Aquamarine on feldspar and mica

| 113 Comments
IMG_1971_600_AquamarineOnFeldsparMica.JPG

Aquamarine on feldspar and mica, with smoky quartz in the background, from Diane’s Pocket, Mt. Antero, Chaffee County, Colorado. Geology Museum, Colorado School of Mines, May 2011.

113 Comments

Lovely!

Just look at all the emergent properties in that picture. So much from such simplicity!

Imagine what can happen with something even slightly more complex.

I want!

OK, the aquamarine’s not in the greatest condition, but still looks great in context. Looks like a bigger piece.

So much CSI, too. Or wait, don’t they say that we can detect it only if we already know it’s there? So I guess I need to know if it’s there first, and if it is, the explanatory filter can detect it (it’s why it works so well for life, because they already know CSI is there, because they can just see it (after reading John 1, anyhow)).

Glen Davidson

Imagine what can happen with something even slightly more complex.

It might become irreducible!

Serious question for Steve P., Joe Bozorgmehr, FL, Fittest Meme, IBIG, and any other lurking creationists.

Was the structure illustrated here intelligently designed or not, and how can you tell?

harold said:

Serious question for Steve P., Joe Bozorgmehr, FL, Fittest Meme, IBIG, and any other lurking creationists.

Was the structure illustrated here intelligently designed or not, and how can you tell?

Yes; not just the physical composition, but the artistic composition as well.

Maybe we should tote up all the gods for whom this is clear evidence, and all the gods for whom it isn’t, and see which set is larger. Only Christian gods, for this exercise.

harold said:

Serious question for Steve P., Joe Bozorgmehr, FL, Fittest Meme, IBIG, and any other lurking creationists.

Was the structure illustrated here intelligently designed or not, and how can you tell?

All snark aside, I would like to see how this question gets answered. We could, just possibly, have an actual discussion about detection of intelligently designed items.

SWT said:

harold said:

Serious question for Steve P., Joe Bozorgmehr, FL, Fittest Meme, IBIG, and any other lurking creationists.

Was the structure illustrated here intelligently designed or not, and how can you tell?

All snark aside, I would like to see how this question gets answered. We could, just possibly, have an actual discussion about detection of intelligently designed items.

The question is absolutely serious, of course. I’d also love to see an answer. Even if someone thought I was being snarky, they could make that look pretty silly with an intelligent answer. Or even an explanation of how the question could hypothetically be answered.

Sorry if I was unclear – my comment about snark was about me, not you. You’ve posed an excellent question, and the answer can lead to some interesting and potentially useful discussion. I note that Steve P. has been busy in another thread but hasn’t yet graced us with his response to your question.

harold said:

Serious question for Steve P., Joe Bozorgmehr, FL, Fittest Meme, IBIG, and any other lurking creationists.

Was the structure illustrated here intelligently designed or not, and how can you tell?

Well we know that you can’t tell that it wasn’t designed by finding all of the predicted effects of non-teleological evolution in those objects (not that you would).

The mere fact that no designer has never been known to modify entities for billions of years in a way that mimics the effects of non-teleological evolution is no argument against such a thing happening. Because…

I have to admit that at this point I get stuck.

Glen Davidson

SWT said:

harold said:

Serious question for Steve P., Joe Bozorgmehr, FL, Fittest Meme, IBIG, and any other lurking creationists.

Was the structure illustrated here intelligently designed or not, and how can you tell?

All snark aside, I would like to see how this question gets answered. We could, just possibly, have an actual discussion about detection of intelligently designed items.

Well, I think I can give the ID/creationists a start.

Aquamarine is a compound Be3Al2(SiO3)6 with a dipyramidal structure.

Feldspar is usually one of KAlSi3O8 or NaAlSi3O8 or CaAl2Si2O8 with triclinic or monoclinic structure.

Mica comes in the form X2Y4 - 6Z8O20(OH, F)4) with X = K, Na, or Ca, or less commonly Ba, Rb, Cs; Y= Al, Mg, or Fe, or less commonly Mn, Cr, Ti, Li; and Z = Si, or Al, or Fe3+ or Ti.

And of course quartz is SiO2.

So all they have to do is use a uniform random selection distribution of these elements from all the elements in the periodic table, and then calculate the probability that these specified structures with their specified bond angles and crystalline forms will occur out of a random mixture of inert atoms just lying around or blown about by tornadoes in junkyards.

And then they would have to multiply by the probability of this specified structure we see in the photograph.

Inert atoms? I didn’t see anything from group VIII of the periodic table in any of those formulas. :)

harold said: The question is absolutely serious, of course. I’d also love to see an answer. Even if someone thought I was being snarky, they could make that look pretty silly with an intelligent answer. Or even an explanation of how the question could hypothetically be answered.

Here’s an answer, but I’m afraid it won’t make you look silly.

(1) You go out and see if any designers are actually creating these crystals. If you can’t do that, then you come up with a hypothesis as to how a designer would go about doing it. Said hypothesis must be specific enough to yield testable predictions.

(2) You extract from your observation or hypothesis the types of independent evidence such action would leave behind. Things like toolmarks. Or actual tools. Or evidence of a manufacturing technique (in the case of crystals, an illustrative example might be that growing it in an artificial bath gives different elemental or isotopic ratios than “natural” versions).

(3) Then you look to for evidence of those things (toolmarks, tools, manufcaturing techniques) in the sample itself.

IDers do none of this.

They avoid (1) because their answer - God - shows their idea is religious in nature.

They avoid (2) because their answer - untraceable magic - shows their idea is not science.

They avoid (3) because they aren’t actually interested in doing science. ID is proselytization. Testing their hypothesis would be a waste from two different angles: it is time not spent promoting Jesus, and its time collecting data they aren’t going to use anyway since the bible is the only data they consider authoritative.

Henry J said:

Inert atoms? I didn’t see anything from group VIII of the periodic table in any of those formulas. :)

In ID/creationism, all atoms are inert. They just jostle around randomly, waiting to be chosen with a uniform sampling distribution and put into a “specified complex” arrangement using “information” from an “intelligent designer.”

Atoms are so dumb that they just wander off to infinity if someone doesn’t round them up and place them in pretty arrangements.

Of course, if those atoms really were inert, putting them into pretty arrangements wouldn’t cause them to do anything except sit there looking pretty.

harold said:

Serious question for Steve P., Joe Bozorgmehr, FL, Fittest Meme, IBIG, and any other lurking creationists.

Was the structure illustrated here intelligently designed or not, and how can you tell?

Well, I got some good replies, but all I’m getting from you guys is…

[sound of crickets chirping]

I guess we all agree that ID/creationism is a bunch of BS.

Not to be difficult or anything, just wondering if non-living, differentially-permeable membranes occur naturally…

fnxtr said:

Not to be difficult or anything, just wondering if non-living, differentially-permeable membranes occur naturally…

Naturally occurring differential filters from inorganic materials can and do occur. Usually the natural process will involve some inorganic material in a very fine polycrystalline state in which the microcrystals making up the material are jumbled and together bound together but with defects, dislocations, and vacancies throughout.

Sintering doesn’t have to be “intelligently designed.” It can take place wherever fine-grained materials are fused together at temperatures just below the melting temperatures of the compounds or when trapped air or water prevent the material from forming a solid crystal.

For example, some kinds of pumice can be used as differential filters. The only problem is that the natural process doesn’t necessarily produce something that consistently differentiates molecular sizes that humans may want do differentiate.

Dawkins remarked that the simplest filtering membrane was a hole. It lets lumps smaller than it is through, and prevents lumps larger than it is from passing through.

Holes occur naturally, in non-living things.

eric said:

Here’s an answer, but I’m afraid it won’t make you look silly.

(1) You go out and see if any designers are actually creating these crystals. If you can’t do that, then you come up with a hypothesis as to how a designer would go about doing it. Said hypothesis must be specific enough to yield testable predictions.

Actually, I work in digital design, and I have friends who do, in fact, create crystals.

Mind-bogglingly large ones, made of silicon.

The testable prediction (in this day of sub-micron sized photolitography) is they will be freakin perfect on any practically measurable scale, because if they’re not, they’re pretty much useless.

By this logic, the crystals in the picture are not the product of a designer because they have obvious flaws.

Sadly, these days the same not-designed argument seems to also apply to my knee.

On the BW, FL said -

All snark aside, I would like to see how this question gets answered. We could, just possibly, have an actual discussion about detection of intelligently designed items.

Sure. What you see in the photograph (the aquamarine/mica) doesn’t display any specified complexity, doesn’t display any CSI.

There’s no such thing as CSI. It’s a meaningless string of words. Prove me wrong. I said “how do you know” (you didn’t have the cojones to blockquote that part).

Give me a reproducible way to measure CSI that I can use independently, to check your assertion. If you can’t, that means CSI doesn’t exist in any meaningful way*. (*Assuming FL makes a good faith effort to go to the necessary sources or recruit the necessary experts, and exhausts those possibilities.)

If you can, it doesn’t mean that I agree that CSI is a marker for “design”, but right now I think that the concept is literally undefined and meaningless (and I’ve seen the absurd “CSI calculations” at Uncommon Dementia - the couldn’t even agree with each other). If there is no such thing as CSI we can dispense with this argument right now.

Doesn’t mean that God isn’t the Creator of the aquamarine/mica, just means that those information-markers aren’t there as far as we know. So the photograph doesn’t display the known markers of intelligent design, and we simply say so.

Wait a second. You’re saying that you can’t be sure that God created the entire universe. You’re not as sure that God created aquamarine as you are that he created cells. Therefore you’re at least less than perfectly sure that he created aquamarine. You are saying that, and you can’t weasel out of it.

And your reasoning for accepting God as the creator of cells is wrong - it’s based on CSI, but there is no such thing as CSI.

You’re essentially an agnostic.

Contrast that situation with the huge genetic cookbook written inside your cells.

You may have your doubts about who created the universe, but you sure believe in the voodoo magic of simple analogies. Sorry. If I call DNA a “cookbook”, it doesn’t make it a literal cookbook. Any more than if I call a creationist a weasel, it means that he literally becomes a small, furry, crafty animal that chickens are afraid of.

fnxtr said:

Not to be difficult or anything, just wondering if non-living, differentially-permeable membranes occur naturally…

To add to what Mike said, lots of natural minerals make excellent media for anionic, cationic, or size exclusion chromatography columns. Tuff is a standard column material - but it’s also just a type of dirt. And it will have the same properties in a field as it will in a glass column, chemically separating any liquid passing through it.

Now, I don’t know whether you consider loosely packed dirt to be a ‘membrane,’ but it’s certainly got the ‘natural’ and ‘differentially-permeable’ aspects down pat (so to speak).

Sure. I guess charcoal form forest fires would count, too. :-) Thanks for the ideas.

harold said:

Serious question for Steve P., Joe Bozorgmehr, FL, Fittest Meme, IBIG, and any other lurking creationists.

Was the structure illustrated here intelligently designed or not, and how can you tell?

If you happened to find instruction for making this exact formation of these materials close to the formation itself what would you conclude?

Would you consider such evidence to be of the type eric describes in his post?

(2) You extract from your observation or hypothesis the types of independent evidence such action would leave behind. Things like toolmarks. Or actual tools. Or evidence of a manufacturing technique (in the case of crystals, an illustrative example might be that growing it in an artificial bath gives different elemental or isotopic ratios than “natural” versions).

fittest meme said:

harold said:

Serious question for Steve P., Joe Bozorgmehr, FL, Fittest Meme, IBIG, and any other lurking creationists.

Was the structure illustrated here intelligently designed or not, and how can you tell?

If you happened to find instruction for making this exact formation of these materials close to the formation itself what would you conclude?

If it were written in ink on paper, and someone followed the recipe and got the same result, yes. Because ink and paper do not reproduce themselves, and are independently known to be produced by human designers.

But if you are using “instruction for making this material” as a metaphor for the fact that certain inherent properties of the atoms themselves and the molecules they form allow for crystal growth, then no, observation of those properties is not observing “an instruction for making the material,” and not evidence of design.

DNA molecules and the molecules which read them have inherent molecular properties which allow them to replicate and produce proteins. They fall in the latter category, not the former ink-and-paper category.

fittest meme said:

harold said:

Serious question for Steve P., Joe Bozorgmehr, FL, Fittest Meme, IBIG, and any other lurking creationists.

Was the structure illustrated here intelligently designed or not, and how can you tell?

If you happened to find instruction for making this exact formation of these materials close to the formation itself what would you conclude?

Aquamarine is a compound Be3Al2(SiO3)6 with a dipyramidal structure.

Feldspar is usually one of KAlSi3O8 or NaAlSi3O8 or CaAl2Si2O8 with triclinic or monoclinic structure.

Mica comes in the form X2Y4 - 6Z8O20(OH, F)4) with X = K, Na, or Ca, or less commonly Ba, Rb, Cs; Y= Al, Mg, or Fe, or less commonly Mn, Cr, Ti, Li; and Z = Si, or Al, or Fe3+ or Ti.

And of course quartz is SiO2.

Do you consider these as instructions? If so, how would you calculate the “complex specified information” in these instructions?

If not, how complicated does a molecule have to be in order to “contain instructions?” Does the molecule have to include certain elements such as carbon?

If more complicated molecules are different from simpler molecules in how they are constructed, what are those differences? Where do the laws of chemistry and physics leave off and “instructions” enter the picture?

Is there a level of complexity in molecules where the laws of physics and chemistry stop?

Is there a level of complexity in molecules where the laws of chemistry and physics are “not enough?”

At what level of complexity does “complex specified information” enter the structure of a molecule?

As a spokesman for the ID/creationist community, surely you have been taught all this.

eric said:

If it were written in ink on paper, and someone followed the recipe and got the same result, yes. Because ink and paper do not reproduce themselves, and are independently known to be produced by human designers.

But if you are using “instruction for making this material” as a metaphor for the fact that certain inherent properties of the atoms themselves and the molecules they form allow for crystal growth, then no, observation of those properties is not observing “an instruction for making the material,” and not evidence of design.

DNA molecules and the molecules which read them have inherent molecular properties which allow them to replicate and produce proteins. They fall in the latter category, not the former ink-and-paper category.

So is it the fact that the paper instructions can’t replicate themselves that keeps them from falling into your “second category?” of information?

Maybe I’m not understanding what your talking about when you describe “molecular properties which allow them it replicate and produce proteins.” Aren’t you attributing characteristics of life to molecules which we would agree aren’t living?

If your talking about the molecular properties that would for instance attract base to base then you must know that none of the letters of the genetic alphabet have any particular attraction to any other as they are aligned in a string of DNA. The molecular properties are important but they are more akin to the bond of ink to paper than any property that results in information.

Whether it is on paper, magnetic media, or spoken word we recognize coded information and rightly identify it as the product of a designer.

It seems to me you are identifying code which is recorded in the most efficient manner ever discovered and with the ability to replicate itself to be less the result of design than that which is obviously more basic.

Maybe what’s go you so troubled is not so much that you don’t think it’s designed but that it’s designed so well it seems to display evidence of a designer more adepts than any mere mortal.

fittest meme said:

Maybe what’s go(t) you so troubled … evidence of a designer more adept (no s) than any mere mortal.

As you are all aware by now, proofreading is not one of my strong points. There’s probably more of these that should be corrected (typos that is … :)).

fittest meme said:

Maybe I’m not understanding what your talking about when you describe “molecular properties which allow them it replicate and produce proteins.” Aren’t you attributing characteristics of life to molecules which we would agree aren’t living?

If your talking about the molecular properties that would for instance attract base to base then you must know that none of the letters of the genetic alphabet have any particular attraction to any other as they are aligned in a string of DNA. The molecular properties are important but they are more akin to the bond of ink to paper than any property that results in information.

I’m rather surprised that you think like molecules can’t attract.

Do water molecules attract other water molecules? If not, how do you explain liquid water and ice?

Do copper atoms attract copper atoms? How about iron with iron? Lead with lead? Oxygen with oxygen? Ever heard of liquid oxygen or liquid nitrogen? How about liquid helium?

Do you know anything about the complexity of the attraction of ink to paper?

Mike Elzinga said:

fittest meme said:

Maybe I’m not understanding what your talking about when you describe “molecular properties which allow them it replicate and produce proteins.” Aren’t you attributing characteristics of life to molecules which we would agree aren’t living?

If your talking about the molecular properties that would for instance attract base to base then you must know that none of the letters of the genetic alphabet have any particular attraction to any other as they are aligned in a string of DNA. The molecular properties are important but they are more akin to the bond of ink to paper than any property that results in information.

I’m rather surprised that you think like molecules can’t attract.

Do water molecules attract other water molecules? If not, how do you explain liquid water and ice?

Do copper atoms attract copper atoms? How about iron with iron? Lead with lead? Oxygen with oxygen? Ever heard of liquid oxygen or liquid nitrogen? How about liquid helium?

Do you know anything about the complexity of the attraction of ink to paper?

Where did I say I didn’t think molecules “can’t attract?”

Did you read my post? I was addressing eric’s claim that molecules had properties that allowed them to “replicate and produce proteins.”

If you and he are asserting that the properties that cause different molecules to attract each other is all that’s needed to create information I think you are badly mistaken. Your vast knowledge of chemical compositions and such is really impressive, (you’ve got a big hard-drive). I think you’d benefit however by allocating a few more of those resources to processing (you need to upgrade your RAM).

No, I don’t know anything about the complexities of ink’s attraction to paper. I do know that these attractions don’t determine the letters that are written on the page. That seems to be enough for the purpose of this discussion.

Scott F said:

fittest meme said: To just wave your “magic wand of chance and lots-of-time” doesn’t clear the threshold required of real thinkers.

That is sooo true. Real thinkers just wave their magic wand of “magic”. Stupid questions, like “how” and “when”, are just a waste of the time of real thinkers, who have much more useful things to do with their time, like reinterpreting bible stories for the umpteenth time.

Yeah, all scientists are total idiots: here they’ve been, wasting time, money, and lives looking at the physical world when all of the answers have been staring them in their pasty faces from inside the Bible all this time.

Scott F said:

Is that a good strategy? I don’t know. But while I’ve learned a lot of great stuff reading PT over these few years, I’ve also learned that a creationist can easily derail any technical or detailed discussion.

I greatly empathize with your comment; and I have had many similar experiences in attempting to deal with the misconceptions spread by ID/creationists over a period of 40+ years.

A general rule of thumb you can always carry with you, when encountering an ID/creationist argument, is that their arguments mischaracterize the science, the scientific evidence, and the scientific process. So, even if you don’t have direct knowledge of the details that refute an ID/creationist assertion, you already know, without attempting to reply to it, that it is wrong. And, from the entire history of ID/creationism, it is wrong on purpose.

So the general idea when dealing directly with persons you know is to suggest to them that they may want to look more closely at what science really says and that you are aware that such assertions by creationists are always misrepresentative of science.

The other issue that many scientists have to deal with when taunted by ID/creationists – or any other pseudo-scientist for that matter – is keeping them off one’s coattails. Some of these critters can be real pests; showing up at colloquia or other public offerings and latching onto scientists in order to gain attention for themselves.

Another issue one has to avoid is the old mud-wrestling routine as we see the trolls attempting to do here. In face-to-face encounters, especially if one is dealing with people one knows and likes, plunging directly into technical/scientific rebuttals doesn’t work very well, as you apparently have noticed.

You have to steer them toward discovery on their own; with some guidance on your part. And that means you may have to do some digging and learning also. The corrections to ID/creationist misconceptions are not going to happen over a few minutes of “debate;” it takes time.

ID/creationist pushers are instinctively aware of the general lack of scientific education in the public at large; and they never hesitate to exploit it.

I think Scott has a fruitful approach. There’s remarkable parallels here between the behaviour of amateur creationists when confronted with the flimsiness of their position and that of my daughter when I gently explain to her that if (for example) she’s too tired to do her music practice, she must also be too tired to play on her Wii. The result may be scales or a tantrum, but either way she knows she’s not getting away with anything…

fittest meme said:

So then you have left the question of were the obvious design of the spider web comes from unanswered.

Each spider of a particular species spins a similar web. If not coded into the DNA of the spider where does the information come from that results in these webs? While you’re at it maybe you can explain how the methuselah generation of Monarch Butterfly finds its way back down to Mexico without the instructions being coded into genetic information transfered from generation to generation. There is no arguing the fact that the instructions for this complicated process must be coded into the DNA of the eggs - that hatch into the caterpillars - that then metamorph into the butterflies that make this trip..

Please provide the logical and evidence based explanation of how incremental random mutations to the genetic structure of these insects could have resulted in the instructions for these complex activities to have arisen. The scientific theory of intelligent design uses the common understanding that we have never witnessed instruction of this type to have been created by anything but an intelligent designer. To just wave your “magic wand of chance and lots-of-time” doesn’t clear the threshold required of real thinkers. If you think it’s OK to propose such an answer it might be time for us to question your diligence for really discovering the truth.

So then you have left the question of were the obvious design of the spider web comes from unanswered.

Each spider of a particular species spins a similar web. This is obviously heritable and thus coded into the DNA of the spider. The information comes from random mutations and natural selection? While I’m at it I can explain how the methuselah generation of Monarch Butterfly finds its way back down to Mexico with the instructions being coded into genetic information transfered from generation to generation. There is no arguing the fact that the instructions for this complicated process must be coded into the DNA of the eggs - that hatch into the caterpillars - that then metamorph into the butterflies that make this trip. Once again, it is obvious that random mutations and natural selection are sufficient to produce this trait and any other heritable traits.

Please provide the logical and evidence based explanation of how the actions of some intelligent designer of these insects could have resulted in the instructions for these complex activities to have arisen. The unscientific theory of intelligent design uses the common understanding that we have never witnessed instruction of this type to have been created by anything but an intelligent designer, but that is an obvious logical fallacy. To just wave your “magic wand of GODDIDIT” doesn’t clear the threshold required of real thinkers. If you think it’s OK to propose such an answer it might be time for us to question your diligence for really discovering the truth. You have to remember that natural selection is not random. You do get that, right?

ID/creationist pushers are instinctively aware of the general lack of scientific education in the public at large; and they never hesitate to exploit it.

Nor to try to increase it.

They don’t even really care much about teaching their myth, since it’s so vulnerable to existing evidence, they really are primarily out to poison the well against evolutionary theory. Oh yes, they “want to teach more,” like how to deny reasonable inference from the evidence by raising specious objections.

Doubt of science and its methods is their intended “contribution,” since the social default is, for many in our society, their mythic claims.

Glen Davidson

DS said:

You have to remember that natural selection is not random. You do get that, right?

You do know that the mutations to the genes are random right? According to evolutionary theory natural selection “chooses” (assuming the “purpose” of survival I might add) which of these mutations are maintained in the code.

fittest meme said:

DS said:

You have to remember that natural selection is not random. You do get that, right?

You do know that the mutations to the genes are random right? According to evolutionary theory natural selection “chooses” (assuming the “purpose” of survival I might add) which of these mutations are maintained in the code.

You do realize that that is all that is required don’t you? What’s your point?

fittest meme said: You do know that the mutations to the genes are random right? According to evolutionary theory natural selection “chooses” (assuming the “purpose” of survival I might add) which of these mutations are maintained in the code.

We don’t assume survival is the purpose. We observe that animals which survive contribute more - on average - to the gene pool than those that don’t. And we also understand that there are exceptional cases, which is why mainstream scientists also accept other mechanisms (such as sexual selection).

Look here, this is really quite simple. A cheetah chases and kills a gazelle. A bee goes to a flower based on how it looks. Do you think such actions are purposeful, or not? If you think they are, then unconcious nature can provide purpose without God. If you think they aren’t, then gazelle and flower gene pools can evolve without any purpose being necessary. Either way, there is no issue with “purpose” in evolution.

The problem only comes when you confusingl switch between two different linguistic uses of the same term in the same argument. For example, calling the cheetah’s action purposeful in one breath and then claiming that only intelligent agents can have purpose in the next. Pick a single meaning for the word, stick to it all the way through your argument, and you’ll find that the whole purpose concept is not a problem.

DS said:

fittest meme said:

DS said:

You have to remember that natural selection is not random. You do get that, right?

You do know that the mutations to the genes are random right? According to evolutionary theory natural selection “chooses” (assuming the “purpose” of survival I might add) which of these mutations are maintained in the code.

You do realize that that is all that is required don’t you? What’s your point?

The instructions to build a spiders web or to navigate the route from an Iowa field back to Mexico are extremely complex. You do have an understanding of the number of base pairs required to code for even the simplest task within the cell don’t you? To assume that random mutations to this genetic code result in incremental changes that are each by themselves beneficial enough to the organism to be retained in that code, as other required random mutations accumulate in the same manner is beyond reason.

At least it should present enough doubt so as to allow other theories into the discussion.

Really DS. Just relax and let yourself think about it.

eric said:

fittest meme said: You do know that the mutations to the genes are random right? According to evolutionary theory natural selection “chooses” (assuming the “purpose” of survival I might add) which of these mutations are maintained in the code.

We don’t assume survival is the purpose. We observe that animals which survive contribute more - on average - to the gene pool than those that don’t. And we also understand that there are exceptional cases, which is why mainstream scientists also accept other mechanisms (such as sexual selection).

Look here, this is really quite simple. A cheetah chases and kills a gazelle. A bee goes to a flower based on how it looks. Do you think such actions are purposeful, or not? If you think they are, then unconcious nature can provide purpose without God. If you think they aren’t, then gazelle and flower gene pools can evolve without any purpose being necessary. Either way, there is no issue with “purpose” in evolution.

The problem only comes when you confusingl switch between two different linguistic uses of the same term in the same argument. For example, calling the cheetah’s action purposeful in one breath and then claiming that only intelligent agents can have purpose in the next. Pick a single meaning for the word, stick to it all the way through your argument, and you’ll find that the whole purpose concept is not a problem.

Purpose is the problem when people attribute it to non living entities such as molecules. People have done that here on this board and my parenthetical insertion was addressed to them.

You won’t find me questioning the fact that all living organisms do have an inherent purpose to survive. I agree that it does not have to be assumed in things that we know to be alive.

fittest meme said:

Purpose is the problem when people attribute it to non living entities such as molecules. People have done that here on this board and my parenthetical insertion was addressed to them.

You won’t find me questioning the fact that all living organisms do have an inherent purpose to survive. I agree that it does not have to be assumed in things that we know to be alive.

Whose words are you twisting now?

Do you think anyone is going to take you ID/creationists seriously when you keep mischaracterizing science?

Unfortunately you have picked up the tactic of ID/creationists to deliberately mischaracterize everything you read about science and scientific explanations.

fittest meme said:

The instructions to build a spiders web or to navigate the route from an Iowa field back to Mexico are extremely complex.

I have no idea how complex these instructions are, but since you do perhaps you could explain them. “Freeze to death or Fly south-west until you reach Mexico (or drown)” and “Walk around in ever increasing circles dragging a thread” seem pretty simple starting points.

You do have an understanding of the number of base pairs required to code for even the simplest task within the cell don’t you?

No, do tell us. What is the simplest task in a cell, and how many base pairs does it take to encode it? How can you establish any correlation between the number of base pairs required and an subjective quantity like “complexity” if you don’t understand exactly how something is implemented? We went to the moon with a computer with far, far less code than your PC needs to operate the Power-ON button.

To assume that random mutations to this genetic code result in incremental changes that are each by themselves beneficial enough to the organism to be retained in that code, as other required random mutations accumulate in the same manner is beyond reason.

Most of the code in your genome is not “retained because it is beneficial”, rather it is “not eliminated because it is not detrimental”

At least it should present enough doubt so as to allow other theories into the discussion.

Any theory you might have as to how this happens would be welcome.

fittest meme said:

The instructions to build a spiders web or to navigate the route from an Iowa field back to Mexico are extremely complex. You do have an understanding of the number of base pairs required to code for even the simplest task within the cell don’t you? To assume that random mutations to this genetic code result in incremental changes that are each by themselves beneficial enough to the organism to be retained in that code, as other required random mutations accumulate in the same manner is beyond reason.

At least it should present enough doubt so as to allow other theories into the discussion.

Really DS. Just relax and let yourself think about it.

The instructions to build a spiders web or to navigate the route from an Iowa field back to Mexico are extremely complex. You do have an understanding of the number of base pairs required to code for even the simplest task within the cell is irrelevant don’t you? You do know that you don’t have to start from scratch don’t you? It has been demonstrated that random mutations to the genome can result in incremental changes that are each by themselves beneficial enough to the organism to be retained in that code, and other required random mutations accumulate in the same manner. Or, even if they aren’t individually beneficial, they can still increase in frequency by drift or hitchhiking. This is all completely reasonable and confirmed bu empirical evidence.

It should not present enough doubt so as to allow other theories into the discussion, especially in the complete absence of any real competing hypothesis.

Really fattest meme. Just relax and let yourself think about it.

Matt,

I don’t know how you can get so far off topic when discussing a rock, but FM seems to be deliberately trying to derail even this thread. I would suggest banning him to the bathroom wall once again. I know that any further responses to him by me will be posted there. Thanks for your kind consideration.

Apparenly fittest meme hasn’t informed himself about the studies on insect navigation; for example, moth navigation.

What often appears to be purposeful behavior turns out to be a simple response to a stimulus that happened to get though a sieve of natural selection.

It appears that fittest meme is using exactly the tactics found on AiG. He/she may even be one of Ken Ham’s minions. The arguments in the “Answers Academy” have the same childish character.

DS said:

Matt,

I don’t know how you can get so far off topic when discussing a rock, but FM seems to be deliberately trying to derail even this thread. I would suggest banning him to the bathroom wall once again. I know that any further responses to him by me will be posted there. Thanks for your kind consideration.

Yes; that derailing tactic appears to be what fittest meme is using. He/she apparently can’t focus on a topic long enough to see it through.

fittest meme said: Purpose is the problem when people attribute it to non living entities such as molecules. People have done that here on this board and my parenthetical insertion was addressed to them.

No, you are being dense. People use purpose-language to describe non-intelligent-agent actions because it is very convenient and natural in our language to do so. And everyone gets what is meant…except for creationists, who seem to delight in being obtuse on order to muddle the issue. No chemist is inferring desire to atoms when they say atoms “want” to become electronically neutal. And no normal student takes them to be inferring desire; they understand that the phrase is a convenient way to talk about subatomic electromagnetic forces.

People are not attributing intention or intelligence to molecules. They are using purpose language to conveniently describe electromagnetic mechanical behavior. Why do you insist on not understanding this?

You won’t find me questioning the fact that all living organisms do have an inherent purpose to survive. I agree that it does not have to be assumed in things that we know to be alive.

If the responses of actions of trees, beetles, and cheetahs to their surroundings can have purpose, there is no need for intelligent agency, since you have basically accepted that unintelligent interactions may provide purpose.

eric said:

fittest meme said: Purpose is the problem when people attribute it to non living entities such as molecules. People have done that here on this board and my parenthetical insertion was addressed to them.

No, you are being dense. People use purpose-language to describe non-intelligent-agent actions because it is very convenient and natural in our language to do so. And everyone gets what is meant…except for creationists, who seem to delight in being obtuse on order to muddle the issue. No chemist is inferring desire to atoms when they say atoms “want” to become electronically neutal. And no normal student takes them to be inferring desire; they understand that the phrase is a convenient way to talk about subatomic electromagnetic forces.

People are not attributing intention or intelligence to molecules. They are using purpose language to conveniently describe electromagnetic mechanical behavior. Why do you insist on not understanding this?

I appreciate this subtlety you mention above. I am more concerned when the emergence of life from chemicals and energy alone is attributed to the actions of supposed chemical “replicators.” It is these “replicators” which are magically attributed with the purposeful desire to replicate that is unexplainable.

I am more concerned when the emergence of life from chemicals and energy alone is attributed to the actions of supposed chemical “replicators.” It is these “replicators” which are magically attributed with the purposeful desire to replicate that is unexplainable.

Yet, you also, hypocritically, display no concern or desire to explain how saying GODDIDIT is supposed be a scientific explanation more scientific than actual scientific explanations.

fittest meme said:

eric said:

fittest meme said: Purpose is the problem when people attribute it to non living entities such as molecules. People have done that here on this board and my parenthetical insertion was addressed to them.

No, you are being dense. People use purpose-language to describe non-intelligent-agent actions because it is very convenient and natural in our language to do so. And everyone gets what is meant…except for creationists, who seem to delight in being obtuse on order to muddle the issue. No chemist is inferring desire to atoms when they say atoms “want” to become electronically neutal. And no normal student takes them to be inferring desire; they understand that the phrase is a convenient way to talk about subatomic electromagnetic forces.

People are not attributing intention or intelligence to molecules. They are using purpose language to conveniently describe electromagnetic mechanical behavior. Why do you insist on not understanding this?

I appreciate this subtlety you mention above. I am more concerned when the emergence of life from chemicals and energy alone is attributed to the actions of supposed chemical “replicators.” It is these “replicators” which are magically attributed with the purposeful desire to replicate that is unexplainable.

SWT said:

Kauffman, S.A., “Autocatalytic Sets of Proteins,” J. Theor. Biol. 119 (1986) 1-24.

From the abstract:

This article investigates the possibility that the emergence of reflexively autocatalytic sets of peptides and polypeptides may be an essentially inevitable collective property of any sufficiently complex set of polypeptides.

fittest meme said: I appreciate this subtlety you mention above. I am more concerned when the emergence of life from chemicals and energy alone is attributed to the actions of supposed chemical “replicators.” It is these “replicators” which are magically attributed with the purposeful desire to replicate that is unexplainable.

Its not unexplainable or magical at all. Autocatalysis is a well understood and described phenomena that is taught about in basic organic and inorganic chemistry. It doesn’t need life to happen. Heck, it doesn’t even need organic molecules (see that link’s entry for ‘Tin pest’). It’s been known for decades, if not centuries.

Nobody attributes purposeful desire to molecules that replicate,* even if chemists occasionally use words like ‘want.’

*Except creationists, of course.

D’oh! SWT beat me to it.

In any event: FM, in the future, try not to attribute to ‘magic’ phenomena that are explained in Chem 101, okay?

fittest meme said:

I appreciate this subtlety you mention above. I am more concerned when the emergence of life from chemicals and energy alone is attributed to the actions of supposed chemical “replicators.” It is these “replicators” which are magically attributed with the purposeful desire to replicate that is unexplainable.

What the hell are you talking about?

Where do you get the idea that physics and chemistry are “magic?” Is it because you are a primitive who doesn’t understand anything in the modern world? Do you think computers are magic also?

It is the ID/creationists who have abused chemistry, physics, biology, and geology. It is ID/creationists who have been misusing words like “information” and complexity in order to stick in a supernatural, magical designer that does things you never explain. That’s your shtick.

Instead of making up crap and mischaracterizing things you obviously know nothing about, try learning some real science for a change.

You obviously never read any of the replies to your taunting, do you.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on October 3, 2011 12:00 PM.

Joe Thornton beats on Behe was the previous entry in this blog.

Carnival of Evolution 40 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 4.37

Site Meter