Answering Diepenbrock’s Challenge

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George Diepenbrock is a reporter for the Southwest Daily Times, a newspaper in Kansas. At the conclusion of this recent article about the latest evolution dust-up in Kansas, he offers the following challenge to those who wish to keep ID out of science classrooms:

This scares opponents to death because they are more worried about Kansas gaining criticism from national media as it did in 1999.

Instead opponents should come up with a good argument on why teaching only the evolution theory does not violate the state education science mission statement to make all students lifelong learners who can use science to make reasoned decisions.

Presenting only one life science theory in classes without alternatives breeds ignorance and violates the mission statement.

I have answered his challenge in this blog entry over at EvolutionBlog. Whether I have answered successfully I will leave to others to decide.

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Wow. I'm all tingly. from tongue, but no door on February 25, 2005 9:25 AM

We've mentioned Intelligent Design and evolution a few times recently, I know, and you can let me know if you're getting sick of it. But this is simply definitive. It's a very cool, well thought-out, reasoned response to this challenge:... Read More

312 Comments

Instead opponents should come up with a good argument on why teaching only the evolution theory does not violate the state education science mission statement to make all students lifelong learners who can use science to make reasoned decisions. Presenting only one life science theory in classes without alternatives breeds ignorance and violates the mission statement.

As soon as a SCIENTIFIC alternative to evolution is forthcoming, I’m sure those responsible will appropriately modify the curriculum. Ignorance would be to cloak religion as science and “teach it” in the science classroom in order to appease fundamentalists who won a publicity campaign.

The guy’s name links to [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; why not send it there? But fix that misspelling of his name: “Diepnbrock”. Also, a mention of what “theory” means is warranted, and it might be nice to contrast the number of peer reviewed articles on ID with the number on evolution published in the last … 50 years? Year? Week? Day?

OT: Powerline -vs- Pharyngula (in a show with everything but Yul Brenner):

here and here.

I like you piece Jason, but only wish it could be shorter. I’m prone to such prolixity and so I often wrestle with trying to cut my prose, usually believing that every word is critical. But given the tenor of Mr. Diepenbrock’s article and the prospect that it might make it into his paper, brevity might give your response more power. It now runs to more than 1200 words; no more than half of that would give it much more punch.

I think that Jason and company may be missing the point here.

Like Darwinism, Intelligent Design is an interpretation of biological data, and as such, it has as much right to be in science classrooms as Darwinism. In fact, it has approximately twice as much right to be there as Darwinism, because it is confirmed at approximately twice the rate.

Here’s why. We can reduce the basic Darwinian hypothesis to the following pair of assertions:

1. Although adaptive mutations are independent of fitness, they may be taken for granted (no further explanation required).

2. Due to natural selection, these mutations accumulate exclusively along certain lines of inheritance characterized by “fitness” (i.e., along those lines consisting of organisms which survive long enough to successfully reproduce).

Any instance of evolution confirming the Darwinian hypothesis does so through 2 alone. That is, because 1 posits no relationship between mutation and fitness, but merely takes something for granted, it is not a substantive part of the hypothesis.

On the other hand, the ID hypothesis asserts that:

1’. The occurrence of beneficial mutations is related to fitness (in a hypothetical design process).

2’. Identical to 2 above; since natural selection is trivial, ID is allowed to incorporate it as well.

Any instance of evolution confirms the ID hypothesis through both 1’ and 2’. That is, because 1’ posits a relationship between mutation and fitness rather than merely taking something for granted, and since this relationship accounts for the observed fact that some mutations are adaptive, it has substantive hypothetical content. Since the ID hypothesis makes twice as many relevant explanatory assertions as the Darwinian hypothesis (including natural selection), and since the data confirm both of these assertions, the ID hypothesis is confirmed at a correspondingly higher rate. [QED]

Of course, it would be fine to confine the classroom treatment of long-term biological change to just the data. But if the Darwinian interpretation of these data is to be included in the lessons, then ID needs to be included with approximately twice the urgency.

The problem is not merely that many high school teachers fail to understand the actual differences between these competing hypotheses; more generally, they fail to understand the logic of scientific confirmation. This is fair neither to the students they are paid to educate, nor to the taxpaying citizens who pay them to do so.

Unfortunately, their counterparts in the university system, including Jason here, have not been helping them fill the gaps in their knowledge. Instead, Jason and others have been making matters worse by openly displaying the same kinds of ignorance and prejudice.

Obviously, Jason and his fellow pundits need to behave more responsibly in this regard.

Any instance of evolution confirms the ID hypothesis through both 1’ and 2’.

There is no question that all instances of all phenomena confirm the “hypothesis” that “goddidit”. But scientific hypotheses are confirmed through observational negation of potentially disconfirming tests. There are no potentially disconfirming tests for ID, whereas there are millions of potentially disconfirming tests for the theory of evolution that have been observationally negated.

they fail to understand the logic of scientific confirmation

A spot of humor there.

”…there are millions of potentially disconfirming tests for the theory of evolution that have been observationally negated.”

Humor indeed.

I like you piece Jason, but only wish it could be shorter.

I think the basic problem with the piece is that it’s aimed at someone who is already familiar with the theory of evolution and the evidence that supports it, but anyone who refers to evolution as “only one life science theory” clearly hasn’t got a clue.

Another problem may be that the theory of evolution is so trivial that virtually any other “life science theory” properly contains it (unless, unlike ID theory, it denies long-term biological change of any kind). Thus, even were it true to say that “millions of potentially disconfirming tests for the theory of evolution have been observationally negated,” disconfirming tests for these other theories would be negated in the bargain.

Fact or Fiction?

Fact: There is a lot of evidence for evolution as stated by Darwin.

Fiction: Evolution has never been disproved or discredited. Survival of the fittest looks to NOT be the mechanism that filters out the longer surviving species which are often the least fit at the bottom of the food chain. The concept of a single ancestor is unnecessarily restrictive and no serious effort has been made to preserve it as it would involve holding on to the amino acid to cell step which modern biology has been totally unable to duplicate . The evolution of the first lifeform from amino acid has been dropped from the evolution bandwagon (Darwin mentioned a common ancestor but most evolutionists believe in evolution from amino acids) because it has no proof and cannot be duplicated despite numerous efforts.

Fact: There is very good evidence for descent from common ancestor in DNA because similiar species have similiar DNA and even similiar junk dna.

Fiction: Evolution is the only possible explaination for that. The fact that similiar DNA produces similiar appearance is not an astounding discovery. When put that way it is obvious that similar appearance and similar DNA would go hand in hand. The assertion that the cause of this similiarity is descent from species to species is consistent with the evidence but that is not sufficient to show that other explainations are inconsistent. Just as the theif was 6 feet tall does not mean that a man is a theif by virtue of being 6 feet tall.

Fact: Most scientists believe in evolution.

Fiction: The number of scientists who believe something makes it more true. Science is not a democracy. Theories strength is based only on their ability to explain NEW data. If you picked 1 million points on a graph at random I could make an unlimited number of functions that would interscect each and every point, as you add more points my infinite list would shrink but would still remain infinite. That is why science requires theories to be able to objectively predict the future or at least make predictions about things that are not currently known. It is after all predicting and altering the future that is of interest to us when we study science.

Fact: Evolution has proven micro-evolution beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Fiction: Evolution has proven macro-evolution beyond a shadow of a doubt. There is a staggering amount of data that is consistent with macro-evolution, but consistent with and proof of are two different thigns. Example: for a long time 99.99% of scientists though women were born with a set number of eggs to be fertilized and that at a certain age they used the last one, this theory was consistent with the evidence, however it is wrong, women make eggs using stem cells and lose the ability to do so as they age.

Fact: Science is very powerful and describes pretty much everything we know about our world.

Fiction: Science is usually right. In fact science is usually wrong. In fact each topic in science even the winning ones are mostly wrong. Most of the detailed assertions from the field of evolution have been wrong. It is only because after correcting for these errors evolution remains very similiar to its origional form that we call it a powerful theory. Most of the assertions of evolution from what type of environment the first cell evolved in to the planet that the first cell likley evolved on to if it was RNA or DNA have been proven wrong (if only by virtue of two or more incompadible theories existing). This is largly because for any event there are multiple theories each with a set of assumptions about unknown facts, as those facts become known we quickly forget the incorrect theories and marvel at how smart the one lucky guy who was correct was.

Fact: Teaching religion in school is against the American seperation of church and state.

Fiction: It is ok to teach an reproducible theory of creation that is inconsistent with many peoples religious beliefs withotu pointing out that it is the weakest scientific theory taught in High School level courses. The fact that you CANNOT evolve a human from a monkey shows that you DO NOT understand evolution in the same way that you understand gravity or light or any of the other science mainstays (except large scale science which is also mostly guesses like evolution). Had we taught that women have a set number of eggs and it was against others religious beliefs we would have been guilty of teaching an anti-religion that turned out to be false dispite having every bit as much support from the science community as evolution currently enjoys.

Wow, now that couldn’t have been anymore confusing if you tried. I’m still not sure whether the fiction part is meant to be sarcastic, sincere, or switches midstream. What?

I’ll just point out one problem with your account, which is that similarity of DNA throughout life is only one part of the story. The rest of the story is that DNA isn’t always similar, and these differences are arranged in a very particular way: in a way that just so happens to fit with the general arrangemnt of common descent. That is, we’ll find some feature, say, blood clotting in all animals AFTER a certain common ancestor, but none that split off before. It’s a lot more complicated than that, but the reality is that we can pick almost any feature or gene and then triangulate back, looking through modern animals, to where a common ancestor would have been. Surprise surprise, but all these different, indepedant triangulations happen to match up not only with each other, but with the fossil record, and also with the geographic distribution of species, and so on.

So many DIFFERENT lines of confirmatory evidence giving the same detailed picture: that would be an utterly astounding coincidence if the arguments for each of these lines of evidence were in error. If they were all in error, we would expect them to give DIFFERENT wrong answers. Instead, the answers they give are coordinated. And truth is far more likely to explain coordination than several errors just happening to come out wrong the SAME way.

DonkeyTroll Wrote:

Fact: There is a lot of evidence for evolution as stated by Darwin.

Fiction: Evolution has never been disproved or discredited. Survival of the fittest looks to NOT be the mechanism that filters out the longer surviving species which are often the least fit at the bottom of the food chain.

Yeah !

And more of the same sort :

Fact : children exist. Fiction : they are born. Where in fact they are borught by stork.

Fact : Earth is round. Fiction : Earth is spherical. It is in reality a flat round disc.

Neurode,

in contrast to the preceeding compliation of mostly discredited anti- evolutionist assertions, which have no bearing on the discussion at hand whatsoever, you have at least stated the problem well. If ID wanted to be a scientific theory instead of a religious-cultural movement, it would have to define what its explanations, models and predictions are. The simplest model of course would be: ‘Under ID everything is like under evolution, just more directed.’ (summing up your two points). Having done this, there are three possibilites: - A process or being doing and implementing the design could be postulated and tested for. As evolution has no room for design, ID would become the accepted theory for instances in which the test had been positive and a possible alternative hypothesis for occurrences of similar nature, and should be treated as such in the science curriculum. - In the absence of an ID process, some cases could be found under which our bare bone ID hypothesis seems to have some merits. E.g. a conspicious lack of sub-optimal structures which seem unavoidable given previous homologous morphologies, or an extreme accumulation of beneficial mutations within very few generations, would make the phylogeny appear directed. If these cases were sufficiently common and well tested (the latter excludes all of Behe’s and Dembski’s hobby-horses), a mention, that completely undirected evolution does not explain these occurrences well, would be in order, both on high school and college level, but always with the caveat, that no model for this apparent direction exists, and any identification based on philosophical or cultural preferences would probably be misleading. - As long as nothing of the above happens, ID falls under Occam’s razor, as it needs an additional unknown factor to explain exactly the same processes that evolution can explain without. Hypotheses like this have no place in a science class, as they can add nothing to knowledge or skill.

DonkeyKong:

At least now you not only have evolutionists to quibble with, but also Behe and Dembski to argue with, because Behe claims that both macroevolution and common descent are true, and Dembski says that “design” is a probability-based mathematics problem that is dependant on human’s ultimate knowledge of the universe. Thus both would vehemenantly disagree with your assertions of fact/fiction!

Neurode: Your assertion about evolution:

Here’s why. We can reduce the basic Darwinian hypothesis to the following pair of assertions:

1. Although adaptive mutations are independent of fitness, they may be taken for granted (no further explanation required).

2. Due to natural selection, these mutations accumulate exclusively along certain lines of inheritance characterized by “fitness” (i.e., along those lines consisting of organisms which survive long enough to successfully reproduce).

Do NOT agree with the accepted views on evolution. For example: your (1) states that mutation is independant of fitness. This is true, but mutations are niether ignored nor beneficial to fitness, they may accumulate without regard to fitness, until such point that they cannot be cut without affecting fitness, so random mutations do have an effect on fitness in the long run. Also, there is the problem (on your part) of negative mutations. A negative mutation will immediately have an adverse affect on fitness. So wqe see from the observations of biology that positive mutations may not effect fitness for the long period, negative mutations have an immediate and catastrophic effect on fitness.

Also, there is the problem of your assertions on the ID side. Your argument can easily be reduced to a pointless debate on all positive mutations being due to the “intelligent designer” and all negative effects being doe to, what? Exactly??? Finally, how does the suboptimal performance of so many biological functions play into your interpretation of ID, and its forcing inot agreement of 1’ and 2’?

Finally, I will repeat, exactly what version of ID (non-)theory are you subscribing to; Behe’s common descent/god-created super bacteria ID, the no-macroevolution god-created “kinds” ID, or the YEC the earth is only 6,000 years old and all organisms are descended from the “kinds” brought upon Noah’s ark? (Finally, please define “kinds” as NO IDist has yet defined it in any consistent or useful manner.)

I’ve said this before. It always strikes me, as a scientist but non-expert, that Behe’s arguments are much more persuasive than the popular-science level responses. Jason’s article on evolution blog counters IC with:

This claim is wrong as a simple matter of logic. The fact that every part is necessary for the system to operate in its present environment does not imply that every part was necessary in every stage of the system’s evolution. It is possible that initially a particular part was beneficial, but not necessary, for the system to function. Later changes might then have rendered the new part essential. Another possibility is that irreducible complexity could arise by the elimination of redundancy.

Nobody, in my view, who is on the fence, will find that might-have-been could-have-been argument very compelling. If it is true that there are more sophisticated arguments against IC, you guys need some pedagogical whizzes to render those arguments accessible to a broader community.

Like Darwinism, Intelligent Design is an interpretation of biological data, and as such, it has as much right to be in science classrooms as Darwinism.

What “interpretation?” That something looks like “God did it?” Is there a definition of “intelligently designed” that is universally and objectively understood among scientists?

From what I can tell, ID is one man’s (or one religion’s) subjective evaluation as to whether something is “designed” or not. One religionist’s design is a scientist’s unsolved puzzle.

BTW, my “interpretation” of the data is that aliens were involved in seeding the first cell. This also “explains” the data. So, may I put that into a scientific curriculum as well?

Jonas writes:

1. “A process or being doing and implementing the design could be postulated and tested for.” A generic design process and agency have indeed been postulated, and as explained, have been “tested for” with approximately twice the success of the Darwinian hypothesis.

2. “…no model for this apparent direction exists, and any identification based on philosophical or cultural preferences would probably be misleading.”

The absence of a culture-fair ID model (of evolutionary causation) is not entirely clear. What is clear is that (1) the Darwinian hypothesis not only offers no causative model whatsoever for adaptive mutations, but merely takes them for granted; and (2) the ID hypothesis acknowledges the existence of a cause-effect relationship between fitness criteria and adaptive adaptations, thus taking the necessary first step toward an explanatory theory and model.

3. “…ID falls under Occam’s razor, as it needs an additional unknown factor to explain exactly the same processes that evolution can explain without.” Evolution does not explain, or even attempt to explain, adaptive mutations. In science, (previously unknown) causal factors must be introduced to explain observed effects.

4. “Hypotheses like this have no place in a science class, as they can add nothing to knowledge or skill.”

In science, causes are inferred from effects. As a case in point, ID infers a generic design process from observed adaptive mutations. The design inference is science in action, and any science class which omits it is cheating students out of the knowledge and skill to properly evaluate the cause-and-effect relationships addressed by various scientific hypotheses.

A generic design process and agency have indeed been postulated, and as explained, have been “tested for” with approximately twice the success of the Darwinian hypothesis.

Baffling. Yes, of course. Goddidit! This has been postulated, it’s a universal explanation, it’s easy to test for – just point to anything at all and recite ‘goddidit’ – and it never fails.

Now, if I could only get Neurode or anyone else to specify some test ID might fail, and the theoretical reasons WHY it might fail. The ability to explain absolutely everything with no evidence required isn’t the great strength of a ‘scientific theory’ Neurode seems to think it is.

The design inference is the exact opposite of science in action, it is the denial of the entire scientific method in action. Once again, we see the Big Lie technique, this time pared down to its hilarious essence.

Don T. Know writes:

1. “What ‘interpretation?’ That something looks like ‘God did it?’ Is there a definition of ‘intelligently designed’ that is universally and objectively understood among scientists?”

Obviously, “intelligently designed” means that something can be described as the outcome of a process which occurs prior to realization under the guidance of something which can be described as “intelligent”, i.e., which is capable of recognition and purposive adaptation. This is quite clear. Since this is precisely the kind of process required for a causal explanation of adaptive biological mutations, it is scientifically warranted.

2. “From what I can tell, ID is one man’s (or one religion’s) subjective evaluation as to whether something is ‘designed’ or not. One religionist’s design is a scientist’s unsolved puzzle.”

No, ID is a generic hypothesis addressing the massive scientific evidence for the occurrence of adaptive biological mutations. This hypothesis has been around for millennia, but was only recently invoked in the context of modern biological science.

3. “BTW, my “interpretation” of the data is that aliens were involved in seeding the first cell. This also “explains” the data. So, may I put that into a scientific curriculum as well?”

Your hypothesis offers only an intermediate explanation of the data; to offer a real explanation (involving aliens), one would need to explain the aliens themselves. Moreover, although there is ample evidence of biological adaptation in nature, there is very little evidence that aliens are responsible. Therefore, your alien hypothesis merits only cursory mention in a science class.

David Heddle: I think the difference is that Behe is using definitive language (“This cannot evolve”) when he should rather state possibilities (“This has probably not evolved”). You are right, the usual scientist knows about the tentative nature of science and even if a theory is well tested there might be a small possibility that new data leads to a fundamental change. This leads to the careful choice of words which is not convincing to the public but perfectly understood by fellow scientists. Perhaps the scientist should resort to a more effective, PR-like style, by simply stating that “there was initially a particular part that was beneficial, but not necessary, for the system to function.” This would not be true in an absolute sense, because you normally do not have those parts in hand, but true as the only possible explanation, unless you want to invoke God as deus ex machina.

And finally, as Behe states that an IC system cannot have evolved (my passive leaves me here), then even a possibility makes that statement null and void unless Behe can prove that this possibility is not viable in that context.

Scientific Method:

1. Look at all of the available data, and from the data create a hypothesis or theory that is supported by the data.

2. Test hypothesis.

3. If test fails, then rework theory and repeat. If test succeeds, then it becomes “Scientific Law.”

Anything that does not work via the above scientific method is NOT science and should not be taught in a SCIENCE classroom.

Since ID cannot in any way be tested, it is not science. It can in no way be made “scientific.” It is just coloring in the unknown areas with “magic.” No respectable scientist would ever say, “We don’t know how this works, it must be some all powerful and knowing force that did it.” This is the realm of pseudo-science and superstition.

Further, ID cannot be used for any further scientific purpose. It is a dead end. The mechanisms for “Darwinism”??? can be used in a myriad of ways. For example evolution can be use to predict why bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. It is a useful tool for further scientific study. ID isn’t.

Neurode:

Your hypothesis offers only an intermediate explanation of the data; to offer a real explanation (involving aliens), one would need to explain the aliens themselves. Moreover, although there is ample evidence of biological adaptation in nature, there is very little evidence that aliens are responsible.

It is quite true that there is ample evidence of biological adaptation but there is very little evidence that God did it. Perhpaps you can explain God and demonstrate why he is the designer rather than aliens, or even super-intelligent ancient cockroaches.

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Neurode:

Your hypothesis offers only an intermediate explanation of the data; to offer a real explanation (involving aliens), one would need to explain the aliens themselves. Moreover, although there is ample evidence of biological adaptation in nature, there is very little evidence that aliens are responsible.

Funny. Your hypothesis offers only an intermediate explanation of the data as well. To offer a “real” explanation in the above scenario, you would have to be held to the same standard and explain the Intelligent Designer itself.

Moreover, there is *no* evidence of intelligent design being responsible for life, only reasoning based on fallacies such as the Argument from Incredulity and the Argument from Ignorance. Not to mention a heaping dose of circular reasoning.

Monty Zoom recites the scientific method as follows:

“1. Look at all of the available data, and from the data create a hypothesis or theory that is supported by the data.

2. Test hypothesis.

3. If test fails, then rework theory and repeat. If test succeeds, then it becomes ‘Scientific Law’.”

Fortunately for the ID hypothesis, it has passed these tests. (By the way, are you aware of the logical intricacy of this definition? It’s really about model theory, an extremely involved branch of mathematics - not empirical science - to which every science student needs a much more thorough introduction than is ordinarily provided.)

MZ: “Since ID cannot in any way be tested, it is not science.”

As previously explained, the ID hypothesis has already been extensively tested, and the continuing occurrence of adaptive biological mutations in nature continues to confirm it. Therefore, it is scientifically warranted.

MZ: “It can in no way be made “scientific.” It is just coloring in the unknown areas with “magic.” No respectable scientist would ever say, “We don’t know how this works, it must be some all powerful and knowing force that did it.” This is the realm of pseudo-science and superstition.”

ID is scientific, even by the (seriously flawed) falsifiability criterion. Specifically, the ID hypothesis can be falsified simply by demonstrating that adaptive mutations have ceased to occur in nature. (By the way, what about soi-disant “respectable scientists” who say “We don’t know how this works, but since we haven’t managed to figure it out, we’re damned if anybody else is going to get the chance!”?)

MZ: “Further, ID cannot be used for any further scientific purpose. It is a dead end.”

If that were true (and it isn’t), then the Darwinian hypothesis, which excludes any explanation whatsoever for adaptive biological mutations, would be a veritable long walk off a short pier.

MZ: “The mechanisms for “Darwinism”??? can be used in a myriad of ways.”

While Darwinism (the Darwinian hypothesis and its associated philosophy) has managed, a bit too easily, to assimilate mutation mechanisms discovered by scientists in various core disciplines, it offers no explanation for their consistent adaptive potential. A lack of explanation can scarcely be called useful. On the other hand, while natural selection can be a useful concept, Darwinism does not have a lock on it (just as it does not have a lock on ordinary mutation mechanisms, to which ID merely adjoins such additional causal influences as are required to construct an explanation of observed biological phenomena).

MZ: “For example evolution can be use to predict why bacteria become resistant to antibiotics.”

No, it can’t. The appearance of resistant strains, as opposed to their subsequent selection, is not explained or even addressed by the Darwinian hypothesis.

Diepenbrock Wrote:

Instead opponents should come up with a good argument on why teaching only the evolution theory does not violate the state education science mission statement to make all students lifelong learners who can use science to make reasoned decisions.

You know, I’m quite sure that in the 2 or 3 or however many public hearings they’ve had by now, that’s pretty much what every pro-science speaker has done. Unless Diepenbrock thinks that every single one only talked about the potential embarrassment that the board is bringing down on them, he could have tried listening to one or two of these people and actually taken their arguments into consideration. But why bother even acknowledging those people? It’s so much easier to pretend as if no one has even tried to answer the challenge

This is hackwork at its worst, lazy and dishonest.

Neurode, You keep making statements that the ID hypothesis has already been extensively tested, but so far I haven’t see you post a shred of evidence to back it up. I want studies, reputable journal articles etc. It’s time to put up or shut-up.

He has posted “evidence”. He’s comically stupid and misinformed, but he’s still posted what he believes backs up ID. He claims mutations are the act of a designer, and that’s his evidence for ID. There’s certainly enough published work documenting gene mutations, so kudos Neurode, you’ve debunked over 150 years of work. Go collect your Nobel prize.

E says: “Neurode, you keep making statements that the ID hypothesis has already been extensively tested, but so far I haven’t see you post a shred of evidence to back it up. I want studies, reputable journal articles etc. It’s time to put up or shut-up.”

I think you know what I’ve been saying here, E; the evidence for the basic Darwinian hypothesis, whatever you may consider that evidence to be, can be reinterpreted as evidence for the design hypothesis with double the confirmation. As far as concerns what studies get funded and what articles get published in “reputable” scientific journals, that’s both irrelevant and a political can of worms in its own right. So if it’s not too much to ask, let’s keep it simple and stick to the issue being addressed.

It always strikes me, as a scientist but non-expert, that Behe’s arguments are much more persuasive than the popular-science level responses.

Persuasive, but always qualified with that nasty two-letter word, “if.”

Behe argues persuasively that IF a structure in biology could be found that is irreducibly complex, that would tend to suggest intervention of a greater intelligence.

Alas for Behe, he has not found such a structure. When he appeared here in Dallas for the Campus Crusade for Christ a few years ago, he was asked whether he was researching those things he had put forth in his book as potentially irreducibly complex – and he said he was not, partly because his further research had indicated things were not as he thought, and partly because he couldn’t figure out how to test it.

Sure, Behe’s test is persuasive. But nothing anyone knows passes Behe’s test of being irreducible. Behe does NOT say, but should, that if nothing meets his test, his hypothesis should not be considered valid.

The difficulty comes when people refuse to accept the disproofs. As Neurode demonstrates, the facts don’t necessarily persuade creationists to see the light.

But to even consider seaching through dubia’s sequence looking for genes that don’t belong requires accepting the possibility of finding something that doesn’t belong there. Even more to the point, as Davison stated, it also requires NO FEAR of what might be found there.

I predict that the complexity of A. dubia’s genome (i.e. its size after you subtract all the repetitious stuff) will be no larger than mine, probably a lot smaller.

I have no FEAR of what might be found there, but I have no FUNDS to look.

DaveScot, why is all this additional genome hiding in dubia and some other organisms, but not present in all organisms that developed on the way up to us? In other words, why don’t reptiles have larger genomes than us? Why have we lost parts of the genome? Why does anything lose parts of their genome? Are there are bacteria that have small genomes? Why are their genomes small?

In response to whether you have seen an electron, you wrote this,

DaveScot Wrote:

No, but I felt the little bastids coursing through my flesh more times than I care to remember. That’s why I switched from radio electronics to digital electronics decades ago. Shocks from 5 volts don’t hurt none.

Now how can I either somehow see or feel, in real time, real bacteria changing into real brontosaurs like I can feel the effects of a real electron?

But, if you’ve never seen an electron, how do you know that is what was coursing through your body? I’ve been shocked a couple times myself, and I know the feeling, but the sensation does not a priori lend itself to knowledge that the sensation is caused by electrons.

DaveScot Wrote:

Forgive my laughter when falsifiability is brought up against ID. Darwinian evolution’s history as a theory is exactly what prompted Popper to rant about falsifiability!

So, if you believe so much in falsifiability, then why do you routinely say that verifiability is better?

The largest animal cells known belong to Amphiuma a urodele amphibian. It also sports the most DNA per cell. Some of the smallest known mammalian cells are those of the smallest mammals like bats and shrews. The simplest explanation for this is that you can’t make a tiny animal out of big cells. Correlated with these tiny cells is a very high metabolic rate due to the high surface concentration and the fact that metabolites (CO2 and O2 etc.) must be exchanged across cellular surfaces. Shrews have incredibly high metabolic rates and very short life spans. Some of the smallest ones are senile at 9 months. I think that the best correlations for DNA per cell will be found to be metabolic and probably have nothing to do with evolutionary potential. Some of the most sluggish animals are urodeles. My Ph.D. thesis (1955) was about body size, cell size and metabolic rate in anuran amphibia (frogs). I was going to work with urodeles but I had trouble recording their metabolism. That is not surprising when they spend most of their time buried underground. They also live forever. Another creature with big cells, lots of DNA and spends most of its time undergound is the lung fish. I still think it might be a good idea to test DaveScot’s Amoeba dubia hypothesis. No guts, no glory don’t you know? Isn’t ignorance wonderful? What would we do without it?

“Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.” Montaigne

“He that I am reading seems always to have the most force.” ibid

You clowns, if you are reading at all which I doubt, are just reading the wrong literature. Try Goldschmidt, Grasse, Berg, Broom, Bateson and Schindewolf for a change. Look what it did for me.

John A. Davison

John A. Davison Wrote:

I think that the best correlations for DNA per cell will be found to be metabolic and probably have nothing to do with evolutionary potential.

The idea behind DaveScot’s argument was that large genomes would support the front-loading argument, which is one that you also prescribe to, correct? Doesn’t your conclusion tend to diminish that argument?

GCT

I don’t recall reaching a conclusion about genome size and evolution. I offered ny studied opinion that’s all. Opinions are not conclusions.

The Amoeba dubia notion is worth pursuing but it won’t be as long as the ruling establishment, Darwimpism, is calling the shots. It has already been established, as I documented in the PEH, that primitive coelenterates have gene complexes that were assumed to have been very recent and of vertebrate origin. Evolution in reverse through rescrambling of the yeast genome has been demonstrated. Position effects resulting in gene silencing and gene activation are well documented. Everything Golddschmidt predicted in 1940 is now coming to fruition. With every passing day the molecular biologists and the chromosome scramblers are demonstrating the validity of the PEH.

Allelic mutation never did anything except promote extinction. That by the way was an essential requisite for evolutionary advancement. If that sort of thing were a source of information, why then oh why does the cell knock it self out to repair them as fast as it can? There is no such animal as a beneficial mutation unless it is the back mutation that returns the allele to its original form. Those by the way are the ones that return feral dogs and pigs to their ancestral phenotypes. Natural selection is not only strictly conservative, it actually serves to undo man’s attempts at domestication. That becomes obvious also whenever plant cultivars escape from the garden. their offspring soon return to the original type.

There is another reason to reject allelic mutations; they are freely reversible. Evolution has never been reversible and never will be now that it is finished. It has been uphill all the way in apparent direct violation of everything we know from thermodynamics. That in itself is fatal to any hypothesis based on chance. It remains a great mystery except to the members of this august body. Don’t take my word for it.

“We have long been seeking a different kind of evolutionary process and have now found one; namely, the changes within the pattern of the chromosomes… The neo-Darwinian theory of the geneticists is no longer tenable.” Richard B. Goldschmidt “The Material Basis of Evolution.” 1940

John A. Davison

So JAD now jumps on the 2LoT creationist claim. Sheesh. Hey JAD have you called the FBI about me yet? Have you written the Minister of Health here in Australia? What happened to you statement that you where done with us? Seem the “Blog troll hypothesis” I cited has more data to support it.

Just keep ignoring examples of speciation that match the definition you asked for. You’ll die a happy man. Delusional but happy.

Oh you better go out and question why feral cat and dogs are still normal domesticated cats and dogs. Please show me where a study has been done where a pack of feral dogs have reverted, genetically, back to a pack of wild wolves.

from Comment # 19314

John A. Davison Wrote:

Comment #19314 Posted by John A. Davison on March 8, 2005 05:46 PM GCT … It has already been established, as I documented in the PEH, that primitive coelenterates have gene complexes that were assumed to have been very recent and of vertebrate origin. …

Please show where in your PEH you ‘documented’ this?

Sorry about my choice of words, JAD. I should have said, “If your opinion turns out to be true, would it diminish your argument?”

The point was that DaveScot was saying that dubia is an example of a primitive lifeform that has an enormous genome that could be a remnant of the front-loading process. He posited that we should find coding for things that should not be there, like blood clotting, etc. You opined that we would not find those things, thus destroying the possibility that it would demonstrate front-loading. I guess I was wondering why it would not diminish your argument. If everything was already there from the beginning, shouldn’t we be able to find remnants of the front-loading?

Wayne wants documentation. Well Wayne, I didn’t do the documentation. The authors I cite did the documentation. From “A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis” (in press).

“Further support for the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis comes from studies with one of the most primitive of the animal phyla, the Cnidaria {Korschelt et al (2003}. Working with the planula stage of the coral Acropora millipora, they found it to be genetically very complex, containing many genes previously thought to be vertebrate innovations. From their summary:

‘Acropora millepora provides a unique insihght into the unexpectedly deep evolutionary origins of a least some vertebrate gene families.’”

John A. Davison

Lets look at what they mean by that JAD without your spin on it

Curr Biol. 2003 Dec 16;13(24):2190-5. Wrote:

.. Gene loss has thus been much more extensive in the model invertebrate lineages than previously assumed and, as a consequence, some genes formerly thought to be vertebrate inventions must have been present in the common metazoan ancestor. The complexity of the Acropora genome is paradoxical, given that this organism contains apparently few tissue types and the simplest extant nervous system consisting of a morphologically homogeneous nerve net.

So they found a number of ESTs that where thought to be vertebrate in origin but have been found in sponges. These genes are most likely from that common ancestor and the flies and worms have lost these genes, one possibility is that the high reproduction rate of the other 2 species used in the test would allow them to loose genes faster.

This is one of the reason Drosophila is used in evolutionary studies. Because of its short life cycle we can observe many generations in a short period of time.

Also note that the study shows that Drosophila share ESTs with the Acropora millepora that humans do not. This is evidence that we’ve lost genes that Acropora millepora has but the Drosophila has retained. Also note we have ESTs that the Acropora millepora does not have. According to your PEH we shouldn’t have any unique ESTs when compared to the Acropora millepora if it is in our branch of the tree of life. Bet you ignore that fact too.

Funny how I, a layperson, and 99.9% of the biological community would never come to your conclusion because it has HUGE gapping holes in it.

Wooops “So they found a number of ESTs that where thought to be vertebrate in origin but have been found in sponges.” should have been “So they found a number of ESTs that where thought to be vertebrate in origin but have been found in corals”

Wayne…

Let me paraphrase your quote

Curr Biol. 2003 Dec 16;13(24):2190-5. wrote:

.. Gene loss has thus been much more extensive in the model invertebrate lineages than previously assumed and, as a consequence, some genes formerly thought to be vertebrate inventions must have been present in the common metazoan ancestor. The complexity of the Acropora genome is paradoxical, given that this organism contains apparently few tissue types and the simplest extant nervous system consisting of a morphologically homogeneous nerve net. “

My condensed version “We were wrong. Dude its a paradox.”

For those of you who can’t wrap your heads around most of the evolution predictions being false please take note.

Evolution has a poop on the wall and run away strategy. Throw enough poop on the wall some of it will stick, then run from what doesn’t ,questions like how large was the first species’ genome. Later claim that the parts you want to run away from are not relevant or not part of the theory and only claim the poop still sticking to the wall. Add a philosophical explaination that ties together with your poop on the wall data and claim that it is supported by the scientific process even though you have a miserable record for predicting future events.

Those of you who have heard of the scientific method may remember something about predicting future events with accuracy. Or perhaps you remember theories being easily falsified if nature fails to conform to the predictions the theory makes.

Evolution doesn’t predict things. It explains them afterwards. Philosophy or Religion but not science for you.…

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This page contains a single entry by Jason Rosenhouse published on February 24, 2005 7:24 PM.

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