Luskin: Humans did evolve

| 156 Comments

On Evolution News (sic)Luskin shows once again why Intelligent Design is scientifically vacuous

Luskin Wrote:

Sure, they just finished decoding the chimp genome but it actually lessened our knowledge of human/chimp similarities rather than upping it. Similarities could easily be the result of “common design” rather than common descent—where a designer wanted to design organisms on a similar blueprint and thus used similar genes in both organisms. This doesn’t challenge ID.

In other words, our ignorance (or perhaps better phrased Luskin’s unfamiliarity with science) seems to be evidence of Intelligent Design?

Common descent requires nested hierarchies, common design has no such requirements and thus the claim that ID can accomodate the evidence is an ad hoc argument. Unless one has independent understanding of the “Designer’s” this argument fails to be scientific.

Of course, even if common descent were true, this would not challenge ID since ID could equally well accomodate that the “Designer” front-loaded evolution. In other words, with Intelligent Design, anything goes.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 36, column 189, byte 4455 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

156 Comments

Common descent requires nested hierarchies, common design has no such requirements and thus the claim that ID can accomodate the evidence is an ad hoc argument. …

The only thing ID requires is ignorance. Any detail of evolution you do not know means that the designer did it. The less you know, the more you can claim about the designer. Ignorance is king.

I think that at this stage it’s all feathers and no bird with the Discovery Institute.

When their chief spokesman is the half-wit Luskin, failed scientist turned lawyer, I wouldn’t be too concerned.

Luskin Wrote:

Sure, they just finished decoding the chimp genome but it actually lessened our knowledge of human/chimp similarities rather than upping it.

A classic example of ID up-is-downism.

yeah Russell, my mouth fell open when i read that line. You can’t make this stuff up.

You seem to have missed Luskin’s bogus argument about looking at insertion/deletions or base-pair substitutions. This vacuous argument is so bogus that only a scam artists or truely clueless individual would use it.

But it turns out that similarities depend on how you measure them. One study which considered insertions and deletions realized that “our perceived sequence divergence of only 1% between these two species [humans and chimps] appears to be erroneous, because this work […] puts both species much further apart.” (see “Driving man and chimp apart” by Cathy Holding in The Scientist, June 26, 2003; “Comparative sequencing of human and chimpanzee MHC class I regions unveils insertions/deletions as the major path to genomic divergence” by T. Anzai et al. in PNAS 100:7708-7713 (June 24, 2003)). Those interested in an analysis of the many differences between humans and chimps from a pro-ID perspective should read Reflections on Human Origins by William Dembski. (PCID, Volume 4.1, July 2005)

The fact is that there are different ways to measure divergence. If you want to use in/dels they tell you the same story as using base-pair substitutions. You have to consistently apply the same measure across the taxa that you are working on. No big whoop. Who could be so screwed up in their interpretation of the data? Really, if you see by one measure that chimps and humans are less than 2% divergent measuring base substitutions and horses and donkeys are 2% or a little more different, guess what we expect to find when we look at in/dels for horses and donkeys. You can also predict that in/dels will not be as accurate a measure for evolutionary divergence because you can’t tell how many events went into removing or inserting a piece of DNA and pieces of variable size can be removed or inserted. All this is just common sense, but what do the IDiots make of it?

There is a very good reason why most studies use base-pair substitutions rather than in/dels to measure genetic distance. What is the IDiot explanation for why scientists know what measure will tell them the most accurate evolutionary information?

yeah Russell, my mouth fell open when i read that line. You can’t make this stuff up.

Whaddaya mean, “can’t make this stuff up”? Casey just did!! :)

I think that at this stage it’s all feathers and no bird with the Discovery Institute.

When their chief spokesman is the half-wit Luskin, failed scientist turned lawyer, I wouldn’t be too concerned.

True, they’re having a very hard time attracting anyone who can think real clearly.

But that’s no reason to stop pounding them.

They would never lie at the DISCO institute. Luskin is an upstanding moral man as is Dembski (and all the others over their dancing in their little Disco-tech).

How could you possibly suggest that they would make things up. After all, didn’t you know, they’re in it for the money.

Besides, from what I can see in Luskin’s little piece the ‘designer’ did it accounts for everything. So, who needs any good theory or science.

The more I read at PT the more I’m convinced that trying to convince any of the ID’ers of their folly is like yelling at a wall. You don’t change the wall’s opinion and you get p&&&ed off and frustrated because no matter what you say to the wall nothing changes. I guess arguing with a wall may be better, at least it (unless the intelligent deceiver intervenes) won’t lie to you or the public about how biology works.

Back to lurking..

Luskin Wrote:

In conclusion, the evidence presented in this article supports microevolution—a process denied by no design theorist.

But don’t the IDiots insist that microevolution is evolution within a species? So what Luskin is saying is not that “man came from a monkey [sic]” but “man is a monkey!”

the evidence presented in this article supports microevolution—a process denied by no design theorist.

Of course, the “micro/macro” thingie is standard ICR boilerplate from four decades ago, thus demonstrating that (1) Judge Jones was correct when he concluded that ID is nothing but creationism renamed, and (2) ID simply has nothing new to offer.

Mark Wrote:

So what Luskin is saying is not that “man came from a monkey [sic]” but “man is a monkey!”

Indeed. Welcome to Luskin’s world. Watch the backpedalling…

…new body plans, novel biological functions, and real biological novelty

New, novel and novelty - like stuck in the groove of those old vinyls. And pray what is “real” biological novelty? So there is some ‘false’ biological novelty?

… known as FOXP2, that may help explain why we talk and chimps don’t. An earlier study of a British family with an inherited, severe deficit in speech discovered the cause of the disorder — an altered form of FOXP2.

“It turns out chimps have the same (genetic) sequence as that family with the speech deficit,” Waterston said. Comparing the human and chimp genomes, he said, shows that the speech-friendly form of FOXP2 really took hold in humans some 150,000 years ago.

This is very interesting. Does it mean that we could insert the human version of FOXP2 into chimps and get some who would really tell us what they think of us?

Seriously, could knowing how close the human and chimp versions are lead us to “improving” the chimp version?

I’d really like to see that experiment. Is there any work planned along these lines?

That experiment has been done: Planet of the Apes.

PvM,

Common descent requires nested hierarchies, common design has no such requirements and thus the claim that ID can accomodate the evidence is an ad hoc argument. Unless one has independent understanding of the “Designer’s” this argument fails to be scientific.

This is like saying that irreducible complexity is required by ID while Darwinism has no such requirement. The only difference is that ID is able to subsume common descent whereas blind evolution cannot subsume IC. You mislabel ID as “ad hoc” where it is merely parsimonious.

Of course, PT is not a forum for serious debate. Hence, you may now commence ad hominems and personal attacks…

This is like saying that irreducible complexity is required by ID

do feel free to extend an analysis of that. I’m curious to see how ID in your mind stands up without the concept of IC.

and to laugh as you fail to do so (there’s your “ad hominem”)

Qualiatative Of course, PT is not a forum for serious debate. Hence, you may now commence ad hominems and personal attacks…

Funny coming from a person who bans posters who ask uncomfortable questions.

Qualiatative,

The problem is that everything is “subsumed” by ID. No matter what is discovered or what scientific arguments are made, the response is, “That fits in ID.”

Until you ID folks define what distinquishes designed from undesigned, there’s no way you can claim it’s falsifiable.

Here’s your “Darwinist’s vs IDist’s” score card Qualiatative

This is like saying that irreducible complexity is required by ID while Darwinism has no such requirement.

Correct give yourself a banana.

The only difference is that ID is able to subsume common descent whereas blind evolution cannot subsume IC.

Correct give yourself a banana.

You [PvM] mislabel ID as “ad hoc” where it is merely parsimonious.

Sorry no Banana

Pray for the Grand Olde Designer to show up with his test tubes and blueprints, Darwin’s Ghost Perhaps ? JAD,Dave Scott, Dembski, Luskin?

Score “Darwinist’s” 2 (both own goals by Qualiatative ) “IDist’s” 0 (no score, appeals to the heavens don’t register on the scoreboard)

…rather than common descent—where a designer wanted to design organisms on a similar blueprint and thus used similar genes in both organisms

Surley this has been asked before, but how does this “similar blueprint” idea jibe with “irreducible complexity?” I thought living forms were too complex for small genetic differences to account for changes in locomotor patterns or brain complexity. Yet in this quote they tacitly acknowledge the opposite, with obvious genetically-based functional precursors for both bipedalism & the human brain. Clearly there are functional homologues of these precursors surviving into the morphological and genetic makeup of a modern apes (& vice versa for modern chimp/gorilla features as compared to modern humans).

The ID creationists also have yet to deal with the nuisance of the fossil record. Perhaps they could present an hypothesis about the successive forms of Australopithecus in the fossil record, based upon “Intelligent Design.” I’ve got quite a few more morphologically “intermediate” forms, for which they must disprove the hypothesis that some represent “transitional forms.”*

In sum, if chimps and humans are so close gentically that it is the product of “design,” and we have indisputable fossil evidence of intermediate forms for the human lineage, where is the irreducible complexity? If one admits, as one must due under the weight of the fossil and genetic evidence, where DOES one find evidence of irreducible complexity beyond “similarity of design?”

In very short: the notion of “similar blueprint” is a contradiction to “irreducible complexity.”

I gotta admit, I have never before heard the “goddidit explanation subsumes everything” described as “parsimonious”. But wait, wouldn’t “magic” be more parsimonious than “goddidit”? After all, it has three fewer letters.

*poof* has even 1 fewer letters than magic!

where a designer wanted to design organisms on a similar blueprint and thus used similar genes in both organisms

Oh, goody — here’s my chance again to (1) ask an IDer to show us how this scientific, uh, theory of his works and (2) demonstrate to all the lurkers why ID simply isn’t science:

The scientific method is very simple, and consists of five basic steps. They are:

1. Observe some aspect of the universe

2. Form a hypothesis that potentially explains what you have observed

3. Make testible predictions from that hypothesis

4. Make observations or experiments that can test those predictions

5. Modify your hypothesis until it is in accord with all observations and predictions

NOTHING in any of those five steps excludes on principle, a priori, any “supernatural cause”. Using this method, one is entirely free to invoke as many non-material pixies, ghosts, goddesses, demons, devils, djinis, and/or the Great Pumpkin, as many times as you like, in any or all of your hypotheses. And science won’t (and doesn’t) object to that in the slightest. Indeed, scientific experiments have been proposed (and carried out and published) on such “supernatural causes” as the effects of prayer on healing, as well as such “non-materialistic” or “non-natural” causes as ESP, telekinesis, precognition and “remote viewing”. So ID’s claim that science unfairly rejects supernatural or non-material causes out of hand on principle, is demonstrably quite wrong.

However, what science DOES require is that any supernatural or non-material hypothesis, whatever it might be, then be subjected to steps 3, 4 and 5. And HERE is where ID fails miserably.

To demonstate this, let’s pick a particular example of an ID hypothesis and see how the scientific method can be applied to it: One claim made by many ID creationists explains the genetic similarity between humans and chimps by asserting that God — uh, I mean, An Unknown Intelligent Designer — created both but used common features in a common design.

Let’s take this hypothesis and put it through the scientific method:

1. Observe some aspect of the universe.

OK, so we observe that humans and chimps share unique genetic markers, including a broken vitamin C gene and, in humans, a fused chromosome that is identical to two of the chimp chromosomes (with all the appropriate doubled centromeres and telomeres).

2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.

OK, the proposed ID hypothesis is “an intelligent designer used a common design to produce both chimps and humans, and that common design included placing the signs of a fused chromosome and a broken vitamin C gene in both products.”

3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions.

Well, here is ID supernaturalistic methodology’s chance to shine. What predictions can we make from ID’s hypothesis? If an Intelligent Designer used a common design to produce both chimps and humans, then we would also expect to see … ?

IDers, please fill in the blank.

And, to better help us test ID’s hypothesis, it is most useful to point out some negative predictions — things which, if found, would FALSIFY the hypothesis and demonstrate conclusively that the hypothesis is wrong. So, then — if we find (fill in the blank here), then the “common design” hypothesis would have to be rejected.

4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation.

Well, the IDers seem to be sort of stuck on step 3. Despite all their voluminous writings and arguments, IDers have never yet given ANY testible predictions from their ID hypothesis that can be verified through experiment.

Take note here — contrary to the IDers whining about the “unfair exclusion of supernatural causes”, there are in fact NO limits imposed by the scientific method on the nature of their predictions, other than the simple ones indicated by steps 3, 4 and 5 (whatever predictions they make must be testible by experiments or further observations.) They are entirely free to invoke whatever supernatural causes they like, in whatever number they like, so long as they follow along to steps 3,4 and 5 and tell us how we can test these deities or causes using experiment or further observation. Want to tell us that the Good Witch Glenda used her magic non-naturalistic staff to POP these genetic sequences into both chimps and humans? Fine —- just tell us what experiment or observation we can perform to test that. Want to tell us that God — er, I mean The Unknown Intelligent Designer — didn’t like humans very much and therefore decided to design us with broken vitamin C genes? Hey, works for me — just as soon as you tell us what experiment or observation we can perform to test it. Feel entirely and totally free to use all the supernaturalistic causes that you like. Just tell us what experiment or observation we can perform to test your predictions.

Let’s assume for a moment that the IDers are right and that science is unfairly biased against supernaturalist explanations. Let’s therefore hypothetically throw methodological materialism right out the window. Gone. Bye-bye. Everything’s fair game now. Ghosts, spirits, demons, devils, cosmic enlightenment, elves, pixies, magic star goats, whatever god-thing you like. Feel free to include and invoke ALL of them. As many as you need. All the IDers have to do now is simply show us all how to apply the scientific method to whatever non-naturalistic science they choose to invoke in order to subject the hypothesis “genetic similarities between chimps and humans are the product of a common design”, or indeed ANY other non-material or super-natural ID hypothesis, to the scientific method.

And that is where ID “theory” falls flat on its face. It is NOT any presupposition of “philosophical naturalism” on the part of science that stops ID dead in its tracks —- it is the simple inability of ID “theory” to make any testible predictions. Even if we let them invoke all the non-naturalistic designers they want, intelligent design “theory” STILL can’t follow the scientific method.

Deep down inside, what the IDers are really moaning and complaining about is NOT that science unfairly rejects their supernaturalistic explanations, but that science demands ID’s proposed “supernaturalistic explanations” be tested according to the scientific method, just like every OTHER hypothesis has to be. Not only can ID not test any of its “explanations”, but it wants to modify science so it doesn’t HAVE to. In effect, the IDers want their supernaturalistic “hypothesis” to have a privileged position —- they want their hypothesis to be accepted by science WITHOUT being tested; they want to follow steps one and two of the scientific method, but prefer that we just skip steps 3,4 and 5, and just simply take their religious word for it, on the authority of their own say-so, that their “science” is correct. And that is what their entire argument over “materialism” (or “naturalism” or “atheism” or “sciencism” or “darwinism” or whatever the heck else they want to call it) boils down to.

There is no legitimate reason for the ID hypothesis to be privileged and have the special right to be exempted from testing, that other hypotheses do not. I see no reason why their hypotheses, whatever they are, should not be subjected to the very same testing process that everyone ELSE’s hypotheses, whatever they are, have to go through. If they cannot put their “hypothesis” through the same scientific method that everyone ELSE has to, then they have no claim to be “science”. Period.

Surley this has been asked before, but how does this “similar blueprint” idea jibe with “irreducible complexity?”

Simple, really. The answer is known. Goddidit. The evidence must perforce fit the answer. Being mere fallible humans, we can only guess how the Designer did His thing - did he use modular construction? Did he follow least-cost engineering principles? What WERE the design goals? Since we can’t know, and all we can know is that everything was designed (or most things, or some things, or IC things, or things Behe knows when he sees them), well, see, that’s because we’re imperfect. Except about design. Our knowledge that we are designed (or some parts of us are, or whatever) isn’t imperfect at all. It is infallible.

This is like saying that irreducible complexity is required by ID while Darwinism has no such requirement. The only difference is that ID is able to subsume common descent whereas blind evolution cannot subsume IC. You mislabel ID as “ad hoc” where it is merely parsimonious.

Irreducible complexity is not required by ID. Of course ID is able to subsume almost anything, even the lack of IC since ID is not about science. Blind evolution is a confusing term as it seems to ignore the constraints and the interactions between evolution and the environment.

Of course, PT is not a forum for serious debate. Hence, you may now commence ad hominems and personal attacks…

Why? It’s much easier to show why ID is scientifically vacuous. You should not confuse PT with Uncommon Descent where dissent is actively surpressed. The claim that ID is parsimonous is just another way of stating that it is scientifically vacuous. After all ID can subsume common descent as well as lack of common descent, IC as well as lack of IC… etc…

Lenny, your comment #74973 is a gem! I’ve saved a copy for future reference.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 1, column 59, byte 59 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”

Charles Darwin

Can anyone say it better?

PvM Wrote:

Luskin continues however to state that “Those interested in an analysis of the many differences between humans and chimps from a pro-ID perspective should read Reflections on Human Origins by William Dembski. (PCID, Volume 4.1, July 2005)”

Yes, they should read it to see the typical appalling anti-logic of ID advocates. I have critiqued his essay here on PT and I critiqued an earlier version of it here.

These critiques aren’t exhaustive, but they highlight some typical ID mishandling of biology, I could go on, at length, about the other errors he makes, but the ones I identify are bad enough.

Simply put, either Dembski has an appalling understanding of biology, or he is deliberately misrepresenting evidence of common ancestry.

There’s no reason it can’t be both - those possibilities are not mutually exclusive.

Arden Chatfield kindly inquired:

Hey, Steviepinhead, did you ever track down the Enrico article?

Yep. I located and copied it at the UW library–good ol’ Suzallo–on Tuesday and read it last night and this morning.

I’ll post a couple of thoughts over on the Panderichthys thread (http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]eek/#e001813), where it actually has some slight relevance regarding how we construct past relationships from present evidence.

That way, we won’t further derail this thread–which has not merely flown off the tracks, but is busily plowing up fields in the next county!–and we won’t take up the time of important extraterrestrial entities like, um, “Odin.”

Please do not enable the troll. Take it here:

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bi[…]T;f=14;t=178

I’ll post a couple of thoughts over on the Panderichthys thread (http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/12/18-w…), where it actually has some slight relevance regarding how we construct past relationships from present evidence.

Looking forward to it.

Thordaddy, if you want to read your response you’ll have to head over to after the bar closes.

This thread sounds looks a mission for Caledonian. Unless Thordaddy is Caledonian on a wind up…

If it’s the same “thordaddy,” this is a fellow who celebrated the “swift boating” of John Kerry, has some sort of problem with gay folks, and thinks GWB is the next Savior:

There has been a steady and potentially potent assention of power trend towards the right. The madness and hysteria of the left both home and abroad necessarily leaves one to the conclusion that President Bush is putting something together for Republicans and conservatives that could have longterm benefits. Why you choose to be on the outside is unknown. From my vantage point and having read many of the opinions you have put forth concerning conservative thought and liberal rot, I would say that it seems President Bush is pushing back that liberal madness like no one else I’ve ever been concious of. Granted, I’m just a 30 year-old father of two that thinks it ridiculous to abandon the Republican Party. Gay marriage, abortion, prayer, shool vouchers, Supreme Court nominees, tax reform, Social Security reform and taking a fight to the enemy are all issues I see as manifestly positive for conservatives.

I don’t see the point in trying to point out facts that are techically true in order to sow doubt in the party that is the conservative’s best and strongest ally?

Posted by: thordaddy on November 4, 2004 06:07 PM

From: http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/002753.html. Of course, none of that means he can’t be an ID wingnut too…

(No reflection on all you rational anti-ID conservatives and Republicans is intended.)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on January 22, 2006 5:35 PM.

The Second Million was the previous entry in this blog.

Fair and Balanced is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter