane. Gave an honors undergrad seminar once a few years back that required reading of Behe's black box book. I've had discussions with colleagues where I would pretend to be a convert to IDism just to annoy them. I found the ID argument easy to make as there isn't much to it other than "you can't prove evolution" and "look at this complexity".

There's a whole lot more going on than you are letting on. Why do you suppose ID theorists warn young scientists/grad students to not be too "out of the closet" for ID?

Ahhh, the evil scientist argument.

Do you also challenge your students to be open-minded about the Darwinism-ID debate?

Of course not. I'm an evil scientist so they know that any positive comments on ID will lead to their having to wear a giant red "I" on their lab coat.
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You know, come to think of it, you've never addressed my questions about what you've read on ID either. Have you read "The Design Inference", "No Free Lunch", and "Darwins Black Box" ? "Uncommon Dissent" is an excellent book from a much wider variety of intellectuals than you normally see.

Not to nitpick or anything, but I seem to remember you saying that you never plan to pick up "The Demon Haunted World" because it's boring.
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Well, you know, it's boring reading books like The Ancestor's Tale and Climbing Mt. Improbable, about natural process that take place over millions of years, when you can daydream about a god who set up a bunch of laws and then has to violate them on occasion because things aren't progressing according to plan.
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Not to nitpick or anything, but I seem to remember you saying that you never plan to pick up "The Demon Haunted World" because it's boring.

It's still on my list to read.

I've been amused with the role reversal . . . you argued for the longest time that you didn't need to read DBB because you could understand the arguments from articles on the web. Now here I am essentially arguing your old position.

I've admitted that, if you come at the evidence with certain assumptions, you can make a perfectly logical, well-reasoned argument for neoDarwinism.

I've read tons of stuff on evolution from true believers. Certainly, I could read more. But it's all the same old same old.

For example, it doesn't matter how many similarities we find between the DNA of chimps and humans . . . there is no way to distinguish a natural process solution from a design solution, because a design solution incorporates the possibility of extensive natural process changes guided by intelligence.

As far as transitional sequences, yes yes a thousand times yes, there are transitional fossil sequences, but that's only because with enough imagination, ANYTHING becomes a transition.

I could go on, but my point is, my problem with evolution is evidential and philosophical. Reading more books which will give more examples of the same kinds of evidence won't help. I'll still say "This suffers from the same problems that all the others do".

The ID argument for irreducible complexity (when properly phrased), brings something new to the table . . . a way to scientifically test the concept of design in biological systems.

So tell me, how closer to an ID position are you after reading DBB? Judging from your review of it, I'd say you are further away. I hounded you about DBB because I sensed you didn't really understand Behe's argument, and I had hoped that you would at least be able to get the full impact from reading the source. I was disappointed.

Anyway, glad to see you still keep in touch with the board.

Bryan
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For example, it doesn't matter how many similarities we find between the DNA of chimps and humans . . . there is no way to distinguish a natural process solution from a design solution, because a design solution incorporates the possibility of extensive natural process changes guided by intelligence.

As far as transitional sequences, yes yes a thousand times yes, there are transitional fossil sequences, but that's only because with enough imagination, ANYTHING becomes a transition.


The only imagination is on the part of the IDers.

Fact is, the molecular dating shows that humans and chimps and gorillas spilit off from our common ancestor around 5 to 7 million years ago. That lines up very nicely with the fossils that have been found, showing a transition from quadruped to biped, and an increase in brain size and sophistication, which lines up with the tools that have been found, and the later tools that were used to make other tools, and the later development of art, etc. Not to mention the fact that evolution successfully predicts the age and location of transitional fossils before they are found.

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/06/11_idaltu.shtml

The fossilized skulls of two adults and one child discovered in the Afar region of eastern Ethiopia have been dated at 160,000 years, making them the oldest known fossils of modern humans, or Homo sapiens. The skulls, dug up near a village called Herto, fill a major gap in the human fossil record, an era at the dawn of modern humans when the facial features and brain cases we recognize today as human first appeared.

The fossils date precisely from the time when biologists using genes to chart human evolution predicted that a genetic "Eve" lived somewhere in Africa and gave rise to all modern humans. "We've lacked intermediate fossils between pre-humans and modern humans, between 100,000 and 300,000 years ago, and that's where the Herto fossils fit," said paleoanthropologist Tim White, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a co-leader of the team that excavated and analyzed the discovery site. "Now, the fossil record meshes with the molecular evidence."

"With these new crania," he added, "we can now see what our direct ancestors looked like." "This set of fossils is stupendous," said team member F. Clark Howell, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of integrative biology and co-director with White of UC Berkeley's Laboratory for Human Evolutionary Studies. "This is a truly revolutionary scientific discovery."


The prediction and subsequent discovery is just a coincidence?

If the molecular dating existed in a vacuum, your design argument might hold a drop or two of water, but for all the other evidence to be mutually supportive, you're forced to argue that the designer did things one way, but made it look like they happened another way. At some point, you have to realize that it's just a silly point of view.
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I've been amused with the role reversal . . . you argued for the longest time that you didn't need to read DBB because you could understand the arguments from articles on the web. Now here I am essentially arguing your old position.

Now that you recognize the validity of my old argument, maybe you should try another tactic besides badgering people to read boring books. If they want to read them, then they will.

The validity of my arguments doesn't hinge on whether you read Carl Sagan or not. I just think that Sagan has something to offer you and you might get something out of his perspective. I also happen to think that he's very funny and not at all boring, which is part of the reason I picked that one. Like for instance, he doesn't need to offset pages of his book with the label "Don't read this section, it's too boring for you if you're not a specialist."

You don't have to read it. It might generate a good discussion, but if you don't, more than likely the subject material won't be on the quiz. Just remember that I read yours.

The ID argument for irreducible complexity (when properly phrased), brings something new to the table . . . a way to scientifically test the concept of design in biological systems.

So tell me, how closer to an ID position are you after reading DBB? Judging from your review of it, I'd say you are further away. I hounded you about DBB because I sensed you didn't really understand Behe's argument, and I had hoped that you would at least be able to get the full impact from reading the source. I was disappointed.


I felt, and continue to feel, that you were mistaken in thinking that I didn't understand Behe. My understanding of Behe's position is nearly the same now as before I read the book. In fact, while I was reading it and thinking about what to write, I was worried that I would just wind up saying "I have nothing to write on this that I haven't already written before." But I did want to prove that I'd read it.

I don't want to be patronizing, but I think you're giving Behe too much credit for originality. In fact, the complexity argument is just the same "the things we see are too complicated to exist without a deity" that have been around at least since Paley, and probably since Saint Augustine. But they're dressed up with a lot more jargon.
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how sad,
Been away for awhile. Came back to read the "same old, same old".
bd, you are either a disingnenuous fraud, or you are someone bright enough to know how to argue effectively and find this amusing or you are a religious zealot who is so constrained by his own belief system as to need to indulge in a fantasy description of reality.
You can dismiss this as an ad-hominin attack or insult. It is. intended as such so I'll take the wind right out of those sails for you.
I don't have a problem with honest intellectual discussion. You do.
You insist that everyone call "rewarmed creationism" Intelligent design. You won't call evolutionary theory anything other than "Darwinsim". This is intellectual and acientific dishonesty from the word "go". You do not engage in a scientific discussion in an attempt to find the truth.
You simply look for an opportunity to score "debate points".

When I proposed alternate sources for the origin of the flagellum, your response was, rather than to acknowledge the possibility of the alternate explanation being correct or incorrect, and then propose methods of testing my propositions, you were decidedly dismissed everthing I posited, offered no test to disprove my suggestions and dismissed it all by pointing out that people who know the facts of evolution are, if nothing else, "imaginative".
You used the inference of being imaginative in a manner that was clearly intended to be perjorative.
Imagination and curiosity are the tools that drive Scientific Inquiry. I take pride in being both curious and imaginative. Curiosity and imagination are nothing unless they can confront, and explain reality.
If rewarmed creationism was one tenth as imaginative and curious as is evolutionary theory, it would continuously generate testable propositions that could be falsified. Evolutionary theory proposed a mechanism of heredity without the benefit of Mendel's genetics. Evolutionary theory proposed something like "DNA" nearly one hundred years before Watson and Crick figured out how DNA works.
Once DNA was discovered and understood, the idea of an evolutionary clock that should coincide with geologic and fossil history validated evolutionary theory.
Every misstep in evolutionary theory has been pointed out and shown why it was a fraud or a misunderstanding of the evolutionary theory. Each misstep, each error, every faked fossil, was exposed by someone who was well versed in evolutionary theory or a related discipline. In other words, scientists exposed the frauds. Warmed over creationists were not the source of the revelations nor were they the source of the errors in the first place.

The recent stem cell research frauds generated in Korea were caught and exposed by the very people who were most invested in stem cell research.
Are the proponents of warmed over creationism equally dilligent?

Science, has a built in self correcting mechanism that cares little for what one believes. Science is about truth that can be proven, tested verified.
Warmed over creationism is warmed over creationism. It lacks imaginaton. It poses no tests that would completely disprove the hypothesis.
Warmed over creationism makes few if any predictions other than some mechanisms are IC. Repeatedly, like the eye, like the coagulation cascade, evolutionary theory and biochemistry has proven that the eye is not IC nor is the coagulation cascade. I notice that you won't admit that each of these claims by the "high priests" of warmed over creationism-Dembski, Behe have been proven to be neither IC nor incompatable with evolutionary theory or genetic history, or the fossil record for that matter.

I don't read any retractions from the warmed over creation crowd that admits that the coagulation cascade, the flagellum, the eye, in fact, don't fit the model of IC, they have multiple interlocking scientific disciplines that prove an evolutionary history.
At each step of the way, evolutionary theory generates real ideas,new tests new ways that link it to other scientific disciplines.
Warmed over creationism has? well, it has nothing and if you were an honest broker of the truth, regardless of where truth leads, you would admit that warmed over creationism is fighting a rearguard action that it is losing because facts are a powerful source of ammunition.

I've brought up mitochondria repeatedly. There is a legitimate reason but that would require you understand what is so weird about mitochondria and why evolutionary theory can explain it but rewarmed creationism cannot.

You bring up rewarmed arguments about the eye, its evolution and development by using, essentially the sole argument from one Australian who has completely distanced himself from rewarmed creationism and now sort of leans towards "theistic evolution".

What I read on this page are multiple, well informed sources that can validate evolutionary theory who are at the same time willing to listen to alternate ideas and give you the facts.
You, on the other side of the table refuse to admit that rewarmed creationism continues to take hits from every known branch of science, its own adherents- by the way, at a rate greater than those who "doubt" evolution, and the facts presented by every scientific discipline.

I have concluded, that there is a fundamental defect in the way you process facts or that you derive such an emotional thrill from arguing an "underdog idea" that arguing facts and expecting an honest assessment is a pointless pursuit.
You argue not to arrive at truth; you argue for ego gratificaton or for ego defense. Possibly you argue to protect a core belief system that distorts your ability to accept any truth that challenges your core beliefs.
This is a well understood pathology. Denial of reality is its fundamental component.
For marginally unstable persecution based belief systems, attached to strong ego's with uncertain ids- no pun intended, but amusing nonetheless, the refusal to accept reality usually results in some fairly dangerous activities.
Evolution, on the other hand provides pathologic unbelievers, with the perfect foil.
Those, who from a delusional standpoint, believe that the "divine" created them to violate the laws of physics, or the laws of motion suffer from a rather rude confrontation with reality. They rarely get to stick around long enough to spout their anti-reality diatribes along with their conspirational theories.
Warmed over creationists, on the other hand, do not suffer from the consequences of their anti-evolutionary beliefs during their, or their multiple levels of ancestor's lifetimes.
They get to deny reality, facts, proofs. Suprise!, nothing happens to them. They get to indulge in non-reality. They can dismiss every fact and every proof not consistent with their delusional proof as proof of a broadbased conspiracy against those who disagree with their belief system. They get plenty of validation that their paranoid delusions are in fact reality.
Wellcome to your paranoid generated delusions of grandeur attached to an unproven belief that you have some specific attachment with knowledge provided to you from the divine.
It is quite likely that not believing in evolution will have no consequences in your lifetime. Unless of course you want to go duck hunting. If you do, I wouldn't recommend that you use a border collie as your retriever. Nor would I suggest that your daugher attempt to use a golden retriever to herd sheep.
Selective pressure......


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you are either a disingnenuous fraud, or you are someone bright enough to know how to argue effectively and find this amusing or you are a religious zealot who is so constrained by his own belief system as to need to indulge in a fantasy description of reality.


To be a fraud, I would have to misrepresent myself. I've never claimed expertise in any area we discuss here. I don't have any.

I have learned a lot over the past year from the regular posters here on what makes a good argument. I've even learned some from you in the short time you've been here. For that, I am thankful. But I don't find this line of discussion (if you call it that) amusing.

I guess that leaves religious zealot.

Wellcome to your paranoid generated delusions of grandeur attached to an unproven belief that you have some specific attachment with knowledge provided to you from the divine.


Thank you for that warm, heart-felt welcome. Say what you want about me, whatever floats your boat. Attack, argue, discuss, rant, it's all cool.

Just don't trash Behe <g>

Bryan
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BTW, Dr. Rick, was there something specific I wrote that you want to object to?

Bryan
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One more thing, Dr. Rick, before I call it a night.

Have you ever talked with, or read books by, a creationist you respect? I'd like to know who they are. I might learn something from them.

Bryan



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Um, yes, that would be just about everything because, well, go back to my post before last.
You aren't really interested in discussing truth. You won't honestly admit that you have a religious agenda. You won't admit to being wrong. Rather than arguing points from a scientific standpoint, you post "stock" responses from discredited scientists who have been proven wrong and hope no one notices.
Arguments that clearly trash the IC argument are ignored and not responded to.
You won't point out or admit that any flaws in rewarmed creationism exist. You won't acknowledge when the "big guns" of rewarmed creationism are proven wrong.
Yet you want to argue you point as if it were science. You want to pretend that there are no flaws.
I do not like people who pick and choose the facts at hand to support an unsupportable argument.
We have a name for people in medicine who start from a premise and then pick and choose the facts to support the unsupportable diagnosis.

We call them quacks.
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I have read tons of material from "creationists"

Its at least nice to get an admition that you are in fact a creationist as opposed to a warmed over creationist.

In the 80's, when Gish came to The Ohio State University for a debate, I posed three questions to him that challenged his arguments.
He replied " I argue to win; not to answer questions"

Respected Creationist is an oxymoron.
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Its at least nice to get an admition that you are in fact a creationist as opposed to a warmed over creationist.


Wrong again Dr. Rick. I'm both (depending on what you mean by creationist). Kazim argues that "creationist" only means "belief in a creator", while I say it usually also carries the additional beliefs of a young earth, literal flood, etc. I'm an old-earth creationist, with strong sympathies for the ID crowd.

Respected Creationist is an oxymoron.

Well, that's what I suspected you believed, but wanted you to say it first. Depending on what you mean by creationist, I might agree with you.

But if you mean "anyone who believes in a creator", makes it hard to have the kind of interaction that I would find interesting. I have a daily limit of how many times I'm willing to be called stupid or a fraud before I tune someone out.

Bryan
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Bryan: "...I could go on, but my point is, my problem with evolution is evidential and philosophical. Reading more books which will give more examples of the same kinds of evidence won't help. I'll still say "This suffers from the same problems that all the others do"....

I have to admit to being flabbergasted by this post and a few other of your recent posts. I realize that our differences are deeper than simply how we interpret scientific data or theology. We differ in our concept of critical reasoning, on what constitutes a rational argument. Not being on common ground on this means a constructive debate is extremely difficult.

Just a few final comments.

I've read tons of stuff on evolution from true believers. Certainly, I could read more. But it's all the same old same old.

You should consider the possibility that your understanding of evolution is superficial. I'll try to explain why that might be so.

For example, it doesn't matter how many similarities we find between the DNA of chimps and humans . . . there is no way to distinguish a natural process solution from a design solution, because a design solution incorporates the possibility of extensive natural process changes guided by intelligence.

There are many flavors of DNA sequence comparisons and many different expectations depending on the type of DNA sequence. One simple example: If mutations are random then they will occur in both functional and nonfunctional sequences with equal frequency. If natural selection selects for function, then genetic variation in the functional sequences should be less than in nonfunctional (because negative variation will be weeded out). Alternatively, if an intelligent designer was involved, then one would expect a more direct route to producing the "designed" genes. In this case genetic variation in nonfunctional sequences should be less than predicted by more random processes.

Examples like this provide a small but significant portion of the genetic evindence supporting evolution, but requires a basal understanding of genes, chromosomes, mutations to appreciate. There are many other tests of the theory that can be made by genetic analyses and taken together the evidence is compelling that either life evolved, or God created life in such a way that it looks like it evolved. But one can't get at that information without expending a bit of effort in understanding basic genetics and evolutionary theory.

As far as transitional sequences, yes yes a thousand times yes, there are transitional fossil sequences, but that's only because with enough imagination, ANYTHING becomes a transition.

If that were truly the case, then there would be many "transitional" fossils and that would be one less criticism you creationists could make. But the criteria for something being a transitional fossil is far more selective than you describe. The fact is, peer review works. Any claim for any fossil must be presented to the scientific community where it is examined with a critical eye. It takes a strong argument with good supporting data for it to be accepted by the scientific community. Even then, that acceptance is contingent on that argument being able to withstand new information and new criticisms. In fact, a separate field of "morphometrics" (http://www.biol.ttu.edu/Strauss/morphometrics/Literature/Oxnard78.pdf)has arisen from these types of analyses and strict rules are applied to assigning relationships between morphological forms. To understand the fossil record and how it supports evolutionary theory therefore requires a certain level of knowledge beyond that which can be readily obtained from web sites or the books written by Creationists who wish to minimize the strength of the evidence.

If you don't think know this stuff is necessary for a fair evaluation of evolution, that's up to you. But if so, I don't believe you are justified in describing your opinion as either informed or rational.
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bd: there is no way to distinguish a natural process solution from a design solution, because a design solution incorporates the possibility of extensive natural process changes guided by intelligence.


As far as I can tell, ID has a goal of finding a single biological system that is IC, so that they can say, "Look, you can't explain how that evolved, and therefore it must have been designed."

On the other hand, if we point out a zillion systems or organs that are inefficiently designed, the IDers can always back off and say, "OK, that part must have been evolved, because it's not perfect. It's this other sub-component that must have been designed." Then you'll point out that the sub-component has a separate function, too, and the IDers will point to a sub-sub-component. Eventually, you'll be fighting over irreducibly complex electrons and quarks.

It's just a "God of the gaps" argument. It doesn't matter if you point out five hundred inefficiently-designed organs or systems as an argument against design, or if you refute five hundred supposedly IC systems, they'll keep hop-scotching over to something else and shout, "OK, those last five hundred things were obviously evolved and not designed, but what about *this* one?"

It's like the Monty Python "Parrot Sketch", where the customer returns his parrot to the shop because it's dead, and the dealer keeps denying that the bird is dead. "It's just resting."


IDer: This system is IC, because the components are worthless without each other.

Ev: Here's how the components function separately. They work just fine without each other.

IDer: It doesn't matter.

Ev: Of course, it matters. You just claimed that they had no function without each other, and I just showed otherwise.

IDer: It's a different function.

Ev: They don't *have* to have the same function; just the fact that they have *some* function as separate entities is enough to show that they could evolve apart from each other.

IDer: What are the odds they would all evolve separately, just so they could later form a system that is so incredibly useful? It's impossible. Wind blowing in a junkyard can't assemble a 747.

Ev: You're only perceiving the system as useful after the fact. Non-useful systems evolve also, but they don't survive. It's like a lottery winner wondering about the odds after he's won.

IDer: How can it happen by chance?

Ev: It doesn't; evolution is driven by natural selection, which is much more powerful than chance, but which still needs no designer to guide it.

IDer: What about this other system over here?

Then it turns into the "Argument Sketch", where John Cleese just contradicts everything the other guy says.

Ev: The components could have evolved separately.

IDer: No, they couldn't.

Ev: Yes, they can. Each one has a separate function.

IDer: No, they don't.

Ev: Yes, they do. This one performs this function.

IDer: No, it doesn't.

Ev: And this one performs this function.

IDer: No, it doesn't.

Ev: Look, here's the study that shows it.

IDer: No, it's not.

Ev: All you're doing is contradicting me. That's not an argument.

IDer: Yes, it is.



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It's just a "God of the gaps" argument.

No argument here.

Been doing a bit of outside reading. I hadn't realized evolutionary algorithms had progressed as much it has. The level of complexity of the solutions that can be generated by what are relatively simple algorithms is remarkable. Maybe I should hang out more with engineers and programmers..........nah.

Seems to me that the really interesting question is where did these algorithms come from (i.e., a "God of the algorithms" argument).
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Seems to me that the really interesting question is where did these algorithms come from (i.e., a "God of the algorithms" argument).


What is your gut feeling on the answer to this question?
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What is your gut feeling on the answer to this question?

I believe that someone designed a framework that could evolve the algorithms.

I believe that something could have designed the framework of the universe, so that stars and planets could form on their own, and that life could form on the planets. I concede that there is no evidence for it though. I seriously doubt that whatever designed the universe would micromanage things to the extent of designing bacteria propellers.
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I believe that someone designed a framework that could evolve the algorithms.

I believe that something could have designed the framework of the universe, so that stars and planets could form on their own, and that life could form on the planets. I concede that there is no evidence for it though. I seriously doubt that whatever designed the universe would micromanage things to the extent of designing bacteria propellers.


Yes, it's hard to say. Unless IC really is a hallmark of design, or we find "Made by Yahweh" inscribed somewhere in the cell, there's no way to prove it.

Since labels seem important to some, do you care to label yourself? Agnostic?

Bryan
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Since labels seem important to some, do you care to label yourself? Agnostic?

I don't like to label myself. Here's the easiest way I can explain it.

Theists believe that God exists.
Atheists believe that God doesn't exist.
Agnostics don't know if God exists.
I don't care if God exists.



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I don't care if God exists

Apatheist?
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Apatheist?

I'm going to copyright that word right now.
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Apatheist?

LOL, I didn't know the word existed.

There seem to be lots of labels like Apatheist, Ignostic, Nontheism, or Rationalism, etc. I agree with concepts in many of them. One of them probably fits me perfectly. I personally don't need a label, but I can see how it would make it easier for others to understand me.

Thanks for the enlightenment.





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Apatheist?

I'm going to copyright that word right now.


Of course I meant Apatheist™
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I'm going to copyright that word right now.

Too late:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apatheist
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