This Week in Intelligent Design - 22/03/11

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Intelligent design news from the 16th of March to the 22nd of March, 2011.

So, another week of intelligent design! The Discovery Institute was fairly quiet this week, with only five posts published on Evolution News & Views, a below average result, but quite a bit of it was pure gold. Well, for me, anyway. The fact that I do this every week means that I must be getting some entertainment out of it, right? I hope so - I don’t see myself as the masochistic type…

But anyway, this week’s three posts are on ID research (and rhetoric), revisiting the concept of biological “mistakes” as evidence against ID, and ID proponents in academia and the “Dissent from Darwin” list. Let’s get into it!

72 Comments

Jack - Thanks for doing this - so I don’t have to. I would much rather read your summary, than have to go straight through the Hard Tard as you do, and I find that as I get older, I just can’t put up with unfiltered O’Leary and Luskin. So once again, we have proof of a bad design - anything written by O’Leary & Luskin - or evidence for an evolutionary safety valve.

Ah, the Dissent from Darwin list. A nice piece of work, that is. For those who are unfamiliar, it’s a list of scientists who have signed on to agree with this statement: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

A point I have made previously: All leading biologists, creo-bashers and prominent tormentors of ID should loudly and publicly demand that the DI let them sign this declaration, which, after all, only asks that scientific claims be examined thoroughly, particularly those that have been modified or even abandoned after 150 years of research and new data.

They should then equally loudly trumpet the fallacies of ID, preferably while displaying their ‘Discovery Institute Approved’ regalia.

Of course the DI will never allow them to sign on. Which gives us a nice ‘Expelled’ scenario to play with.

Such fun…

So, ID does publish (for some value of the word ‘publish’) in kind-of peer-reviewed journals, that by some stretch of the imagination might have something to do with biology (in the round about way that the author was a living thing).

Of course, the articles don’t come out and say “Therefore ID”, so it’s mostly a hollow victory that someone, who might or might not be pro-ID wrote an article that might or moght not be pro-ID, had the courage to stand up for something that might or might not be ID.

Got it, thanks.

I am skeptical of claims for the ability of Newtonian mechanics to account for the complexity of motion. Careful examination of the evidence for Newtonian theory should be encouraged.

SWT said:

I am skeptical of claims for the ability of Newtonian mechanics to account for the complexity of motion. Careful examination of the evidence for Newtonian theory should be encouraged.

QED

SWT said:

I am skeptical of claims for the ability of Newtonian mechanics to account for the complexity of motion. Careful examination of the evidence for Newtonian theory should be encouraged.

So was Einstein. ;)

Henry J said:

SWT said:

I am skeptical of claims for the ability of Newtonian mechanics to account for the complexity of motion. Careful examination of the evidence for Newtonian theory should be encouraged.

So was Einstein. ;)

So was Newton, for that matter

Henry J said:

SWT said:

I am skeptical of claims for the ability of Newtonian mechanics to account for the complexity of motion. Careful examination of the evidence for Newtonian theory should be encouraged.

So was Einstein. ;)

And so was Planck too!

Heisenberg was uncertain.

I still the think ‘bad design’ argument is useful. “Well, that was a mistake, just like Venter’s watermark!” This argument can be invoked to explain anything in a genome, therefore it doesn’t really explain anything, which just shows how empty ID is. Pointing out “mistakes” also assumes once again that some feature of the Designer can be identified and characterized, which IDists say isn’t really the case (“Who knows how that Designer works? Stop assuming they’d do any one thing any one way!”).

More generally, the “sloppy design” argument (several features of the human body that are so badly arranged they speak of slow evolution instead of intentional layout) is still perfectly valid. ID is a worse explanation than gradual accumulation of changes. Evolution is simply a superior, useful explanation for “bad” or “sloppy” design, highlighting the utter failure of ID to deal with these cases is fair game.

Mike Elzinga said:

Heisenberg was uncertain.

Relatively, anyway.

Agree with Wheels. Dembski et al. basically claim that ID infers design based on the ‘goodness of fit’ of the internal properties of some structure alone. That claim is undermined when one says that a designed structure may, like nondesigned ones, have faults. All of a sudden, the one criteria you used to infer design is no good any more, because now designed structures may not fit together so well.

So, the ‘error’ argument is a legitimate complaint against standard ID.

Its not a legitimate complaint against mainstream scientific practices which infer design (say, of a stone age tool) based on multiple independent lines of evidence. But design proponents reject the idea that independent evidence of design is needed, because they don’t have any. Unlike stone age toolmakers, God did not leave his lab equipment lying around for us to find.

The laugh will be on all of you when it turns out that Craig Venter eventually invents time travel, returns to the primal earth, and seeds it with life. Junk DNA is actually a long series of patent numbers. We all owe him royalties every time we reproduce.

Jim Harrison said:

The laugh will be on all of you when it turns out that Craig Venter eventually invents time travel, returns to the primal earth, and seeds it with life. Junk DNA is actually a long series of patent numbers. We all owe him royalties every time we reproduce.

No he won’t. He’ll need the James T. Kirk maneuver and help from Klingons. Qap’la!!!!

Jack,

Thanks for sharing Klinghoffer’s latest breathtaking inanity. It’s hard to believe that this delusional fellow alumnus of my undergraduate alma mater thinks he’s an instant expert on peer review, but what more can you expect from someone who seeks Divine guidance from a fanatical rebbe who espouses a most unique variant of Conservative Judaism.

Jim Harrison said:

The laugh will be on all of you when it turns out that Craig Venter eventually invents time travel, returns to the primal earth, and seeds it with life. Junk DNA is actually a long series of patent numbers. We all owe him royalties every time we reproduce.

You just need to sequence his mother’s DNA to invalidate the patents on the grounds of prior art :)

Kevin B said:

Jim Harrison said:

The laugh will be on all of you when it turns out that Craig Venter eventually invents time travel, returns to the primal earth, and seeds it with life. Junk DNA is actually a long series of patent numbers. We all owe him royalties every time we reproduce.

You just need to sequence his mother’s DNA to invalidate the patents on the grounds of prior art :)

Can one patent unforeseen contingency?

Amadan said:

SWT said:

I am skeptical of claims for the ability of Newtonian mechanics to account for the complexity of motion. Careful examination of the evidence for Newtonian theory should be encouraged.

QED

Shouldn’t that be “QCD” in this case?

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

SWT said:

I am skeptical of claims for the ability of Newtonian mechanics to account for the complexity of motion. Careful examination of the evidence for Newtonian theory should be encouraged.

Intelligent Falling!

I just knew it had to be true.

But Laurie Lebo didn’t say there were no peer-reviewed articles making ID-friendly assertions. She said there was no peer-reviewed ID research. To the best of my knowledge, nobody in the ID camp has ever even suggested a testable hypothesis that might distinguish between designed and non-designed, or show that any organism must have been designed. With no hypotheses and no researchers (and no research budget), just exactly what do these “peer-reviewed papers” actually contain?

If evolution were DNA’s business then you would expect more transitions or morphs that make for different appearances. Yet for Millennia-plus species stay very much the same.

I view DNA as being a fixed process with exact improvement in a species when environment permits, also if the genes mature to enable for example hearing.

Whichever species you look at, ears, eyes, hair, and limbs are all part of the living beings on this planet. It is the reason for the existence of DNA to produce flesh and blood beings of any species, and it has done this forever consistently and dedicated and in my view intelligently and obediently.

Some species have become extinct so cannot now partake in the future of life.

God said, “be still and know I am God”

We have pictures of Leonardo De Vinci to provide evidence that he wrote or drew. The only evidence of God is when we look at each other as we were made in his image and that is his legacy he left for us, and his way of surviving and ours. He gave us the intelligence to draw, write and read and speek so we can look to the past and leave the best for the future.

Marylyn, no problems with this – just as long as you don’t start talking about “information”.

Marylyn, no problems with this – just as long as you don’t start talking about “information”.

Marilyn said: The only evidence of God is when we look at each other as we were made in his image and that is his legacy he left for us, and his way of surviving and ours.

Can you prove / how can you prove which god it is that you have evidence of? (Remember, “god” is not a name but a job title.) Can your “evidence” distinguish between Yahweh/Allah, Zeus Pater/Jupiter, Wotan/Odin, Brahma or Mumbo-Jumbo God of the Congo (apologies to Vachel Lindsay)?

Marilyn said:

If evolution were DNA’s business then you would expect more transitions or morphs that make for different appearances. Yet for Millennia-plus species stay very much the same.

Both of these sentences are assertions that have no basis in what is actually know from the science.

I view DNA as being a fixed process with exact improvement in a species when environment permits, also if the genes mature to enable for example hearing.

What does “your view” have to do with science?

Whichever species you look at, ears, eyes, hair, and limbs are all part of the living beings on this planet.

How many hairy reptiles are there? What about clams? How about potatoes?

It is the reason for the existence of DNA to produce flesh and blood beings of any species, and it has done this forever consistently and dedicated and in my view intelligently and obediently.

So severe birth defects are intelligently and obediently designed?

Marilyn wrote:

“I view DNA as being a fixed process with exact improvement in a species when environment permits, also if the genes mature to enable for example hearing.”

Really? I view DNA as undergoing random mutation and organisms as undergoing natural selection. I have experimental evidence to support my view. Do you have any evidence for your view?

How exactly do genes “mature”? What exactly is a “mature” gene? Do genes actually change in order to “enable” things? Does this require intelligence? Whose intelligence is in charge? What is the purpose of this intelligent intervention?

Thanks in advance for your clarification of these points.

Marilyn said:

If evolution were DNA’s business then you would expect more transitions or morphs that make for different appearances. Yet for Millennia-plus species stay very much the same.

Can you point out any research that says “evolution is DNA’s business”. I’ve never seen it and I’ve not seen it mentioned here. DNA’s business, as far as I’ve ever been taught, is to carry out a cell’s business. Which on occasion, also means to replicate as accurately as possible. Unless you have evidence otherwise, your statement is just made up bullshit.

Evolution occurs when DNA do not replicate accurately, or gene transfer occurs, that generates a survival/reproductive advantage in an organism. Sometimes it is an improvement in the current environment, sometimes the environment changes and the less fit are culled.

I view DNA as being a fixed process with exact improvement in a species when environment permits, also if the genes mature to enable for example hearing.

More made up bullshit. What kind of process are we talking about. DNA are large molecules. How do they mature? Are you saying they get fatter?, longer? Please define how a “mature” molecule differs from any other.

Whichever species you look at, ears, eyes, hair, and limbs are all part of the living beings on this planet. It is the reason for the existence of DNA to produce flesh and blood beings of any species, and it has done this forever consistently and dedicated and in my view intelligently and obediently.

Some species have become extinct so cannot now partake in the future of life.

Show me the bunny. If DNA has been consistent forever, show me the rabbit fossil in the pre-cambrian.

Your whole post is based on made up nonsense, the denial of existing facts and magic sky fairy mumbo jumbo.

Your whole post is based on made up nonsense, the denial of existing facts and magic sky fairy mumbo jumbo.

But if she can get it published in a “peer reviewed journal”, it becomes SCIENCE!

We have pictures of Leonardo De Vinci to provide evidence that he wrote or drew. The only evidence of God is when we look at each other as we were made in his image and that is his legacy he left for us, and his way of surviving and ours. He gave us the intelligence to draw, write and read and speek so we can look to the past and leave the best for the future.

Evidently we weren’t given the intelligence to spell.

How many hairy reptiles are there? What about clams? How about potatoes?

Doesn’t Mr. Potato Head have a mustache?

John Kwok said:

Intelligent Designer the moronic Dishonesty Institute IDiot Borg drone barfed:

Glen Davidson said: Teh Designer is an idiot savant?

Glen Davidson doesn’t really exist.

Au contraire, Monsieur. Glen has been a steadfast critic of ID for years. As for you, you could be a student in Bill Dembski’s course opting to get some “extra credit” by posting your risible comments replete in their breathtaking inanity.

Oh yeah, I guess it is that time of year again.

So “Intelligent Designer”… What arrogance taking a screen name the same as God… I mean, the Designer, which could easily be evolution, since there is nothing in ID (other than the name) that actually says the designer must be an intelligent agent. As JoeG has said, “Termites are intelligent agents, as ID defines the term.”

Anyway, you should discuss, at some length and explain, why the designer must be an intelligent agent and what evidence you have to support that (keeping in mind those darned termites that build highly complex structures that take advantage of solar and wind to maintain homeostasis (no not HOMOs… homeostasis… look it up)).

Then you can get into the ‘massive’ amounts of evidence that even show such a designer exists.

Then you should explore the evidence that design actually occurs. Of course, to do that, you should be able to determine a designed thing from a non-designed thing of the same class and size. A challenge that your professor (Dr. Dembski) has run away from for years. Indeed, no ID proponent can even describe, in theory, how to determine a designed thing from a non-designed thing. Can you?

Didn’t think so.

So, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, but feel free to explore this area. Once you develop a few testable hypotheses, then we can actually apply science and determine this once and for all. (Which, curiously, has never been done. Especially considering all the ‘scientists’ on ID’s side. Why do you think that is?)

Randy “Intelligent Designer” Stimpson -

Glad to see you back. Let’s pick up where we left off. To summarize -

1) You can’t explain the theory of evolution. Feel free to prove me wrong by giving an adequate explanation of the theory of evolution.

2) No possible evidence can convince you of biological evolution with mutation and natural selection as major factors. Feel free to prove me wrong by explaining what reasonable evidence would convince you.

3) Your descriptions of “specified” and “indexical” information are vague and informal. These are just arbitrary terms you invented. Feel free to prove me wrong by posting rigorous, usable definitions of these terms.

4) Your examples of “design”, such as software or recipes, are examples of human activity. These examples merely lead to a sequence total non sequitur. A extremely fair paraphrase would be “humans write recipes, some characteristic of living cells reminds me of recipes, therefore a non-human magically created living cells, and therefore living cells don’t evolve via a mechanism that involves mutation and natural selection”. I hope this is not “misrepresentation”, it is an attempted fair paraphrase of your line of reasoning. If it sounds stupid when tersely summarized, perhaps that means something.

5) You can’t say who the designer is. Feel free to prove me wrong by saying who the designer is.

6) You tried to play the disgraceful trick of saying “the designer is God, I don’t know who or what God is, but I didn’t say that I don’t know who or what the designer is”. I repeat, you can’t say who the designer is.

7) You can’t say what the designer did. Feel free to prove me wrong.

8) You can’t say when the designer did it. Feel free to prove me wrong.

9) You can’t say how the designer did it. Feel free to prove me wrong.

10) You offer no explanation as to why you, individually, are so special that, with no study or even significant informal knowledge of a major scientific subject, you can overturn a major scientific theory in that subject. Feel free to prove me wrong by explaining what it is about you that makes you able to achieve this remarkable accomplishment.

OgreMkV said:

John Kwok said:

Intelligent Designer the moronic Dishonesty Institute IDiot Borg drone barfed:

Glen Davidson said: Teh Designer is an idiot savant?

Glen Davidson doesn’t really exist.

Au contraire, Monsieur. Glen has been a steadfast critic of ID for years. As for you, you could be a student in Bill Dembski’s course opting to get some “extra credit” by posting your risible comments replete in their breathtaking inanity.

Oh yeah, I guess it is that time of year again.

I’ve concluded that ID is either a student of Dembski’s or IBIG when he’s on his psych meds. That’s the only reasonable answers I can think of to account for ID’s behavior here.

John Kwok,

You institutionalize yourself not me.

I was not brought up on beer and crisps.

I would remove the word obediently if it implied anything to do with the Daleks.

DS said:

Marilyn wrote:

“I view DNA as being a fixed process with exact improvement in a species when environment permits, also if the genes mature to enable for example hearing.”

Really? I view DNA as undergoing random mutation and organisms as undergoing natural selection. I have experimental evidence to support my view. Do you have any evidence for your view?

How exactly do genes “mature”? What exactly is a “mature” gene? Do genes actually change in order to “enable” things? Does this require intelligence? Whose intelligence is in charge? What is the purpose of this intelligent intervention?

Thanks in advance for your clarification of these points.

“I view DNA as being a fixed process with exact improvement in a species when environment permits, also if the genes mature to enable for example hearing.”

I don’t think those words mean what that poster thinks they mean.

DNA isn’t a process.

Genes don’t mature; they get copied when a cell reproduces. In the meantime, a gene might be active or inactive.

I don’t know what “exact improvement” is supposed to mean. Mutation, genetic drift, recombination, and horizontal transfers increase variety.

Selection is what it’s called when one or more of those varieties reproduces more successfully than the others. (A more technically accurate label for that effect would be “differential reproductive success”, since the word “selection” can be taken to mean that something is doing the selecting.)

Marilyn the delusional British Dishonesty Institute IDiot Borg drone whined and moaned:

John Kwok

You institutionalize yourself not me.

I was not brought up on beer and crisps.

I would remove the word obediently if it implied anything to do with the Daleks.

Sorry Marilyn, but I can’t take you seriously. Nor can any of us here at Panda’s Thumb who are still puzzling over your weird - and quite inane - understanding as to what is valid science, especially with regards to biology.

Henry J is absolutely right. DNA is not a process, but instead, can be seen as a pattern, and one, contrary to Intelligent Designer, is devoid of information content.

Your observation that species obtain “exact improvement” via DNA is nonsensical as Henry J has explained (see his latest post). Moreover, whether you admit it or not, the way you phrase this (see below) sounds like a Lamarckian view of evolution, not some statement meant to support creation via Divine fiat:

“I view DNA as being a fixed process with exact improvement in a species when environment permits, also if the genes mature to enable for example hearing.”

As for Daleks, I was using them as an analogy to explain why you were wrong with regards to your poor understanding of heredity, not to suggest that you should be obediantly.

Awwww it’s always so cute when the creobots eat their own.

Marilyn said:

If evolution were DNA’s business then you would expect more transitions or morphs that make for different appearances. Yet for Millennia-plus species stay very much the same.

I view DNA as being a fixed process with exact improvement in a species when environment permits, also if the genes mature to enable for example hearing.

Whichever species you look at, ears, eyes, hair, and limbs are all part of the living beings on this planet. It is the reason for the existence of DNA to produce flesh and blood beings of any species, and it has done this forever consistently and dedicated and in my view intelligently and obediently.

Some species have become extinct so cannot now partake in the future of life.

God said, “be still and know I am God”

We have pictures of Leonardo Da Vinci to provide evidence that he wrote or drew. The only evidence of God is when we look at each other as we were made in his image and that is his legacy he left for us, and his way of surviving and ours. He gave us the intelligence to draw, write and read and speak so we can look to the past and leave the best for the future.

Thank you all for your comments. I would like to add to …consistently and dedicated… with… precisely and lovingly. Also rather than …obediently… more of in the way of …in command…

Marilyn said: Thank you all for your comments. I would like to add to …consistently and dedicated… with… precisely and lovingly. Also rather than …obediently… more of in the way of …in command…

Y’know … you’re really full of crap.

Marilyn,

So that would be a no. You don’t have any evidence whatsoever for your ideas. You just sort of made up stuff that, for whatever reason, sounded good to you. Sorry, that isn’t the way that science works. If you really want to learn something, that is not the way to go about it.

By the way, thanking others for their comments and then refusing to answer their questions is a little disingenuous don’t you think?

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Scanlan published on March 22, 2011 7:51 AM.

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