The Big Difference Between Creationism and Intelligent Design

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Denyse O’Leary notes some of the differences between creationists and Intelligent Design proponents:

Then the creationists in turn help the ID theorists by making clear what creationism is and what it is not. Creationism is about the BIBLE, see? It’s not about intelligent design theories like Behe’s* Edge of Evolution or Dembski’s design inference.

It’s extremely uncommon for me to find myself in agreement with Denyse on anything (and it’s not a comfortable feeling), but in this case I do think she’s got a good point. Creationism is certainly explicitly based on the Bible, and Intelligent Design certainly is not. In fact, that’s probably the Achilles’ Heel of the entire Intelligent Design movement.

Say what you will about the Young-Earth creationists, about Ken Ham and Kent “Prisoner #06452-017” Hovind, they are steadfast in their belief in the literal truth of the Bible, and steadfast in their refusal to lie about that belief. They believe that they are right, and they are not willing to publicly deny their faith. In that, they stand in stark contrast to Intelligent Design.

Read more (at The Questionable Authority, where comments can be left):

81 Comments

From the CSE linky,

“Spiritually, what happens next? We must continue to serve God day by day. We really honestly believe that when we pray for a miracle in our case, we are not just praying for selfish reasons. We earnestly believe that the cause of Christ is at stake. We really believe that souls are hanging in the balance because of God’s continued choosing to use this ministry to bring others to Himself. We honestly believe that HIS name and HIS glory are at stake.”

WOW, the all-powerful, all-knowing, creator of life, the universe, and everything (including 42) and he is threatened because a two-bit, tax dodging, shyster is in jail. They really have an inflated opinion of their importance.

Sincerely, Paul

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Sorry Sal. Not revealing your moitives is not the same as not having them. As for arguing from empirical evidence, to do that you have to explain all the evidence. Coming with some possible anomalies that are presently difficult to explain, or merely suggestive, isn’t enough. By the way, any scientific references for that stuff? You might want to check the Talk Origins archive before trying to peddle it around here.

Sal’s nonsense is destroyed on a thread at After The Bar Closes http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bi[…]t=5144;st=30

Thanks Zarquon, very enlightening. Also interesting that Sal says that “if” the YECs make a convincing case they will have a “solid empirical footing”. So I guess he admits that they don’t yet have one. What are they waiting for? They have been at this for hundreds of years. Why no empirical support yet? And apparently, the fact that they have not yet succeeded in “making a convincing case” has not stopped them from arguing from empirical evidence. Gee, wouldn’t most scientists wait until they had a case before they started arguing?

Materialists enjoy arguing against Creationism because it’s so easy to win. Intelligent Design theory, on the other hand, is not nearly as much fun to argue against. The mathematical and scientific arguments are difficult, for everyone, and neither side can claim to have proof.

So of course you like Creationists better than ID theorists. The Creationists don’t care about truth or evidence or science. They are obviously harmless fools. You despise ID theorists, but it isn’t because they’re dishonest or devious. It’s because they, some of them, are highly educated experts who do care, very much, about science.

It is possible to be scientific without despising the idea of religious faith. It is possible to question materialist philosophy without being a gullible, unscientific, fool.

That’s what you’re really worried about. You know that, in the long run, scientific arguments are decided by evidence and logic, not politics. Right now, your victories are only political. You decide the truth about evolution by counting Steves, as if math and logic were irrelevant. All that counts, to you, is how many close-minded establishment experts you have on your side.

I have thought, that Creationism C Intelligent Design

That means, Intelligent Design is a group/big tent, in which is many ideologies. And ONE of them is YEC. There is many “parts”. (You can be YEC and support ID at the same part. ID did not tell that YEC with 6000-10 000 year old earth/life/universe is wrong. It jus not say is it old or not.)

And that makes it so soapy; If you show that something in ID is wrong, you are not critizing ID, you jus debunk “one irrelevant part”. And there is nothing that is outside, if all of these “irrelevant parts” are removed. So everything you actually can do is debunkin those “irrelevant parts” and claims..

a troll who gets it right for once Wrote:

You know that, in the long run, scientific arguments are decided by evidence and logic, not politics.

...and immediately proceeds to place foot firmly in mouth, Wrote:

Right now, your victories are only political.

Sadly for you, no!

Getting soft in your old age? Denyse gets you with blatant falsehoods that Disco wants to spread.

Creationism is about the BIBLE, see?

Baloney. It doesn’t even have to be Christian.

ID is SciCre (scientific creationism) by another name. SciCre is not about the bible. It is explicitly a bunch of scientific sounding arguments that evolution must be wrong. These arguments are often about the impossibility of intermediates, or their prohibitive improbability. Sound familiar?

It’s not about intelligent design theories like Behe’s* Edge of Evolution or Dembski’s design inference.

Behe’s Edge is straight SciCre. Dembski’s method is a variation of the usual SciCre argument. His filter starts by assuming explicitly that something is not possible except by chance, and then argues that the chance is too small. But his starting assumption is implicit in the standard SciCre treatment which supposes that if something occurred other than by magic it must have happened by “random chance” or the like.

So ID is SciCre. But wait!

Dembski Wrote:

Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.

In Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science & Theology Dembski explains the relation between ID and Logos in detail in chapter 8, “The Act of Creation”.

His design detector is evidently also a Logos detector. So ID is Bible based. Even without that, ID is SciCre, a major type of creationism.

The moral of this story is “Never trust a naked creationist”. No, wait, what could I be thinking? The moral is plain old

Rule 1: Never take a creationist’s word for anything related to creationism.

RealUneducableNewAgePillock wrote:

Materialists enjoy arguing against Creationism because it’s so easy to win. Intelligent Design theory, on the other hand, is not nearly as much fun to argue against. The mathematical and scientific arguments are difficult, for everyone, and neither side can claim to have proof.

Still pretending no one knows nothin’ ‘bout nothin’? Sorry, Skippy, that fish don’t hunt. “Intelligent Design ‘Theory’” has been repeatedly proven to be vacuous at best, and (more often than not) blatantly dishonest at worst. Your attempt to pretend both sides are equally in the dark only shows how consistently uneducable you are. You’re the only one in the dark, because you’re the only one whose head is still firmly jammed up your bum.

The only difference between creationism and ID is that the latter desperately tries to pretend it’s something else. (BTW, Sal, care to explain the significance of the phrase “cdesign proponentsists?”)

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In the same blog, Denyse also wrote:

“Those who dissent respond by building - at their own expense - a museum to tell their side, do the public a service by making their religious agenda clear to all.”

This seems to be a typical response to creationism by IDers - they don’t want to outright admit that it is a falsehood, but instead want to dance around it, even to the point that, bizarrely, this is some kind of ‘public service’. So O’Leary thinks promoting pseudo-science developed on the basis of a very questionable set of scriptures, in which a tribal God heartlessly massacres millions of people - this is a public service.

I once tried to challenge O’Leary on her blog about how exactly old the Earth and the Universe are - but as usual, rather than getting into any real discussion, she just simply ignores the question. If you go to her blog, you will find very little comments, partly because O’Leary has no intention of getting into any actual debate with anybody. No, nobody is allowed to challenge the Queen of Snarkiness.

BTW, is it me, but do others find O’Leary the most irritating, and smug of the ID bloggers? She labels herself as a “journalist” but really all she does is mass-produce propaganda fodder to keep the faithful satiated with blind assertions and falsehoods.

Salvador Cordova Wrote:

Great post Mike. You’re totally one of my favorite PT authors.

Uh-oh. Salvador is greasing up the smarmy. Slippery comment to follow.

Salvador Cordova Wrote:

from Stochastic Electrodynamics that the speed of light has decayed and there was accelerated radioactive decay (as suggested in the above link),

There are fundamental problems in suggesting Lorentz invariance breaking, even on non-local scales.

And indeed, the fine structure constant is easy to measure and shows that vacuum speed of light has covaried with other constants less than 10^-6 over the last 10 Gyr. New techniques are expected to improve the bounds 4 orders of magnitude.

But the link doesn’t discuss radioactive decays over long periods, but C-14 measurements. (Without actual measurements, I note.)

SED was an old idea originated by Planck in his unwillingness to embrace quantum mechanics. Again, it would need a fundamental rework of all of physics to replace QM, even for the EM part in isolation. But SED wouldn’t do it, the classical part of SED would imply local hidden variables which Bell test experiments have shown untenable. (30 standard deviations, when 3 would suffice.)

RealPC blathers…

The mathematical and scientific arguments are difficult, for everyone, and neither side can claim to have proof.

No. you think the arguments are difficult, but there are many, many people who actually understand the complex math and science used in fields like information theory. It’s really not all that hard, if you just try.

And besides while ‘proof’ is a difficult standard, it’s much, much, much easier to disprove bad math, because it literally will not add up.

This is why the Newton of information theory, Wild Bill Dembski, is soundly derided by pretty much the whole of the professional mathematical community. It’s tough to argue your ground-breaking “proof” when it’s full of demonstrably incorrect equations and assumptions.

Funny, I always thought that the main difference was spelling.

“Creationism is about the BIBLE, see?”

Creationism is certainly NOT about the Bible.

Christian Fundamentalist creationism is based on the Bible.

Islamic Fundamentalist creationism is based on the Quran.

Hindu Fundamentalist creationism is based on Hindu scriptures.

ID creationism is based on theistic presuppositions.

Etc.

One must be dumb not to understand such a simple point.

Realpc writes

The mathematical and scientific arguments are difficult …

Which arguments are you thinking about? You mean arguments like the misapplication of Bayes’ Theorem, one of the first things a statistics student learns?

You decide the truth about evolution by counting Steves, as if math and logic were irrelevant.

You know perfectly well that Project Steve was a tongue in cheek response to the creationist/IDer habit of producing lists of people who might agree with their views.

Why do you feel the need to lie about this? How does it advance your cause? Just what is your cause anyway? When you have sent off one of your lying posts do you lean back in your chair with a feeling of satisfaction and contentment? I just don’t understand what you get out of it.

Salvador,

I haven’t yet read your links or those refuting them, but if there’s anything other than the usual cherry picking or “reinterpretation”, the research will take off. If results are promising and independently verifiable, the proposals will be funded. There is no bias against those who believe that the Universe and its life are designed, and you know it.

Of course all that “research” could just as easily refute YEC as easily as confirm it. What if the origin of the Universe converges on 1955, for example? The ages are converging, aren’t they? No cover-up of disagreements, I hope. There’s no better indication that one is trying to pull a pseudoscientific fast one that that, you know.

And even in the remote chance that those lines of “research” do confirm YEC, they will only add to the evidence refuting several mutually contradictory OEC accounts. Including Behe’s version that includes common decent, which is, ironically the only position any major IDer ever admitted. If the “research” is successful, most IDers might mutter a pathetic “we suspected that all along,” but Behe will really have egg on his face. As will Ray Martinez, whose paper supporting an old-Earth-young-life “theory” is due any minute now.

In the meantime, can we finally expect some debating among IDers that favor Behe’s position, progressive OEC, and your YEC (or pseudo-YEC) position? Even if none of you are fully confident in your positions, debating can help your scientific credibility even if the research doesn’t pan out. That’s the way to put an end, once and for all, to the claims that your ideas are strictly motivated by religion. But I understand, like those Roswell people in the news lately, you don’t care much about impressing mainstream scientists.

BTW, do you have an idea when that “research” will be ready to be taught in high school science class? That would solve all the problems with the current “critical analysis” approach, not just the link to ID and creationism that gets it in legal trouble, but the fact that it exempts any potential competing hypothesis from “critical analysis.” IOW, do you have any idea when IDers, if not classic creationists, will truly be confident that evolution is not the only idea worth teaching (and misrepresenting)?

Richard Simmons,

Dembski didn’t make any obvious math mistakes and you know it.

Pastor Bentonit,

You have not followed the evolution debate. ID theory accepts evolution and common descent. So evidence for evolution and common descent are not relevant to the debate.

The questions are not simple and no one has the answers.

Realpc, You said in a previous thread… “Yes Randi has debunked a lot of nonsense. There will never be a shortage of ridiculous paranormal claims. But he goes way beyond the data in saying no paranormal claims can possibly be valid.”

When and where did Randi say this? Either quote your source or admit you just made it up! This is about the fourth time (on this site) I’ve asked you this question, realpc. What’s your problem? Too ashamed to answer?

Re “ID theory accepts evolution and common descent.”

Then why is it that so many ID advocates don’t?

Besides, if ID really doesn’t conflict with evolution, then what the heck is the argument about?

AFAIK, common descent is the principle reason for the denial of evolution; accept it and the argument is only about the details.

Henry

ID theory accepts evolution and common descent.

How odd. Because of the overwhelming weight of the demonstrable physical evidence, “ID theory” has to make room for evolution and common descent.

Too bad Ev & CD have absolutely no need whatsoever for Intelligent Design.

Rather rude of them to leave such an accommodating partner by the roadside, but hey - that’s survival of the fittest for ya.

Dembski didn’t make any obvious math mistakes and you know it.

Really?????? That mangling of Bayes sure looks pretty obvious.…

Dembski didn’t make any obvious math mistakes and you know it.

Every time any creationist/IDer attempts to calculate the probability of a protein, a cell or anything else arising by chance they always assume that events are independent, always forget the effect of selection and always assume that only one possible outcome could represent a success.

Dembski writes about complex specified information. Specified information can be easily described, complex information can not be easily described. Besides, he has never proposed a method of measuring the amount of CSI in any system, or even what the units should be. Are you sure Dembski is on top of things?

realpc Wrote:

… Dembski didn’t make any obvious math mistakes and you know it.

But his axioms are wrong and you know it. He deliberately sets up his calcs so that they apply only to a deliberate misrepresentation of evolutionary theory. This is the straw-man logical fallacy, and he has never addressed this criticism.

… ID theory accepts evolution and common descent.

Quite the opposite, in fact. ID is nothing but a pseudoscientific attack on evolutionary theory, particularly NS and CD.

One of the biggest weaknesses of ID as expounded by Dembski, Wells, Behe et al. is that, if you take out the attacks on modern evolutionary theory (MET) you are left with nothing. ID is vacuous because it makes no positive assertions at all.

One big weakness of Dembski’s “Explanatory Filter” is that it is a purely eliminative argument. It assumes that one is able to consider all possible alternative hypotheses.

So evidence for evolution and common descent are not relevant to the debate.

This is just wrong and you know it.

The questions are not simple and no one has the answers.

Some of the questions are simple, and some of the answers are known.

ID claims to have answers, based on attacks on MET. But the “answers” ID claims are a dead end, because ID makes no official proposal about the nature of the designer(s), or what the designer may or may not be capable of.

MET supplies many answers, and it supplies a logical and consistent framework within which to seek other answers.

Where MET does not at present have answers, it proposes the hypothesis “we don’t know yet” as an interim, working proposal.

Given your previous behaviour in this forum, I do not expect you to address these points. But, here’s a challenge for you: how about you do just that (i.e. address the points I have raised) before you post anything else on this board? That way we can engage in an actual debate and have a rational discussion of the topic.

Ignoring arguments that oppose statements you make does not invalidate those arguments, and it is simply discourteous.

ID theory accepts evolution and common descent

OK. What, exactly, is the theory of ID to which you refer?

I have explained this repeatedly at this blog. ID is a theory of evolution, it does not contradict evolution in any way. ID is an alternative to the currently accepted theory of evolution – neo-Darwinism.

Blogs like PT do their best to confuse the controversy, to make you think ID opposes evolution and agrees with Christian creationism.

Darwin’s theory was not the first theory of evolution. Neo-Darwinism is not the only theory of evolution NDE says random mutations acted on by natural selection are enough to explain the origin of new, and increasingly complex, species.

ID agrees that random mutations occur, it agrees that natural selection occurs, and it agrees that these together can cause species to adapt to changing environments. It does not agree, however, that macro-evolution works this way.

I’ll say it again – ID agrees that species evolved. I don’t think it expresses an opinion on common ancestry, but it would not deny it. Do we really know that life originated just once on earth and all species evolved from the same source? Anyway, ID has nothing to say about that.

The whole controversy involves information theory and the detection of design.

ID does not say a god person came down every once in a while to create a new species. It says nothing about god. In my opinion the universe is intelligent and intelligent machines, like ourselves, naturally evolve. It does not happen by chance. It is not a mechanistic, mindless, process.

ID is a theory of evolution

State the theory. Not what “ID says” or what “ID agrees” with, the theory itself. What is the scientific theory of ID, how does it explain all the available evidence, what yet-undiscovered evidence does it predict we might find, and how in principle could the theory be falsified? You seem to be able to tell us all kinds of stuff about “ID theory” except what the theory actually is.

Again, what is the theory of ID?

RealUneducableSelfImportantWanker blithered thusly:

I have explained this repeatedly at this blog…

And we have refuted it repeatedly. The fact that you continue to repeat the same old discredited crap only proves how complacent, self-important, uncaring, unengaged and uneducable you are. You thought you knew everything, and stopped learning, while the rest of us moved on and left you bloviating in the dust. Get your head out of your ass and face the facts: you’re just not equipped to contribute anything to this debate, or learn anything from it.

ID is not a theory.

Please note, that I did not restrict that by saying that ID is not a scientific theory.

There is an ongoing problem for philosophers of science to give a precise description of what makes a theory scientific, called the “demarkation problem”. We don’t have to get into those difficulties with ID, because ID is not a theory, scientific or otherwise. And ID is so far from being a theory that we don’t have to concern ourselves with a “demarkation problem” for “theory”. There are some very general characters of theories (scientific and otherwise) which show that ID is not a theory.

One of them I mentioned above is that a theory must be able to distinguish between things that are covered by the theory, and things that are not. If every conceivable state of affairs is just as much likely under the would-be theory, then it is not a theory. (This is a kind of generalization of the “falsifiability” criterion of Popper. But this generalization works also for historical theories, esthetic theories, legal theories, and so on.)

Another general character of all theories is that they have to have some structure to them. For example, there should be some kind of connection between the principles of the theory (explanatory factors, or whatever) and the things covered by the theory (the things being explained, or whatever). This connection may be logical, mathematical, causal, or whatever, but there has to be something like a chain from one part to the other, some kind of structure. ID deliberately excludes any such chain - there is no method by which things are “designed”. There is no structure to our description of the “designer(s)” - we don’t even know how many of them there were - or are.

There is no theory of ID.

Just a note of appreciation to “hoary puccoon”.

How many of the complaints that we hear, supposedly about evolutionary biology, are more relevant (if they are relevant to anything at all) to reproductive biology.

“Intelligent Delivery” - that variation on Scientific Storkism which avoids naming the Stork - Intelligent Delivery is an “alternative theory of reproduction”.

Troll post removed, responses moved to the Bathroom Wall.

All these interactions with realpc end the same way. We will eventually determine that what he calls ID has nothing to do with ID as espoused by its primary proponents. When forced to state it, he’ll come up with “ID predicts increasing complexity-which-I-can’t-define-right-now over time.”

So stop feeding

Egnor responds to Dunford:

Egnor Wrote:

Our “mission is to destroy good science education for every child in the public schools of America”? Dunford’s assertion is…well… paranoid. Most intelligent design advocates are teachers — science professors in universities — and it’s fair to say that most are parents with children in the public schools.

First of all, most ID advocates are science professors? Excuse me while I wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes.

Secondly, Egnor might want to reread the Wedge before he makes accusations of paranoia.

And the icing on the cake is Egnore’s closing line, an irony meter buster if ever there was one:

Egnor Wrote:

Darwinists will do anything to avoid debating the science.

I cut out the intervening claptrap from these two statements by Egnor (this is not out of context, however):

On the other hand, Darwinists are almost all atheists, and are on the fringe of American religious belief.… In reply to Dunford’s allegation that I lie about my faith:

I don’t recall that Dunford said that Egnor lies about his faith, an egregious assertion. That he’d note that IDists collectively and in the main lie about the religion motivating them is appropriate.

But what’s really funny is that only one sentence separates his blatantly false claim that “Darwinists are almost all atheists” from his injured claims about how he’s being accused of lying about something else.

The man is an inveterate liar and a very ignorant buffoon. Even if Dunford had “lied” about him, which he didn’t (Dunford’s mistaken in claiming that ID isn’t based on the Bible, but I’d hardly call it a lie), Egnor continually writes half-truths and untruths about his opponents, and would hardly merit a podium to complain even if he had something legitimate to complain about.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

A quote from Phillip E. Johnson, DI CRSC Senior Advisor:

Phillip E. Johnson, a law professor at University of California, Berkeley, and one of evolution’s most aggressive critics, spoke of a sweeping struggle at a Feb. 6 conference of religious broadcasters in California, one that goes far beyond biology lessons in public schools.

“Christians in the 20th century have been playing defense,” Johnson explained, framing his concerns in a good-versus-evil context. “They’ve been fighting a defensive war to defend what they have, to defend as much of it as they can.… It never turns the tide. What we’re trying to do is something entirely different. We’re trying to go into enemy territory, their very center, and blow up the ammunition dump. What is their ammunition dump in this metaphor? It is their version of creation.”

“Christians in the 20th century have been playing defense,” Johnson explained,

Against who - the 10 to 20 percent of the country who aren’t some variety of Christian?

Does he think his sect owns the whole religion? (Or is that a silly question?)

Henry

“Christians in the 20th century have been playing defense,” Johnson explained, framing his concerns in a good-versus-evil context. “They’ve been fighting a defensive war to defend what they have, to defend as much of it as they can.…

That is another one of the death cults lies. Self identified Xians make up 82% of the population, according to the Gallup GSS survey. They controlled the US house and senate until 2006, republican party, almost 1/2 of the Supreme court, and own the president. Hardly a downtrodden minority here.

That is one of the lies the fundie cultists use to keep their membership engaged and paranoid. Reiterate over and over that there is a war on xians, they are in danger of being .….well, whatever dire fates they can dream up.

A trick used by totalitarians forever, the Goebbels Big Lie strategy.

A lot of mainstream protestants and catholics are rather uneasy about it as well. Look at the history of religions. When the protestants schismed off from the catholics, several centuries of bloody warfare ensued. Or the violence in Iraq between two sects of Moslems over an obscure theological point that happened 1400 years ago. A theocracy always presents problems. Which sect gets to rule, exploit the power of the government, rake off all the goodies, and oppress all the heretics and everyone else? This is why theocracy got a bad name.

An organism deposits its semen anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes it gets lucky and happens to deposit it on eggs. It has an offspring that only deposits its semen on eggs. Naturally, this would have reproductive value and more offspring would inherit this habit. I understand this, but I still don’t understand what would lead the organism to only deposit its semen on eggs unless an intelligent force had a preconceived concept of depositing semen on eggs and planted that behavior on the organism’s genes. Another way around this problem would be Lamarkism where an organism develops a habit of depositing semen on eggs and the behavior somehow changes the organism’s genes to where the organism passes off this behavior to its offspring.

I know that intelligent design is no solution to this problem because it just opens more questions such as how does a spirit entity think without brain cells and how does it create without hands?

I’m not saying I believe in Lamarkism either. I’m just having a hard time grasping this matter.

It never turns the tide. What we’re trying to do is something entirely different. We’re trying to go into enemy territory, their very center, and blow up the ammunition dump. What is their ammunition dump in this metaphor? It is their version of creation.”

Rather foolish strategy, long term anyway.

1. Johnson seems to think the truth and reality are whatever someone says it is. The modern materialist view is that there is a real world out there, that objective reality concept he might have heard of. 2. Science is one of the main reasons why the USA is where it is today and why we don’t live in huts and plow with mules. We need science a lot more than we need a deluded lawyer at UC Berkeley.

Re “but I still don’t understand what would lead the organism to only deposit its semen on eggs”

It looks to me like your 3rd and 4th sentence answer the question: “It has an offspring that only deposits its semen on eggs. Naturally, this would have reproductive value and more offspring would inherit this habit.”

Presumably, the behavior of emitting semen is triggered by some sensory input, perhaps by smell (i.e., a chemical emitted by the eggs). Mutations that improve the efficiency of that behavior would tend to spread within the species.

Henry

I understand this, but I still don’t understand what would lead the organism to only deposit its semen on eggs unless an intelligent force had a preconceived concept of depositing semen on eggs and planted that behavior on the organism’s genes.

Is this an inquiry about the origins of sexual reproduction? As in, how and why did critters start having sex in the first place?

In which case, consider that there are asexual critters as well, who don’t deposit their semen on eggs. Starting from there, the question of why sexual reproduction arose is a good one.

There are also sexual creatures who don’t deposit semen on eggs. They squirt both into sea water and let them take their chances. To understand this, Herb, I’d look at marine invertebrates. I’ll bet if you get into the details you’ll find there are likely intermediates between setting the genetic material completely adrift and carefully placing sperm on eggs. One of the reasons evolution is so hard to grasp is that the transformations are so gradual that you have to know a lot of detail about different organisms to see how plausible they are.

hoary puccoon Wrote:

I’ll bet if you get into the details you’ll find there are likely intermediates between setting the genetic material completely adrift and carefully placing sperm on eggs.

My wife, who is a fish hobbyist, offers the following:

Some types of fish basically… the males don’t release (milt, technically, not semen) ON eggs, specifically. They release the milt on the *nesting area they’ve spent hours or days preparing, and where they just saw their partner deposit reproductive material*.

Also, some mouthbrooding cichlids: the fish “shimmy” at each other. The female releases eggs, then picks her eggs up in her mouth. The male has been “leaking” milt most of this time–he has markings on his fins called “eyespots” right below his vent. The female goes to pick up the fake “eggs” off the male’s fins, and in doing so, grabs a mouthfull of milt which fertilise the eggs in her mouth.

Some fish, like bettas and other bubblenest builders, have a “spawning embrace”. The male wraps around the female so their vents line up. He squeezes her, squeezing eggs out of her, and that same movement causes him to release his milt as well. The eggs only get fertilised because they’re released right next to where the milt is being released. If the fish get lined up wrong–even a small amount–the eggs and milt don’t touch and don’t fertilise.

I’ve had a betta pair–small male with a large female–where he couldn’t squeeze around her quite properly. I tried the pair twice, totally infertile eggs, no hatching. But neither fish was infertile–I bred each, later, to a different, more similarly sized mate, with successful hatches. And after the male grew a bit, I spawned him to the original female again. The later hatch worked. But because they didn’t “line up” right, there was no fertilisation.

There’s no intentional “sperm on egg” there, just two animals releasing reproductive product at the same moment in the same vicintity.

Herb Schaffler said:

An organism … has an offspring that only deposits its semen on eggs. Naturally, this would have reproductive value and more offspring would inherit this habit. I understand this, but I still don’t understand what would lead the organism to only deposit its semen on eggs unless an intelligent force had a preconceived concept of depositing semen on eggs and planted that behavior on the organism’s genes.

Why can’t you believe an organism could get a random genetic variation that led to it depositing semen on eggs? Why do you think this has to come from some intelligent force? The robots in my example above had no intelligence telling them how to get out of the maze.

Troll posts removed, responses moved to the Bathroom Wall.

People, please make things easier for keeping threads topical, and do not respond to troll comments. While it only takes a few clicks of the mouse to either remove or move comments, it would be best if this were kept to a minimum. If you feel that you must respond to a troll, go to the Bathroom Wall thread (linked prominently in the right sidebar) and enter your comment directly there. As the AtBC rules remind you,

# MetaRule 1) DO NOT respond to inappropriate messages with a message. # MetaRule 2) DO NOT enter inappropriate messages.

“The robots in my example above had no intelligence telling them how to get out of the maze.”

But somebody programmed them, somebody that had a preconcieved concept of left and right.

Herb Schaffler said:

But somebody programmed [the robots in the maze example], somebody that had a preconcieved concept of left and right.

OK, but that wasn’t part of the problem as you stated it. You said:

I still don’t understand what would lead the organism to only deposit its semen on eggs unless an intelligent force had a preconceived concept of depositing semen on eggs and planted that behavior on the organism’s genes.

You didn’t say “I don’t understand how an organism moves”. You said “I don’t understand how an organism knows to move to a particular spot sans intelligent guidance to do so.” That’s what my robot example illustrated. The robots had no preconceived concept of getting out of the maze, just like your hypthetical organism has no preconceived concept of depositing semen on eggs. Yet they do so anyway, leaving a lot of dead/destroyed ancestors in their wake.

The key to understanding this issue is the replication. That step by step process of eliminating the flawed, and keeping that which works, is what gives the illusion of preconceived conceptual guidance. This is also why analogies to 747’s or auto assembly lines are inappropriate. Unless the object in question imperfectly replicates itself, it will not do as an analogy to evolution.

Due to various factors, including JAD’s exploits and the difficulties in monitoring comments both here and at The Questionable Authority, I’m closing the comments here. The comments section on my own blog will remain open.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Dunford published on August 4, 2007 11:17 AM.

ERV & HIV versus Behe. Behe loses. was the previous entry in this blog.

Explore Evolution: The Discovery Institute’s winsome creationist textbook is the next entry in this blog.

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