Great Unconformity

| 51 Comments

Photograph by Jon Woolf.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.

Woolf.Great_Unconformity_JSW.jpg

The Great Unconformity in the Grand Canyon. Mr. Wolf writes that the unconformity “demonstrates geologic time and a number of basic geologic rules that help to destroy YEC.”

51 Comments

I recall a creationist being offended to find that formations in the Grand Canyon had names such as Vishnu’s Temple and Wotan’s Throne referring to heathen false gods. So is there a Jesus’ Metamorphic Rock or a Yahweh’s Geological Feature anywhere in the Grand Canyon?

There are two canyons here. The first is wide, tapering down to the second, which appears to dissapear into a shadowed vortex. The demarcation is unmistakable. Is there a change in geology at this demarcation?

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Garbage, Byers. The multiple layers, with some that are denser under some that are less dense, cannot be the product of one flood. It must have been many, with time between each for the sediment to solidify. This is the simple observation that the earliest geologists made over two hundred years ago, and it doesn’t matter how much you deny it, it’s still the truth.

Oh great! I ask a question, hopefully leading to edification, and then Byers raises his gory locks!

It’s rather common to find features that were clearly formed at the surface and often over long time periods (bird/dinosaur nests, termite mounds, riverbeds, meteor craters, footprints, rain drop impressions, etc), yet with much more strata overhead. To suggest all this happened virtually at once during a single flood is a deep insult to early geologists.

Indeed, as Luckett touched on, geologists - including Christian geologists - had largely discarded the idea of a world wide Flood even two centuries ago. A notable example is pioneering geologist Adam Sedgwick.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Sedgwick

Considering their theological backgrounds, it’s understandable that Sedgwick and other Christians were strongly predisposed toward supporting a global Flood. But even these strong presumptions eventually came crashing down under the weight of scientific evidence (click link here). In this link, Sedgewick in 1831 recants his global Flood beliefs only a few short years after he had strongly supported a global Flood. At least Sedgwick and others during his time had the integrity to cut their losses, a lesson that some today seem unable or unwilling to appreciate.

Then radioactivity was discovered a little over a century ago and soon provided independent confirmation against a rapid world Flood. Radiometric dating shows that the rock layers were formed at widely varying times over millions/billions of years, not formed virtually at once. Yet countless times Byers has looked the other way, ran and remained silent when presented with sources about physicists that happen to be Christians advocating use of radiometric dating (click here), including here last October. If Byers finally does want to attempt a rebuttal, it’s probably best to do so in the Bathroom Wall.

What’s appalling is that you’ve never once cared enough about truth even to learn what flood sediments look like. Honest Christian geologists looked for some time for global flood layers, and never found them, so moved on–like honest people do, and as Byers with other ignorant blatherers never do.

You’ve been told by egregious ignoramuses that flood sediments look like that, you gullibly and prejudicially believed them, and so spout such idiotic comments.

If you’re ever honest, Byers, you’ll actually learn something before restating your vacuous nonsense. Honest geologists routinely recognize true (generally poorly sorted) flood deposits, you just repeat ignorance forever.

Glen Davidson

If you shut one eye, squint the other, and turn your head sideways you can clearly see Noah’s ark on the right side off in the distance. Byers might be on to something here.

Please do not feed the Byers troll. I will send its excrescences to the BW as soon as I find them.

But I really would like to know if there is any attempt at a creationist explanation for angular unconformities. Byers is unequipped to give one. But has anyone, anywhere ever made a serious attempt?

John Harshman:

See here: From biblicalgeology.net.

I… honestly can’t make heads or tails of it, since it is so evasive and poorly written. It just repeats over and over that things were rapidly deposited and suggests that strong bending/folding of rocks can’t happen except in the great flood or some other water-saturating event. It hand-waves about differential erosion rates between layers and that’s the only “explanation” I see.

Then there’s AIG. From this one I can make sense of the differential erosion rates argument. If the angled layers are made up of different kinds of rock, weathering should wear away some of them faster than others (specifically they compare the Hakati Shale and the harder Shinumo Quartzite), so a straight line platform on which another layer is deposited instead proves that a big ol’ flood came through and ripped the top of the rocks off violently. They use, as evidence, the fact that some boulders of various formations have been ripped off and strewn about far from their origins.

So the creationist model is something like rocks exist, rocks get metamorphosed (either by the flood or, uh, on day 3 of creation for some reason?) and stripped by flood, other rocks get deposited on top by the same flood.

Since there is differential erosion in the Unkar group they’re talking about, that forms monadnocks, I’ll leave it at that. If someone who knows more about geology wants to respond, Talk Origin’s index appears to be lacking an entry on the subject.

Swimmy said: See here: From biblicalgeology.net.

ouch! Ouch! owie ouch.

That link actually hurt, swimmy.

Swimmy said:

See here: From biblicalgeology.net.

Listen up punks. I’m no geologist, but let’s see how I do against the creationist link above. If any of you are geologists, feel free to correct me.

This piece is written by flood geologist Tas Walker. Jesus Tapdancing Christ he’s stupid. All the Flood geologists, including Steve Austin, are stoopid, stooooopid, except Andrew Snelling. Snelling is arguably the only major young Earth creationist who is smart enough to survive and have a scientific career outside creationism. But Tas Walker is coffee-spittingly, bang head on curb stupid.

He is writing about the famous Siccar Point in Scotland, with greywacke underneath the unconformity, its strata being tilted almost vertical, and the Old Red Sandstone above the unconformity, strata almost horizontal.

Start with the greywacke.

Tas Walker writes: In a bed of greywacke, the sand is often coarse at the bottom and fine at the top, indicating that the whole bed was deposited from one pulse of water (figure 6).

But creationists violate this principle everywhere on Earth. Everywhere on Earth, there are examples of coarse-grained sediment like sandstone ABOVE fine-grained sediment like limestone– many examples of that in the Grand Canyon, where the Coconino Sandstone is way above the Redwall and Muav Limestone.

So if the principle Walker expresses here were indeed a diagnostic of a single hydraulic event, why do creationists interpret the *VIOLATION* of this principle as *ALSO* diagnostic of a single hydraulic event? Duh, because creationists interpret *everything* as proving “radid deposition”, as we’ll see.

The fact that the beds are so flat over such large distances shows that the water-flows covered a large area.

Bullshit. Water *FLOWS* don’t create flat beds hundreds of square miles in area. Water flows downhill. If there were a water flow, it would have to go from one level down to another, a process which would not create many parallel layers hundreds of miles in area.

And the flat strata sit one on top of the other—without any sign of a break in deposition—indicating the fast deposition processes operated continuously while the whole rock deposit was formed.

Bullshit. Walker has no evidence the deposition processes were fast. The fact that the strata are conformable does not tell you ANYTHING about how much time it took to form them– only that no major erosion happened between the laying down of successive strata– but the laying down of each individual strata could take two million years for all we know.

Figure 6: A ‘graded bed’ has a sharp, distinct base with the coarsest grains of sand at the bottom. Moving upwards in the bed, the grains of sand become gradually finer and finer. The top of the bed is followed abruptly with the base of the next graded bed. Graded beds may form from fast-flowing underwater avalanches.

Here Walker is insinuating without evidence that flat layers that cover hundreds of square miles were formed by underwater avalanches! An avalanche flows downhill; it does not form flat layers that cover hundreds of square miles. Moveover, the laminations formed by avalanches are a particular type of graded bed; not all graded beds look the same. Walker has no evidence the greywacke was deposited by avalanches, and it’s impossible they would produce flat layers that cover hundreds of square miles.

Not only were the lower rocks de­pos­ited quickly, but they were folded while they were still soft and contained abundant water. The beds do not indicate evidence of brittle fracture.

This is fantasy– Walker has no evidence they were “still soft” when folded. They could have been a mile under the earth and heated and pressed until plastic. Also note he contradicts himself below, where he says these very layers were hard. Here he says they’re soft.

Skipping ahead to the end of the article, Tas summarizes his “model”:

Early in the Flood, sediments were deposited continuously by underwater avalanches in a deep marine environment. Soon after, these were cemented, uplifted and eroded by continental-scale water movements.

Thus, Tas is here saying the rocks were “cemented” “soon after” their deposition, they were hard, not soft pudding as creationists usually say to explain super-fast erosion during the Flood. But if they hardened “soon after” their deposition, it contradicts Tas’ theory of soft pudding layers being easily bent by God-knows-what force.

Moreover, if the strata really were soft mud when they got bent, the layers would mix into each other like mud would do. There wouldn’t be sharp boundaries between strata.

Tas requires the rock to be hard soon after deposition, then soft as mud when it’s bent, then hard to make the boundaries between the strata sharp. Tell Creationists rock cannot be hard and soft simultaneously.

Also, as a result of the folding, the rocks changed (metamorphosed)

Folding is not the same as metamorphosis.

All this means that there was not much time between deposition and folding.

What!? Pure assertion without evidence. Walker has no idea how long it took to fold the layers; could have been a mile under the Earth and taken 20 million years for all this lying asshole knows.

…where the lower vertically bedded rocks are exposed to the weather in the area, pronounced differential erosion is evident (e.g. figure 1). The softer shale erodes from between the beds of the harder greywacke, which stand out like ribs across the countryside.

However, the contact [unconformity] shows no differential weathering (figure 9), which indicates that the erosion was by catastrophic processes…

Bullshit. He means that, at the unconformity, the vertical layers are some soft shale and some hard greywacke, so, if they had eroded slowly, the edge of the shale would be dipped down, and the edge of the greywacke would stick out, making a zig-zag comb that would poke into the Old Red Sandstone above. Obviously, we don’t see that.

So he says, the contact layer is not like a comb, it’s flat; therefore it must have been eroded by a “catastrophe”, i.e. lots of water travelling at super-speed.

Again, bullshit. What evidence is that there if water is travelling faster, it ignores differences in the hardness of rock? Fast water or slow water, soft rock will ALWAYS erode more quickly than hard rock. Tas simply assumes that Noah’s holy water violates the laws of physics. Even if water were travelling at light-speed as Tas requires, the soft rock would STILL be more eroded than the hard rock.

We will see that Tas contradicts himself multiple times on whether the rocks have or have not solidified already, or are still mushy pudding. Here he assumed that the rocks are HARD, they have solidified. Right above, when he talked about folding, he said the rocks were SOFT and could fold as easily as a blanket. When, exactly, did they harden?

There is no rule saying that a lack of differential erosion proves that water flowing at the speed of light ground down hundreds of feet of sandstone (greywacke is sandstone) in a few days.

If Noah’s Flood water ground down hundreds of feet of sandstone in a few days, it would have to be traveling at near light speed, which would destroy all animal footprints (see below, there are footprints) and disintegrate all fossils, dinosaur eggs, nests, etc. There are no dinosaur nests or eggs here of course, but this is supposed to be a global phenomenon. How can water travel so fast that it disintegrates hundreds of feet of hard sandstone in a few days, but leaves footprints and fossils intact?

This next point by itself destroys Tas’ argument and all Flood geology, period. We come to the Old Red Sandstone, horizontal layers above the unconformity.

…the base of the Old Red Sand­­­stone consists of a metre-thick layer of broken rocks, called a breccia (figure 8). Large clasts (broken pieces) of greywacke, some the size of a football, have been ripped off the underlying rocks and dumped on top of the eroded surface. The breccia covers a huge geographical area… The broken pieces of rock are blocky and angular…

How, how, can the underlying greywacke rock be soft enough for water to erode hundreds of feet of it in a few days, while simultaneously being HARD enough to form large, blocky, angular rocks, which are embedded at the interface between the formations? How can the rock layer be both pudding soft and rock hard at the same time? Creationists explain super-fast erosion by saying “Oh, the rock was soft pudding at that time” but, if it was pudding then, how could it form large, blocky, angular rocks, which got embedded in the layer above?

It’s important to note that the same problem occurs in the Grand Canyon, at the interface between the Redwall Limestone below and Supai Group above. The upper layer of the Redwall Limestone is all eroded into a karstic landscape, like Guilin, China; it was above ground when it eroded (creationists Steve Austin says the karstic landscape formed at the bottom of the ocean, which in reality never happens under water.) The hollows of that karstic landscape of the Redwall, below the Supai, are filled by the Surprise Canyon formation. Surprise Canyon’s lowermost layers include embedded rocks broken off from Redwall Limestone. Again: if the Redwall Limestone was hard when Noah’s Flood happened, how could it be eroded super-fast at the bottom of the ocean? And if the Redwall Limestone was soft, how could it form hard rocks to get embedded in the Surprise Canyon formation above– and how could its walls be soon after eroded to form the totally vertical Redwall cliffs seen in the Canyon today? Soft rocks slump; but hard rocks don’t break off in angular chunks. See here for a semi-technical description of how every strata in the Grand Canyon refutes the Flood.

This is the death of Flood Geology: rock cannot be hard and soft simultaneously.

Obviously they [the greywacke rocks in the Old Red Sandstone] were not transported far from where they were broken off, and they were deposited quickly.

That is not evidence they were deposited quickly! How is that “obvious”?

This breccia layer is clear evidence that fast-flowing water eroded the contact…

Bullshit! If the water were fast-flowing, it would have transported the broken off rocks a long distance! You just said the rocks were NOT transported a long distance!

Compare Tas’ bullshit to this AIG article on the Grand Canyon, which says that GC rocks transported a long distance are proof of fast-flowing water and rapid deposition. Meanwhile, on Siccar Point, Tas Walker says rocks NOT transported a long distance are proof of fast-flowing water and rapid deposition.

To creationists, EVERYTHING is evidence of rapid deposition! “It’s tuesday!” is evidence of rapid deposition!

…the Old Red Sandstone covers a huge geographical area, indicating that the catastrophe was very large.14 In the Scottish Midland Valley, which incorporates Siccar Point, the sediments are deposited in a rectangular basin. It is 400 km long from Siccar Point in the east to Northern Ireland in the west. It is 100 km wide… the beds are so amazingly uniform and parallel that they can be visually traced for huge distances.

Again: catastrophes don’t form flat horizontal layers stretching hundreds of square miles! This indicates that the *LACK OF A catastrophe* was very large. Idiot.

It consists of pebble beds, sands and silts mixed with volcanic lavas and is more than 7 km thick.

Irrefutable, absolute evidence AGAINST rapid deposition. If all 7 km of thickness were laid down in a few days, how could volcanic lavas lie between so many strata? Seven km thickness of strata cannot be laid down in a few days. If it took say a month to lay down 7 km thickness of strata, that’s 9.7 METERS of rock laid down PER HOUR. How could lava flows extending over huge distances, get between strata of rock laid down at the rate of 16 centimeters per MINUTE!? Volcanoes take time to start up, and lava takes time to flow, especially on a HORIZONTAL surface!, to stop flowing, to cool, to harden. Lava flows could not possibly form HORIZONTAL layers interleaved between rock strata that were accumulating a thickness of 16 cm per MINUTE.

Moreover, he says the Old Red Sandston consists of “pebble beds, sands and silts”, so some layers with coarse grains are ABOVE layers with fine grains. This is the opposite of what a single flood would produce. Near the beginning he said that when “sand is often coarse at the bottom and fine at the top”, that is evidence “the whole bed was deposited from one pulse of water.” But if the Old Red Sandstone has the OPPOSITE, many times over, it was not produced by a single Flood.

Also, the sediments within the Old Red Sandstone contain abundant fossils of fish and plants (figure 11).15 The specimens are often well preserved, indicating rapid burial under unusual conditions… These fossils indicate that the sediments were deposited extremely rapidly.

BULLSHIT. creationists say that when fossils are broken up, disarticulated and scattered, they say THAT proves catastrophic burial. Here Tas is saying that fossils *NOT* broken up, *NOT* disarticulated and *NOT* scattered ALSO proves catastrophic burial. Creationists think “It’s Wednesday” proves catastrophic burial.

The successive beds of the Old Red Sandstone show they were deposited one after the other without significant time breaks between them… Some sandstone horizons contain animal tracks, so there was not much time involved.16

BULLSHIT. How the hell do ANIMAL TRACKS prove that the layers were laid down quickly? What animal could walk around AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN in the middle of Noah’s Flood, while sandstone is being deposited ON TOP OF IT at the rate of 16 cm per MINUTE? Lying idiot! Animal tracks prove this was not any catastrophe, the tracks were not laid down at the bottom of the ocean, and there HAD TO BE TIME BREAKS between strata being laid down! The exact opposite of Tas’ blather.

Note that Tas has the Flood’s holy water travelling at near light-speed, disintegrating hundreds of feet of thickness of hard sandstone– he clearly stated that the greywacke was cemented and hardened BEFORE it was tilted and eroded. So, the Flood’s holy water can disintegrate hard rock like a super-villian’s death ray, but it does NOT destroy fragile, delicate fossils or animal footprints made, according to Tas, at the bottom of the ocean, in the midst of his hyper sand-blaster! Around the world there are dinosaur nests, dinosaur eggs, footprints, feather impressions, skin impressions, raindrop impressions, dry mud cracks, caddis-fly mounds, all formed, according to Tas, AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN after several months of Noah’s Flood, and none of them disintegrating by Tas’ holy water travelling at near the speed of light, his hyper sand-blaster that erodes hundreds of feet of sandstone here, and granite there, but leaves every feather on Archaeopteryx as intact and perfect as a photograph. Holy water, indeed.

Swimmy Wrote:

So the creationist model…

I guess you mean the “scientific” YEC model, because technically there is no “the” creationist model. Rather there’s a comical mix of mutually-contradictory ones, with an occasional internal debate, but mostly pathetic attempts to dismiss the radical differences as unimportant. For example, if ID “is” creationism, then “the” creationist model is identical, for geology, if not biology, to that of mainstream science.

In any case, I often think that, though many events of the last 50+ years played a role in sparking my interest in natural history, but my 1989 hike of the Grand Canyon has to be at the top.

diogeneslamp0 said:

(long discourse)

Dio you know more about geology than Taz Walker. You also have the ability to reason and make rational conclusions from the evidence in front of your eyes - Walker does not.

If the really big flood had really happened then all the sedimentary rocks would have been stripped from the continents and deposited in one gigantic graded bed in the oceans, which would be full to the brim with sediments - no deep water, no fossils (all biological organisms would be ground up in the immensely destructive floodwaters), continents stripped bare down to basement rock.

These are the indicators of a really, really big flood which we do not see.

Walker knows he’s lying. He does it for dishonest reasons - either for the prestige it brings him in creationist circles (prestige he could never achieve in academia), or the money, or the approval of his mother, I don’t know. The world is full of sincere but uneducated believers willing to give money, especially in America, and the likes of Ken Ham are more than willing to take their money. Why do you think Ham came to America from Australia? Because the pickins are so plentiful and ripe here.

Hi Robert,

I don’t see anyone who has tried to answer your question. Let me see what I can do.

robert van bakel said:

There are two canyons here. The first is wide, tapering down to the second, which appears to dissapear into a shadowed vortex. The demarcation is unmistakable. Is there a change in geology at this demarcation?

If I understand your question right, the answer is yes. I took this picture looking northwest from Desert View across the Canyon. If you look at the left side of the picture, the angled darker layers (the Cardenas and Nankoweap formations) end abruptly against a more-or-less-flat overlying layer. The ‘edge’ layer is the Tapeats Sandstone. It forms a very recognizable border between the Paleozoic strata of the upper canyon wall and the Precambrian strata of the inner canyon. The sudden widening of the tributary canyon that you see occurs where it penetrates through the hard Tapeats and into the softer, more-easily-eroded tan rock of the Galeros Formation below. You might also note that the small river that cut this canyon sort of bends around the main mass of the Nankoweap/Cardenas strata and through a relatively narrow gap to join the Colorado River near the lower right corner. That’s because the Nankoweap and especially the Cardenas is much harder, more difficult to erode, than the Galeros is.

– Jon Woolf

diogeneslamp0 said:

(long discourse)

Just to add a bit to your excellent discourse … The Old Red Sandstone (ORS) in England and Scotland is predominantly Devonian (with a little late Silurian). During ORS times much of the British Isles was above sealevel. The evidence of the rocks themselves is that they were largely laid down in giant braided rivers. Such rivers have coarse sands, pebbles and boulders in point bars: the size range being dependent on the flow rates and the sources. These rivers meandered over their flood planes and frequently broke their banks to produce layers of mud/silt/fine sand that alternated with the gravelly point bars. Large areas were taken up by deltas (think the Amazon, Bangladesh, Mississippi, Nile etc.). At times the land surface (or large areas of it) dried out. Under these conditions, with occasional rain, salts (especially calcium carbonate) were “sucked up” (hardly scientific, sorry) and formed large areas of calcretes. These extend over many hundreds of square miles. A close approximation would be the sabakh regions currently in the Middle East (and elsewhere). The thickness and wide area spread of these calcrete beds suggest that they were not the work of a few minutes or days.

And, of course, these beds were then overlain by the Carboniferous rocks where giant trees grew and dragonflies reached 1m wingspread because of the high oxcygen levels from the luxuriant growth. To say nothing of the desert dune bed of the Permian, followed by another long period (Triassic) of braided rivers and the New Red Sandstone. Followed by the Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks with the unusually pure limstone (chalk) common in England. Followed by at least 3 separate ice ages in the British Isles (more in N Europe). But, “obviously”, these were Post-Flood.

All this was going on in the during the Mother of All Floods. Hypercanes raged. Volcanoes produced giant flows of lava (see the Siberian traps which spread over an area larger than Europe). Tsunamis swept over the surface of the sea …

I think not.

If you look at a few metres of rock and screw your eyes up you might, just might, find a way of “explaining” it in a year-long Flood. But all the rest, in context? With Precambrian rocks (pre-Flood?), Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian rocks with characterisitic fossils not even mentioned?

Alan Bates (aka alanbagain) student geologist, UK

I am by no means a scientist, just an interested reader that found many of the comments and clarifications helpful. Nonetheless, it appears that much of what was said, and said rightly by Mr. Wolf, and the picture of the Grand Canyon disproves a particular theory of creation, the YEC model. However, many creationists believe in an Old Earth/Universe, and Intelligent Design would not disagree with many of the assertions made by Mr. Wolf and thoughtful commentators here. How would you address the Old Earth Creationist and Intelligent Design community with this picture? It doesn’t seem to me to speak to or threaten those positions? If one wants to rule out “creation” or Intelligent Design, you cannot simply attack a YEC model and then turn around and dismiss all creation models or Intelligent Design.

Beyond this, many of the criticisms of a “global flood” expounded upon here by readers do make it difficult for any holding to a YEC model. Once again, however, there are many creationists who hold to a “local flood” in reference to Noah’s account, isolated in the Mesopotamian Valley. And they would argue very similar to many of these readers, that the geological evidence, and many other lines of evidence can be used to argue against a “global” flood. To destroy a YEC model does not seem to dismiss all “creation” accounts. If one wants to be diligent, it is not fair to lump all theories of creation together, use the YEC as the “whipping” boy, and then throw all “creation” accounts out by disproving one.

Seth A. said:

…you cannot simply attack a YEC model and then turn around and dismiss all creation models or Intelligent Design

Sure we can. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

Seth A.: This particular thread and picture are about YEC. I don’t think anyone believes this picture of the Grand Canyon refutes ID, which almost exclusively makes biological claims and which largely ignores geology. There are detailed rebuttals to ID arguments elsewhere on the site. Just two posts back, Joe Felsenstein linked two great criticisms of Dembski’s CSI, one by him and the other by Elsberry and Shallit. There is much more in the archives, and I’d be happy to recommend some old posts if you’d like. But you could always just click around the categories on the right side of the main page.

Seth A. said:

I am by no means a scientist, just an interested reader that found many of the comments and clarifications helpful. Nonetheless, it appears that much of what was said, and said rightly by Mr. Wolf, and the picture of the Grand Canyon disproves a particular theory of creation, the YEC model. However, many creationists believe in an Old Earth/Universe, and Intelligent Design would not disagree with many of the assertions made by Mr. Wolf and thoughtful commentators here. How would you address the Old Earth Creationist and Intelligent Design community with this picture? It doesn’t seem to me to speak to or threaten those positions? If one wants to rule out “creation” or Intelligent Design, you cannot simply attack a YEC model and then turn around and dismiss all creation models or Intelligent Design.

Beyond this, many of the criticisms of a “global flood” expounded upon here by readers do make it difficult for any holding to a YEC model. Once again, however, there are many creationists who hold to a “local flood” in reference to Noah’s account, isolated in the Mesopotamian Valley. And they would argue very similar to many of these readers, that the geological evidence, and many other lines of evidence can be used to argue against a “global” flood. To destroy a YEC model does not seem to dismiss all “creation” accounts. If one wants to be diligent, it is not fair to lump all theories of creation together, use the YEC as the “whipping” boy, and then throw all “creation” accounts out by disproving one.

Nobody claims the Grand Canyon refutes ID. In order to be refuted, ID would have to be formulated as a testable proposition to begin with. Do you have a formulation of ID as a testable proposition?

Exactly so. How can the proposition “An intelligence was involved in some way at the beginning of and/or during the history of life” be tested? I say sincerely that I would be open to any suggestion, provided it were logically rigorous, and so would any scientist.

Or propose a different formulation of “intelligent design”, and a test for that formulation. I’m absolutely certain that scientists will be glad to carry out the test.

Mind, the test has to be objective and empirical, or it’s not science. “It looks designed” is not a test. “I can’t believe it isn’t designed” is not a test. “Irreducible complexity” is not such a test, because it doesn’t account for exaption and it doesn’t recognise that natural selection tends to reduce redundancy.

But by all means, propose a test.

While you’re at it, Seth, why don’t you tell us why IDists generally don’t argue against the egregious claims of YECs?

Could it possibly be because they don’t care about the evidence and where it leads, except insofar as it affects their political agenda?

Glen Davidson

At the very least, it would have to be unambiguous as to where (or even if) ID disagrees with the conclusions of the ToE.

(But just try explaining that to that guy on the thread over on AtBC… )

Henry

Enjoy another picture of the Grand Canyon try:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art[…]dscapes.html

Ignore the source of the picture (Daily Mail) It comes from a set of photographs being shown at the Natural History Museum, London.

alanbagain

phhht said:

Seth A. said:

…you cannot simply attack a YEC model and then turn around and dismiss all creation models or Intelligent Design

Sure we can. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

To begin, that comment sounds like the logical positivists who said that any statement for it to be meaningful needed to be either a tautology or empirically verifiable. Yet, that criterion is neither, and so fails its own test and therefore accordingly must be meaningless. That is beside the point.

To use your criterion to further discussion. Is there any evidence, not theories, that show how life could have evolved under the early conditions of the earth? What has the origin of life community put forward as proof, or evidence that this is how the first fully formed cyanobacteria evolved. We know that there must be at least 6 steps to go from the origin of life to cyanobacteria: 1) formation of prebiotics, 2) assembly of first self-replicator, 3) emergence of RNA, 4) transition from RNA World to the DNA/Protein World, 5) Emergence of starter proteins, 6) Gene duplication/divergence. We know at a minimum these are necessary for cyanobacteria to exist. We also know that we have fossils 3.8 billion years ago, and that it is extremely unlikely that life appeared prior to 3.8 billion years ago, since it would have been obliterated by the late heavy bombardment, and the conditions of the earth would not have made any life possible. Nonetheless there is geochemical evidence, and fossils which date fully formed life to exist 3.8 billion years ago, and that it first appears remarkably complex. There is no demonstration that life can or cannot arise within the 10-150 million year window that it would have needed to. The burden of proof is on origin of life researchers to prove this, and to my knowledge, they have not.

Isn’t this why Francis Crick, who was no slouch, postulated his theory that aliens must have come and sprinkled earth with the first seeds of life? According to evolutionary theory the predictions for origin of life scientifically would include: prebiotic soup in the geological record (which has not been discovered), 2) favorable or placid chemical/ and physical conditions on the early earth to allow for evolution to begin (which it wasn’t), 3) that chemical pathways existed that could lead to life (we don’t know of any), 4) and that these chemical pathways that could plausibly lead to life could operate in the conditions of the early earth, 5) we would expect to see the gradual appearance of life over long periods of time ( we don’t, and life appears suddenly, and fully formed and complex), 6) and that there would be one origin of life event (given the high improbability that it could happen many times given all that we know about the early earth) (again, exactly the opposite of what we do know, that there are multiple origin of life events in a relatively small window of time 10-150 million years). Not only do we have geochemical evidence, but also fossils of banded cherts from Australia and South Africa, microtubules produced by rock-eating microbes in Australia and South Africa, microfossils of various kinds and diversity, stromatolites, microbial mats all found in Australia and South Africa.

Carl Sagan himself said, “There is an elaborate apparatus involving messenger RNA, adapter RNA, ribosomes, and a diversity of specialized enzymes…We cannot imagine these complex and specific accessory molecules to have arisen spontaneously in the primitive environment. The apparatus for the transcription of the genetic code must itself have evolved slowly, through billions of years of evolution.” Yet, we now know this is exactly not the case.

What evidence is there that proves evolution in this regard? To me, as the evidence shows, life shows up fully designed, complex, and in harsh conditions, and there are not any plausible explanations from an evolutionary perspective, much less actual evidence demonstrating how this happened.

I don’t know how life arose from non-life. I don’t think anybody knows that.

So what?

And the quip was Christopher Hitchen’s, not mine. I thought everybody would know that.

Seth A. said:

phhht said:

Seth A. said:

…you cannot simply attack a YEC model and then turn around and dismiss all creation models or Intelligent Design

Sure we can. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

To begin, that comment sounds like the logical positivists who said that any statement for it to be meaningful needed to be either a tautology or empirically verifiable. Yet, that criterion is neither, and so fails its own test and therefore accordingly must be meaningless. That is beside the point.

To use your criterion to further discussion. Is there any evidence, not theories, that show how life could have evolved under the early conditions of the earth? What has the origin of life community put forward as proof, or evidence that this is how the first fully formed cyanobacteria evolved. We know that there must be at least 6 steps to go from the origin of life to cyanobacteria: 1) formation of prebiotics, 2) assembly of first self-replicator, 3) emergence of RNA, 4) transition from RNA World to the DNA/Protein World, 5) Emergence of starter proteins, 6) Gene duplication/divergence. We know at a minimum these are necessary for cyanobacteria to exist. We also know that we have fossils 3.8 billion years ago, and that it is extremely unlikely that life appeared prior to 3.8 billion years ago, since it would have been obliterated by the late heavy bombardment, and the conditions of the earth would not have made any life possible. Nonetheless there is geochemical evidence, and fossils which date fully formed life to exist 3.8 billion years ago, and that it first appears remarkably complex. There is no demonstration that life can or cannot arise within the 10-150 million year window that it would have needed to. The burden of proof is on origin of life researchers to prove this, and to my knowledge, they have not.

Isn’t this why Francis Crick, who was no slouch, postulated his theory that aliens must have come and sprinkled earth with the first seeds of life? According to evolutionary theory the predictions for origin of life scientifically would include: prebiotic soup in the geological record (which has not been discovered), 2) favorable or placid chemical/ and physical conditions on the early earth to allow for evolution to begin (which it wasn’t), 3) that chemical pathways existed that could lead to life (we don’t know of any), 4) and that these chemical pathways that could plausibly lead to life could operate in the conditions of the early earth, 5) we would expect to see the gradual appearance of life over long periods of time ( we don’t, and life appears suddenly, and fully formed and complex), 6) and that there would be one origin of life event (given the high improbability that it could happen many times given all that we know about the early earth) (again, exactly the opposite of what we do know, that there are multiple origin of life events in a relatively small window of time 10-150 million years). Not only do we have geochemical evidence, but also fossils of banded cherts from Australia and South Africa, microtubules produced by rock-eating microbes in Australia and South Africa, microfossils of various kinds and diversity, stromatolites, microbial mats all found in Australia and South Africa.

Carl Sagan himself said, “There is an elaborate apparatus involving messenger RNA, adapter RNA, ribosomes, and a diversity of specialized enzymes…We cannot imagine these complex and specific accessory molecules to have arisen spontaneously in the primitive environment. The apparatus for the transcription of the genetic code must itself have evolved slowly, through billions of years of evolution.” Yet, we now know this is exactly not the case.

What evidence is there that proves evolution in this regard? To me, as the evidence shows, life shows up fully designed, complex, and in harsh conditions, and there are not any plausible explanations from an evolutionary perspective, much less actual evidence demonstrating how this happened.

Seth A. said:

phhht said:

Seth A. said:

…you cannot simply attack a YEC model and then turn around and dismiss all creation models or Intelligent Design

Sure we can. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

Is there any evidence, not theories,

You confuse different vernacular meanings of the word theory.

Science theories are not the same as the way the word theory is used by the average person. A science theory is not a guess that may later change into a fact.

Instead, science theories support/explain facts. Take atomic theory for example; atomic theory will never become “atomic fact” - that even sounds strange. But in the same way atomic theory tries to explain tens of thousands of facts about matter, evolutionary theory tries to explain multiple facts about changing life. Science theories are actually held in higher regard by scientists than science facts, even science laws. Science theories tend to be well tested (but are not absolute, nothing in science is absolute).

that show how life could have evolved under the early conditions of the earth? What has the origin of life community put forward as proof, or evidence that this is how the first fully formed cyanobacteria evolved. We know that there must be at least 6 steps to go from the origin of life to cyanobacteria: 1) formation of prebiotics, 2) assembly of first self-replicator, 3) emergence of RNA, 4) transition from RNA World to the DNA/Protein World, 5) Emergence of starter proteins, 6) Gene duplication/divergence. We know at a minimum these are necessary for cyanobacteria to exist. We also know that we have fossils 3.8 billion years ago, and that it is extremely unlikely that life appeared prior to 3.8 billion years ago, since it would have been obliterated by the late heavy bombardment, and the conditions of the earth would not have made any life possible. Nonetheless there is geochemical evidence, and fossils which date fully formed life to exist 3.8 billion years ago, and that it first appears remarkably complex. There is no demonstration that life can or cannot arise within the 10-150 million year window that it would have needed to. The burden of proof is on origin of life researchers to prove this, and to my knowledge, they have not.

Origin of life studies are for fields like abiogenesis, panspermia, etc (fields with knowledge of organic chemistry, bio-chemistry, etc). To be sure, scientists know little about the origin of life at this time.

Origin of new species is biological evolution. Biologists, paleontologists, etc, of course generally have high knowledge about biological evolution.

Origin of life studies are outside the purview of biological evolution. Yes, a few scientists have training in multiple fields which gives them a good voice to speak about both origin of life and origin of new species. On the other hand, a scientist trained in only biology generally can’t be expected to know much about origin of life studies, especially if he/she is in biology sub-fields like cell biology, evolutionary biology, ecology, etc.

Isn’t this why Francis Crick, who was no slouch, postulated his theory that aliens must have come and sprinkled earth with the first seeds of life? According to evolutionary theory the predictions for origin of life scientifically would include: prebiotic soup in the geological record (which has not been discovered), 2) favorable or placid chemical/ and physical conditions on the early earth to allow for evolution to begin (which it wasn’t), 3) that chemical pathways existed that could lead to life (we don’t know of any), 4) and that these chemical pathways that could plausibly lead to life could operate in the conditions of the early earth, 5) we would expect to see the gradual appearance of life over long periods of time ( we don’t, and life appears suddenly, and fully formed and complex), 6) and that there would be one origin of life event (given the high improbability that it could happen many times given all that we know about the early earth) (again, exactly the opposite of what we do know, that there are multiple origin of life events in a relatively small window of time 10-150 million years). Not only do we have geochemical evidence, but also fossils of banded cherts from Australia and South Africa, microtubules produced by rock-eating microbes in Australia and South Africa, microfossils of various kinds and diversity, stromatolites, microbial mats all found in Australia and South Africa.

Carl Sagan himself said, “There is an elaborate apparatus involving messenger RNA, adapter RNA, ribosomes, and a diversity of specialized enzymes…We cannot imagine these complex and specific accessory molecules to have arisen spontaneously in the primitive environment. The apparatus for the transcription of the genetic code must itself have evolved slowly, through billions of years of evolution.” Yet, we now know this is exactly not the case.

What evidence is there that proves evolution in this regard?

Again, origin of life studies (the limited knowledge there is at the moment) are outside the study of biological evolution.

Second, science does not provide “proof” of anything, at least not absolute proof.

If science really could find absolute proof in its realm, science would soon cease to exist. All science labs and field stations would be closed, and zillions of scientists would get their pink slips.

But since it’s fallible humans that perform science, and because of limits from epistemology, our technology, etc, all science is tentative/provisional. There are no absolute science theories, no absolute science laws, no absolute science facts. Anything scientific, regardless of how strong the evidence, is capable of being revised or even overturned. To put it another way, science is more like a trip towards the truth, not an arrival at the truth.

Biological evolution has multiple lines of independent scientific evidence (from comparative anatomy of living species, comparative behaviorism among living species, biogeography, the fossil record, more recently molecular genetics [this especially includes “evo-devo”] ). But as strong as this scientific evidence is, it like all science is still considered to be tentative.

To me, as the evidence shows, life shows up fully designed, complex, and in harsh conditions, and there are not any plausible explanations from an evolutionary perspective, much less actual evidence demonstrating how this happened.

Well, what about seemingly poor “design” like woodpeckers living in places with no trees? Cave crickets that are blind yet having useless eye structures? Consider the same broken genes being in multiple species - and these broken genes having the same exact matching genetic defects; what if this pattern seemingly shows common descent? What about “design” that has the same SINE insertions in multiple species, again seemingly indicating common descent? What about “good design” for seemingly morbid purposes, such as a wasp larva “designed” to gruesomely eat its host caterpillar from the inside yet genetically programed to do it in a way that keeps the caterpillar alive as long as possible? What about bats, birds, freshwater hatchet fish, flying insects and pterosaurs having five rather different wing structure and wing muscle “designs” as if the “designer” could not make up its mind?

PS: Matt, sorry for getting a bit offtopic from the original thread subject, this all can go to the BW if need be.

Tenncrain said:

Seth A. said:

phhht said:

Seth A. said:

…you cannot simply attack a YEC model and then turn around and dismiss all creation models or Intelligent Design

Sure we can. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

Is there any evidence, not theories,

You confuse different vernacular meanings of the word theory.

Science theories are not the same as the way the word theory is used by the average person. A science theory is not a guess that may later change into a fact.

Instead, science theories support/explain facts. Take atomic theory for example; atomic theory will never become “atomic fact” - that even sounds strange. But in the same way atomic theory tries to explain tens of thousands of facts about matter, evolutionary theory tries to explain multiple facts about changing life. Science theories are actually held in higher regard by scientists than science facts, even science laws. Science theories tend to be well tested (but are not absolute, nothing in science is absolute).

that show how life could have evolved under the early conditions of the earth? What has the origin of life community put forward as proof, or evidence that this is how the first fully formed cyanobacteria evolved. We know that there must be at least 6 steps to go from the origin of life to cyanobacteria: 1) formation of prebiotics, 2) assembly of first self-replicator, 3) emergence of RNA, 4) transition from RNA World to the DNA/Protein World, 5) Emergence of starter proteins, 6) Gene duplication/divergence. We know at a minimum these are necessary for cyanobacteria to exist. We also know that we have fossils 3.8 billion years ago, and that it is extremely unlikely that life appeared prior to 3.8 billion years ago, since it would have been obliterated by the late heavy bombardment, and the conditions of the earth would not have made any life possible. Nonetheless there is geochemical evidence, and fossils which date fully formed life to exist 3.8 billion years ago, and that it first appears remarkably complex. There is no demonstration that life can or cannot arise within the 10-150 million year window that it would have needed to. The burden of proof is on origin of life researchers to prove this, and to my knowledge, they have not.

Origin of life studies are for fields like abiogenesis, panspermia, etc (fields with knowledge of organic chemistry, bio-chemistry, etc). To be sure, scientists know little about the origin of life at this time.

Origin of new species is biological evolution. Biologists, paleontologists, etc, of course generally have high knowledge about biological evolution.

Origin of life studies are outside the purview of biological evolution. Yes, a few scientists have training in multiple fields which gives them a good voice to speak about both origin of life and origin of new species. On the other hand, a scientist trained in only biology generally can’t be expected to know much about origin of life studies, especially if he/she is in biology sub-fields like cell biology, evolutionary biology, ecology, etc.

Isn’t this why Francis Crick, who was no slouch, postulated his theory that aliens must have come and sprinkled earth with the first seeds of life? According to evolutionary theory the predictions for origin of life scientifically would include: prebiotic soup in the geological record (which has not been discovered), 2) favorable or placid chemical/ and physical conditions on the early earth to allow for evolution to begin (which it wasn’t), 3) that chemical pathways existed that could lead to life (we don’t know of any), 4) and that these chemical pathways that could plausibly lead to life could operate in the conditions of the early earth, 5) we would expect to see the gradual appearance of life over long periods of time ( we don’t, and life appears suddenly, and fully formed and complex), 6) and that there would be one origin of life event (given the high improbability that it could happen many times given all that we know about the early earth) (again, exactly the opposite of what we do know, that there are multiple origin of life events in a relatively small window of time 10-150 million years). Not only do we have geochemical evidence, but also fossils of banded cherts from Australia and South Africa, microtubules produced by rock-eating microbes in Australia and South Africa, microfossils of various kinds and diversity, stromatolites, microbial mats all found in Australia and South Africa.

Carl Sagan himself said, “There is an elaborate apparatus involving messenger RNA, adapter RNA, ribosomes, and a diversity of specialized enzymes…We cannot imagine these complex and specific accessory molecules to have arisen spontaneously in the primitive environment. The apparatus for the transcription of the genetic code must itself have evolved slowly, through billions of years of evolution.” Yet, we now know this is exactly not the case.

What evidence is there that proves evolution in this regard?

Again, origin of life studies (the limited knowledge there is at the moment) are outside the study of biological evolution.

Second, science does not provide “proof” of anything, at least not absolute proof.

If science really could find absolute proof in its realm, science would soon cease to exist. All science labs and field stations would be closed, and zillions of scientists would get their pink slips.

But since it’s fallible humans that perform science, and because of limits from epistemology, our technology, etc, all science is tentative/provisional. There are no absolute science theories, no absolute science laws, no absolute science facts. Anything scientific, regardless of how strong the evidence, is capable of being revised or even overturned. To put it another way, science is more like a trip towards the truth, not an arrival at the truth.

Biological evolution has multiple lines of independent scientific evidence (from comparative anatomy of living species, comparative behaviorism among living species, biogeography, the fossil record, more recently molecular genetics [this especially includes “evo-devo”] ). But as strong as this scientific evidence is, it like all science is still considered to be tentative.

To me, as the evidence shows, life shows up fully designed, complex, and in harsh conditions, and there are not any plausible explanations from an evolutionary perspective, much less actual evidence demonstrating how this happened.

Well, what about seemingly poor “design” like woodpeckers living in places with no trees? Cave crickets that are blind yet having useless eye structures? Consider the same broken genes being in multiple species - and these broken genes having the same exact matching genetic defects; what if this pattern seemingly shows common descent? What about “design” that has the same SINE insertions in multiple species, again seemingly indicating common descent? What about “good design” for seemingly morbid purposes, such as a wasp larva “designed” to gruesomely eat its host caterpillar from the inside yet genetically programed to do it in a way that keeps the caterpillar alive as long as possible? What about bats, birds, freshwater hatchet fish, flying insects and pterosaurs having five rather different wing structure and wing muscle “designs” as if the “designer” could not make up its mind?

PS: Matt, sorry for getting a bit offtopic from the original thread subject, this all can go to the BW if need be.

TennCrain, I appreciate your thoughtfulness and tone, you make some good points and corrections. I will try to post a response tonight!

Seth A. said:

Tenncrain said:

Seth A. said:

phhht said:

Seth A. said:

…you cannot simply attack a YEC model and then turn around and dismiss all creation models or Intelligent Design

Sure we can. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

Is there any evidence, not theories,

You confuse different vernacular meanings of the word theory.

Science theories are not the same as the way the word theory is used by the average person. A science theory is not a guess that may later change into a fact.

Instead, science theories support/explain facts. Take atomic theory for example; atomic theory will never become “atomic fact” - that even sounds strange. But in the same way atomic theory tries to explain tens of thousands of facts about matter, evolutionary theory tries to explain multiple facts about changing life. Science theories are actually held in higher regard by scientists than science facts, even science laws. Science theories tend to be well tested (but are not absolute, nothing in science is absolute).

Thank you for the correction here. You are right in that I was using the word theory wrongly in this context. And I appreciate the example you gave of atomic theory. Additionally, I understand the nature of the scientific method being inductive can never give “absolute” knowledge, at best, it can provide very probable knowledge. It still seems though that the evidence we do have does not support evolutionary theory, and conversely that there is no evidence that can be provided to support this theory.

that show how life could have evolved under the early conditions of the earth? What has the origin of life community put forward as proof, or evidence that this is how the first fully formed cyanobacteria evolved. We know that there must be at least 6 steps to go from the origin of life to cyanobacteria: 1) formation of prebiotics, 2) assembly of first self-replicator, 3) emergence of RNA, 4) transition from RNA World to the DNA/Protein World, 5) Emergence of starter proteins, 6) Gene duplication/divergence. We know at a minimum these are necessary for cyanobacteria to exist. We also know that we have fossils 3.8 billion years ago, and that it is extremely unlikely that life appeared prior to 3.8 billion years ago, since it would have been obliterated by the late heavy bombardment, and the conditions of the earth would not have made any life possible. Nonetheless there is geochemical evidence, and fossils which date fully formed life to exist 3.8 billion years ago, and that it first appears remarkably complex. There is no demonstration that life can or cannot arise within the 10-150 million year window that it would have needed to. The burden of proof is on origin of life researchers to prove this, and to my knowledge, they have not.

Origin of life studies are for fields like abiogenesis, panspermia, etc (fields with knowledge of organic chemistry, bio-chemistry, etc). To be sure, scientists know little about the origin of life at this time.

Origin of new species is biological evolution. Biologists, paleontologists, etc, of course generally have high knowledge about biological evolution.

Origin of life studies are outside the purview of biological evolution. Yes, a few scientists have training in multiple fields which gives them a good voice to speak about both origin of life and origin of new species. On the other hand, a scientist trained in only biology generally can’t be expected to know much about origin of life studies, especially if he/she is in biology sub-fields like cell biology, evolutionary biology, ecology, etc.

To me, what you said might be correct, in that “origin of life studies are outside the purview of biological evolution.” But this misses the point. Biological evolution necessarily assumes an origin of life, and so you cannot separate the two. I understand fields or domains of study and peoples area of expertise may limit their working knowledge of other areas, but this doesn’t mean in reality the two are really separated, any more then the biological aspect of life and the chemical aspect of life can be. To me, when you say that origin of life studies are outside the purview of biological evolution, (and I do not at all want to sound rude or smug) but it is like putting the cart before the horse and then getting rid of the horse. It does not seem to be how science advances any theory. How can you advance a theory, which at its most foundational level, its origin, have no evidence to support it. But, as I was saying in my post, not only is there no evidence that supports it, but the evidence we have works against it. It doesn’t help to punt and say that origin of life is outside the purview of evolutionary biology. If evolution is a theory, and as you said earlier, “theories support/explain facts,” how do you justify even moving forward with evolutionary theory, when at the very beginning of life, the origin, evolution can’t explain it as a theory, nor does what we know support its hypotheses? As for the last part of your post, you ask good questions. I will have to get back to you tomorrow, however, but I am eager to address these as well.

Isn’t this why Francis Crick, who was no slouch, postulated his theory that aliens must have come and sprinkled earth with the first seeds of life? According to evolutionary theory the predictions for origin of life scientifically would include: prebiotic soup in the geological record (which has not been discovered), 2) favorable or placid chemical/ and physical conditions on the early earth to allow for evolution to begin (which it wasn’t), 3) that chemical pathways existed that could lead to life (we don’t know of any), 4) and that these chemical pathways that could plausibly lead to life could operate in the conditions of the early earth, 5) we would expect to see the gradual appearance of life over long periods of time ( we don’t, and life appears suddenly, and fully formed and complex), 6) and that there would be one origin of life event (given the high improbability that it could happen many times given all that we know about the early earth) (again, exactly the opposite of what we do know, that there are multiple origin of life events in a relatively small window of time 10-150 million years). Not only do we have geochemical evidence, but also fossils of banded cherts from Australia and South Africa, microtubules produced by rock-eating microbes in Australia and South Africa, microfossils of various kinds and diversity, stromatolites, microbial mats all found in Australia and South Africa.

Carl Sagan himself said, “There is an elaborate apparatus involving messenger RNA, adapter RNA, ribosomes, and a diversity of specialized enzymes…We cannot imagine these complex and specific accessory molecules to have arisen spontaneously in the primitive environment. The apparatus for the transcription of the genetic code must itself have evolved slowly, through billions of years of evolution.” Yet, we now know this is exactly not the case.

What evidence is there that proves evolution in this regard?

Again, origin of life studies (the limited knowledge there is at the moment) are outside the study of biological evolution.

Second, science does not provide “proof” of anything, at least not absolute proof.

If science really could find absolute proof in its realm, science would soon cease to exist. All science labs and field stations would be closed, and zillions of scientists would get their pink slips.

But since it’s fallible humans that perform science, and because of limits from epistemology, our technology, etc, all science is tentative/provisional. There are no absolute science theories, no absolute science laws, no absolute science facts. Anything scientific, regardless of how strong the evidence, is capable of being revised or even overturned. To put it another way, science is more like a trip towards the truth, not an arrival at the truth.

Biological evolution has multiple lines of independent scientific evidence (from comparative anatomy of living species, comparative behaviorism among living species, biogeography, the fossil record, more recently molecular genetics [this especially includes “evo-devo”] ). But as strong as this scientific evidence is, it like all science is still considered to be tentative.

To me, as the evidence shows, life shows up fully designed, complex, and in harsh conditions, and there are not any plausible explanations from an evolutionary perspective, much less actual evidence demonstrating how this happened.

Well, what about seemingly poor “design” like woodpeckers living in places with no trees? Cave crickets that are blind yet having useless eye structures? Consider the same broken genes being in multiple species - and these broken genes having the same exact matching genetic defects; what if this pattern seemingly shows common descent? What about “design” that has the same SINE insertions in multiple species, again seemingly indicating common descent? What about “good design” for seemingly morbid purposes, such as a wasp larva “designed” to gruesomely eat its host caterpillar from the inside yet genetically programed to do it in a way that keeps the caterpillar alive as long as possible? What about bats, birds, freshwater hatchet fish, flying insects and pterosaurs having five rather different wing structure and wing muscle “designs” as if the “designer” could not make up its mind?

PS: Matt, sorry for getting a bit offtopic from the original thread subject, this all can go to the BW if need be.

TennCrain, I appreciate your thoughtfulness and tone, you make some good points and corrections. I will try to post a response tonight!

Matt, sorry for getting a bit offtopic from the original thread subject, this all can go to the BW if need be.

No, this is a serious discussion and does not belong on the BW, unless it goes way off-track. I have not followed in detail, but it seems to me that evolution and abiogenesis are linked but that it is not reasonable to require evolution to explain abiogenesis any more than cosmology should be required to explain the origin of the Big Bang. Indeed, that requirement sometimes seems like a ploy used by those who want to impeach evolution for other reasons.

When replying to others’ comments, incidentally, please copy only the salient or relevant parts of the comment, not the whole shmear.

Matt Young said:

Matt, sorry for getting a bit offtopic from the original thread subject, this all can go to the BW if need be.

No, this is a serious discussion and does not belong on the BW, unless it goes way off-track. I have not followed in detail, but it seems to me that evolution and abiogenesis are linked but that it is not reasonable to require evolution to explain abiogenesis any more than cosmology should be required to explain the origin of the Big Bang. Indeed, that requirement sometimes seems like a ploy used by those who want to impeach evolution for other reasons.

When replying to others’ comments, incidentally, please copy only the salient or relevant parts of the comment, not the whole shmear.

TennCrain, to talk about the issues you brought up concerning seemingly “poor” designs. I will first say that your argument is not necessarily an argument against Intelligent design. To recognize things in nature that seem “poor” to us or out of place such as the woodpecker living in a place with no trees, is to overlook the fact that, we have a fully functional bird, whose “telos” is to be “pecking wood.” There could be a number of reasons given to answer this. But your comment seems to imply that “God” placed a woodpecker in a place with no wood to peck, unless I am misunderstanding you. Intelligent design does not deny the operation of natural law, but at its origin, things can still be intelligently designed. In other words, there could be a number of natural reasons why a wood pecker ended up in a place with no wood, that need not be attributed to the designer. Also, the question itself is not solely a scientific question but a theological one, if you are asking why would an intelligent designer do this? In this case the answer must be evaluated both scientifically and theologically. In other words any answers given cannot be rejected solely on scientific grounds, since it is not solely a scientific question.

Seth A. said:

TennCrain, to talk about the issues you brought up concerning seemingly “poor” designs. I will first say that your argument is not necessarily an argument against Intelligent design. To recognize things in nature that seem “poor” to us or out of place such as the woodpecker living in a place with no trees, is to overlook the fact that, we have a fully functional bird, whose “telos” is to be “pecking wood.” There could be a number of reasons given to answer this. But your comment seems to imply that “God” placed a woodpecker in a place with no wood to peck, unless I am misunderstanding you. Intelligent design does not deny the operation of natural law, but at its origin, things can still be intelligently designed. In other words, there could be a number of natural reasons why a wood pecker ended up in a place with no wood, that need not be attributed to the designer. Also, the question itself is not solely a scientific question but a theological one, if you are asking why would an intelligent designer do this? In this case the answer must be evaluated both scientifically and theologically. In other words any answers given cannot be rejected solely on scientific grounds, since it is not solely a scientific question.

But it’s much worse than that. It’s not just poor design, it’s incompetent design, unimaginative design, just plain stupid design and plagarized design. There are not a number of natural reasons for plagarized errors in the genomes of unrelated organisms. Stupid, deceitful, plagarized design doesn’t get you anywhere.

Seth A. said: Also, the question itself is not solely a scientific question but a theological one, if you are asking why would an intelligent designer do this? In this case the answer must be evaluated both scientifically and theologically. In other words any answers given cannot be rejected solely on scientific grounds, since it is not solely a scientific question.

Pray tell, what answers does theology provide?

Pray tell, what answers does theology provide?

The opinions of the people who happen to have written that particular theology?

Henry

Matt Young said:

Matt, sorry for getting a bit offtopic from the original thread subject, this all can go to the BW if need be.

No, this is a serious discussion and does not belong on the BW, unless it goes way off-track. I have not followed in detail, but it seems to me that evolution and abiogenesis are linked but that it is not reasonable to require evolution to explain abiogenesis any more than cosmology should be required to explain the origin of the Big Bang. Indeed, that requirement sometimes seems like a ploy used by those who want to impeach evolution for other reasons.

When replying to others’ comments, incidentally, please copy only the salient or relevant parts of the comment, not the whole shmear.

Yeah, concerning your last statement Matt, I apologize, I realized what I did after I posted it. As to your comment about requiring evolution to explain abiogenesis and it being a ploy by those who want to impeach evolution for other reasons, my question is, is it proper to advance a theory that is necessarily connected the way abiogenesis and evolution are without having either evidence that supports it, and the evidence we do have seeming to argue against it? I would, personally have to think about your statement a little bit longer, of whether or not we can require evolution to explain abiogenesis, you may be correct. But on the other hand I think it is a fair requirement for abiogenesis to explain how evolution could arise, especially given the facts we do know of concerning the origin of life. It still seems to me like assuming evolution at this point is putting the cart before the horse and just going with it. When on the other hand, what we do have is simple life showing up suddenly, fully formed and functional, in the very small time window where it could have survived. This goes against every theory and prediction that theory of evolution is predicated upon. The same is seen in the Cambrian explosion, multitudes of species suddenly appearing, fully formed and functional, within a very small window of time.

Abiogenesis and ToE are not linked. ToE explicitly assumes the a priori existence of life which reproduces itself, having traits which vary with inheritance, and it explains that. It does not purport to explain the origin of life.

As far as I know, the theory of intelligent design can be summed up in seven cruelly accurate words:

Somehow, somewhere, somewhen, somebody intelligent did something.

Of course, any scientific theory can be made to seem ridiculous if you condense it down to a fare-thee-well and ignore all the specific details of the theory. But as far as I know, my seven-word summary of ID doesn’t ignore any details of ID. If anybody wants to claim that my seven-word summary of ID does ignore any of the details of ID, great! I’ve got some questions you might want to answer.

First: According to ID, what’s the “somehow”? What tools and/or methods did the Intelligent Designer use when It was doing… whatever it is that ID hypothesizes the Intelligent Designer to have done?

Second: According to ID, what’s the “somewhere”? In which location (or locations) did the Intelligent Designer do… whatever it is that ID hypothesizes the Intelligent Designer to have done?

Third: According to ID, what’s the “somewhen”? At what time, or times, did the Intelligent Designer do… whatever it is that ID hypothesizes the Intelligent Designer to have done?

Fourth: According to ID, what’s the “somebody intelligent”? What does ID have to say about the Intelligent Designer, other than the bare assertion that It was Intelligent, and a Designer?

Fifth: According to ID, what’s the “something” the Intelligent Designer “did”? At various times, ID-pushers have variously hypothesized that the Intelligent Designer might have established the Universe’s physical laws, or designed the bacterial flagellum, or made sure that malaria would acquire resistance to antibiotic, or any of a wide variety of other things; how does ID propose to find out which of these hypothesized Designer-actions, if any, actually was done by the Intelligent Designer?

The connection between abiogenesis and evolution is that they need to be consistent with each other, just as each also needs to be consistent with physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, cosmology, and combinations thereof.

But the validity of any one of these does not depend on having worked out all the internal details of one of the others.

Besides, if there’s life now, and there was a time that there wasn’t life, then abiogenesis happened, in some manner or other. The only ways I can think of to get around that is either by showing that there never was a time that life wasn’t in the universe, or that there isn’t life now. I don’t see either of those being established.

It seems to me that faulting evolution because it cannot account for the origin of life is a great deal like faulting Newton’s theory of gravitation because it cannot account for the origin of matter. Evolution presupposes life just as gravitation presupposes matter.

Somehow, somewhere, somewhen, somebody intelligent did something.

Well that’s true, after all.

ID wins!

OK, it’s not what they say, but it’s as good as what they say about it.

Glen Davidson

xubist said:

As far as I know, the theory of intelligent design can be summed up in seven cruelly accurate words:

Somehow, somewhere, somewhen, somebody intelligent did something.

Of course, any scientific theory can be made to seem ridiculous if you condense it down to a fare-thee-well and ignore all the specific details of the theory. But as far as I know, my seven-word summary of ID doesn’t ignore any details of ID. If anybody wants to claim that my seven-word summary of ID does ignore any of the details of ID, great! I’ve got some questions you might want to answer.

First: According to ID, what’s the “somehow”? What tools and/or methods did the Intelligent Designer use when It was doing… whatever it is that ID hypothesizes the Intelligent Designer to have done?

Second: According to ID, what’s the “somewhere”? In which location (or locations) did the Intelligent Designer do… whatever it is that ID hypothesizes the Intelligent Designer to have done?

Third: According to ID, what’s the “somewhen”? At what time, or times, did the Intelligent Designer do… whatever it is that ID hypothesizes the Intelligent Designer to have done?

Fourth: According to ID, what’s the “somebody intelligent”? What does ID have to say about the Intelligent Designer, other than the bare assertion that It was Intelligent, and a Designer?

Fifth: According to ID, what’s the “something” the Intelligent Designer “did”? At various times, ID-pushers have variously hypothesized that the Intelligent Designer might have established the Universe’s physical laws, or designed the bacterial flagellum, or made sure that malaria would acquire resistance to antibiotic, or any of a wide variety of other things; how does ID propose to find out which of these hypothesized Designer-actions, if any, actually was done by the Intelligent Designer?

I think you are confusing ID with creation science. The questions you asked, ID proponents are not necessarily concerned with, with the possible exception of your 2nd question and fifth question. The “somewhere” would be here on earth since this is where we as humans exist and can observe many other forms of life. This does not necessarily argue that there are not other basic or even possibly intelligent life forms elsewhere in the universe. But ID is concerned with the life we find on Earth and examining what we do know. To your fifth question, the “something” that the Intelligent Designer did, according to ID proponents is made intelligent life. The central premise of ID as a theory of biological origins and development is that only intelligent causes adequately explain the complex, information-rich structures of biology and that whatever these cause are, they are empirically detectable. You could extend the argument to include the various other things that life requires to exist, such as the right kind of planet, with the right size moon, and the right kind of sun, in the right kind of galaxy, etc., as part of the “design” of the Designer. As to your other questions, ID proponents are not necessarily concerned with, though some may be. Those are more of what a “creation” scientist is after.

This is why some ID proponents say that it is logically separable from creation science, and in this regard can be compatible with Deists, Plato’s Demiurge, the Stoic’s “divine reason,” or any of the monotheistic religions.

Henry J said:

The connection between abiogenesis and evolution is that they need to be consistent with each other, just as each also needs to be consistent with physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, cosmology, and combinations thereof.

But the validity of any one of these does not depend on having worked out all the internal details of one of the others.

I guess that might be what I am trying to say Henry. While it is possible to separate out chemistry, biology, physics, etc., and study them on their own, in reality, as we try to understand life, life is dependent on every single one of these sciences to be able to exist as we know it, and in this way they are not separable.

As to your second statement, in principle I agree with it. It is possible to be confident of a scientific theory without having worked out every detail. Yet, the point I was making is that the chemical basis of life for instance, and the complex biological features of the very earliest forms of life that we have found dating back 3.9 billion years is incompatible with theory of evolution and the hypotheses that it rests on. To me, this should cause us to pause and question the validity, of any theory that cannot account for the facts that we do have, and what we do know would have to happen, chemically and biologically, for life as we know it to exist.

Seth A. said: …the complex biological features of the very earliest forms of life that we have found dating back 3.9 billion years is are incompatible with theory of evolution and the hypotheses that it rests on.

No, they are not incompatible with ToE. That is an utterly unsupported assertion. There is no such incompatibility.

Matt Young said:

It seems to me that faulting evolution because it cannot account for the origin of life is a great deal like faulting Newton’s theory of gravitation because it cannot account for the origin of matter. Evolution presupposes life just as gravitation presupposes matter.

I agree with your point that we cannot fault Newton’s theory of gravitation because it cannot account or the origin of matter. But is it right for evolution to presuppose life? In other words, if we presuppose life, then we would have to presuppose the fully formed mircrofossils, the cyanobacteria, etc., that we have found fully formed and complex, and that evolution then simply took these and now here we are billions of years later. How is this different then say theistic evolution?

While it may be true, and I personally am still somewhat unsure about this, that evolution cannot account for the origin of life, the question becomes can the origin of life account for evolution? If not, it seems that you are left with theistic evolution, or theism, or deism, etc. And if this is the case, what cause, at this point, is there to reject ID? The reason I am unsure about the statement that evolution simply presupposes life and should not be expected to account for life’s origin, is that, life’s origin still has to be accounted for by purely naturalistic and material means if evolution is true. This may be what abiogenesis attempts to do, but then can evolution be shown to follow?

phhht said:

Seth A. said: …the complex biological features of the very earliest forms of life that we have found dating back 3.9 billion years is are incompatible with theory of evolution and the hypotheses that it rests on.

No, they are not incompatible with ToE. That is an utterly unsupported assertion. There is no such incompatibility.

It does seem incompatible. To quote Carl Sagan again, “There is an elaborate apparatus involving messenger RNA, adapter RNA, ribosomes, and a diversity of specialized enzymes…We cannot imagine these complex and specific accessory molecules to have arisen spontaneously in the primitive environment. The apparatus for the transcription of the genetic code must itself have evolved slowly, through billions of years of evolution.” But this is not what the evidence shows. Life appears suddenly and fully formed, and complex. It is incompatible because the ToE requires step by step additions over long periods of time. ToE is not supported by the evidence of the first life that we know of, nor in the way that ToE says it should have arisen.

This is such a profoundly flawed post that I hardly know how to begin.

Seth A. said:

But is it right for evolution to presuppose life?

Yes, it is right. Unlike religions, no theory can - or should - explain everything. That would be impossible.

In other words, if we presuppose life, then we would have to presuppose the fully formed mircrofossils, the cyanobacteria, etc., that we have found fully formed and complex, and that evolution then simply took these and now here we are billions of years later. How is this different then say theistic evolution?

The difference is that there is no need for the involvement of a deity - and no reason whatsoever to postulate such involvement.

While it may be true, and I personally am still somewhat unsure about this, that evolution cannot account for the origin of life, the question becomes can the origin of life account for evolution?

The ToE cannot account for the origin of life because it does not try to do so. Similarly, abiogenesis does not account for ToE because it does not try to. Why should it?

If not, it seems that you are left with theistic evolution, or theism, or deism, etc.

Nope. There is no reason whatsoever to postulate the involvement of the supernatural in evolution or abiogenesis.

And if this is the case, what cause, at this point, is there to reject ID?

What reason is there to accept ID? Nobody can even say how to empirically detect design.

The reason I am unsure about the statement that evolution simply presupposes life and should not be expected to account for life’s origin, is that, life’s origin still has to be accounted for by purely naturalistic and material means if evolution is true.

Apart from the non sequitur, what reason is there to suppose any means other than natural ones?

This may be what abiogenesis attempts to do, but then can evolution be shown to follow?

I don’t understand what you are trying to argue here, but both ToE and abiogenesis, like physics, chemistry, cosmology, and everything else from landscape gardening to refrigerator repair, have no need whatsoever for any involvement of non-natural “means.” Everything works just fine without that.

Seth A. said:

Life appears suddenly and fully formed, and complex. It is incompatible because the ToE requires step by step additions over long periods of time. ToE is not supported by the evidence of the first life that we know of, nor in the way that ToE says it should have arisen.

Wrong. ToE says NOTHING about how life “should” have originated. It presupposes the existence of reproducing life, because that is the reality we see. There is no evidence that life “appears suddenly and fully formed, and complex.” That is simply not so.

Seth A. said:

Yet, the point I was making is that the chemical basis of life for instance, and the complex biological features of the very earliest forms of life that we have found dating back 3.9 billion years is incompatible with theory of evolution and the hypotheses that it rests on.

It is not clear what you are asserting here.

Are you suggesting that chemistry and physics cannot account for the origins of life? Or are you asserting that evolution is incompatible with chemistry and physics?

If you are suggesting either or both of these, what is the “incompatibility” that you see?

and the complex biological features of the very earliest forms of life that we have found dating back 3.9 billion years is incompatible with theory of evolution and the hypotheses that it rests on.

What? Evolution describes what happens after there is life that produces heritable variation in its descendants. As for what happened before that, I’ve not heard of any evidence that it wasn’t a result of a series of chemical reactions that eventually produced self replicators of some kind. Life as we know it is made of the same chemical elements as everything else, and makes use of the same sorts of chemical reactions as everything else.

To argue that it can’t have happened that way, you’d need evidence of a barrier of some kind between chemistry and self replicators, or between self replicators and cells as we know them, or between cells and multi-celled organisms.

Plus, establishing such a barrier wouldn’t by itself prove “ID” anyway; it would only prove that something was involved that isn’t accounted for by current knowledge.

To actually show “ID”, one would need to point to a consistently observed pattern of evidence (or set of patterns) that actually follows logically from the premise that something engineered something to satisfy some desire or goal.

In other words, if we presuppose life, then we would have to presuppose the fully formed mircrofossils, the cyanobacteria, etc.

Again, what? Life is here now, and has been on this planet a long time. It doesn’t have to be presupposed, since we know it exists and has existed for some time.

This may be what abiogenesis attempts to do, but then can evolution be shown to follow?

Evolution is shown to occur and to have occurred by several consistently observed patterns in the relevant evidence, patterns that are expected if its premises are correct. (That’s basically the same way that any theory gets and stays established.) Its validity doesn’t depend on it being “shown to follow” from something else.

Life appears suddenly and fully formed, and complex.

As I understand it, the earliest known life forms left traces resembling those expected from bacteria, and there’s no reason I can think of to expect anything simpler than that to leave traces that would be detectable billions of years later. Eukaryotes (protists with cells somewhat resembling those of plants, animals, and fungi) came much later. Recognizable plants and animals come even much later than that. Of course any one intact healthy adult organism is going to be “fully formed”.

Henry

Does Current Biology have the Misfortune of Owning an Unreliable Clock? http://scienceandscientist.org/Darw[…]iable-clock/

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on April 1, 2013 12:00 PM.

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