Who is "qualified" to criticize Darwinism?

It is a frequent argument of Darwinist apologists that critics of Darwinism are unqualified to criticize evolutionary theory because they lack the credentials or training.  I would also assert a corollary,(1) if this argument is accepted:  one can only accept the whole of Darwinism with sufficient training.

I assert this, because of my fallible view of human beings that is predicated upon a biblical view of human beings–we are utterly flawed, biased, hypocritical, and yes, sinful.  Darwinists tend to believe in the notion of “good people.”  Scientists are venerated as an ultimate class of “good people.”

“…No one is good—except God alone…”(2)

So, I assert that Darwinian scientists are not beyond reproach or criticism.  Science can be a useful tool.  It can also be a method of control and a means by which to obtain power and influence.  Similar criticisms can be leveled at the priesthood of religion.

So, I say, if you say that people cannot criticize Darwinism without sufficient training, then you cannot accept Darwinism without sufficient training.  That is, if you believe that man is good, trustworthy, unbiased, and un-hypocritical, you can freely accept the assertions of Darwinian scientists, if not you can criticize freely.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrolary

(2) http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2010:18;&version=31;

Advertisements

152 Responses

  1. Excellent article, Shrink!!

    So, I assert that Darwinian scientists are not beyond reproach or criticism. Science can be a useful tool. It can also be a method of control and a means by which to obtain power and influence. Similar criticisms can be leveled at the priesthood of religion.

    Yes, just as with Darwinism, the modern day, Christian priesthood (the “men of God:” priests, pastors, evangelists, the pope etc)can and quite often is a religious method of control. As with scientists, it is verboten for mere believers to criticize the priesthood, since the common believer doesn’t have doctorate in theology. What better way to silence your critics than to claim they don’t know what they’re talking about and wag your “credentials” in their face! I know many Phds who are ignoramuses! Send them back to academia, I was not impressed!!;-)

    So, I say, if you say that people cannot criticize Darwinism without sufficient training, that you cannot accept Darwinism without sufficient training. That is, if you believe that man is good, trustworthy, unbiased, and un-hypocritical, you can freely accept the assertions of Darwinian scientists, if not you can criticize freely.

    There you go! Why would I accept anything from mere men (and women) when I can’t understand what they’re selling as truth? (It’s the true definition of a fool who takes the word of men they know nothing about!) Since I believe and know that no one is good but God, I therefore remain suspicious of the overeducated, overprotected and supposed “experts” on this and many other subjects. I don’t worship at the alter of untrustworthy, biased, hypocritical and corruptible man! Nor will I ever!!

  2. It should be clear that while anyone can criticize Darwinism, the criticisms are justified if they are based on an understanding of what contemporary evolutionary theory does and does not assert, as well as based on an understanding of the nature of science in general.

    I’m including a URL for an article I read recently and found very intriguing. I don’t imagine that the others here will agree with its conclusions, obviously, but I thought it’s worth bringing to your attention as something for further discussion:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/f82518w0p8531512/

    DB, all I can say in response to you is, yes, you’re right that someone who wants absolute truth will have to look elsewhere than to human knowledge, including science. Since I don’t want absolute knowledge, the provisional, tentative, and fallible knowledge made possible by scientific methods is fine by me. I don’t mind agreeing to disagree on this fundamental point, if you don’t mind.

  3. DB, all I can say in response to you is, yes, you’re right that someone who wants absolute truth will have to look elsewhere than to human knowledge, including science. Since I don’t want absolute knowledge, the provisional, tentative, and fallible knowledge made possible by scientific methods is fine by me. I don’t mind agreeing to disagree on this fundamental point, if you don’t mind.

    No, I don’t mind, but I was responding here to the Shrink, not you, so I guess I wonder why you stated this as if I were responding to you?

  4. so I guess I wonder why you stated this as if I were responding to you?

    I suppose it’s because I assume that everything which is posted here is fair game for response, as part of the dialogue (or “multilogue”) which is underway. So i don’t read any comments as particularly directed towards any particular person, as if it were a private conversation.

  5. Carl wrote:

    It should be clear that while anyone can criticize Darwinism, the criticisms are justified if they are based on an understanding of what contemporary evolutionary theory does and does not assert, as well as based on an understanding of the nature of science in general.

    It’s clear to the folks doing the criticizing, but it seems like it’s not clear to supporters of Darwinism. Nor do I think that you even need much knowledge of science, because of the stories that are generated are often pure imagination and no science. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that this is not scientific.

    DB wrote:

    As with scientists, it is verboten for mere believers to criticize the priesthood, since the common believer doesn’t have doctorate in theology.

    It’s even verboten for PhD level scientists to question Darwinism (i.e., Expelled)!

  6. I don’t think that scientists have complete authority over what counts as science and what doesn’t, but it seems far-fetched, to put it mildly, that evolutionary theory doesn’t count as science at all. It’s one thing to disagree with it, and it’s another thing to dismiss it because it conflicts with one’s religious commitments, but on what criteria of “science” could one say that it’s not science at all?

    And what’s the authority of those criteria? If the criteria for determining what counts as science ultimately turns on whether or not the putative science is consistent with one’s religious views, it think it’s fair to say that one is thinking in a way that is antithetical to the spirit of scientific inquiry. And that’s fine, but it should be acknowledged as such.

  7. Shrink,

    I don’t get your lingo here. How can there be any problem with criticizing Darwinism if so many evolutionary biologists already study non-Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms?

  8. “It’s even verboten for PhD level scientists to question Darwinism (i.e., Expelled)!”

    That’s crazy talk. Anyone can “question” the Theory of Evolution. But others will likely judge you by the quality of the questions that you ask. So if you say “evolution is wrong because it can never generate a system that has irreducible complexity”, they will hold their noses and leave the room. And if you say “Darwin led to Hitler”, they will not invite you to their next Christmas party. And if you spend a year being paid to write a book on “the anthropic principle means that evolution is wrong”, they will hold it against you when your tenure decision is reached.

  9. but on what criteria of “science” could one say that it’s not science at all?

    Likewise, on what criteria of “science” could one say that Creationism is not science? They both operate under a foregone conclusion, after all.

  10. I disagree. Atheist Darwinian fanatics are congenitally unable to respond to reason just as congenital religious zealots are. Both camps are sincere and that is why there can never be rational dialogue between them. I recommend William Wright’s book “Born That Way” for the documentation of my assertion.

    Albert Einstein recognized this long ago –

    “Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source… They are creatures who can’t hear the music of the spheres.”

    also

    “Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting ARE NOT FREE but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion.”
    emphasis mine

    Free Will is without foundation.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  11. Carl said:…the criticisms are justified if they are based on an understanding of what contemporary evolutionary theory does and does not assert…

    But “evolutionary theory” is generally degenerating back into the hypothetical goo typical to the theories of evolution from which it arose. It is hardly even specified to the point of being Darwinian anymore. That’s why John can argue: How can there be any problem with criticizing Darwinism if so many evolutionary biologists already study non-Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms?

    Darwinism has been falsified to the extent that it was specified and “evolution” is receding back into unfalsifiable forms of hypothetical goo. There is a pool of evolutionary hypotheses which are said to have “overwhelming” explanatory power but those who are so easily “overwhelmed” may as well be overwhelmed by sticking their hand in a mud puddle and then observing that the water always comports with the shape of their hand.

    A question for John, what sort of biological observation would falsify theories of “evolution” in general?

    Going back to Carl’s statement about what “contemporary evolutionary theory does and does not assert,” putting aside Darwinism it generally has not been specified to the point that it does or does not specify what should be observed empirically. Many have claimed that a so-called “theory” of evolution has been specified to the point that it is the epistemic equivalent of the theory of gravity but it seems that biologists are a long way from using the “theory” of evolution to predict trajectories of adaptation of any sort in groups of organisms, even very general or crude trajectories of morphology and so on. Instead they generally seem to content themselves with imagining things about the ancient past based on a fragmentary record of the skeletal remains of organisms, with little regard for the study of living organisms here and now.

  12. “Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting ARE NOT FREE but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion.”

    No one has shown that there are necessarily chains of cause and effect which do away with “freedom.” Physics itself shows that a chained/sequential view of cause and effect by which all things are “bound” may be incorrect.

    Free Will is without foundation.

    And I suppose you believe that you just happened upon the truth based on a chain of cause and effect that extends back to the Big Bang and forward to the unfolding of the English language and so on into brain events that cause you to think you know the truth? Your own view of things may be without foundation unless you go on to argue that the causal chains you’re pointing to are rooted in an unmoved Mover, i.e. God’s will.

  13. It is a frequent argument of Darwinist apologists that critics of Darwinism are unqualified to criticize evolutionary theory because they lack the credentials or training.

    Creationists rubes do exist but Darwinists have “frequently” used that as an excuse to avoid sound criticisms and play pretend that everyone who criticizes Darwinism must be an ignorant rube and so on. A common argument about ID is that it is: “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo.”

    The arrogant mentality typical to those who believe in a mythology of Progress which has nothing to do with history is actually not so bad these days. After all, it used to be that Darwinists used their professional status and positions to argue that creationist rubes should be sterilized. Despite the hubris that is typical to Darwinian biologists one has to wonder who is actually ignorant and mentally retarded with respect to important aspects of life, i.e. the bios of biology. E.g.:

    Buck Smith was hardly feebleminded, and he spoke with simple eloquence about his mentality. “I’ve worked for eleven years at the same job,” he said, “and haven’t missed more than three days of work. There’s nothing wrong with me except my lack of education.”
    “I’ll never understand why they sterilized me,” Buck Smith disconsolately told the local reporter. “I’ll never understand that. ….they took a lot of my life away from me. Having children is supposed to be a part of the human race.”
    The reporter noticed a small greeting card behind Buck Smith. The sterilized man had eventually married and formed a lasting bond with his stepchildren. The card was from those stepchildren and read: “Thinking of you, Daddy.”
    Through tears, Buck Smith acknowledged the card, “They call me Daddy.”
    (War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race by Edwin Black :5-6)

  14. And if you say “Darwin led to Hitler”, they will not invite you to their next Christmas party.

    Darwin led to Hitler.

    I’m not concerned with being invited to parties thrown by mental incompetents. Those who believe in Nature based paganism or that science must methodologically build a pagan view of the world typically have little use for Christmas anyway. It’s winter solstice for them.* They cannot celebrate the notion of a transcendent God incarnating in an immanent Nature.

    *E.g.

    [I]t is possible to recognize, right down to the choice of words, what was true of many elements of the National Socialist Christmas: the formal adoption of Christian ritual combined with a complete change in content.
    […]
    None of these carefully coordinated contributions made any reference to the purely Christian elements of Christmas. Indeed, starting with the language and going on to customs and ideological content, they were all systematically replaced. Christmas carols taken from hymn books turned up with the familiar tunes, but National Socialist texts; in place of the Christmas chapters from the Gospels, ‘German fairy-tales’ were offered for reading aloud to convey German mythology…and the Christ Child turned up under the name of the ‘Child of Light.’
    (Christmas Under the Third Reich by Esther Gajek
    Anthropology Today, Vol. 6, No. 4. (Aug., 1990), pp. 4-5)

  15. mynym wrote:
    “But “evolutionary theory” is generally degenerating back into the hypothetical goo typical to the theories of evolution from which it arose.”

    Only in your dreams.

    “It is hardly even specified to the point of being Darwinian anymore.”

    It never was limited to Darwin. That’s more dreaming.

    “That’s why John can argue: How can there be any problem with criticizing Darwinism if so many evolutionary biologists already study non-Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms?”

    Nope. The reason I ask that question is that real scientists can study an evolutionary phenomenon, test the predictions of Darwinian and non-Darwinian mechanisms, and when they favor the latter, there are absolutely no repercussions. Of course, they aren’t ranting about qualifications and criticisms, they are testing hypotheses and producing new evidence. The new evidence is what you’re missing, and no amount of cherrypicking evidence produced by others will hide that fact.

    “Darwinism has been falsified to the extent that it was specified and “evolution” is receding back into unfalsifiable forms of hypothetical goo.”

    Sorry, but every DNA and protein sequence that is produced has the potential to falsify Darwin’s predictions (you might want to look at the only figure in TOoS), because common descent predicts its relationship to all the other sequences.

    “A question for John, what sort of biological observation would falsify theories of “evolution” in general?”

    An organism whose DNA and protein sequences didn’t all (with the exception of systematic and experimental error) fit the predictions of common descent for a single place in the nested hierarchy.

    “Going back to Carl’s statement about what “contemporary evolutionary theory does and does not assert,” putting aside Darwinism it generally has not been specified to the point that it does or does not specify what should be observed empirically.”

    False. It makes very, very clear predictions about what we will see when we compare/contrast any new sequence to all of the other sequences we have. I can see why you choose to ignore these gigabytes of evidence that are freely available to you, though.

    “Many have claimed that a so-called “theory” of evolution has been specified to the point that it is the epistemic equivalent of the theory of gravity but it seems that biologists are a long way from using the “theory” of evolution to predict trajectories of adaptation of any sort in groups of organisms, even very general or crude trajectories of morphology and so on.”

    You’re completely missing the idea of empirical predictions. It’s not about predicting what will happen to the organisms of the future. It’s about predicting what we will observe directly in the future, whether that be sequences or fossils. You see, Darwin’s theory, without his knowing of the existence of DNA or protein or sequences, specifies the mathematical relationships between sequences.

    “Instead they generally seem to content themselves with imagining things about the ancient past based on a fragmentary record of the skeletal remains of organisms, with little regard for the study of living organisms here and now.”

    You couldn’t be more wrong. There are far more molecular biologists producing far more sequence data than there are paleontologists digging up fossils. The sequence evidence makes the fossil record nearly superfluous, but I can see why you need to pretend that it’s all about the fossils.

    Seriously, have you ever even bothered to pick out a protein sequence and BLAST it against the database? Do you realize that protein families produce nested hierarchies that reiterate all of the hierarchies of the organisms that branched off after the founder was duplicated–and they reiterate those hierarchies multiple times , too? Do you have a hypothesis that explains that?

    Oh, and btw, trivializing this nested hierarchy as mere similarity is completely dishonest. You wouldn’t do that, would you?

  16. Nice try, John, but I very much doubt that you’ll never get any of the creationists here to admit that the best working hypothesis anyone yet has is that mutation and selection are sufficient for producing the sorts of patterns discerned by molecular biologists and paleontologists.

    Here’s the epistemological problem. What the evolutionary theorist asserts is:

    1) The best hypothesis we have at present is that mutation and selection are sufficient to produce macroevolutionary patterns.

    To which the intelligent design theorist, and/or creationist, responds

    2) The best hypothesis we have at present is that mutation and selection and something else entirely unknown are sufficient to produce macroevolutionary patterns.

    The “something else entirely unknown” is imagined to be some rough analogue with human creativity, but no one can determine what this analogue really is, where it comes from, how it works, how this type of causation interacts with other types of causation, etc. The argument for (2) consists entirely of the restatement of

    3) The best hypothesis we have at present is that mutation and selection are insufficient for the production of macroevolutionary patterns.

    And of course the question to be asked here is, “really? how do you know that?” And the responses tend to be either a priori or a posteriori.

    The a priori response — “it’s logically obvious!” — has, and ought to have, no traction in empirical science. What counts in science isn’t what logical intuitions one has, but which intuitions are testable by current technology. If it’s not testable, then it’s metaphysics, not science. That’s not to say that metaphysics doesn’t have its place, but it’s of utmost importance to keep these distinctions clear.

    The a posteriori responses — such as Behe’s calculations in The Edge of Evolution — have been exposed as resting on flawed assumptions.

    In short, no one has yet given any evidence for accepting (3) and thus none for (2).

    Of course this isn’t to say that (1) is absolutely true. Nothing stands in the way of the possibility that some other empirically testable, detectable mechanism can be found other than mutation and selection. (Personally, I think that the physics of self-organizing systems is the way to go.) But so what? If one wants absolute truth, one must look elsewhere than to science.

  17. “It is a frequent argument of Darwinist apologists that critics of Darwinism are unqualified to criticize evolutionary theory because they lack the credentials or training. ”

    It seems to me that you are just skimming the surface. Did you consider what the impetus for such a position might be?
    Do you think that in order for someone to lodge a viable, legitimate criticism, they might need to actually understand what it is they are criticizing? In my experience, very few Johnson-Dembskiists have more than a cursory understanding of evolution, and most of what they do “understand” is gleaned from biased YEC or Johnson-Dembskiist sources.

    A few cases in point:

    1. Right now, I am in a discussion with a YEC computer tech on a discussion board. He claimed that ‘genetics’ refutes evolution. I asked him to explain how this is so. He replied that DNA is so complex and is so efficient at storing information that evolution cannot explain it, and that even trilobite DNA was ‘fully formed’ and complex. I asked him to define complexity. He couldn’t. I asked him how he knew about trilobite DNA. No answer. I asked him to define ‘information.’ He spewed some unrecognizable gibberish that was at odds with both Shannon AND Gitt. But he still claimed to have refuted evolution with ‘genetics.’

    2. A few years ago, I was in a discussion with Sal Cordova on how molecular phylogenetics supports evolution. He set up an ‘experiment’ in which he used 8 english letters in a sequence and “proved” that in only 8 iterations, he had mutated it beyond recognition by changing a letter (1/8th of the sequence) each time, therefore, molecular phylogenetics is unreliable.

    3. I had discussed human evolution with an internet creationist (John Bartlett) and he declared that Haldane’s model does not allow for enough beneficial mutations to accumulate in the time estimated between now and the human-chimp split. I asked how he knew this. He said there were just too few. I asked how many would have been required. He said more than would be allowed. He claimed that Haldane’s model (ala ReMine’s spin on it) allowed only 1667 beneficial mutations, and it would take more than that just to get bipedality. I asked him how he knew that. No answer.

    Point being, it is true that many (most?) creationist/ID types do not in fact understand evolution well enough to produce valid criticisms of it.

    Sure, anyone can toss out an opinion. But so what? If one cannot understand the basics even of the argument they think they are making, why should their criticism be taken seriously? What I observe in the majority of critics of evolution is a clear manifestation of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  18. That’s pretty good Carl, although 2) is quite the straw-man (at least as far as my beliefs are concerned)!

    I shall have to go with 3), and put the onus on you to tell me why it’s not logically obvious, and to show me the evidence. Somehow I can’t imagine a chimp giving birth to a human, you know. (Or a human giving birth to a human with wings, feathers, beak and talons, for that matter). If time is not a factor, as punctuated equilibrium says it’s not, then we should be able to demonstrate all sorts of these major changes in anatomy in lab conditions.

  19. There are far more molecular biologists producing far more sequence data than there are paleontologists digging up fossils. The sequence evidence makes the fossil record nearly superfluous, but I can see why you need to pretend that it’s all about the fossils.

    Where would you expect to observe fully-developed organisms then, to illustrate your data? In microbes that leave no skeletal remains? In generations of lab rats?

  20. It never was limited to Darwin. That’s more dreaming.

    The majority of authors writing on the topic have always argued that Darwin is the Newton of biology and that his way of thinking is of paramount important and so on and so forth.* In fact, the only time I have ever come across a proponent of the Darwinian creation myth arguing for how supposedly irrelevant Darwin is to modern biology is on blogs such as this when people do not want to deal with the fact that the theory of natural selection does not comport with empirical observations.

    *E.g.

    The scientist tends to gaze upon a world ready for evolution, and then discounts the centrality of a single, admittedly fascinating, individual named Charles Darwin. But if Darwin had never been born, we would have suffered the equivalent of a Renaissance without Moses or the Last Judgment…
    Most of all, we would have experienced the same biological revolution without the stunning clarity, illustrated by wonderfully apposite metaphors, of a complex central logic so brilliantly formulated, and so bristling with implications extending nearly forever outward, at least well past our current reckoning. (The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould:1343)

    If you’re going to argue that Darwin is irrelevant to the structure of evolutionary theory then it’s up to you to explain why.

    The reason I ask that question is that real scientists can study an evolutionary phenomenon, test the predictions of Darwinian and non-Darwinian mechanisms, and when they favor the latter, there are absolutely no repercussions.

    Indeed, there never have been any repercussions in hypothetical goo which comports with everything. After all, what sort of empirical observations could possibly falsify theories of “evolution” in general? It seems that evolution, whatever it may be, will always be overwhelmingly verified.

    Of course, they aren’t ranting about qualifications and criticisms, they are testing hypotheses and producing new evidence.

    Scientists are pure as the driven snow, obviously they would never rant about qualifications or make criticism.

    The new evidence is what you’re missing, and no amount of cherrypicking evidence produced by others will hide that fact.

    You made me laugh, thanks. You seem to be missing the fact that scientists do not live in a vacuum, pure and clean. They rely on engineers who firmly believe in ID to produce the technology which creates progress in knowledge and progress in general. In fact, they even rely on a few creationist rubes to produce food for them and so on. There is absolutely nothing wrong with relying on things produced by others. Especially in this case, given that Darwinists have tended toward totalitarianism historically based on their supposed total knowledge of biology and constantly seem to work into a close alliance with the State to draw on public funding.

    Sorry, but every DNA and protein sequence that is produced has the potential to falsify Darwin’s predictions (you might want to look at the only figure in TOoS), because common descent predicts its relationship to all the other sequences.

    Ironically even the minimal claim of “predicting” common descent is false because Darwinism does not deal with the origin of life, therefore it does not predict how common, common descent will be. Darwinian reasoning has always been in a dialectic with common design, that’s the main reason that commonality is “predicted,” not because anything can known based on Darwinism about the singular nature of the origin of life.

    An organism whose DNA and protein sequences didn’t…fit the predictions of common descent for a single place in the nested hierarchy.

    You made me laugh again, thanks.

    Biologists talk about predictions in one way but if Darwin really was the Newton of biology and that sort of revolution in knowledge took place in biology then why can’t the theory of natural selection be used to predict a general trajectory of adaptation? Or do you think that physicists sit around after an object comes to rest, imagine things about the past seem “fitting” to them and then claim to have predicted it? At any rate, Darwinism or the so-called “theory of evolution” does not predict common descent as it can just as easily comport with more than one origin of life.

    You see, Darwin’s theory, without his knowing of the existence of DNA or protein or sequences, specifies the mathematical relationships between sequences.

    What was specified? Perhaps that there would be more genetic similarity between a chimp and a human than a fish and a human? After all, who would have thought that? These are the “predictions” typical of biologists. What is the “mathematical” relationship between a chimp and a human, anyway?

    The sequence evidence makes the fossil record nearly superfluous, but I can see why you need to pretend that it’s all about the fossils.

    You are merely applying standard evolutionary and Darwinian “reasoning,” such as it is to a relatively new form of knowledge. Gross morphological similarities between organisms were uncovered in biology long ago and people had various thoughts about them then as now. For example, it’s as if some biologists promoting a certain percentage of DNA similarity (mathematical, no less!) believe that no one ever recognized that chimps and humans look similar. But back to those mathematical relationships, what type of “mathematical” relationship do chimps and humans have?

  21. why can’t the theory of natural selection be used to predict a general trajectory of adaptation?

    For the same reason that quantum mechanics can’t be used to make better toasters — the theory says what it says, not what anyone might want it to say.

  22. I very much doubt that you’ll never get any of the creationists here to admit that the best working hypothesis anyone yet has is that mutation and selection are sufficient for producing the sorts of patterns discerned by molecular biologists and paleontologists.

    If you’re willing to imagine things about the past then mutation and selection are sufficient, “overwhelmingly” so. In fact, people could get so overwhelmed by it all that they might begin citing their own imaginations as the epistemic equivalent of empirical evidence.

    If they are actually sufficient and actually produced patterns of increasing complexity then trajectories of adaptation could generally be predicted based on the theory of natural selection.

    The “something else entirely unknown” is imagined to be some rough analogue with human creativity…

    I’m glad that you finally criticized imagining things because you typically fail to do so. In fact, last I read you were writing about how one of your main goals here was to stretch people’s imaginations and so on. But you only seem to stretch them in a certain way. For instance here is a summary of Darwinian reasoning which you do not seem to have a problem with: “If I could be shown an organism which I could not imagine coming about in a gradual sequence of events then my theory would absolutely break down. I can always imagine things about the past, therefore my theory of evolution is verified!”

    But let’s be clear, the Jewish creation myth has been specified for millenia in such a way that it can generally be falsified while evolutionary creation myths allow for limitless acts of imagination, even including multiverses and so on.

  23. I wrote: It never was limited to Darwin. That’s more dreaming.

    mynymThe majority of authors writing on the topic have always argued that Darwin is the Newton of biology…

    So what? Physics isn’t limited to Newton, either. You just made my point for me.

    Oh, and btw, we were talking about science, not what people write about it.

    (The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould:1343)

    Gould doesn’t claim that evolutionary theory is limited to Darwin either.

    If you’re going to argue that Darwin is irrelevant to the structure of evolutionary theory…

    That’s simply dishonest of you. I pointed out that it’s not limited to Darwin, not that he is irrelevant.

    … then it’s up to you to explain why.

    No, it’s up to you to explain why you grossly misrepresented what I wrote. Perhaps it’s because you realized that I’m right and you’re wrong.

    Indeed, there never have been any repercussions in hypothetical goo which comports with everything. After all, what sort of empirical observations could possibly falsify theories of “evolution” in general?

    I just told you. You’re being dishonest again.

    It seems that evolution, whatever it may be, will always be overwhelmingly verified.

    You conflate the phenomenon of evolution with the science that deals with mechanisms of evolution, but that’s because you are afraid to test a mechanistic hypothesis. You better stick to conflating apologetics with science.

    Of course, they aren’t ranting about qualifications and criticisms, they are testing hypotheses and producing new evidence.

    Scientists are pure as the driven snow, obviously they would never rant about qualifications or make criticism.

    Where did I write that scientists are as pure as the driven snow? I am pointing out the activities that they favor and that you reject because you have zero faith in your hypotheses.

    You made me laugh, thanks. You seem to be missing the fact that scientists do not live in a vacuum, pure and clean.

    I didn’t claim they did. I pointed out that their goal is to test hypotheses and produce data, a simple fact that you are desperately trying to deny.

    They rely on engineers who firmly believe in ID to produce the technology which creates progress in knowledge and progress in general.

    Now THAT’S funny! Sorry, mynym, I do loads of engineering to test my hypotheses. You can’t name a single engineer who believes in ID on whom I rely. If you were correct, all of the biotech companies (that do mostly engineering) would be run by ID proponents, but the reality is that not a single one is.

    I don’t buy your hooey that engineers, as a group, believe in ID either.

    “In fact, they even rely on a few creationist rubes to produce food for them and so on.”

    I do engineering. I produce some food. But mostly, I test hypotheses and produce data (even when my hypotheses are wrong). If you want to call what you are trying to do science, you need to test hypotheses and produce data too.

    But you lack sufficient faith to do that.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with relying on things produced by others.

    I never said that there was. You’re being dishonest again. The point is that if you really believed that you were right, you’d be doing actual science.

    Especially in this case, given that Darwinists have tended toward totalitarianism historically based on their supposed total knowledge of biology…

    You forgot that we already established that there’s no prejudice against describing and studying non-Darwinian mechanisms.

    and constantly seem to work into a close alliance with the State to draw on public funding.

    We (I’m a biomedical researcher, not an evolutionary biologist) get plenty of private funding, too. Why can’t you get any?

    Sorry, but every DNA and protein sequence that is produced has the potential to falsify Darwin’s predictions (you might want to look at the only figure in TOoS), because common descent predicts its relationship to all the other sequences.

    Ironically even the minimal claim of “predicting” common descent is false…

    mynym, your dishonesty is staggering. I point out that common descent predicts relationships, and you falsely claim the converse — that I’m saying something about predicting common descent? Is this the best sophistry that you can muster?

    …Darwinian reasoning has always been in a dialectic with common design, that’s the main reason that commonality is “predicted,”…

    Again with the dishonesty. You’re falsely attributing the converse to me.

    An organism whose DNA and protein sequences didn’t…fit the predictions of common descent for a single place in the nested hierarchy.

    You made me laugh again, thanks.

    Biologists talk about predictions in one way but if Darwin really was the Newton of biology and that sort of revolution in knowledge took place in biology then why can’t the theory of natural selection be used to predict a general trajectory of adaptation?

    Because it doesn’t predict any specific or general trajectory. Are you really this ignorant of the set of theories that you think threaten your very being? I would think that if I viewed something as a threat, I would learn as much about it as I could instead of choosing your abject ignorance.

    Or do you think that physicists sit around after an object comes to rest, imagine things about the past seem “fitting” to them and then claim to have predicted it?

    Nope. Is that what you think? Physicists, like biologists, use hypotheses to predict what they will observe. It’s a sort of honesty that you can’t seem to grasp.

    At any rate, Darwinism or the so-called “theory of evolution” does not predict common descent as it can just as easily comport with more than one origin of life.

    It really doesn’t matter what you label as “Darwinism,” because Darwin hypothesized common descent.

    You see, Darwin’s theory, without his knowing of the existence of DNA or protein or sequences, specifies the mathematical relationships between sequences.

    What was specified?

    The mathematical relationships between them.

    Perhaps that there would be more genetic similarity between a chimp and a human than a fish and a human?

    Nope, it’s much more specified than that. Are you really this profoundly ignorant about nested hierarchies, or are you faking it because you can’t explain them?

    After all, who would have thought that? These are the “predictions” typical of biologists.

    No, they are not. They are straw men that you use to avoid dealing with gigabytes of evidence.

    What is the “mathematical” relationship between a chimp and a human, anyway?

    Try to concentrate. Between the SEQUENCES of their genes and proteins. There’s a huge difference between what I’m saying and your desperate attempts to avoid addressing it by misrepresenting me.

    The sequence evidence makes the fossil record nearly superfluous, but I can see why you need to pretend that it’s all about the fossils.

    You are merely applying standard evolutionary and Darwinian “reasoning,” …

    No, in fact, one of the drivers of these mathematical relationships — that is more accurate than sequences subject to natural selection– is non-Darwinian. Now, in what sort of twisted mind can something be Darwinian and non-Darwinian at the same time?

    …such as it is to a relatively new form of knowledge. Gross morphological similarities between organisms were uncovered in biology long ago and people had various thoughts about them then as now.

    And your using the completely dishonest strategy I predicted you would take– pretending that these relationships are mere similarity.

    For example, it’s as if some biologists promoting a certain percentage of DNA similarity (mathematical, no less!)

    But of course, I wasn’t talking about a simple percentage of DNA similarity. Besides, there’s no such term as “DNA similarity.” For DNA, we can only talk about identity. Similarity only matters with protein sequences, but you revel in ignorance because you’re scared of what you’ll learn if you pay attention.

    … believe that no one ever recognized that chimps and humans look similar. But back to those mathematical relationships, what type of “mathematical” relationship do chimps and humans have?

    Not the organisms, the sequences, and I already told you, but you’re compelled to misrepresent this as mere similarity. Can’t you be bothered to read what I actually write? If not, I’ll have to take your reflexive misrepresentations as implicit concessions.

    You are about as un-Christian as they come, mynym.

  24. I’m glad that you finally criticized imagining things because you typically fail to do so. In fact, last I read you were writing about how one of your main goals here was to stretch people’s imaginations and so on. But you only seem to stretch them in a certain way.

    This criticism stems from a misunderstanding of how I understand the difference between philosophy (including metaphysics) and science. The goal of philosophy is to test “intuitions” — what seems “intuitively obvious” — by reflecting on the assumptions which drive different conceptual frameworks, by considering alternatives, and yes, by sometimes imagining — ‘what the world be like if _______ were true?” The goal of science is to take what is imagined, put in a form where it is empirically testable, and then actually test it against reality. I’m a philosopher, not a scientist.

  25. Between the SEQUENCES of their genes and proteins.

    Sure, but why would such data prove common descent, unless common descent was the foregone conclusion?

    It seems to me what you are saying is: “we know Common Descent is a fact (without real fossil evidence, or observable change in living species), but our data proves it because, well, just look at the mathematical relationships between A and B. It’s obvious”.

    Oh yeah, on paper, it’s obvious that the chicken evolved from the tyrannosaur, nevermind that we can produce no hen-rex creatures.

    Perhaps one day you can show me how a fish can spawn a tetrapod (er… in a lake, not in a computer sim). If so, then you win.

  26. Carl, glad to see your back-up troops finally arrived! What a crew!!!

  27. Carl,

    Also glad to see you refer to us, finally, as “Creationists” (I bet you’ve been dying to say that for months)! What was your first clue?

  28. It’s only a matter of time before we start fighting amongst ourselves, DB, don’t worry about that!

    My first clue? Uh, that would have been when our host, the Country Shrink, said that he was more inclined towards young-earth creationism than towards other positions.

    Well, I should have said, it’s clear to me that DB and the Country Shrink are creationists. Mike and Mynym, I’m not sure about. They are definitely pro-ID/anti-“Darwinism,” but they’ve kept their theological commitments close to the chest. Mynym seems to be a sort of Aristotelian, and his references to “the Jewish creation myth” confuse me.

  29. I hate it when I’m transparent, so I hate it quite a bit!

  30. So what? Physics isn’t limited to Newton, either. You just made my point for me.

    I never said that the “theory” of evolution is limited by any type of specification. I was pointing out that it is actually a collection of hypotheses. Darwinism is or was the general specification of hypotheses of evolution into an actual theory, the fact that you’re trying to do away with the limitations that come with having a specified theory only shows the increasing weakness of Darwinism and the Darwinian creation myth.

    Gould doesn’t claim that evolutionary theory is limited to Darwin either.

    As I said, hypotheses of evolution are often hardly even specified to the point of being “Darwinian” anymore. For some reason you replied that evolution was never limited to Darwinism.* I agree, even when theories of evolution were more specified they were hardly limited to specification of any type because the human imagination is not limited. The funny thing is that so many become so overwhelmed by mental illusions rooted in imaginary evidence.

    No, it’s up to you to explain why you grossly misrepresented what I wrote.

    *Not at all, this was always your own disingenuous tangent. I never claimed that evolution is “limited” to Darwinism, apparently you needed to reply to a straw man because you had nothing else to say. But in fact I was pointing out the tendency of proponents of “evolution” on blogs (Whatever that may be, “change” it would seem.) to do away with Darwinism.

    You conflate the phenomenon of evolution with the science that deals with mechanisms of evolution, but that’s because you are afraid to test a mechanistic hypothesis.

    Thanks for trying to tell me how I’m feeling about things (a little scared, apparently) but usually assertions about feelings have to do with how the one making the assertion is feeling.

    I’m curious, what are the hypothetical mechanisms that give rise to the biological brain events which cause you to write what you write here?

    I don’t seek to conflate the phenomenon of change/”evolution” with science, after all I was writing about the difference between “evolution” and Darwinism before you essentially agreed with me by pretending to disagree about something and so on. Again, I’ve only come across the pattern of minimizing Darwin among anonymous bloggers, among the leading proponents of hypotheses of evolution sentiments like this are prevalent:

    Darwin…continues to bestride our world like a colossus-so much so that I can only begin this book on the structure of evolutionary theory by laying out Darwin’s detailed vision as a modern starting point, a current orthodoxy only lightly modified by more than a century of work. (The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould :96)

    To the extent that hypotheses of evolution are actually specified into a falsifiable theoretical structure Darwinism is key.

    Physicists, like biologists, use hypotheses to predict what they will observe. It’s a sort of honesty that you can’t seem to grasp.

    It seems a bit odd how often biology is said to be like physics. If trajectories of adaptation cannot be predicted it would seem that biologists have not or cannot meet the same epistemic standards generally met by physicists.

    mynym, your dishonesty is staggering. I point out that common descent predicts relationships, and you falsely claim the converse — that I’m saying something about predicting common descent?

    You said that Darwinian “predictions” rooted in common descent have been verified so I pointed out that Darwinism does not actually predict common descent. If common descent is assumed then things may appear to fit it. But in fact Darwin himself said that life may have been breathed into one form or a few and modern proponents of hypotheses of evolution generally fail to deal with the origin of life at all. So on the one hand Darwinism does not predict common descent and on the other general patterns of common descent do not actually conflict with most forms of creationism.

    Darwin argued for such a conflict:

    Suitable organisms frequently fail to gain access to islands. Why do so many oceanic islands lack frogs, toads, and newts that seem so admirably adapted for such an environment? “But why, on the theory of creation, they should not have been created there, it would be very difficult to explain. (p. 393)
    …Darwin could find no report of terrestrial mammals on islands more than 300 miles from a continent. He presents the obvious evolutionary explanation for a disturbing creationist conundrum…
    Taxonomic affinity of island endemics-perhaps the most obvious point of all: why are the closest relatives of island endemics nearly always found on the nearest continent or on other adjacent islands?
    Any honorable creationist, after suffering such a combination of blows, all implicating a history of evolution as the only sensible coordinating explanation, should throw in the towel and, like a beaten prizefighter, acknowledge Darwin as the Muhammad Ali of biology. (Ib. :110-111)

    This type of ignorant hubris doesn’t even really need a reply except for those who are utterly ignorant. Creationists never said that God created animals on islands and so on. Instead it has been specified for millenia that a general pattern of migration from an original point of origins from which a general pattern of adaptation may be observed. At any rate, given that a singular origin of life is not even being dealt with given Darwinism it is not apparent how common, common descent is.

    What was specified?

    The mathematical relationships between them.

    As long as you’re getting specific it would seem that you may as well put a number on “the SEQUENCES of their genes and proteins” and whatever it is you think it shows about common descent.

    Not the organisms, the sequences, and I already told you, but you’re compelled to misrepresent this as mere similarity.

    Is it the sequences or the organisms which have an “identity”?

    Can’t you be bothered to read what I actually write?

    Can you be bothered to be more specific than muttering about “mathematical relationships” without actually putting a number on anything? What are the mathematical relationships and why do you think they verify common descent?

    You are about as un-Christian as they come, mynym.

    What is your knowledge of Christianity based on?

  31. I wrote:Between the SEQUENCES of their genes and proteins.

    Mike asked: Sure, but why would such data prove common descent, unless common descent was the foregone conclusion?

    Mike, nothing, I repeat nothing, is ever considered to be proven in science. Every, and I mean every, conclusion is provisional. That’s why it’s so powerful.

    You are engaging in mynym’s brand of sophistry when you try to misrepresent my position as claiming that anything is proven. It’s a clear case of bearing false witness. Was it deliberate on your part? Can you admit that neither creationists nor ID proponents address the sequence data adequately?

    It seems to me what you are saying is: “we know Common Descent is a fact (without real fossil evidence, or observable change in living species),

    I’m not saying anything of the sort. Precisely what makes it seem that way to you?

    … but our data proves it …

    I would never say anything remotely like that.

    Try reading some papers from the primary (the stuff with new data, not reviews) literature and see if you can find anyone claiming that their “data prove[s]” anything, OK? Avoid evolutionary biology and just see if you can find anything like that.

    …because, well, just look at the mathematical relationships between A and B. It’s obvious”.

    That is a complete misrepresentation of what I’m saying, and I’ll bet my house that you can’t come up with a rational reason for claiming that it seems that I’m saying anything like that.

    What we really say is, “If this hypothesis/theory is true, what do we expect to observe in this circumstance/experiment?” and “If this hypothesis/theory is false, what do we expect to observe in this circumstance/experiment?

    There aren’t always clear answers in both cases, but for the theory of common descent, both answers are very clear, and the prediction for the former case is incredibly specific. Molecular geneticists have tested these predictions literally hundreds of thousands, likely millions, of times. Do you think there are exceptions, and how are those exceptions explained?

    So to summarize, I point out that common descent predicts a very specific mathematical relationship between sequences–both between species and between members of protein families–over vast evolutionary (or design, if you will) distances.

    mynym perverts this to the converse claim to avoid addressing it.

    You claim that this “seems like” I’m saying, “we know Common Descent is a fact (without real fossil evidence, or observable change in living species), but our data proves it because, well, just look at the mathematical relationships between A and B. It’s obvious.”

    Wow. There’s something really obvious here–that neither of you are willing to address what I actually wrote.

    Oh yeah, on paper, it’s obvious that the chicken evolved from the tyrannosaur, nevermind that we can produce no hen-rex creatures.

    Huh? Where do you get this idiotic idea that evolution progresses as a ladder? Darwin was very clear about this. Have you even looked at the only figure in The Origin of Species? How can you claim that we’re slaves to Darwin, when neither we nor Darwin advance this stupid linear notion?

    Perhaps one day you can show me how a fish can spawn a tetrapod (er… in a lake, not in a computer sim). If so, then you win.

    Perhaps one day you can read and respond to what I actually write, instead of your perverted fantasy. I doubt it–that’s too risky for you and mynym.

  32. Mynym seems to be a sort of Aristotelian, and his references to “the Jewish creation myth” confuse me.

    I don’t equate mythologies with an absence of truth the way that many who believe the modern mythology of Progress seem to. As usual, getting specific seems to matter little given that those with the Darwinian urge to merge have generally sought to merge intelligent design with creationism. Given that I don’t own a cheap tuxedo it would seem that you can think of me as a creationist. In fact, I may be an ignorant rube (after all, how would I know?) so why don’t you educate me on the “mathematical relationships” that this fellow John is going on about? (He seems unwilling to specify them in detail.)

  33. So to summarize, I point out that common descent predicts a very specific mathematical relationship between sequences–both between species and between members of protein families–over vast evolutionary (or design, if you will) distances.

    mynym perverts this to the converse claim to avoid addressing it.

    Not at all, I’m not avoiding any of your claims only pointing out wider issues and so on. The reason that I’m not avoiding any of your claims is that you haven’t actually said anything specifically and instead have engaged in vague hand waving towards “gigabytes of data” or “mathematical relationships.” So go on, what were the “very specific” mathematical relationships predicted based on common descent between the sequences of chimps and humans and how have they been verified? Just to be clear, a theory open to verification and falsification needs to be specified before empirical evidence verifying it is known. (Sometimes biologists seem a little confused on that point.)

  34. mynym wrote:
    “I never said that the “theory” of evolution is limited by any type of specification.”

    I didn’t claim that you did.
    You: “It is hardly even specified to the point of being Darwinian anymore.”
    Me: “It never was limited to Darwin.”

    Try to keep up, OK?

    “I was pointing out that it is actually a collection of hypotheses.”

    No, you weren’t.

    “Darwinism is or was the general specification of hypotheses of evolution into an actual theory,…”

    “Darwinism” and “Darwinist” are almost always canards used to make science look like religion by dishonest people who are trying to make their religion/politics look like science.

    “.. the fact that you’re trying to do away with the limitations that come with having a specified theory…”

    That’s not a fact at all. In fact, I’m pointing out that the predictions of one of Darwin’s theories are incredibly specific, and you’re avoiding that subject like the plague.

    “As I said, hypotheses of evolution are often hardly even specified to the point of being “Darwinian” anymore.”

    The fact is that major components of modern evolutionary theory are very accurately described as “non-Darwinian.” You can’t bring yourself to admit that, because it disrupts your campaign of hatred, which depends entirely on simplistic and false labels.

    “For some reason you replied that evolution was never limited to Darwinism.*”

    No, I replied that it was never limited to Darwin, not your vague catchall of “Darwinism.” This becomes really funny below.

    “I agree, even when theories of evolution were more specified they were hardly limited to specification of any type because the human imagination is not limited.”

    You’re not agreeing with me. Now you’re conflating specification with Darwinism. What next, Humpty Dumpty?

    “Thanks for trying to tell me how I’m feeling about things (a little scared, apparently) but usually assertions about feelings have to do with how the one making the assertion is feeling.”

    Yet I can predict your evasive behavior with uncanny accuracy: “Oh, and btw, trivializing this nested hierarchy as mere similarity is completely dishonest. You wouldn’t do that, would you?”

    And that’s exactly what you did. Your fear has even prompted you to deny that I specified the mathematical relationship, when the fact is that I did specify it and predicted that you would misrepresent it, which you did immediately thereafter! Science (in this case psychology) in action!

    “You said that Darwinian “predictions” rooted in common descent have been verified so I pointed out that Darwinism does not actually predict common descent.”

    But I never claimed that “Darwinism” predicts common descent, you goof. Darwin himself hypothesized common descent, and the predictions of that hypothesis (which are independent of Darwin) are confirmed every day, using data from living organisms you falsely claimed are being ignored in favor of fossils. What a joke!

    “If common descent is assumed then things may appear to fit it.”

    That’s not what I’m saying and you know it.

    If common descent is true, it specifies the mathematical relationships that we must observe between sequences–not only between orthologs in different species, but between protein family members over vast evolutionary (or design) distances. If we don’t observe those relationships, common descent is falsified. We’ve never seen that for orthologous genes between organisms, but we have for individual genes, and it’s not swept under the rug, despite your fantasy.

    “But in fact Darwin himself said that life may have been breathed into one form or a few…”

    I say that too. But the bigger picture you’re missing is that everything we have today clearly came from one, which was either a winner of a competition between those few or was an amalgamation of the few. We can conclude that because we have much more data than Darwin ever dreamed of, and you ignore most of them because you can’t explain them. Your mendacity (or confusion) is staggering.

    “… and modern proponents of hypotheses of evolution generally fail to deal with the origin of life at all.”

    Sorry, but “modern proponents” is weaseling. Some people STUDY the origin of life, others study evolution. I study neither, but I understand and exploit evolutionary theory all the time in my biomedical research, which I choose to do as a part of obeying Jesus Christ’s commandment. How does your campaign of using falsehoods to demonize a group of people fulfill His commandment, mynym?

    “So on the one hand Darwinism does not predict common descent…”

    Word salad with baloney on top.

    Darwin, a person, hypothesized common descent. “Darwinism” is neither a person nor a hypothesis nor a theory, so it can’t predict anything.

    “… and on the other general patterns of common descent do not actually conflict with most forms of creationism.”

    Utterly false. Actually explain the mathematical relationships between members of protein families if you disagree. You won’t even try.

    “As long as you’re getting specific it would seem that you may as well put a number on “the SEQUENCES of their genes and proteins” and whatever it is you think it shows about common descent.”

    That’s an amazing stupid demand. The mathematical relationship that I very clearly specified and correctly predicted that you would misrepresent as mere similarity does not boil down to a number, but you’ll try anything.

    “Can you be bothered to be more specific than muttering about “mathematical relationships” without actually putting a number on anything? What are the mathematical relationships and why do you think they verify common descent?”

    I already was much more specific in my first comment. Your selective blindness is very entertaining, though.

    “What is your knowledge of Christianity based on?”

    The teachings of Jesus Christ, particularly “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Your campaign against “Darwinists” represents the rejection of Christ’s commandment.

  35. John said,

    The teachings of Jesus Christ, particularly “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Your campaign against “Darwinists” represents the rejection of Christ’s commandment.

    I have listened and steered clear thus far, but now I must butt in!

    First of all, John, I hear nothing unloving in what mynym has said to you. I wish I could make the same claim about you!

    For instance,

    “I already was much more specific in my first comment. Your selective blindness is very entertaining, though.”

    and

    “That’s an amazing stupid demand.”

    and

    “Word salad with baloney on top.”

    (Mocking someone isn’t loving them, John!)

    John, in your quote here, Jesus was speaking to His disciples who were believers. Perhaps, you believe also, but I can’t tell, for absolute certain, by your professions here (although I’m pretty sure)!

    The only directive Jesus ever gave His disciples about unbelievers (In Matthew 28) is to “Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them all that I have taught you…” Earlier, when Jesus sent His disciples out to preach to the unsaved (“two by two”), He told them if their message was rejected to move on and “shake the dust from their sandals.”

    As believers we are called to love each other and reach out to the lost in the world. The love we (believers) have for each other is “the love that is closer than a brother.” We are not called to have that same kind of love for the enemies of God, His Christ, His truth and ourselves. Once again, we are only called to reach out to those who don’t believe, in kindness (love)and truth, which I believe mynym has done with you.

    If you aren’t a believer, then your statement above is, needless to say, a hypocritical and dishonest ploy on your part!

  36. DB wrote:
    “I have listened and steered clear thus far, but now I must butt in!”

    Go for it! First, answer a question: is it a sign of love when someone lumps people together with a disdainful and false label (“Darwinists”), along with making false claims about what this allegedly monolithic group of people believes and does?

    “First of all, John, I hear nothing unloving in what mynym has said to you.”

    Amazing. Then maybe you would be so kind as to point out the love (and/or truth) in these bits:
    “Instead they generally seem to content themselves with imagining things about the ancient past based on a fragmentary record of the skeletal remains of organisms, with little regard for the study of living organisms here and now.”
    “For instance here is a summary of Darwinian reasoning which you do not seem to have a problem with: “If I could be shown an organism which I could not imagine coming about in a gradual sequence of events then my theory would absolutely break down. I can always imagine things about the past, therefore my theory of evolution is verified!””
    “Despite the hubris that is typical to Darwinian biologists one has to wonder who is actually ignorant and mentally retarded with respect to important aspects of life, i.e. the bios of biology.”
    “You made me laugh again, thanks.”
    “Darwin led to Hitler. I’m not concerned with being invited to parties thrown by mental incompetents. ” (this is especially disgusting given that Hitler was a garden-variety creationist)
    “Not at all, this was always your own disingenuous tangent.”
    “…you haven’t actually said anything specifically and instead have engaged in vague hand waving towards “gigabytes of data” or “mathematical relationships.””

    So go at it, DB. Show me the love….

    “I wish I could make the same claim about you! For instance, I already was much more specific in my first comment. Your selective blindness is very entertaining, though.””

    So I pointed out that mynym’s claim was false and I found his blindness entertaining. What’s your problem with that, specifically?

    “(Mocking someone isn’t loving them, John!)”

    I wasn’t mocking in any of those cases. Mynym, on the other hand, uses falsehoods to mock.

    “John, in your quote here, Jesus was speaking to His disciples who were believers. Perhaps, you believe also, but I can’t tell, for absolute certain, by your professions here (although I’m pretty sure)!”

    You are? How so? Please tell me how you have appointed yourself the arbiter of belief.

    “The only directive Jesus ever gave His disciples about unbelievers (In Matthew 28) is to “Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them all that I have taught you…””

    Did Jesus teach anything about evolution? Abortion? Gay marriage? So what is the proportion of self-described Christians who rank those issues above the actual teachings of Jesus Christ?

    “… when Jesus sent His disciples out to preach to the unsaved (”two by two”), He told them if their message was rejected to move on and “shake the dust from their sandals.”

    I know.

    “As believers we are called to love each other and reach out to the lost in the world.”

    Did Jesus describe the lost as scientists?

    “The love we (believers) have for each other is “the love that is closer than a brother.” ”

    So where is the love from mynym?

    “We are not called to have that same kind of love for the enemies of God, His Christ, His truth and ourselves.”

    Really? I don’t recall Jesus placing the burden of assessing your neighbor’s belief on you. Where did you find that calling, and on what divinely inspired basis do you judge, DB?

    “Once again, we are only called to reach out to those who don’t believe, in kindness (love)and truth, which I believe mynym has done with you.”

    Why do you believe that? How do you describe lumping together people as Darwinists as kindness, love, and truth?

    How do you describe mynym’s utter lie of claiming that “Instead they generally seem to content themselves with imagining things about the ancient past based on a fragmentary record of the skeletal remains of organisms, with little regard for the study of living organisms here and now,” as kindness, love, and truth? You might want to do a search for publications in paleontology vs. comparative genomics before answering, but only if you are interested in truth.

    “If you aren’t a believer, then your statement above is, needless to say, a hypocritical and dishonest ploy on your part!”

    Yes, it would be, and we both should know that Jesus Christ said a whole lot more about hypocrisy and helping those less fortunate (what I do for a living, using evolution all the time) than he did about evolution, right?

  37. John, you’re a bit too defensive, but I’m not surprised! Have a nice day!

  38. John,

    1. Darwinism is not a term that is used only by Creationists or IDists, it’s used by Darwinists all the time. I would assume if you are as well read on evolutionary theory as you say you are then you would already know that.

    2. You assert that you are following the Golden Rule. Good for you, but that’s not true because you cannot. You can do the best that you can to do so, but you will fail and continue to be utterly sinful. The whole, “I’m better than you because I love my fellow man with evolution” doesn’t fly here. You’re no better than anyone else. And nobody else is better than you in the eyes of God. “There is none good but God.”

    3. Have you read the Bible?

    Did Jesus teach anything about evolution? Abortion? Gay marriage? So what is the proportion of self-described Christians who rank those issues above the actual teachings of Jesus Christ?

    ‘But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female’ (Mark 10:6).

    See also: Jesus on Creation, Did Jesus Say He Created in Six Literal Days?

    From the second reference:

    In John 5:45–47, Jesus says, “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that one must believe what Moses wrote. And one of the passages in the writings of Moses in Exodus 20:11 states: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” This, of course, is the basis for our seven-day week—six days of work and one day of rest. Obviously, this passage was meant to be taken as speaking of a total of seven literal days based on the Creation Week of six literal days of work and one literal day of rest.

    I don’t really feel like teaching you about abortion and homosexuality. Research it yourself.

    4. Please detail how you are helping your fellow man by means of the study of evolution. How do you help people, specifically, with the study of evolution, and what do you study specifically? Do you study human beings, or do you study rats?

  39. Mike wrote:
    “Somehow I can’t imagine a chimp giving birth to a human, you know.”

    Mike, this is simply ludicrous. What makes you think that evolutionary theory in any way involves a chimp giving birth to a human?

    Is it honest and Christian to falsely attribute positions to other people? Can you find a single evolutionary biologist who has made anything resembling what you are attributing to them?

    “Where would you expect to observe fully-developed organisms then, to illustrate your data?”

    We aren’t merely “observing” them, Mike, we are sequencing their genomes. They are all around us. You’re still stuck with the completely dishonest straw man of fossils uber alles. Again, there are gigabytes of sequence evidence freely available to you, as well as the tools with which to explore and analyze it.

    So given that reality, why do creationists go on and on about fossils?

  40. The Country Shrink wrote:
    “1. Darwinism is not a term that is used only by Creationists or IDists,…”

    So tell me how Christian it is to change my clear statement that ““Darwinism” and “Darwinist” are ALMOST ALWAYS canards used to make science look like religion by dishonest people who are trying to make their religion/politics look like science,” to your pretension that I claimed that it was used ONLY by Creationists or IDists.

    What exactly does the word “almost” mean to you, Shrink? Was your misrepresentation of what I wrote deliberate or accidental?

    “… it’s used by Darwinists all the time.”

    No, it isn’t. If you really thought that you were correct, you would offer some evidence. Note that “Darwinian” is not equivalent to “Darwinism.”

    “I would assume if you are as well read on evolutionary theory as you say you are then you would already know that.”

    Oh, that’s just sweet. I really feel the Christian love coming through there.

    So, demonstrate that “Darwinists” (which you need to rigorously define first) use the term “Darwinism” all the time. If you have even a shred of integrity, that is.

    “2. You assert that you are following the Golden Rule. Good for you, but that’s not true because you cannot.”

    I do biomedical research because I would want others to do it for my benefit. I correct people who tell falsehoods about science because I would want others to do so if I told falsehoods, whether I did so from ignorance or an intent to deceive.

    “You can do the best that you can to do so, but you will fail and continue to be utterly sinful.”

    Utterly? Wow.

    “The whole, “I’m better than you because I love my fellow man with evolution” doesn’t fly here.”

    I’ve never made such a claim and it is either dishonest or erroneous for you to attribute it to me. The fact that you used quotation marks suggests the former.

    “You’re no better than anyone else.”

    You’re projecting. You’re certainly claiming to be far better than the “Darwinists,” are you not? Why didn’t you answer my initial question to you?

    “3. Have you read the Bible?”

    Yes.

    “‘But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female’ (Mark 10:6).”

    And what does that have to do with evolution, Shrink?

    “See also: Jesus on Creation, Did Jesus Say He Created in Six Literal Days?”

    No, we should see the Bible, which doesn’t include the word “literal” at all, now, does it?

    From the second reference:

    “Obviously, this passage was meant to be taken as speaking of a total of seven literal days based on the Creation Week of six literal days of work and one literal day of rest.”

    No, if it were obvious, it would clearly state that it was literal. Do you not understand that Jesus clearly spoke in parables?

    “I don’t really feel like teaching you about abortion and homosexuality. Research it yourself.”

    Jesus said nothing about them. Leviticus, however, is clear that causing an unwanted abortion is merely a property crime and not a capital crime.

    “4. Please detail how you are helping your fellow man by means of the study of evolution.”

    Why do you misrepresent me? How are you behaving as a Christian? Reread what I wrote:
    1) “I’m a biomedical researcher, not an evolutionary biologist”
    2) “(what I do for a living, using evolution all the time)”

    Now please tell me, as a Christian, how you interpreted “I’m a biomedical researcher, not an evolutionary biologist” as someone who does the “study of evolution.”

    “How do you help people, specifically, with the study of evolution, and what do you study specifically?”

    I study, specifically, a group of evolutionarily ancient proteins that are important in hearing, type 2 diabetes, learning/memory, and the response to nervous system injury. Ironically, this group of proteins is among those that are proclaimed by people who don’t study them as evidence for intelligent design.

    Now, how did you pervert what I wrote into claiming that I engage in the study of evolution, Shrink?

    “Do you study human beings, or do you study rats?”

    I study cells. Some of them from humans, some from mice. You couldn’t tell the difference between them if your very life depended on it.

    • So tell me how Christian it is to change my clear statement that ““Darwinism” and “Darwinist” are ALMOST ALWAYS canards used to make science look like religion by dishonest people who are trying to make their religion/politics look like science,” to your pretension that I claimed that it was used ONLY by Creationists or IDists.

      I wrote:

      1. Darwinism is not a term that is used only by Creationists or IDists, it’s used by Darwinists all the time. I would assume if you are as well read on evolutionary theory as you say you are then you would already know that.

      ’nuff said.

      No, it isn’t. If you really thought that you were correct, you would offer some evidence. Note that “Darwinian” is not equivalent to “Darwinism.”

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/darwinism/
      http://www.pnas.org/content/91/15/6764.abstract?ck=nck
      http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/151986/Darwinism

      Need more? Use Google. Do some reading.

      No, we should see the Bible, which doesn’t include the word “literal” at all, now, does it?

      Again….I’m not going to teach you about this. If you’re interested you’ll read up on it. There are many scholars that have studied in detail when the authors in the Bible intended to be literal and when they did not.

      No, if it were obvious, it would clearly state that it was literal. Do you not understand that Jesus clearly spoke in parables?

      Not always. Do some research into the issue if you are interested for your own benefit.

      Why do you misrepresent me? How are you behaving as a Christian? Reread what I wrote:
      1) “I’m a biomedical researcher, not an evolutionary biologist”
      2) “(what I do for a living, using evolution all the time)”

      Now please tell me, as a Christian, how you interpreted “I’m a biomedical researcher, not an evolutionary biologist” as someone who does the “study of evolution.”

      The readers here are smart enough to determine who’s doing the misrepresenting. I’ll leave it to them.

      Oh, that’s just sweet. I really feel the Christian love coming through there.

      I had not intended for you to “feel the love.” Nor do you. Stop the charade.

      I study, specifically, a group of evolutionarily ancient proteins that are important in hearing, type 2 diabetes, learning/memory, and the response to nervous system injury. Ironically, this group of proteins is among those that are proclaimed by people who don’t study them as evidence for intelligent design.

      You study proteins. How do your ideas about evolution help people?

      I study cells. Some of them from humans, some from mice. You couldn’t tell the difference between them if your very life depended on it.

      Fortunately it doesn’t. But at least I have you out there to save my life if I need it. Thanks John.

    • G’night John. I want to echo what DB has said. Have a nice day.

  41. mynym writes:
    “You made me laugh again, thanks.
    …At any rate, Darwinism or the so-called “theory of evolution” does not predict common descent as it can just as easily comport with more than one origin of life.”

    You made me laugh mynym – thanks.

    You see, ‘Darwinism’ was never about the origin of life, so sure, any origin is fine, even more than one. In fact, Darwin’s book was titled “On the Origin of SPECIES”, not “On the Origin of Life.” However, phylogenies would indeed break down if there were a true major discontinuity. Are you aware of any?

    But thanks for the chuckle and the nice Dunning-Kruger effect example.

  42. “4. Please detail how you are helping your fellow man by means of the study of evolution. How do you help people, specifically, with the study of evolution, and what do you study specifically? Do you study human beings, or do you study rats?”

    What do you study?

  43. John,

    Really, have a nice day, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart!

  44. I study cells. Some of them from humans, some from mice. You couldn’t tell the difference between them if your very life depended on it.

    I’m sorry, John, you write so much that I didn’t read this far! Shame on you, John, this is accusatory and not very loving! But I understand (as well as am completely sympathetic) that you must have little contact with real human beings, since you’re always studying their cells and mice as well!

    John, you seem to be a very angry and unpleasant person. Jesus, can help you with this!! Fall on His grace and He will deliver you from your misery!

    John, and, once again, I do so mean this…

    Have a great day!

  45. “Darwinism” and “Darwinist” are almost always canards used to make science look like religion by dishonest people who are trying to make their religion/politics look like science.

    Again, this is a claim that I’ve only seen anonymous bloggers make as they attempt to revert “evolution” back into hypothetical goo which comports with any mechanism or any hypothesis. There is safety in hypothetical goo as many claims can be hidden in it.

    Actually I’ve come across a mind rooted in the utterly ridiculous parsing of words hiding in hypothetical goo before. A pattern of thought like this: “I didn’t say that. I said…moobly goobly! You’re trying to misrepresent what I said! Now repent of your evil ways!” It was written by someone going by the name of John.

    The trick to it is to fail to say anything in key areas. I’d make the same point out your pattern of thought. Your language is vague and you murmur about non-Darwinian mechanisms which could be virtually anything but then demand that anyone criticizing hypotheses of evolution meet a standard of specification which you have not met. For example, you engage in vague hand waving towards “gigabytes of data” and so on but seek to blame people for making specific claims having to do with Darwinism and so on. So far your vague claims about “mathematical relationships” has been the most amusing example: What was specified?

    The mathematical relationships between them.

    I asked for specification repeatedly while commenting on the fact that hypothetical goo is typical to hypotheses of evolution, then you claim: I point out that common descent predicts a very specific mathematical relationship between sequences–both between species and between members of protein families–over vast evolutionary (or design, if you will) distances.
    mynym perverts this to the converse claim to avoid addressing it.

    So now there is a “very specific” mathematical relationship which apparently cannot be specified in numbers? I would ask what the “very specific” predictions about chimps and humans are but that’s probably not what you’re saying at all, correct? 😉 You do make me laugh, I love it. Going back to claims about “perverts this” and “You just said something I didn’t say so repent of your evil ways!” and so on, I didn’t pervert anything because there is nothing there to pervert in the first place. I have made some specific claims which are relevant based on what the leading proponents of Darwinism say, if that has nothing to do with what you’re supposedly saying then it matters little to me. All I would point out about you is that you haven’t really said or specified anything because you seem to be hiding in hypothetical goo. I’ll address your vague hand waving towards “gigabytes of data” and “mathematical relationships” as soon as you specify what those mathematical relationships are with numbers. Biologists sometimes seem to get a little confused when it comes to math but mathematical relationships are not specified by repeating the phrase “mathematical relationships.”

  46. You see, ‘Darwinism’ was never about the origin of life, so sure, any origin is fine, even more than one. In fact, Darwin’s book was titled “On the Origin of SPECIES”, not “On the Origin of Life.”

    The ironic thing is that it has been known by proponents of hypotheses of evolution for well over a hundred years that Darwinism has little to do with origins of any sort. E.g.

    That Darwinism is not the whole doctrine of evolution is perceived clearly enough by Mr. O’Neill, who devotes two or three opening chapters to a lucid exposition of the well known fact that Natural Selection does not explain the origin of characters. This truth has for twelve years been maintained by the editors of this journal, as well as by others, and has been epitomized in the statement that “the origin of the fittest” is the primary problem of evolution, while the “survival of the fittest“ (Darwinism) is secondary.
    (Review: The Refutation of Darwinism, and the Converse Theory of Development, Based Exclusively Upon Darwin’s Facts by T. Warren O’Neill
    The American Naturalist Vol. 14, No. 3 (Mar., 1880), :193)

    Darwin himself shifted from his term natural “selection” to natural preservation because selection implies intelligent agency, an explanation for origins, etc.

    However, phylogenies would indeed break down if there were a true major discontinuity. Are you aware of any?

    What would such a “major discontinuity” look like?

    But thanks for the chuckle and the nice Dunning-Kruger effect example.

    Not at all, I don’t have a problem with being viewed as a creationist rube and so on. So educate me on what would qualify as a “major discontinuity.” And perhaps you could also take up John’s claim about “mathematical relationships” using chimps and humans as an example since it seems that he is incapable of being more specific.

  47. So, these humans you study – what do you study about them?

  48. mynym writes:
    “So now there is a “very specific” mathematical relationship which apparently cannot be specified in numbers? I would ask what the “very specific” predictions about chimps and humans are but that’s probably not what you’re saying at all, correct? ”

    How specific do you think a prediction should be? The algorithms for analysing DNA sequence data are fairly complicated. A former colleague of mine wrote a fairly simple program for analysing certain aspects of DNA sequence data and his formulae alone occupied about 10 sheets of a legal pad.

    You mentioned specification above – can you define specification for me in terms of DNA sequences?

  49. I hope this html coding works…

    However, phylogenies would indeed break down if there were a true major discontinuity. Are you aware of any?

    What would such a “major discontinuity” look like?

    I wouldn’t know – I am not the one advocating that they must exist. You are, whether you know it or not.

    But thanks for the chuckle and the nice Dunning-Kruger effect example.

    Not at all, I don’t have a problem with being viewed as a creationist rube and so on. So educate me on what would qualify as a “major discontinuity.”

    Like I said, I don’t know what one would be, as I am not the one advocating that they must exist. I suspect it would be a major decrease in genetic identity between two species considered to be closely related. But one can never tell with creationist arguments. In fact, there is a whole field of creationist study called Disontinuity Systematics, aka Baraminology. Even the folks involved in that cannot really say what discontinuities are, they just insist that they are out there, despite never seeing one.

    And perhaps you could also take up John’s claim about “mathematical relationships” using chimps and humans as an example since it seems that he is incapable of being more specific.

    I suspect he is referring to phylogenetic tree topologies and the like, but you’ll have to ask him what he means.

  50. I wouldn’t know – I am not the one advocating that they must exist. You are, whether you know it or not.

    Not at all. Here is the problem, you and others keep acting as if you’ve found evidence which falsifies the Jewish creation narrative but like Darwin’s claims about animals being created on islands it’s not apparent that it actually has anything to do with creationism or origins in general. To be clear, you do have to be claiming something about the “major discontinuities” that you originally mentioned in order for them to have anything to do with the creationism that you and others keep on attacking. It seems that, like John, the moment you are asked exactly what your claims have to do with the topic the recede back into the hypothetical goo from which they arose and all specification disappears.

    You said: “However, phylogenies would indeed break down if there were a true major discontinuity.” So what is the minimal threshold by which we could recognize a “true major discontinuity” which should not be imagined away based on some type of evolutionary creation myth?

    I suspect it would be a major decrease in genetic identity between two species considered to be closely related.

    Given that you’re using words like “major” and “true” instead of any type of metric specified with numbers it is doubtful that you were referring to any sort of objective standard by which the major discontinuities which you originally claimed would falsify hypotheses of evolution could be known. So again, how could hypotheses of evolution in general be falsified? Or what does this have to do with creationism? Let’s say that the God of the Jews does exist, what biological observations would comport with that?

    But one can never tell with creationist arguments. In fact, there is a whole field of creationist study called Disontinuity Systematics, aka Baraminology. Even the folks involved in that cannot really say what discontinuities are, they just insist that they are out there, despite never seeing one.

    But you and others here have been acting as if creationism can be and has been overwhelmingly falsified and the only reason anyone still adheres to it is because they’re scared of looking at “gigabytes of data” and unspecified “mathematical relationships” which apparently show creationism to be utterly false and so on. But now it turns out that you can’t even tell what creationism is or what type of biological observations would falsify it and so on.

    Claims made about creationism in this thread: Again, there are gigabytes of sequence evidence freely available to you, as well as the tools with which to explore and analyze it.
    So given that reality, why do creationists go on and on about fossils?

    If it is claimed that biological observations indicate that the God of the Jews does not exist or that the Jewish creation narrative is false then I’m curious, what sort of biological observations would indicate that it is true? Some biologists seem to do little more than make “panda’s thumb” type arguments against creationism and seem to think that they have found evidence against creationism but it never seems to occur to them that if it is possible to falsify creationism scientifically then it is also possible to verify it. Verification and falsification are logically linked, so what sort of biological observations could be advanced as possible verifications? After all, Gould was so ignorant of creationism that he declared Darwin the “Muhammad Ali of biology” for pointing out a lot of evidence that organisms were not directly created on islands as instead patterns of migration and adaptation are apparent. But the direct creation of organisms on islands isn’t actually a specification or prediction that can be found in creationism at all. So it may be that many proponents of hypotheses of evolution are so ignorant of creationism that they have little idea of what would actually falsify or verify it, although many claim that both creationism and ID have been falsified.

  51. I suspect he is referring to phylogenetic tree topologies and the like, but you’ll have to ask him what he means.

    Do you think that nested hierarchies would not exist if creationism were true?

    Actually I missed one of his claims about Christianity: “What is your knowledge of Christianity based on?”

    The teachings of Jesus Christ, particularly “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Your campaign against “Darwinists” represents the rejection of Christ’s commandment.

    This seems to represent a remarkably shallow understanding of Christianity given that the same man called the cold toads of his day a “brood of vipers” and so on. Did his campaign against them break his own commandment? There is a distinction between the metaphysical world of words and the physical world. After all, I could give you a little hug physically and perhaps a pat on the back to show the love that you seem to desire but words separate, define and judge by their very nature. Jesus Christ taught this of himself as well and claimed to be the Word.

    At any rate, even if I did give you a little hug and so on it’s very likely that you would still have the mentality of a cold toad, ready for dissection.

  52. I am obviously wasting my time here but I will make a statement summarizing my position with respect to the great mystery of evolution before I take my leave.

    Natural selection, the sine qua non of the Darwinin myth, is very real. Its function has always been the same. It is to PREVENT evolutionary change, to maintain the status quo for as long as possible only eventually to see its labors result in extinction. That is the undeniable history of the fossil record. It is my conviction that the present biota is the last that will ever be produced. Just as ontogeny terminates with the death of the individual, so phylogeny will termninate with the extinction of its final products which include ourselves. In short –

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  53. “Again, this is a claim that I’ve only seen anonymous bloggers make as they attempt to revert “evolution” back into hypothetical goo which comports with any mechanism or any hypothesis. There is safety in hypothetical goo as many claims can be hidden in it.”

    We’re not the ones hiding anything–remember, we’re the ones actively producing new data while you produce nothing but apologetics.

    Get real. Look at the number of times that the terms *you* use all the time and falsely allege that we use all the time can be found in PubMed searches relative to the more mechanistic terms we use:

    speciation(8942)
    “genetic drift”(2171)
    “natural selection”(4776)
    darwinian(1184)
    darwinism(261)
    “random mutation”(143)
    darwinist(17)

    So, you’re wrong. I predict that you won’t deal with it.

    “Actually I’ve come across a mind rooted in the utterly ridiculous parsing of words hiding in hypothetical goo before. A pattern of thought like this: “I didn’t say that. I said…moobly goobly! You’re trying to misrepresent what I said! Now repent of your evil ways!” It was written by someone going by the name of John.”

    Manufacturing quotes again, a textbook example of bearing false witness.

    You and the Shrink are one-trick ponies. You deliberately and maliciously represent what other people say and write, and then use your misrepresentations to demonize them. Things don’t get much more un-Christian than that.

    Say, what does the Jesus-as-PUA story of the Samaritan woman at the well teach you?

    “The trick to it is to fail to say anything in key areas.”

    But I am saying things very clearly in key areas. You, OTOH, are falsely claiming that I’m not saying what I said and falsely accuse me of hand-waving.

    “I’d make the same point out your pattern of thought.”

    Since you can’t seem to find what I write when it is in directly front of your face directly following your question that it directly answers, any claims that you understand my thoughts are laughable.

    “Your language is vague and you murmur about non-Darwinian mechanisms which could be virtually anything…”

    No, non-Darwinian mechansims are specifiied very stringently. I even included one up above as a search term to show that real scientists discuss a specific, non-Darwinian mechanism far more often than they use your favorite terms “Darwinist” and “Darwinism” COMBINED! Now, how do you explain that?

    “… but then demand that anyone criticizing hypotheses of evolution meet a standard of specification which you have not met.”

    That is completely false. You are bearing false witness again.

    “For example, you engage in vague hand waving towards “gigabytes of data” and so on…”

    Nothing vague about it. You are just incapable of reading what I wrote. I think you’re afraid to.

    “… but seek to blame people for making specific claims having to do with Darwinism and so on. So far your vague claims about “mathematical relationships” has been the most amusing example: What was specified?”

    Read what I wrote, if you dare. Scroll up and start with your question, “A question for John, what sort of biological observation would falsify theories of “evolution” in general?”

    Note that I answered it directly, with the specification that you have falsely, deliberately, and maliciously accused me of failing to provide.

    “The mathematical relationships between them.”

    Read my answer to your initial question, offered in perfectly good faith. Now explain how your frantically repeated denials that I answered your question were made in good faith.

    “I asked for specification repeatedly…”

    But you ignored my clear specification in my initial answer to your question.

    “So now there is a “very specific” mathematical relationship which apparently cannot be specified in numbers?”

    Yes, and I provided it in response to your initial question.

    “I would ask what the “very specific” predictions about chimps and humans are but that’s probably not what you’re saying at all, correct?”

    I said what i said. Perhaps you should read what i said, and if you have questions, I would be happy to answer them if you made an offer of good faith, which, given your un-Christian behavior, is highly unlikely.

    “… I didn’t pervert anything because there is nothing there to pervert in the first place.”

    You asked a question. I answered it honestly and sincerely. You ignored my answer and proceeded to deliberately and maliciously misrepresent what I wrote. You put plenty of words into my mouth, and into the mouths of others. That is completely dishonest, and you know it. Why do you think your dishonesty is justified?

    “I’ll address your vague hand waving towards “gigabytes of data” and “mathematical relationships”…”

    There was nothing vague about it. I answered your question perfectly directly; there was nothing vague in my answer. I even elaborated on it. You’re simply choosing to ignore my answer and dishonestly claim that I didn’t provide it.

    “… as soon as you specify what those mathematical relationships are with numbers.”

    That’s pretty funny. Is the mathematical relationship between the lengths of the sides of a right triangle specified with numbers?

    The fact is that I specified the relationship, you completely ignored the specification, and you’re now lying–utterly lying–when you claim that I didn’t specify it.

    “This seems to represent a remarkably shallow understanding of Christianity given that the same man called the cold toads of his day a “brood of vipers” and so on.”

    Your behavior clearly reveals you to be one of those vipers. Despite that, I answered your question and you continue to deny that I did.

  54. Manufacturing quotes again, a textbook example of bearing false witness.

    You and the Shrink are one-trick ponies. You deliberately and maliciously represent what other people say and write, and then use your misrepresentations to demonize them. Things don’t get much more un-Christian than that.

    You really don’t get basic theology do you? You can call us all the names in the world. Jesus provides salvation through his death and sacrifice, and not through any work on our part. We don’t misrepresent and demonize people from what they write. They do that quite nicely themselves, just as you are a good example of that. Also, as to being “one-trick ponies,” I do more than study mouse proteins…pretending they are “ancient proteins” and pretending to use evolution to help people, and calling that “following the golden rule” as if that would lead to salvation.

    Since you can’t seem to find what I write when it is in directly front of your face directly following your question that it directly answers, any claims that you understand my thoughts are laughable.

    You’re thoughts are the result of billions of years of random processes. Why should we trust them?

    No, non-Darwinian mechansims are specifiied very stringently. I even included one up above as a search term to show that real scientists discuss a specific, non-Darwinian mechanism far more often than they use your favorite terms “Darwinist” and “Darwinism” COMBINED! Now, how do you explain that?

    How does this comport with your notion that the use of these terms are only used by creationists. I guess that point is utterly false. A term search is hardly evidence for backing up your position.

    That is completely false. You are bearing false witness again.

    Why not use your intellectual prowess to debate, instead of resorting to the 10 commandments, which you and anyone else cannot follow. Do I have to explain that to you as well? I’ll bet your favorite book of the Bible is James.

    You use the words dishonesty and un-Christian so much, it calls to my mind, “Methinks thou protests too much.”

    You haven’t specified a single thing. You engage in arm waving at “gigabytes of data” that is the result of billions of years of natural selection and random mutation. As mynym states, you comments return to a level of hypothetical goo when you are pressed on a point, or you simple say, “You’re a liar.” Show me a fourth grader that cannot engage in that type of argument, and I’ll be impressed.

    You have also not demonstrated in any way, how your notions of evolution could be falsified. They cannot be falsified, because Darwinists will simply dream up another scenario and point to their dream as another 100 kilobytes of their gigabytes of data.

  55. John,

    You’re making a fool out of yourself, in particular, when you try to use God, whom (if you’ll be honest) you deny, as a means to spar when you can’t prove your point! Perhaps, it’s time to move on?

  56. The Shrink wrote:
    “You really don’t get basic theology do you?”

    I do. I just love the way that you define what is basic about theology, though. Who is qualified to criticize or define basic theology, btw?

    “You can call us all the names in the world.”

    The main thrust of my criticism is that you function by lumping people together and labeling them.

    “Jesus provides salvation through his death and sacrifice, and not through any work on our part.”

    My Christian theology requires much more effort on my part.

    “We don’t misrepresent and demonize people from what they write.”

    You do at virtually every turn, Shrink. It’s all you seem to know how to do.

    “They do that quite nicely themselves, just as you are a good example of that.”

    How so? Be specific.

    “Also, as to being “one-trick ponies,” I do more than study mouse proteins…”

    I do too. Do you see that you just engaged in deceptive misrepresentation again?

    “…pretending they are “ancient proteins””

    How am I pretending? Be specific.

    “… and pretending to use evolution to help people, and calling that “following the golden rule” as if that would lead to salvation.”

    That’s not why I brought it up at all. I did so to counter the predictable deception that those who disagree with your misrepresentations are evolutionary biologists.

    “You’re thoughts are the result of billions of years of random processes.”

    And here we have another predictable lie. Natural selection isn’t random. Mutations aren’t even random wrt anything but fitness. Yet you persist in the lie that scientists view evolution as random.

    “Why should we trust them?”

    Because I test my hypotheses against data. I try to falsify them. You are afraid to do that.

    “How does this comport with your notion that the use of these terms are only used by creationists.”

    You persist with this lie, Shrink. I never claimed that they were used ONLY by creationists. You put that word in my mouth.

    “I guess that point is utterly false.”

    The false claim that you put in my mouth is utterly false? That explains why you did it.

    “A term search is hardly evidence for backing up your position.”

    Let’s see…you backed up your claim that we use the term “Darwinism” all the time with a grand total of ONE case.

    “Why not use your intellectual prowess to debate,…”

    Science is about testing hypotheses, not debate. Your side llies pathologically about the very nature of science.

    “… instead of resorting to the 10 commandments, which you and anyone else cannot follow. Do I have to explain that to you as well? ”

    I’d like you to explain why you believe that you can disgregard them.

    “I’ll bet your favorite book of the Bible is James.”

    How much are we betting?

    “You use the words dishonesty and un-Christian so much, it calls to my mind, “Methinks thou protests too much.””

    Maybe you should try being honest for a change.

    “You haven’t specified a single thing.”

    False. I answered mymym’s quesiton directly and completely, and he ignored my answer.

    “You engage in arm waving at “gigabytes of data” that is the result of billions of years of natural selection and random mutation.”

    Nope. I pointed out that there are gigabytes of data that you ignore because you can’t explain them by design. I don’t use the term “random mutation,” because it is deceptive. That must be why you like it so much!

    “As mynym states, you comments return to a level of hypothetical goo when you are pressed on a point, or you simple say, “You’re a liar.” Show me a fourth grader that cannot engage in that type of argument, and I’ll be impressed.”

    Mymym asked me: “A question for John, what sort of biological observation would falsify theories of “evolution” in general?”

    I answered directly and succinctly:
    “An organism whose DNA and protein sequences didn’t all (with the exception of systematic and experimental error) fit the predictions of common descent for a single place in the nested hierarchy.”

    “You have also not demonstrated in any way, how your notions of evolution could be falsified. ”

    As my answer (which you and mynym have repeatedly and dishonestly denied was ever offered) shows, your claim is completely false.

    “They cannot be falsified, because Darwinists will simply dream up another scenario and point to their dream as another 100 kilobytes of their gigabytes of data.”

    More of your only trick. Your mendacity is boring.

    • More of your only trick. Your mendacity is boring.

      Good. I’m very bored having this discussion with you as well. If others want to continue fine. I don’t have the time to educate you about basic Christianity (if you are one, God will lead you to that through His Spirit). You arguments for Darwinism are just goo as mynym has stated.

  57. You’re making a fool out of yourself, in particular, when you try to use God, whom (if you’ll be honest) you deny, as a means to spar when you can’t prove your point!

    I love it when creationists and theistic evolutionists turn on each other, with each accusing the other of being fundamentally dishonest, deceptive, etc. There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned religious war!

    • Carl wrote:

      I love it when creationists and theistic evolutionists turn on each other, with each accusing the other of being fundamentally dishonest, deceptive, etc. There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned religious war!

      Careful Carl (I can’t believe you’d stoop to hyperbole). 😉 Well, yes I can. I’ll use it myself. We’ll turn our metaphoric guns on you next. Oh wait, we already have. You have to watch those religious types… You know, the other side (i.e., John) is throwing rocks and I’m frankly more amused than anything else. It’s really fairly boring if I’m honest. He’s like a fundie-theistic-evolutionist.

  58. There is no room for “debate” in science. Debate is for debating teams, lawyers and politicians. Scientists do not debate, they discover and then present their discoveries. I cannot think of a single scientific advance in which debate played a role and neither can anyone else. The problem with Darwinism is that it postulates a mechanism which has no goal, an hypothesis which can never be tested. In other words Darwinism is not an hypothesis. It is a fantasy.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  59. I love it when creationists and theistic evolutionists turn on each other, with each accusing the other of being fundamentally dishonest, deceptive, etc. There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned religious war!

    Carl, a theistic evolutionist might as well be an atheist, since they both believe in a god that doesn’t exist: theistic evolutionists, “man-shaped” god, and atheists, man himself. With that said, I surmised that John was a theistic evolutionist, but as I just stated, it means little to me one way or another!

    So, hate to burst your bubble, Carl, but John, in my eyes, is no different than you: except that you are civil and honest!

    “What have darkness and light in common?”

  60. I think all who claim to be scientists here, which I do not, should take heed of what J.A. Davison has said:

    There is no room for “debate” in science. Debate is for debating teams, lawyers and politicians. Scientists do not debate, they discover and then present their discoveries. I cannot think of a single scientific advance in which debate played a role and neither can anyone else. The problem with Darwinism is that it postulates a mechanism which has no goal, an hypothesis which can never be tested. In other words Darwinism is not an hypothesis. It is a fantasy.

  61. speciation(8942)

    Instead of counting the number of times people have used certain words it would be more interesting if you would specify the “mathematical relationships” you were going on about before, with numbers. Note that murmuring the word “mathematical” does little to specify a mathematical relationship just as repeating the word science does little to make something “real science.”

    But at any rate, people claiming to be Darwinists have no problem with including genetic drift in their form of hypothetical goo so your main point is moot. E.g.

    …if you listened to the ticking of the molecular clock, it would not be regular like a pendulum clock or a hairspring watch; it would sound like a Geiger counter next to a radioactive source. Completely random! Each interval between successive ticks could be long or it could be short, by chance-‘genetic drift.’ In a Geiger counter, the timing of the next tick is unpredictable. But-and this is really important-the average interval over a large number of ticks is highly predictable. (The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins :452)

    On the other hand proponents of rather unpredictable “random changes” do not support some new type of evolutionary creation myth, instead they tend to support the Darwinian creation myth just as you probably do:

    …Kimura also consistently insisted-and not, I think, merely for diplomacy’s sake, or for any lack of resolve, but rather with genuine conviction…that the neutral theory did not contradict or dethrone Darwinism, but should rather be integrated with natural selection into a more complete and generous account of evolution. (The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould :686-687)

    You claimed: Look at the number of times that the terms *you* use all the time and falsely allege that we use all the time can be found in PubMed searches…

    We talk about Darwinism because Darwinism is central to current hypotheses of evolution. I didn’t claim that you use the term all the time. After all, it seems that you’re ignorant of many things which go beyond the scope of a microscope and the term Darwinism has a wide application.

    Ignorance of philosophy and history has been typical of too many biologists, e.g.:

    Genetics has become a glitter word in the daily media. Most of the twenty-first century’s genetic warriors are unschooled in the history of eugenics. Most are completely divorced from any wisp of eugenic thought.
    Few, if any are aware that in their noble battle against the mysteries and challenges of human heredity, they have inherited the spoils of the war against the weak.(War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race by Edwin Black :425)

    Note that notions about “real science” and “real scientists” defined by an evolutionary creation myth rooted in a mythology of Progress are not new to myopic biologists:

    For the biologists, the test of a scientific outlook was generally identified with a society’s attitude towards eugenics; that is, its willingness to adopt a genuinely scientific stance towards questions of what used to be called “race betterment.” The Marxist and Fabian biologists believed that Western societies had largely failed this test.
    (Eugenics and the Left by Diane Paul
    Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 45, No. 4. (Oct. – Dec., 1984), pp. :569)

    But back to a topic that you supposedly know something about, you claimed: So to summarize, I point out that common descent predicts a very specific mathematical relationship between sequences–both between species and between members of protein families–over vast evolutionary (or design, if you will) distances.

    So what “very specific” or “incredibly specific” mathematical relationship is predicted between the sequences of chimps and humans given common descent? Even if what has been “predicted” can only be known after it has been observed (as seems typical to biologists) how can the relationship be specified with numbers?

  62. “You’re thoughts are the result of billions of years of random processes.

    And here we have another predictable lie. Natural selection isn’t random. Mutations aren’t even random wrt anything but fitness. Yet you persist in the lie that scientists view evolution as random.

    Many biologists view the ultimate origins of things as random, including natural selection itself.

    Whatever it is they think they mean by “random,” in my experience the thinking of biologists is typically limited and often rooted in forms of myopic ignorance. But at any rate, if you do not agree with “random” origins then what do you think accounts for the ultimate origins of your thoughts?

  63. Speaking for myself, the question “are your thoughts actually governed by norms of rational inference, or are they result of interactions between several billion neurons?” is like the question, “is the table actually composed of four table legs and a flat surface, or is composed of several billion cellulose molecules?” The second question obviously poses a false dichotomy — whereas my contention is that the first question also, though not obviously, poses a false dichotomy.

    I think the most interesting philosophical divide is between people who think that the two questions are basically the same, as I do, and those who think the two questions are entirely different, as I imagine do most people here — and most people in general.

  64. mynym wrote:
    “Instead of counting the number of times people have used certain words it would be more interesting if you would specify the “mathematical relationships” you were going on about before,…”

    I clearly specified them the first time you asked. It would be far more interesting if you bothered to read my response, but we both know that won’t happen–well, at least we both know that you won’t admit doing so.

    “… with numbers. Note that murmuring the word “mathematical” does little to specify a mathematical relationship just as repeating the word science does little to make something “real science.””

    I didn’t just murmur the word “mathematical.” I answered your question straight up and specified the mathematical relationship. You wrote, “A question for John…” and I answered it directly. You’ve now falsely accused me what, at least 10 times of not doing so?

    “… they tend to support the Darwinian creation myth just as you probably do:”

    So far, you have two tricks: you falsely claim that I have not answered a question, and you pretend to already know what my positions are.

    “…We talk about Darwinism because Darwinism is central to current hypotheses of evolution.”

    Drift is a current hypothesis of evolution. How could Darwin or “Darwinism” possibly be central to it?

    “… After all, it seems that you’re ignorant of many things which go beyond the scope of a microscope…”

    It seems that way? Coming from someone who can’t read a clear answer to his question?

    “… and the term Darwinism has a wide application.”

    Then why don’t real scientists use it widely?

    “So what “very specific” or “incredibly specific” mathematical relationship is predicted between the sequences of chimps and humans given common descent?”

    I already answered your question specifically. Why do you keep pretending that I have not?

    “Even if what has been “predicted” can only be known after it has been observed (as seems typical to biologists)…”

    Since you seem to be unable to carry on a simple conversation with a biologist who directly answers your first question to him, how much is your opinion worth?

    Can you do anything other than fabricate and deny, mynym?

  65. I clearly specified them the first time you asked.
    […]
    I didn’t just murmur the word “mathematical.” I answered your question straight up and specified the mathematical relationship. You wrote, “A question for John…” and I answered it directly. You’ve now falsely accused me what, at least 10 times of not doing so?

    This was your answer:
    An organism whose DNA and protein sequences didn’t all (with the exception of systematic and experimental error) fit the predictions of common descent for a single place in the nested hierarchy.

    The mathematical precision of your “predictions” are not apparent, perhaps you should try using mathematical language. For example, what mathematical relationships between the sequences of chimps and humans can be predicted based on common descent and how have they been verified empirically? Specification, then verification would indicate that the theory of common descent is sound.

    “…We talk about Darwinism because Darwinism is central to current hypotheses of evolution.”

    Drift is a current hypothesis of evolution. How could Darwin or “Darwinism” possibly be central to it?

    I was using the term evolution to refer to hypotheses about a grand unfolding of progressive events explaining origins (that which is relevant to creationism, ID, etc.), not a neutered sort of “evolution” drifting around neutrally and so on. Are you saying that drift is more dominant than natural selection?

  66. Mynym, you seem to be assuming here that the hypothesis of common descent should not only entail that there be some measurable relationship between species, but also entail the precise value of that measurement. Why set the bar that high? Must the bar be set that high?

    I, for one, cannot see the justification for insisting upon a burden of proof that high — nor can I see how any theory of biological change, whether “Darwinist” or “ID” or other, can meet that burden.

    For that reason, the burden of proof, when set that high, is useless for offering us any guidance as to which hypothesis is most reasonable, given existing evidence. But that is the question which we are interested in addressing, yes?

  67. Mynym, you seem to be assuming here that the hypothesis of common descent should not only entail that there be some measurable relationship between species, but also entail the precise value of that measurement. Why set the bar that high?

    I didn’t set the bar that high, John did.

    Examples:
    You’re completely missing the idea of empirical predictions. It’s not about predicting what will happen to the organisms of the future. It’s about predicting what we will observe directly in the future, whether that be sequences or fossils. You see, Darwin’s theory, without his knowing of the existence of DNA or protein or sequences, specifies the mathematical relationships between sequences.

    There aren’t always clear answers in both cases, but for the theory of common descent, both answers are very clear, and the prediction for the former case is incredibly specific.

    So to summarize, I point out that common descent predicts a very specific mathematical relationship between sequences–both between species and between members of protein families…

    Claims of this sort seem to “…entail that there be some measurable relationship between species” and “also entail the precise value of that measurement.”

    Must the bar be set that high?

    Charlatans tend to set the bar high while hoping that no one notices that they have not met their own standards. Darwinists often set the bar low enough to include imaginary evidence while also claiming through arguments of association that they have met a very high standard for scientia/knowledge. So it is said that a collection of hypotheses referred to as the “theory of evolution” is similar to the theory of gravity, yet when it comes to predicting trajectories of adaptation suddenly the bar must be lowered. Just as here it has been said that the theory of common descent predicts “incredibly specific” mathematical relationships, yet when it comes to specifying what those relationships are with numbers the bar must be lowered and specification done away with.

    It is ironic that the reason that John has been acting like an idiot may in fact be very “Darwinian”:

    Charles Darwin surely ranks as the most genial of history’s geniuses-possesing none of those bristling quirks and arrogances that usually mark the type. [Or perhaps he wasn’t a genius.] Yet, one subject invariably aroused his closest approach to fury-the straw-man claim, so often advanced by his adversaries, that he regarded natural selection as an exclusive mode of change in evolution. Darwin, who understood so well that natural history works by relative frequency, explicitly denied exclusivity and argued only for dominance. So frustrated did he become at the almost willful misunderstanding of a point so clearly made, that he added this rueful line to the 6th edition of the Origin (1872b, P. 395): “As my conclusions have lately been much misrepresented, and it has been stated that I attribute the modification of species exclusively to natural selection, I may be permitted to remark that in the first edition of this work, and subsequently, I placed in a most conspicuous position-namely at the close of the Introduction-the following words: ‘I am convinced that natural selection has been the main, but not the exclusive means of modification.’ This has been of no avail. Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.”
    …Darwin wrote other bristling statements on the same sensitive subject. (The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould :147)

    Darwin was fond of surrounding his theory of evolution with hypothetical goo and “drifting” from one explanation to another.

  68. I, for one, cannot see the justification for insisting upon a burden of proof that high — nor can I see how any theory of biological change, whether “Darwinist” or “ID” or other, can meet that burden.

    Well, just wait and perhaps John will show you by meeting the burden of proof that he set for himself by specifying what “mathematical relationship” can be predicted based on common descent between the sequences of chimps and humans and so on. I cannot see how evidence of that sort can be found either, that’s why I keep asking about it.

    For that reason, the burden of proof, when set that high, is useless for offering us any guidance as to which hypothesis is most reasonable, given existing evidence. But that is the question which we are interested in addressing, yes?

    Yes.

    I would also note that the relevant topics here tend to be ID, creationism, Darwinism, etc., i.e. theories or hypotheses having to do with the origins of things or a progression of emergence. Shifting to talking about “drifting” theories which comport with all change is largely irrelevant and attacking people for focusing on things which are the most relevant to the topic of origins while equivocating over the term “evolution” is specious. On the one hand evolution is merely any change which can be observed now while on the other it is the past accumulation of change rooted in natural selection said to explain the origins of almost all the specification and form of species. Typically if one attacks a Darwinist’s claims about the past they will equivocate and get a little upset that anyone asked for actual specification as they seek to “drift” around in their own hypothetical goo.

  69. I’ll let John speak for himself if he so chooses. My own interpretation of his claims was that Darwinism predicts that there would exist some specific mathematical relationship between sequences if the hypothesis of common descent is true — not that the theory allows us to predict the actual numerical values of the relationship.

    I do not regard evolution as progressive, and I’m happy to include drift as part of the overall theory as one mechanism among many, so I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to respond to Mynym’s last paragraph.

  70. Finally!

    Me: I clearly specified them the first time you asked.
    […]
    I didn’t just murmur the word “mathematical.” I answered your question straight up and specified the mathematical relationship. You wrote, “A question for John…” and I answered it directly. You’ve now falsely accused me what, at least 10 times of not doing so?

    This was your answer:
    An organism whose DNA and protein sequences didn’t all (with the exception of systematic and experimental error) fit the predictions of common descent for a single place in the nested hierarchy.

    So, mynym, if you were approaching this in even the most marginally honest way as a seeker of truth, you might have admitted that you didn’t understand what I was specifying instead of claiming that I specified nothing.

    The mathematical precision of your “predictions” are not apparent, perhaps you should try using mathematical language.

    It’s not my fault that you don’t understand that nested hierarchies are mathematical relationships. Instead, you bear false witness again and again. It seems that you don’t really understand the meaning of “mathematical,” which is funny since you use it so often.

    For example, what mathematical relationships between the sequences of chimps and humans can be predicted based on common descent and how have they been verified empirically?

    Pretty much all of them, as the genomes of both species are completely sequenced. What’s more, all of those data, as well as the mathematical tools YOU can use to analyze them, are freely available. Yet here you are, stomping your feet like a child on a blog instead of reading God’s Book of Nature for yourself.

    Specification, then verification would indicate that the theory of common descent is sound.

    Yep, it’s been done and you can access the tools to confirm it with a few mouse clicks, but you’re so dependent upon hearsay that you don’t even know it.

    I asked: “Drift is a current hypothesis of evolution. How could Darwin or “Darwinism” possibly be central to it?”

    I was using the term evolution to refer to hypotheses about a grand unfolding of progressive events explaining origins (that which is relevant to creationism, ID, etc.),

    But that’s not what “evolution” means. Evolution is the phenomenon of genetic change in populations over time, and no competent biologist presumes that it is always progressive.

    “… not a neutered sort of “evolution” drifting around neutrally and so on. Are you saying that drift is more dominant than natural selection?”

    Sometimes. More importantly, I’m pointing out that it is part of evolutionary theory, and it is completely non-Darwinian.

    Carl Sachs
    January 14th, 2009 at 3:14 am
    Mynym, you seem to be assuming here that the hypothesis of common descent should not only entail that there be some measurable relationship between species, but also entail the precise value of that measurement. Why set the bar that high? Must the bar be set that high?

    You hit that nail on the head. What you may be missing, and mynym certainly is missing, is that the height of this mathematical bar is incredibly high because ALL (with tiny allowances for systematic and measurement error) of the nested hierarchies of these sequences must be superimposable, something that no intelligent design hypothesis could ever explain, which in turn explains why mynym is so laughably ignorant of the revolution in evolutionary biology over the last 30 years. They can’t possibly explain it, so they both trivialize and misrepresent it.

    I, for one, cannot see the justification for insisting upon a burden of proof that high — nor can I see how any theory of biological change, whether “Darwinist” or “ID” or other, can meet that burden.

    I can’t either, Carl, but mynym’s faith is very weak and he hasn’t been preprogrammed to deal with analyzing actual data for himself.

    For that reason, the burden of proof, when set that high, is useless for offering us any guidance as to which hypothesis is most reasonable, given existing evidence. But that is the question which we are interested in addressing, yes?

    I am. Mynym and the Shrink sure aren’t.

    mynym:
    I didn’t set the bar that high, John did.

    Dead wrong, but entirely predictable. You still can’t grapple with how the bar is being set. The bar is very, very high.

    Examples:
    You’re completely missing the idea of empirical predictions. It’s not about predicting what will happen to the organisms of the future. It’s about predicting what we will observe directly in the future, whether that be sequences or fossils. You see, Darwin’s theory, without his knowing of the existence of DNA or protein or sequences, specifies the mathematical relationships between sequences.

    There aren’t always clear answers in both cases, but for the theory of common descent, both answers are very clear, and the prediction for the former case is incredibly specific.

    So to summarize, I point out that common descent predicts a very specific mathematical relationship between sequences–both between species and between members of protein families…

    mynym: Claims of this sort seem to “…entail that there be some measurable relationship between species” and “also entail the precise value of that measurement.”

    What? You put your assumptions in quotation marks? There’s nothing whatsoever in what you quoted that makes your interpretation valid.

    Charlatans tend to set the bar high while hoping that no one notices that they have not met their own standards.

    Pure projection.

    Darwinists often set the bar low enough to include imaginary evidence while also claiming through arguments of association that they have met a very high standard for scientia/knowledge.

    Everything I wrote (and you misrepresented) was about real evidence that you lack the courage and faith to examine for yourself.

    So it is said that a collection of hypotheses referred to as the “theory of evolution” is similar to the theory of gravity, yet when it comes to predicting trajectories of adaptation suddenly the bar must be lowered. Just as here it has been said that the theory of common descent predicts “incredibly specific” mathematical relationships, yet when it comes to specifying what those relationships are with numbers the bar must be lowered and specification done away with.

    I’m not lowering the bar. You’re running away from the evidence.

    It is ironic that the reason that John has been acting like an idiot may in fact be very “Darwinian”:

    So mynym doesn’t understand that a nested hierarchy is a mathematical relationship, so as a smokescreen, starts calling others idiots.

    Darwin was fond of surrounding his theory of evolution with hypothetical goo and “drifting” from one explanation to another.

    Yet here, we have my explanation that you are too proud to admit that you don’t understand, while all the real evidence is freely available for real analysis by YOU.

    Well, just wait and perhaps John will show you by meeting the burden of proof that he set for himself by specifying what “mathematical relationship” can be predicted based on common descent between the sequences of chimps and humans and so on. I cannot see how evidence of that sort can be found either, that’s why I keep asking about it.

    That’s not even close to what you’ve been doing.

    Carl Sachs:
    I’ll let John speak for himself if he so chooses. My own interpretation of his claims was that Darwinism predicts that there would exist some specific mathematical relationship between sequences if the hypothesis of common descent is true — not that the theory allows us to predict the actual numerical values of the relationship.

    Pretty good, Carl, except for the use of “Darwinism.” The predictions are far more accurate for sequences that evolve by non-Darwinian mechanisms.

    So, mynym, name a gene (preferably a member of a gene family) that is involved in a biological phenomenon that interests you and I’ll show you the mathematical relationships. There’s some great irony about your conflation of “mathematical” with “numerical” here, because you can make huge changes in the calculations you use for constructing the hierarchies, but the hierarchies are still the same.

    And that, sir, is an incredibly high bar that you’ll run away from examining.

    Oh, and if you do choose to examine the evidence for yourself, also try to exercise your brain enough to conceive of the systematic and experimental errors that I specified. One hint: the former relates to the fact that we are sequencing genes from the existing animals you falsely claimed we were ignoring in favor of stories about fossils.

  71. Thank you DB for the kind words. I see they have been ignored.

    Charles Darwin was a lightweight. There is not a word in the Origin of Species that ever had anything to do with creative ascending evolution, not a word. Natural selection, the sine qua non of the Darwinian myth, has always been anti-evolutionary seving only to preserve the species unchanged for as long as possible, a process which, with very few exceptions, has led to ultimate extinction.

    Most important is the evidence that speciation and the formation of any of the higher taxonomic categories is no longer in progress. There has not been a new Genus in two million years. Furthermore, it is my conviction that true, verifiable speciation is no longer in progress either.

    I invite all to come to my weblog and present their views in civil dialogue. I am prepared to defend my thesis anywhere that can be arranged but I am not going to waste words on a deaf audience which seems to be the situation here.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  72. But that’s not what “evolution” means. Evolution is the phenomenon of genetic change in populations over time, and no competent biologist presumes that it is always progressive.

    More equivocation, the only type of “evolution” which is relevant to the topic of origins, ID and/or creationism is “creative ascending evolution” in general, as Davison just put it. The fact you’re misunderstanding the issue or equivocating between evolution as any change and evolution as a progressive explanation for the origins of all species in order to attack ID and/or creationism is telling.

    It’s not my fault that you don’t understand that nested hierarchies are mathematical relationships.

    Not at all, I’m just trying to get you to specify some of them in some way beyond just repeating that it’s a mathematical relationship. For example, I’ve asked about the relationships that should be observed between chimps and humans and how they have been verified repeatedly. So far one of your only moves towards further specification is: “…the nested hierarchies of these sequences must be superimposable…

    It’s Friday night and I have other things to do than to try to draw you out of the hypothetical goo that you seem to be “drifting” around in. For now I’ll just repeat that the only evolution which is relevant to the issue of origins (and therefore creationism) is progressive since you seem to be confused on that point.

  73. I misunderstand and I am confused about absolutely nothing. Darwinian evolution is a myth. There is not a word in Darwin’s book that ever had anything to do with speciation or the origin of any of the higher taxa. All evolution WAS predetermined, prescheduled and is now finished. Get used to to the reality that it is finished. Julian Huxley did. Robert Broom did. Pierre Grasse did and so did I.

    Got that? Write that down.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  74. mynym wrote:
    “Not at all, I’m just trying to get you to specify some of them in some way beyond just repeating that it’s a mathematical relationship.”

    Nested hierarchy is a specification. I specified that from the beginning.

    “For example, I’ve asked about the relationships that should be observed between chimps and humans and how they have been verified repeatedly.”

    Which misses the point entirely.

    “So far one of your only moves towards further specification is: “…the nested hierarchies of these sequences must be superimposable…”

    Yep, and that scares the crap out of you because it’s quite specific and you haven’t been instructed on it. You’re afraid of the real world and real evidence that’s freely available to you. You’ve got nothing but fear and lack of faith.

    “It’s Friday night and I have other things to do than to try to draw you out of the hypothetical goo that you seem to be “drifting” around in.”

    It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m challenging you to get out of YOUR hypothetical goo and deal with real evidence. My hypothesis is that your faith is pathetically weak, and you need to demonize others to avoid confronting that weakness. That hypothesis predicts your evasions and projections.

    “For now I’ll just repeat that the only evolution which is relevant to the issue of origins (and therefore creationism) is progressive since you seem to be confused on that point.”

    For always, you will avoid the gigabytes of freely-available evidence that you can’t address without someone telling you what to say. You’re afraid.

  75. Yep, and that scares the crap out of you because it’s quite specific and you haven’t been instructed on it. You’re afraid of the real world and real evidence that’s freely available to you. You’ve got nothing but fear and lack of faith.

    Methinks John doth protest too much!

    John, check these proverbs out and take counsel from them!

    The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
    But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. Proverbs 12: 15

    A fool does not delight in understanding,
    But only in revealing his own mind. Proverbs 18: 2

    A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul. Proverbs 18: 7

    Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 26: 12

  76. More equivocation, the only type of “evolution” which is relevant to the topic of origins, ID and/or creationism is “creative ascending evolution” in general, as Davison just put it. The fact you’re misunderstanding the issue or equivocating between evolution as any change and evolution as a progressive explanation for the origins of all species in order to attack ID and/or creationism is telling.

    Sure — but what is it telling? It suggests to me that there’s a far more serious breakdown of communication than any one here is willing to admit. For it now seems as though the sort of theory which is of concern to design proponents and to creationists is not a theory which is held among evolutionary theorists. So what is the debate about? Is there a debate at all?

    In the discussion that I’ve seen here between Mynym and John, it seems to me that Mynym is interested in “the question of origins” — such as the origins of the universe, of life, and of consciousness, perhaps? But since there is nothing in contemporary evolutionary theory which commits us to going one way or the other on these issues, it’s hard to see what the fuss is all about.

    In other words, there’s no inconsistency that I can discern between thinking that some set of empirically detectable mechanisms are entirely responsible for macroevolutionary change and thinking that the origins of the universe, or of life, or of something uniquely human (whatever that might be) cannot be explained in terms of anything empirically detectable. Is there some tension? Well, yes, obviously — but there’s always tension in any world-view!

    Now, of course someone committed to both metaphysical and methodological naturalism would have to deny that the origins of the universe, of life, and of consciousness are in principle inexplicable in terms of empirically testability. (Though someone could be both a metaphysical and methodological naturalist and still be skeptical about whether we will ever figure it out.) But so far as I can tell, the relation between contemporary evolutionary theory and metaphysical/methodological naturalists is entirely optional.

    It’s been clear to me for a long time that design proponents and creationists regard Dawkins as more honest than Gould, Miller, or Conway Morris. The IDists and creationists have more respect for someone who thinks that evolution and naturalism must go hand-in-hand than they do for someone who accepts evolution as theory but rejects naturalism as a world-view — and that, I think, is “telling.”

  77. I have never sees a website more out of touch with reality than this one. To comment here is like pouring sand down a rat hole.

    Enjoy yourselves. I have better things to do than to attempt to communicate here.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  78. Nested hierarchy is a specification. I specified that from the beginning.

    And I’ve been pointing out from the beginning that it’s actually a pretty vague claim. It’s long been known that organisms show a “groups within groups” pattern, why do you think that conflicts with creationism?

    Which misses the point entirely.

    What common descent predicts and further specification about the exact relationships between chimps and humans is a very interesting and relevant question. Whatever pedantic points you are making which have nothing to do with the question of origins and creationism I leave to you. You mentioned Michael Denton as a ID “hack” in another comment section. Why? What books of his have you read? For that matter, what books written by creationists have you read? You seem to feel that your “drifting” explanations and hypothetical goo have something to do with the claims of Denton or ID and creationism in general, so show how that’s the case. You seem to feel that you’re refuting claims made by creationists, so cite what they say and show how they’re wrong.

    Given what you said about Denton I suspect that like Darwin’s claims about organisms being directly created on islands or Carl’s claims about continuity your refutation of “creationism” will be the refutation of a straw man.

    Yep, and that scares the crap out of you because it’s quite specific and you haven’t been instructed on it. You’re afraid of the real world and real evidence that’s freely available to you.

    Years ago I debated some gay activists about a supposed “gay gene.” All that they ever did was make claims about ignorance and fear mixed in with some claims about peer reviewed journals without ever being specific about the actual evidence. When the evidence is there it is a simple matter of specifying the theory and educating people about how it has been verified by pointing to the empirical evidence. Charlatans cannot work that way because their knowledge is an illusion or pseudo-knowledge, i.e. pseudo-science. Genetics is an area where charlatanism is common where what is actually vague and subject to conditions is passed off as totally specific and objectively determined. (Of course there is no “homosexual desire gene” which dictates a certain sexual orientation. That is an example of the worst kind of genetic charlatanism.)

    At any rate, if you’re done trying to tell me what my feeling about things are and so on then go ahead and cite the “real evidence” about the “very specific” or “incredibly specific” relationships predicted by common descent and so on.

    My hypothesis is that your faith is pathetically weak, and you need to demonize others to avoid confronting that weakness.

    That may be, perhaps you can hypothesize a little demon gene that makes me do it while you’re at it. But then the devil gene makes me do it, so why do you seem so upset with me?

    That hypothesis predicts your evasions and projections.

    It seems a bit odd that I keep asking you to cite evidence if I’m actually trying to evade it.

    At any rate, the simple fact of that matter is that it does not matter if I’m a scared little fellow, an ignorant creationist rube possessed by evil genes or whatever else, you should still be able to specify what the theory of common descent predicts about the biological relationship between chimps and humans and then show how it has been verified empirically. In order to do that you may want to try focusing on facts logic and evidence instead of spending so much time questioning my faith, calling down the wrath of God on me and so on and so forth. That’s all well and good but the thing about facts, logic and evidence is that they will still be there after I and my supposed feeling of being scared is dead.

    I will even hypothesize of myself that I’m scared, quite terrified really. So now that that’s settled what are “incredibly specific” predictions based on the theory of common descent about what should be observed biologically of chimps and humans and how have they been verified?

  79. Sure — but what is it telling?

    It’s telling that proponents of ascending/creative evolutionary creation myths cannot seem to provide supporting evidence. Instead they often actually cite destructive processes which should be advanced as evidence against constructive evolution. They also “shift” to citing “neutral” or “drifting” processes which tend to neither support nor refute evolutionary creation myths. At the end of it all one is left wondering why they are so certain that a progressive type of evolutionary creation myth is true when there is so little evidence for it. The fact that so much effort has been put into trying to find supporting evidence and that proponents are left with citing destructive or preservative processes is telling, what it should tell you that the evolutionary creation myth itself probably is not true.

    It suggests to me that there’s a far more serious breakdown of communication than any one here is willing to admit.

    There’s always going to be a breakdown of communication with a hypothetical charlatan like John, that’s actually the way that they work. That’s why I keep asking for more specification, i.e. more communication.

    For it now seems as though the sort of theory which is of concern to design proponents and to creationists is not a theory which is held among evolutionary theorists. So what is the debate about? Is there a debate at all?

    Only to the extent that evolutionary theorists begin proposing hypotheses about or dealing with the question of origins or proposing theories of creative evolution. No one ever said that change does not happen or that “evolution” as change does not happen. Of course change happens, much like excrement happens but hypotheses of creative evolution may as well be excrement given the evidence.

  80. All evolution WAS predetermined, prescheduled and is now finished. Get used to to the reality that it is finished.

    Too bad John Davison left, I was going to ask him why nearly everyone actually focusing on the evidence concludes that essentially all creative evolution happened in an unobservable past. When Gould focused on the actual fossil evidence and tried to stop imagining things about it he came to a similar conclusion, i.e. evolution happened in such a way that there is little evidence that it actually happened. The pattern seems to be that when people stop imagining things about the past the evidence for evolutionary creation myths disappears. So I would ask Davison, why are you certain that creative evolution took place in the past and then somehow stopped happening?

  81. mynym, whoever that is.

    I haven’t left yet. I recommend you visit my weblog where you will find the answers to your questions. You are also welcome to participate there. Thank you for your interest.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  82. Well, I’ve got to give John credit for thinking outside the atheistic-Darwinian box. He does have some interesting perspectives on things. That’s not to say I agree with all of it, or that some things may seem to be more speculation than fact – but that’s about the the best anyone can hope for anyway, is it not? But anybody who proves to be a thorn in the side of the scientific “establishment” must be doing *something* right, in my view!

    Also, regarding being a theistic evolutionist. I see no reason to demonize anybody for that. After all, it’s not so much a rejection of God, but a rejection of mainstream theology. Remember, it’s what comes out of a man’s mouth that defiles him. John’s accusatory and demeaning tone are his real problems. Carl rejects that theology too, but I much prefer being lectured to by him.

  83. It’s been clear to me for a long time that design proponents and creationists regard Dawkins as more honest than Gould, Miller, or Conway Morris. The IDists and creationists have more respect for someone who thinks that evolution and naturalism must go hand-in-hand than they do for someone who accepts evolution as theory but rejects naturalism as a world-view — and that, I think, is “telling.”

    Atheist A): God doesn’t exist, and therefore evolution (from hypothetical goo) and Naturalism are the only explanations for anything.

    Atheist B): God doesn’t exist, but evolution (from hypothetical goo) and Naturalism don’t explain everything. Something else is needed, but I don’t know what that is, and am not really sure I want to anyway.

    Which guy sounds less certain to you?

  84. Firstly, certainty isn’t a virtue, so I wouldn’t accept an appeal to certainty as a criterion for putting more stock in one person’s beliefs over another’s. Secondly, the “atheist B” is clearly a straw man — perhaps intended as a caricature of Gould’s “NOMA”? So I would put it quite otherwise — here’s what I would prefer as an alternative typology.

    (1) Scientific methods are the best procedures we have for determining what is real and what isn’t; therefore it is highly probable that neither God nor an intelligent designer exist. Therefore, religion is nonsense. (Dawkins)

    (2) Scientific methods are the best procedures we have for determining what is real and what isn’t; therefore some intelligent designer probably does exist, but science alone cannot determine whether or not the designer is God. Therefore, religion is not nonsense. (Dembski)

    (3) Scientific methods are the best procedures we have for describing and explaining natural phenomena; religion, ethics, and art do not explain anything, but have other purposes in human life that are just as important as explanation. Therefore, religion is not nonsense. (Gould, Miller)

    That’s too simplified, but it does what I want it to do — which is to distinguish between whether or not something is meaningful — in the sense of valuable, significant, important for human life, etc. — from whether it explains.

    I find this distinction between meaningfulness and explanation to be extremely important, and everything I’ve been saying here has an attempt to make this distinction clear — with the corollary that there are many kinds of significance other than scientific explanation.

    In light of this distinction, we can distinguish between the scientific questions — e.g. is standard macroevolutionary theory* sufficient to account for observables, or must we posit an intelligent designer as the cause of certain kinds of information increase? — from the cultural/religious questions — e.g. does standard macroevolutionary theory entail atheism?

    * where “standard macroevolutionary theory” means “the modern synthesis plus, at a minimum, punctuated equilibrium and evo-devo.”

  85. Only to the extent that evolutionary theorists begin proposing hypotheses about or dealing with the question of origins or proposing theories of creative evolution. No one ever said that change does not happen or that “evolution” as change does not happen. Of course change happens, much like excrement happens but hypotheses of creative evolution may as well be excrement given the evidence.

    I am not quite sure what to make of “creative evolution,” in part because I’m not sure if you’re alluding to Henri Bergson or not.

    So, putting that notion aside, the questions can perhaps be put as follows. Given that macroevolutionary change at a certain level can be described as involving increases in complexity*:

    1) can those increases be explained in terms of mechanisms that are already well-understood, or are those explanations insufficient?

    2) if already-established explanations are insufficient, what sorts of further explanations might do the job?

    3) how are those supplementary explanations to be tested?

    * e.g. in terms of number of genes, number of cell types, diversity of ‘body-plans’, increase in ecosystem interdependence, etc.

  86. I always took Gould for an agnostic? Yes, a straw man I admit, since I now realize you weren’t necessarily referring to atheism at all.

    I find this distinction between meaningfulness and explanation to be extremely important,

    That works until you try to explain why things have meaning.

    Anyway, I prefer an explanationless meaning over a meaningless explanation.

    ex:

    Explanationless meaning: “God did it”

    Meaningless explanation: “It just happened”

  87. It would help if commenters would specify to whom they are responding.

    There is no “standard evolutionary theory.” There isn’t even any evolutionary theory. Theories are verified hypotheses and neither Lamarckism, Darwinism nor special creation qualify. The truth lies elsewhere and I think I know where that is. You will find it at my weblog –

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  88. I wrote:
    “Nested hierarchy is a specification. I specified that from the beginning.”

    mynym wrote:
    “And I’ve been pointing out from the beginning that it’s actually a pretty vague claim.”

    No, you haven’t. The fact is that you’ve been falsely claiming from the beginning that I was only vaguely sputtering about mathematical relationships that I hadn’t specified. Then, you stupidly conflated “mathematical” with “numerical,” all the time ignoring nested hierarchies.

    “It’s long been known that organisms show a “groups within groups” pattern, why do you think that conflicts with creationism?”

    Because their parts (those sequences that you’re afraid to examine for yourself) are related in the SAME pattern. That completely conflicts with creationism, which is why creationists consistently lie about the specifificity of these mathematical relationships.

    “What common descent predicts and further specification about the exact relationships between chimps and humans is a very interesting and relevant question.”

    It’s not a question, it’s a hypothesis. One that you are utterly afraid to test.

    “Whatever pedantic points you are making which have nothing to do with the question of origins and creationism I leave to you. You mentioned Michael Denton as a ID “hack” in another comment section. Why? What books of his have you read?”

    Both of them. He’s a hack. I’ve tested the central assumption of his first book, which he falsely presented as a fact.

    “For that matter, what books written by creationists have you read?”

    Why would that matter? Science is about evidence, not books that people write about the evidence.

    “You seem to feel that your “drifting” explanations and hypothetical goo have something to do with the claims of Denton or ID and creationism in general,…”

    None of my explanations have drifted and you know it. Only your evasions of the issues have drifted.

    “… so show how that’s the case. You seem to feel that you’re refuting claims made by creationists, so cite what they say and show how they’re wrong.”

    The central assumption of Denton’s first book is that the amino-acid sequences we have represent the sequences that have function.

    “Given what you said about Denton I suspect that like Darwin’s claims about organisms being directly created on islands or Carl’s claims about continuity your refutation of “creationism” will be the refutation of a straw man.”

    Your suspicions are nothing more than wishful thinking to cover your fear of looking at real evidence.

    “Years ago I debated some gay activists about a supposed “gay gene.” All that they ever did was make claims about ignorance and fear mixed in with some claims about peer reviewed journals without ever being specific about the actual evidence.”

    But I’m not them, so your excursion is nothing more than an evasion. Intelligent people who have concluded that homosexuality is not a choice would never argue for a single gene anyway. In fact, they wouldn’t argue that homosexuality is entirely inherited either.

    “When the evidence is there it is a simple matter of specifying the theory and educating people about how it has been verified by pointing to the empirical evidence.”

    Yes, so if the sequence evidence supports your position, why don’t you specify your hypothesis and predict how the sequence evidence will support it?

    “Charlatans cannot work that way because their knowledge is an illusion or pseudo-knowledge, i.e. pseudo-science.”

    Yes, you are a charlatan.

    “Genetics is an area where charlatanism is common where what is actually vague and subject to conditions is passed off as totally specific and objectively determined. (Of course there is no “homosexual desire gene” which dictates a certain sexual orientation. That is an example of the worst kind of genetic charlatanism.)”

    Of course there is no single gene, but you’re dishonestly trying to attribute that position to me because you’re a charlatan.

    “At any rate, if you’re done trying to tell me what my feeling about things are and so on then go ahead and cite the “real evidence” about the “very specific” or “incredibly specific” relationships predicted by common descent and so on.”

    You’re still evading. Here’s the offer, clear as day:

    So, mynym, name a gene (preferably a member of a gene family) that is involved in a biological phenomenon that interests you and I’ll show you the mathematical relationships. There’s some great irony about your conflation of “mathematical” with “numerical” here, because you can make huge changes in the calculations you use for constructing the hierarchies, but the hierarchies are still the same.

    And that, sir, is an incredibly high bar that you’ll run away from examining.

    Oh, and if you do choose to examine the evidence for yourself, also try to exercise your brain enough to conceive of the systematic and experimental errors that I specified. One hint: the former relates to the fact that we are sequencing genes from the existing animals you falsely claimed we were ignoring in favor of stories about fossils.

    The ball’s in your court. This is not about providing one link or one paper or one quote, it’s about you having the huevos to get into the real evidence.

    My hypothesis is that your faith is pathetically weak, and you need to demonize others to avoid confronting that weakness.

    That may be, perhaps you can hypothesize a little demon gene that makes me do it while you’re at it. But then the devil gene makes me do it, so why do you seem so upset with me?

    That hypothesis predicts your evasions and projections.

    It seems a bit odd that I keep asking you to cite evidence if I’m actually trying to evade it.

    At any rate, the simple fact of that matter is that it does not matter if I’m a scared little fellow, an ignorant creationist rube possessed by evil genes or whatever else, you should still be able to specify what the theory of common descent predicts about the biological relationship between chimps and humans and then show how it has been verified empirically. In order to do that you may want to try focusing on facts logic and evidence instead of spending so much time questioning my faith, calling down the wrath of God on me and so on and so forth. That’s all well and good but the thing about facts, logic and evidence is that they will still be there after I and my supposed feeling of being scared is dead.

    I will even hypothesize of myself that I’m scared, quite terrified really. So now that that’s settled what are “incredibly specific” predictions based on the theory of common descent about what should be observed biologically of chimps and humans and how have they been verified?

  89. John wrote,

    mynym wrote:
    “And I’ve been pointing out from the beginning that it’s actually a pretty vague claim.”

    No, you haven’t. The fact is that you’ve been falsely claiming from the beginning that I was only vaguely sputtering about mathematical relationships that I hadn’t specified. Then, you stupidly conflated “mathematical” with “numerical,” all the time ignoring nested hierarchies.

    Yes he has, John, over and over again! Why would he keep asking you for specifics if you had ever given them, and don’t give me your “manipulation” ploy. You ignore mynym’s requests constantly and then turn the conversation to some kind of religious fantasy world with pop science gobble-de-gook!

    Stand and Deliver, John!!!

  90. Messed up the part after the blockquote…

    The ball’s in your court. This is not about providing one link or one paper or one quote, it’s about you having the huevos to get into the real evidence.

    “That may be, perhaps you can hypothesize a little demon gene that makes me do it while you’re at it. But then the devil gene makes me do it, so why do you seem so upset with me?”

    You’re not very talented at reading people.

    “It seems a bit odd that I keep asking you to cite evidence if I’m actually trying to evade it.”

    But you’re not asking me to cite evidence. You keep misrepresenting what I’m saying, as you do below:

    “At any rate, the simple fact of that matter is that it does not matter if I’m a scared little fellow, an ignorant creationist rube possessed by evil genes or whatever else, you should still be able to specify what the theory of common descent predicts about the biological relationship between chimps and humans…”

    I specified it from the beginning. The sequences of their components, within this SINGLE nested hierarchy, will have the same mathematical relationships with each other and with those of other organisms. The fact that you can place designed objects into all sorts of nested hierarchies is meaningless in this respect and an evasion, because the point here is that, with the exception of systematic and experimental error, there’s one and only one.

    I asked you before to come up with one of the systematic sources of error to see if you could focus on anything but evasion, but you predictably evaded. Care to try?

    “… and then show how it has been verified empirically. In order to do that you may want to try focusing on facts logic and evidence…”

    Go up and read the blockquote. The ball’s in your court.

    “… instead of spending so much time questioning my faith, calling down the wrath of God on me and so on and so forth. That’s all well and good but the thing about facts, logic and evidence is that they will still be there after I and my supposed feeling of being scared is dead.”

    The funny thing is that they’ve been there all along, freely available, but the only thing you’ve been programmed with is the lie that this means nothing more than similarity.

    So, mynym, name a gene (preferably a member of a gene family) that is involved in a biological phenomenon that interests you and I’ll show you the mathematical relationships. There’s some great irony about your conflation of “mathematical” with “numerical” here, because you can make huge changes in the calculations you use for constructing the hierarchies, but the hierarchies are still the same.

    I’m letting you name the gene so you can’t accuse me of stacking the metaphorical deck, but you apparently can’t even bring yourself to do that.

  91. I am not quite sure what to make of “creative evolution,”

    In other words, you seem more concerned with describing how a man can descend from a chimp or a vole, than to ponder where the chimp or vole came from, and where that came from, and so on until you reach zero point or the primordial stew, which to creationists is the far more important question.

    Perhaps you should at zero point, and then tell us how all these little buggers were formed from that, which turned into bigger and better little buggers and so on, until Curious George came along. And perhaps you can demonstrate this with your chemistry set (or I’ll happily settle for a few hundred thousand transitional fossils).

  92. The sequences of their components, within this SINGLE nested hierarchy, will have the same mathematical relationships with each other and with those of other organisms.

    Are these ratios of proteins you are referring to? What would you expect to find if common descent were false?

  93. Mike asked:
    “Are these ratios of proteins you are referring to?”

    What do you mean? Ratios of what, exactly? Amounts of orthologous proteins?

    “What would you expect to find if common descent were false?”

    This is a really important point: the issue is never what *I* would predict, but what anyone who thought about it would predict. In other words, there’s rarely any a prioridisagreement on the observations predicted by a particular hypothesis. Finding and cherrypicking that existing data subverts the scientific method. That’s why the Shrink’s post is so silly; science is about producing new data, not criticizing others. The relevant qualification is the ability and willingness to produce data.

    I’m happy to walk you through this if you’d like, because I predict that mynym will bail. Would you agree with the following on principle?

    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are
    the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.

  94. I was thinking in terms of the proteins produced by amino acids in the gene. That perhaps you are describing the same percentages of identical proteins in two different subjects that are hypothetically related by common descent?

    But, really, I’m just trying to understand why “sameness” or “similarity” between A and B is interpreted to mean “B descended from A”, rather than simply B is the same as A?

    If you can walk me through that particular logic, I’ll attempt to understand what you are observing that makes you think common descent is fact.

  95. The sequences of their components, within this SINGLE nested hierarchy, will have the same mathematical relationships with each other and with those of other organisms.

    According to this type of standard no knowledge of an actual/specific ancestor is necessary and a lineage need not be traced, yet in the end one supposedly has a vast knowledge of “common descent.” Common descent is assumed simply because a nested hierarchy exists, although a nested hierarchy is actually the best structure to communicate common design.

    Note the “shifting” and “drifting” nature of evolutionary explanations:

    In recent years, evolutionists have redefined lineage and phylogeny to mean cladogram (or sometimes phenogram).
    […]
    This shift in meaning is a major change in strategy.

    If phylogenies of one sort are to pass away, is the notion of phylogeny doomed also? We judge not, for there is an alternative notion, here simple termed classification. Notions of this kind can be looked upon as phylogenies-as historical statements of ancestry and descent. But they are different in character. They include no ancestral taxa. They deny the postulates of darwinian systematics: that ancestral taxa have an objective identity independent of their descendents; that ancestral taxa can be discovered and identified as such; that ancestral taxa are under the constraints of empirical investigation. This shift in meaning of the term phylogeny from a Darwinian to a cladistic sense marks a revolution in biological systematics. (Nelson and Platnick, 1984, :153-154)

    The shift in meaning is virtually undetectable by the public. Here is an example.

    It is possible, then, to deduce phylogeny, that is, genealogical history, by a careful, logical analysis of which organisms share which characteristics. A genealogy derived in this way may be considered a hypothesis, always subject to possible revision. If the hypothesis makes predictions that are borne out, we gain more confidence that it is correct. (Futuyma, 1983 :55)

    Futuyma explains how we can identify phylogeny and genealogy in a testable scientific manner. His discussion is misleading, since he is referring to cladistic analysis where no ancestors are ever identified.
    Other evolutionists subtly build the new meanings into their definitions. For example, Berra defines lineage like this:

    Lineage-The line of descent from a particular ancestor; a major group of plants or animals across a span of time, all members of which derive from a common ancestor. (Berra, 1990, :171 my italics)

    His definition would allow evolutionists to use a cladogram or phenogram as a “lineage.” (The Biotic Message by Walter ReMine :297)

    Your reasoning is similar, as it seems that the existence of a nested hierarchy is enough for you to claim a knowledge of unspecified ancestors and so on. I hope that you won’t say something like “reptiles” evolved into “birds” next because that’s just more of the same sort of vagueness where the names of vast supraspecific groups of organisms are thought to “specify” an actual phylogeny for species, i.e. specific organisms.

    The fact that you can place designed objects into all sorts of nested hierarchies is meaningless in this respect and an evasion, because the point here is that, with the exception of systematic and experimental error, there’s one and only one.

    There’s one and only one because the Designer is singular. A nested hierarchy was never “predicted” based on an evolutionary creation myth, especially the sort that fail to deal with a singular naturalistic origin for life. The structure of a nested hierarchy was observed in biology and then incorporated into the various sorts of hypothetical goo that have been typical to evolution. It comports with common design:

    …evolutionists use life’s nested pattern as evidence against a designer, then they accommodated the nested pattern by selecting common descent (and other mechanisms) from their theoretical smorgasbord.
    […]
    Life’s nested pattern superbly conveys the biotic message [of a singular designer interested in communicating their singular nature]:
    The nested pattern links all life into a unified whole. This sends the unifying message.
    The nested pattern looks unlike transposition. This allows the absence of phylogeny to take on real force. This sends the non-naturalistic message.
    The nested pattern serves as a backdrop that allows convergence to become visible. Convergence is an important pattern in the biotic message.
    The nested pattern requires few design constraints that conflict with survival. Biological characters can be nested and simultaneously be designed for survival. This allows the biotic message to be built deeply into each organism, thereby making the biotic message resistant to mutation noise.
    The nested pattern has a special property. It is resistant to lost, missing, or unavailable data. The nested pattern retains its structure as data is removed. The available data is: (1) nested; (2) unified; (3) it lacks phylogeny; and (4) it lacks transposition. The nested pattern can successfully transmit the biotic message with a minimum of available data. (Ib. :368)

  96. The funny thing is that they’ve been there all along, freely available, but the only thing you’ve been programmed with is the lie that this means nothing more than similarity.

    All along all you’ve been doing is what Gould did with Darwinian arguments about organisms being directly created on islands and so on. Jewish history or “creationism” does not specify that organisms would be directly created on islands, yet for refuting such an idea Gould declares Darwin the Muhammad Ali of biology who has pounded ignorant creationists into oblivion and so on. Similarly a pattern of nested hierarchy does not contradict creationism and in fact it may be predicted by it, yet you assume that it conflicts with or does away with creationism and conclude that I must be evading it, be terrified of it and so on and so forth.

    If you’re going to attack creationism or ID then you need to know a little about them. In another comment you attacked Denton as an “ID hack” and so on. What books of his have you read?

  97. Mike wrote:
    “I was thinking in terms of the proteins produced by amino acids in the gene.”

    Mike,
    What you wrote makes absolutely zero sense. Genes have nucleotide (base) sequences. Codons of 3 nucleotides specify amino acids, which are then linked together in the ribosome to produce proteins.

    “That perhaps you are describing the same percentages of identical proteins in two different subjects that are hypothetically related by common descent?”

    You’re getting it backwards. The hypothesis is common descent. That hypothesis predicts the relationships between the sequences. Therefore, if we’re honest, we predict the relationship we’ll see before we see it.

    “But, really, I’m just trying to understand why “sameness” or “similarity” between A and B is interpreted to mean “B descended from A”, rather than simply B is the same as A?”

    But really, you’re missing the point, because it’s not mere similarity–the differences are what the mathematical relationships are derived from. This idea that it’s mere similarity is a colossal lie that’s been sold to you. Moreover, both of the potential interpretations you’ve offered are wrong, but I think you’ll learn more if I don’t simply state why.

    “If you can walk me through that particular logic, I’ll attempt to understand what you are observing that makes you think common descent is fact.”

    Fair enough, since mynym is being predictably evasive. However, I have some ground rules:

    1) You must explicitly acknowledge and grapple with the differences as much as (or even more than) the similarities and identities. Without doing so, you will be trapped in a lie.

    2) No mention of individual people or groups of people. We simply refer to hypotheses, their predictions, and data. Note carefully that you’ve misrepresented my position, as I am not touting common descent as fact. It is a hypothesis supported by mountains of data, most of which are not fossil data.

    3) Finally, what I observe doesn’t really matter, but I’m willing to share it if it’s illuminating. Anyone can do science by starting with a hypothesis, using it to predict observations, and then making the observations.

    So, would you agree that we humans are exceptionally talented at fooling ourselves?

  98. The hypothesis is common descent. That hypothesis predicts the relationships between the sequences. Therefore, if we’re honest, we predict the relationship we’ll see before we see it. Therefore, if we’re honest, we predict the relationship we’ll see before we see it.

    If Galileo was right that, “The laws of Nature are written in the language of mathematics.” then observing an ordered nested hierarchy in biology should be of no surprise.

    Given all of the evidence having to do with evolution common design is a superior hypothesis to common descent. Evidence of a common information source can be imagined to be evidence of a common biological history even when no actual line of ancestors is known, proposed or specified and nothing is known which would cause the necessary evolutionary history involved.

    A notion of common descent based on the pervasive pattern of common structures typical to biology is being linked to evolutionary narratives of creative progress in complexity, function and form even when natural selection is known to be preservative or destructive* and most observable processes are neutral or destructive, not constructive or progressive. Unguided constructive evolution is the only type of evolution which can support evolutionary creation myths or conflict with creationism and ID.

    We are being asked to imagine things about a history of common descent which go against what can be observed empirically here and now when the best hypothesis to explain patterns of commonality is common design.

    *(Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome by John Sanford)

  99. You’re right, Mynym, to say that observed similarities are compatible with common design, but that’s besides the point. The point is that common design does not imply that there will be observable similarities.

    Common design could be taken as implying that there be observable similarities — it also could be taken as implying that there won’t be observable similarities. So observable similarities does not affect the probability of the truth of the hypothesis one way or the other!

    On the other hand, common descent does imply that there will be observable similarities — of the sort that John has described — so the observations do increase the probability of common descent.

    Put another way: suppose we’d looked around and found that there are observable similarities (or far fewer and more erratic than we’d initially suspected) — that would count against the hypothesis of common descent very strongly, right? But it wouldn’t affect the probability of intelligent design at all.

    There’s nothing in the hypothesis of intelligent design which leads us to expect that there will be empirically detectable patterns of similarity across multiple gene families, whereas the hypothesis of common descent through modification does lead us to expect it.

    The point is that scientific reasoning isn’t about which hypothesis is consistent with observations — for one thing, there are infinitely many hypothesis that are consistent with observations! — but about which hypotheses lead us to reasonably expect certain observations.

  100. Put another way: suppose we’d looked around and found that there are observable similarities (or far fewer and more erratic than we’d initially suspected) — that would count against the hypothesis of common descent very strongly, right?

    It would only count against a Darwinian hypothesis of descent given that the hypothesis of common descent generally has to be set against a backdrop of gradualism, the accumulation of change by natural selection and so on in order for the hypothesis of common descent to predict a pattern of continuity.

    The Jewish creation story has predicted a pattern of continuity rooted in a common designer for millenia and it would be surprising if observable similarities did not exist, if biologic universals did not exist, if erratic and discontinuous design was prevalent, if a nested hierarchy did not exist, etc. No doubt such things would have been advanced as falsifications of the Jewish creation story if they were not observed, yet they are observed so instead they are subsumed in the hypothetical goo typical to the “verification” of evolutionary creation myths.

    But it wouldn’t affect the probability of intelligent design at all.

    Erratic designs which looked like the work of more than one designer would affect the hypothesis of a singular Designer (enter aliens and so on here). As far as creationism goes it is interesting that both the Cosmos and Life seem to be designed to resist numerous alternative explanations while pointing to a singular, supernatural Designer.

  101. Put another way: suppose we’d looked around and found that there are observable similarities (or far fewer and more erratic than we’d initially suspected) — that would count against the hypothesis of common descent very strongly, right? But it wouldn’t affect the probability of intelligent design at all.

    This is very puzzling to me Carl. There are camps of IDers who support the notion of common descent in various forms (e.g., front loaders).

    The common descent folks need to do more than merely constructing phylogenetic trees that show similar things are similar and different things are disimilar. Yes, we know that already. We also know that less complex organisms are indeed, less complex and therefore less similar to more complex things. Let’s see something useful (e.g., a series of stepwise mutations that could transform a set of limbs into wings, or increased brain matter with concomitant changes in skull volume).

    Of humorous interest is the phylogeny of mixed drinks.

  102. I wrote:
    “The sequences of their components, within this SINGLE nested hierarchy, will have the same mathematical relationships with each other and with those of other organisms.”

    Note that there’s a single nested hierarchy, not merely “a” nested hierarchy. Note that the hierarchies have to match and/or be superimposable.

    mynym, who is too little faith to examine actual evidence, bobbed and weaved:
    “According to this type of standard no knowledge of an actual/specific ancestor is necessary and a lineage need not be traced,…”

    This is not a “standard,” mynym. It is a an empirical prediction of common descent.

    “… yet in the end one supposedly has a vast knowledge of “common descent.” ”

    Supposedly? The way you distort and fabricate is completely and incredibly dishonest.

    Our vast knowledge comes from vast data. You have yet to examine any data, and your entire “side” has yet to produce a single datum from testing an empirical prediction of an ID or creationist hypothesis.

    “Common descent is assumed simply because a nested hierarchy exists, although a nested hierarchy is actually the best structure to communicate common design.”

    Sorry, but you’re just lying now.

    Common descent is a hypothesis that makes incredibly specific empirical predictions. The prediction is that The sequences of their components, within this SINGLE nested hierarchy, will have the same mathematical relationships with each other and with those of other organisms, while you, rotten to your faithless core, pretend that this is merely “a nested hierarchy.”

    Your intellectual cowardice is amusing.

    “Note the “shifting” and “drifting” nature of evolutionary explanations:
    In recent years, evolutionists have redefined lineage and phylogeny to mean cladogram (or sometimes phenogram).”

    We’re talking about you and me. I’m being specific and challenging you to examine the evidence, picking the subject for yourself, while you are deliberately and dishonestly misrepresenting me.

    “Your reasoning is similar, as it seems that the existence of a nested hierarchy is enough for you to claim a knowledge of unspecified ancestors and so on.”

    Damn, you’re dishonest. My prediction is much more specific than the existence of *a* nested hierarchy, and you know it.

    I wrote:
    “The fact that you can place designed objects into all sorts of nested hierarchies is meaningless in this respect and an evasion, because the point here is that, with the exception of systematic and experimental error, there’s one and only one.”

    mynym dodged:
    “There’s one and only one because the Designer is singular.”

    False. If you disagree, simply point me to a set of objects from any single designer that meets the criterion I specified: The sequences of their components, within this SINGLE nested hierarchy, will have the same mathematical relationships with each other and with those of other assembled objects.

    You can’t. You’ll just be dishonest. You have zero confidence that your claims will be consistent with the evidence. You have no faith, mynym.

    “The structure of a nested hierarchy…”

    Not just *a* nested hierarchy. The sequences of their components, within this SINGLE nested hierarchy, will have the same mathematical relationships with each other and with those of other organisms.

    “… was observed in biology and then incorporated into the various sorts of hypothetical goo that have been typical to evolution. It comports with common design:…”

    If it does, then your task is simple: simply point me to a set of objects from any single designer that meets the criterion I specified: The sequences of their components, within this SINGLE nested hierarchy, will have the same mathematical relationships with each other and with those of other assembled objects.

    “Life’s nested pattern superbly conveys the biotic message [of a singular designer interested in communicating their singular nature]:…”

    Then why are you afraid to look at the patterns?

    “All along all you’ve been doing is what Gould did with Darwinian arguments about organisms being directly created on islands and so on.”

    Nope. I’m challenging your faith, and you have none.

    “If you’re going to attack creationism or ID then you need to know a little about them. In another comment you attacked Denton as an “ID hack” and so on. What books of his have you read?”

    You already asked me directly and I already answered immediately and directly. Will you have the integrity to admit it?

    You are pathetic, mynym. If you’re going to attack evolutionary theory then you need to know a little about it and the evidence supporting it. Why are you afraid to examine the evidence for yourself? Why do you wave quotes around like magic talismans when the real evidence is freely available to you?

    What are you afraid of?

    So, mynym, name a gene (preferably a member of a gene family) that is involved in a biological phenomenon that interests you and I’ll show you the mathematical relationships. There’s some great irony about your conflation of “mathematical” with “numerical” here, because you can make huge changes in the calculations you use for constructing the hierarchies, but the hierarchies are still the same.

  103. John, you need to be more specific about what specifically you mean by a nested hierarchy. If you are talking about a phylogenetic tree, then what is the basis for its construction. Maybe your talking about something else completely. The world may never know. You keep throwing around certainties based on vague generalities, insulting people’s faith, calling people liars and so forth. I’d prefer you to elevate the discussion a bit, and rely on your intellect instead of your emotions.

  104. Supposedly? The way you distort and fabricate is completely and incredibly dishonest.

    Of course supposedly, you have no vast or specific knowledge of common descent based on nested hierarchy. You seem intent on promoting the illusion of a knowledge of descent that you do not have so I’ll repeat for the benefit of other readers. Evidence of common design can be imagined to be evidence of a common biological history even when no actual line of ancestors is known and nothing is known which would cause the necessary evolutionary history involved to create a nested hierarchy. In fact, preservative processes like natural selection can be advanced against interpreting a nested hierarchy as evidence of common descent while processes observed to be generally destructive like mutation can also be advanced as evidence against such an interpretation and so on.

    You have yet to examine any data….

    You have yet to provide data, although I’ve repeatedly requested it on the sequences of chimps and humans and so on.

    …and your entire “side” has yet to produce a single datum from testing an empirical prediction of an ID or creationist hypothesis.

    Science as we know it arose from the creationist hypothesis of common design.

    I am content to be on the iconoclastic side that typically works against genetic charlatans or genetic puppetry theorists, typically does not work itself into a close relationship with the State, was not associated with the eugenics movement, does not still work to have the State support its own views in a totalitarian way, does not promote censorship, etc.

    Who has something to fear, charlatans or iconoclasts seeking to shatter their vague imagery of knowledge? The iconoclast can always shrug and walk away, it matters little. Yet fear seems to pervade the mentality of your side and you seem rather fearful yourself given how you’ve tried to tell me what I’m feeeling while demanding Christian loooove for yourself and so on. What is your knowledge of Christianity based on, again?

    Damn, you’re dishonest. My prediction is much more specific than the existence of *a* nested hierarchy, and you know it.

    You’re being pedantic and neurotic, as usual.

    A general note for creationists, evolutionary creation myths have been fused to the professional identities of scientists so criticism of them is seen as a criticism of scientists, science itself and so on. While in the background the simple fact is that a person’s professional identity is obviously very important to them as it is the way they make their living, so fear towards anything that may undermine it is to be expected. That’s why so many geneticists seem to have no idea that the eugenics movement even existed, despite its association with rather important things like World War and a continent reduced to cinders.

    Nope. I’m challenging your faith, and you have none.

    You can imagine that you’re challenging and that I’m ignorant of vast amounts of knowledge and so on, as you like. It’s curious how little knowledge you’ve actually provided. You’ve been arguing that a nested hierarchy refutes creationism and/or common design when in fact it may be the singular structure which best communicates common design just as a singularity is the best way to point to a supernatural creation. You have claimed that the hypothesis of common descent alone predicts the existence of a nested hierarchy but it never did.

    The sequences of their components, within this SINGLE nested hierarchy, will have the same mathematical relationships with each other and with those of other assembled objects.

    That’s just another vague abstraction which you need to link to actual organisms, actual phylogenies, etc. So what are the mathematical relationships between the DNA sequences of chimps and humans predicted by the hypothesis of common descent?

    So, mynym, name a gene (preferably a member of a gene family) that is involved in a biological phenomenon that interests you and I’ll show you the mathematical relationships.

    I’m more interested in organisms than genes, that’s why I keep asking you about chimps and humans and so on. You seem a bit reluctant to write about actual organisms so if you want to write something about genes and so on then go ahead. I’d only suggest that you make whatever you’re going to write relevant to the debate over origins and creative or progressive forms of evolution instead of “shifting” to something else because that’s the topic relevant to creationism.

  105. mynym said,

    I’m more interested in organisms than genes, that’s why I keep asking you about chimps and humans and so on. You seem a bit reluctant to write about actual organisms so if you want to write something about genes and so on then go ahead.

    John, maybe the following will help you to understand what mynym is asking of you?

    “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

    Genes = parts (incomplete)

    Organism = “chimps and humans” (The whole, or complete)

    If your “nested hierarchies,” “genes,” prove common descent, then that should be evident in the “whole,” or chimps and humans, also. You know what I mean: visible, measurable and verifiable to the common Joe like me. Otherwise, us commoners have only the word of material scientists, like yourself, and you could be lying to us, since your predecessors have constantly been changing the evolution story, over the past century, to suit their beliefs.

    PS

    John, you’re rudeness seems to be void of anything Godly, is this common to the “theistic” evolutionist? Don’t get angry, John, it was just a question!

  106. I had forgotten about this blog, hence my delinquency in responding.

    I wouldn’t know – I am not the one advocating that they must exist. You are, whether you know it or not.

    Not at all. Here is the problem, you and others keep acting as if you’ve found evidence which falsifies the Jewish creation narrative but like Darwin’s claims about animals being created on islands it’s not apparent that it actually has anything to do with creationism or origins in general.

    I’m sorry, I’ve not made any claims about the Jewish creation myth as best I can recall. There is certainly evidence that such a myth is, in fact, a myth, and that the earth is very old, and that rather than being independantly created by a deity that extant species descenced from ancestors. But I have made nosuch arguments here.

    To be clear, you do have to be claiming something about the “major discontinuities” that you originally mentioned in order for them to have anything to do with the creationism that you and others keep on attacking. It seems that, like John, the moment you are asked exactly what your claims have to do with the topic the recede back into the hypothetical goo from which they arose and all specification disappears.

    I see. Well, the fact fo the matter is that were creationism true, then we should see what would purportedfly be considered discontinuities. But they do not seem to exist. Again, I am not th eone claiming they exist.

    You said: “However, phylogenies would indeed break down if there were a true major discontinuity.” So what is the minimal threshold by which we could recognize a “true major discontinuity” which should not be imagined away based on some type of evolutionary creation myth?

    If you are looking for some specific number, I couldn’t tell you, but I susopect from your tone and language that were I to present one it would not matter int he slightest.

    I suspect it would be a major decrease in genetic identity between two species considered to be closely related.

    Given that you’re using words like “major” and “true” instead of any type of metric specified with numbers it is doubtful that you were referring to any sort of objective standard by which the major discontinuities which you originally claimed would falsify hypotheses of evolution could be known.

    Had you considered the possibility that such a metric is meaningless in this context? Creationists sure like their numbers – they argue with them all the time, most often without the slightest understanding of what they actually mean. By ‘major discontinuity’ I will give an example – had the first molecualr analyses indicated that rather than being closely related to chimpanzees, that humans appeared to have more in common with, say, sunflowers, and subsequent molecular analyses showed he same, then clearly this would be a major blow to hypotheses of descent. You appear to insist that there must be some number appended to this to make it ‘real’, despite not appearing to be able to append any numbers to creationist claims. Very well, that is what these discussions are like – lots of double standards and such.

    So again, how could hypotheses of evolution in general be falsified?

    The same way any other scientific hypotheses are falsified – by an observation or experiment that disconfirms it. Of course, in order to falsify evolution as such, it would take more than an observation that, say, one species of clam is not as closely related to another as hypothesized. Rather, it would take something like a confirmed observation that living things can dictate the loci of their own mutations, or that DNA has nothing to do with trait inheritence, something along those lines.

    Or what does this have to do with creationism? Let’s say that the God of the Jews does exist, what biological observations would comport with that?

    Nothing. And everything. The mere existence of a partiular deity would not seem to have any real relevance to evolution in general. The mere exisence of this deity would not seem to contradict the physical evidence. A deity could well exist and evolutuion could still have occurred. Are you implying that the existance of this deity would necessarily dictate a 100% historical accuracy for the bible?


    But one can never tell with creationist arguments. In fact, there is a whole field of creationist study called Disontinuity Systematics, aka Baraminology. Even the folks involved in that cannot really say what discontinuities are, they just insist that they are out there, despite never seeing one.

    But you and others here have been acting as if creationism can be and has been overwhelmingly falsified and the only reason anyone still adheres to it is because they’re scared of looking at “gigabytes of data” and unspecified “mathematical relationships” which apparently show creationism to be utterly false and so on. But now it turns out that you can’t even tell what creationism is or what type of biological observations would falsify it and so on.

    I don’t recall being asked what creationism is. As creationism is religious mythology, I don’t see why it is the job of any field of science to “falsify’ it. If you think creationism to be scientific, then it seems that it is up to advocates of it to present their hypotheses and to actually test them. As yet, I am not aware of ever having seen an actual YECism-based scientific hypothesis. The closest I’ve seen are the now en vogue claims that creationists “predicted” that there would be function found in junk DNA. A prediction, supposedly premised on their YEC beliefs. Yet when I ask who made this prediction and when, and I point out that it would have had to have been made in the 1960s at the latest, I get silence.

    Claims made about creationism in this thread: Again, there are gigabytes of sequence evidence freely available to you, as well as the tools with which to explore and analyze it.
    So given that reality, why do creationists go on and on about fossils?

    If it is claimed that biological observations indicate that the God of the Jews does not exist or that the Jewish creation narrative is false then I’m curious, what sort of biological observations would indicate that it is true? Some biologists seem to do little more than make “panda’s thumb” type arguments against creationism and seem to think that they have found evidence against creationism but it never seems to occur to them that if it is possible to falsify creationism scientifically then it is also possible to verify it. Verification and falsification are logically linked, so what sort of biological observations could be advanced as possible verifications? After all, Gould was so ignorant of creationism that he declared Darwin the “Muhammad Ali of biology” for pointing out a lot of evidence that organisms were not directly created on islands as instead patterns of migration and adaptation are apparent. But the direct creation of organisms on islands isn’t actually a specification or prediction that can be found in creationism at all. So it may be that many proponents of hypotheses of evolution are so ignorant of creationism that they have little idea of what would actually falsify or verify it, although many claim that both creationism and ID have been falsified.

    Yes, I suppose we are all just monumentally ignorant of creationism, while all run of the mill internet creationists must be recognized as ultimate authorities on all issues related to evolution. Isn’t that how it usually goes? Add to that this comical requirement that the burden of proof FOR creationism as well as the burden of falsification of it lies on those who do not even advocate for it.
    Reminds me of Behe explaining that he had no desire to actually test any of his ID hypotheses/claims, that it is up to his critics to ‘prove him wrong.’

    The thing is, NOTHING can falsify creationism. Nothing I could possibly write could not be dismissed by hiding behind ‘God’s will’, ‘God’s mysterious ways’, ‘God’s miracles.’

    Surely you not only know that but have employed such dismissals?


    I suspect he is referring to phylogenetic tree topologies and the like, but you’ll have to ask him what he means.

    Do you think that nested hierarchies would not exist if creationism were true?

    Not molecular ones, no.

  107. If your “nested hierarchies,” “genes,” prove common descent, then that should be evident in the “whole,” or chimps and humans, also. You know what I mean: visible, measurable and verifiable to the common Joe like me.

    A nested hierarchy is visible, organisms have been observed to fit a pattern of groups within groups based on morphology or the study of their form for some time. Common descent was hypothesized based on what had already been observed to pervade biology* but as it is claimed as a “prediction” when the existence of a structure of nested hierarchy is observed in biology by modern means it is interpreted to represent common descent in an even more “incredibly specific” way. But if you do not agree to hypothesizing that the pattern can be read to represent common descent then progress in observing it is moot.

    Here’s a satire of the argument: “What we predicted about what was already observed of organisms has been verified by using modern techniques to observe more of the same pattern that was already observed in the past. Incredible!”

    The issue is not the existence of a pervasive pattern or that modern means have shown it to be pervasive, it’s how it is linked to common descent. If it is not hypothesized or assumed to be linked to common descent then more observations of it may have little to do with the actual ancestry of organisms. And there are many reasons to think that the pattern has little to do with creative evolution given that natural selection is a preservative process which is unlikely to create such a structure, most observable processes are destructive as opposed to progressively creative, etc.

    *E.g.

    On this…view of descent with modification, all the great facts of Morphology become intelligible-whether we look to the same pattern displayed in the homologous organs, to whatever purpose applied, of the different species of a class; or to the homologous parts constructed on the same pattern in each individual animal and plant. (Darwin: The Indelible Stamp, edited by James Watson :583)

  108. I’m sorry, I’ve not made any claims about the Jewish creation myth as best I can recall.

    Given that you have argued that creationism has been falsified, you have. In fact you go on in this comment to try to falsify creationism and that entails making claims about it.

    There is certainly evidence that such a myth is, in fact, a myth, and that the earth is very old…

    If uniformitarian assumptions are made there is just as much evidence that the earth is young based on uniformitarian views. However, some uniformitarian assumptions make about as much sense as measuring the rate at which sand passes through an hourglass sitting in a room full of toddlers and assuming that it has been constant. But at any rate, there is just as much evidence that the earth is young.

    …and that rather than being independantly created by a deity that extant species descenced from ancestors.

    According to creationism the vast majority of “species” descended from ancestors so you seem to be setting up a false dichotomy there.

    I see. Well, the fact fo the matter is that were creationism true, then we should see what would purportedfly be considered discontinuities. But they do not seem to exist.

    You are proposing that continuity falsifies creationism and discontinuity verifies creationism so it’s up to you to demonstrate what sort of continuity or discontinuity you have in mind. In order to falsify creationism it is up to you to specify what should be seen theoretically and then verify or falsify it empirically. So far your claims have been very vague, your theory of creationism: “…we should see what would purportedly be considered discontinuities.” and your supposed empirical falsification: “But they do not seem to exist.” Huh?

    You appear to insist that there must be some number appended to this to make it ‘real’, despite not appearing to be able to append any numbers to creationist claims. Very well, that is what these discussions are like – lots of double standards and such.

    I do refer to different epistemic standards because your side claims to be scientific, works to have the State support an evolutionary creation myth while censoring dissent, claims that hypotheses of evolution are similar to the theory of gravity and so on and so forth. Given these sorts of claims and this sort of history of course you need to meet a totally different epistemic standard than a Sunday school teacher promoting creationism in a church and so on.

    Yes, I suppose we are all just monumentally ignorant of creationism…

    In my experience the vast majority of people promoting evolutionary creation myths (even those specifically criticizing “creationism”) are monumentally ignorant of any sort of specification that can be derived from creationism, although they claim “creationism” to be falsified and so on.

    ….while all run of the mill internet creationists must be recognized as ultimate authorities on all issues related to evolution.

    Actually how it usually goes is that anyone who’s professional identity as a scientist has been fused to an evolutionary creation myth seems to think that they are an authority on the history of science, the philosophy of science, creationism and many things which fall outside the scope of their microscope.

    Add to that this comical requirement that the burden of proof FOR creationism as well as the burden of falsification of it lies on those who do not even advocate for it.

    The burden of proof is on those who claim that creationism has been falsified scientifically.

    The thing is, NOTHING can falsify creationism. Nothing I could possibly write could not be dismissed by hiding behind ‘God’s will’, ‘God’s mysterious ways’, ‘God’s miracles.’

    Surely you not only know that but have employed such dismissals?

    Ironically you haven’t really specified what would falsify all hypotheses of “evolution,” the moves that you have made toward specification so far would actually generate new hypotheses of evolution, perhaps “NOTHING” can falsify or do away with evolutionary creation myths in general.

    At any rate, I have never employed such dismissals although there are indeed different standards of knowledge when it comes to theological or philosophical speculations and that which is said to be scientific or a known “scientific fact.”

  109. I give up. Bye

  110. I give up on this blog. It is a waste of my time.

  111. The Country Shrink wrote:
    “John, you need to be more specific about what specifically you mean by a nested hierarchy.”

    I mean the mathematical definition, of course, synonymous with “containment hierarchy:”

    A containment hierarchy is a hierarchical collection of strictly nested sets. Each entry in the hierarchy designates a set such that the previous entry is a strict superset, and the next entry is a strict subset. For example, all rectangles are quadrilaterals, but not all quadrilaterals are rectangles, and all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.

    “If you are talking about a phylogenetic tree, then what is the basis for its construction.”

    I am talking about a hierarchy that is constructed strictly mathematically.

    “Maybe your talking about something else completely. The world may never know. You keep throwing around certainties based on vague generalities, insulting people’s faith, calling people liars and so forth.”

    Then people here should show some faith that their positions are consistent with the actual evidence.

    “I’d prefer you to elevate the discussion a bit, and rely on your intellect instead of your emotions.”

    So, Shrink, name a gene (preferably a member of a gene family) that is involved in a biological phenomenon that interests you and I’ll show you the mathematical relationships. There’s some great irony about mynym’s conflation of “mathematical” with “numerical” here, because you can make huge changes in the calculations you use for constructing the hierarchies, but the hierarchies are still the same.

    I predict you won’t either.

    ————
    mynym wrote:
    “Of course supposedly, you have no vast or specific knowledge of common descent based on nested hierarchy.”

    And once again your abject fear of the evidence prompts you to get things backwards.

    “You seem intent on promoting the illusion of a knowledge of descent that you do not have so I’ll repeat for the benefit of other readers.”

    I’m pointing out the reality that Darwin advanced a hypothesis that makes incredibly specific mathematical predictions about systems Darwin didn’t know about. I’m talking about your desperate need to cut/paste instead of sampling the gigabytes of evidence freely available to you.

    “In fact, preservative processes like natural selection can be advanced against interpreting a nested hierarchy as evidence of common descent…”

    In fact, what you’re afraid to confront here is a specific prediction of the hypothesis of common descent. You are compulsively dishonest about this, mynym. It’s not *a* nested hierarchy, it’s the prediction that we can calculate relationships from completely different data sets AND THE HIERARCHIES HAVE TO MATCH.

    You might also remember that I noted up front that there were two sources of error here, and you’re too frightened to even think about this to conceptualize them.

    “… while processes observed to be generally destructive like mutation can also be advanced as evidence against such an interpretation and so on.”

    None of your desperate blather has anything to do with the challenge in front of you.

    “You have yet to provide data, although I’ve repeatedly requested it on the sequences of chimps and humans and so on.”

    All you have to do is name a gene, but you can’t seem to do that. Now, which one of us has more faith? I know that this prediction, with the exception of two sources of error that I understand quite well, will hold up for any gene you name.

    My confidence scares you, because you have none.

    I wrote:
    “…and your entire “side” has yet to produce a single datum from testing an empirical prediction of an ID or creationist hypothesis.

    mynym:
    “Science as we know it arose from the creationist hypothesis of common design.”

    No, science as we know it is about producing data from empirical testing of hypotheses.
    “…You’ve been arguing that a nested hierarchy refutes creationism…”

    That’s simply a lie, mynym. I’m making a simple point. You falsely claimed that evolutionary biologists were ignoring living organisms in favor of fossils. I am pointing out that evolutionary biologists (and biologists in general) are generating gigabytes of data (that you run from examining) that stringently test one of Darwin’s own predictions.

    “… and/or common design when in fact it may be the singular structure which best communicates common design…”

    It might. Do nested hierarchies represent singular structures, though?

    “You have claimed that the hypothesis of common descent alone predicts the existence of a nested hierarchy but it never did.”

    Yes, it absolutely does. How can one have common descent without the existence of not (your desperate lie again) just *a* nested hierarchy, but congruent and superimposable ones from independent data sets?

    I wrote:
    “The sequences of their components, within this SINGLE nested hierarchy, will have the same mathematical relationships with each other and with those of other assembled objects.”

    mynym:
    “That’s just another vague abstraction which you need to link to actual organisms, actual phylogenies, etc.”

    There’s nothing vague about it?

    “So what are the mathematical relationships between the DNA sequences of chimps and humans predicted by the hypothesis of common descent?”

    Pick a gene. Quit being a coward, and I’ll lead you through the evidence.

    “I’m more interested in organisms than genes, that’s why I keep asking you about chimps and humans and so on. ”

    That’s not relevant. The genes are the killer evidence that tell us about the organisms.

    “You seem a bit reluctant to write about actual organisms so if you want to write something about genes and so on then go ahead.”

    It’s not about me writing. It’s about you having the courage and faith to examine the actual evidence for yourself, not what I or anyone else writes about the evidence.

    I’d only suggest that you make whatever you’re going to write relevant to the debate over origins and creative or progressive forms of evolution instead of “shifting” to something else because that’s the topic relevant to creationism.

    DB wrote:
    “If your “nested hierarchies,” “genes,” prove common descent,…”

    DB, you’re engaging in the same distortion because you are afraid of the evidence. Please quote me saying that anything PROVES anything else. I am talking about testing the rigorous predictions of a hypothesis. In science, we don’t consider anything to be proven, so if you have any integrity, you will stop putting words in my mouth.

    “… then that should be evident in the “whole,” or chimps and humans, also. You know what I mean: visible, measurable and verifiable to the common Joe like me.”

    Yep, but words don’t do that. You have to deal with the data yourself.

    “Otherwise, us commoners have only the word of material scientists, like yourself, and you could be lying to us, since your predecessors have constantly been changing the evolution story, over the past century, to suit their beliefs.”

    I’m not asking anyone to take my word for anything. I’m challenging you to deal with the evidence for yourself, and so far, all that comes back in response are evasions and gross, deliberate, misrepresentations of my position. You know, those violations of the Ninth Commandment.

  112. This is my last comment to the John! Your legalism is offensive to me. I could care less about your data, remember this, John:

    Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— (2 Corinthians 5: 6-7)

    Good bye, John!

  113. John,

    A hierarchy of what? You never explained what you are even talking about. Proteins, life forms, cells, what??

    How about demonstrate with the apoE4 gene.

  114. Shrink wrote:
    “A hierarchy of what?”

    Sequences.

    “You never explained what you are even talking about. Proteins, life forms, cells, what??”

    I believe that I did. Protein sequences are the easiest to understand and are more resistant to systematic errors.

    “How about demonstrate with the apoE4 gene.”

    Cool. The sequence of the human 22k fragment is:

    1 kveqavetep epelrqqtew qsgqrwelal grfwdylrwv qtlseqvqee llssqvtqel
    61 ralmdetmke lkaykselee qltpvaeetr arlskelqaa qarlgadmed vrgrlvqyrg
    121 evqamlgqst eelrvrlash lrklrkrllr daddlqkrla vyqagarega erglsairer
    181 lgplveqgrv r

    That’s from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/viewer.fcgi?db=protein&id=15826311

    Are you with me so far?

  115. If you did, I didn’t see it, but that’s beside the point now. So, that’s the sequence. Now what?

  116. Let’s clarify one important point: the gene is APOE, while the “4” in apoE4 represents an allele (version of a gene; you get one allele from each parent).

    So let’s BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) it against all the mammalian sequences in the database.

    Or would you rather I limit it to human sequences, so that you can see the different APOE alleles in a simpler demonstration of the algorithm?

  117. Do the one that you think provides the best evidence for common descent.

  118. There’s not “the one.”

    The gigabytes of sequence data that fit this pattern provide the best evidence. I’m merely showing how you can get into that evidence for yourself from a starting point that you picked yourself.

    Here is apoE4 run against the human sequences:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/blast/treeview/blast_tree_view.cgi?request=page&rid=RZ33BT8X015&queryID=lcl|72764&distmode=on&entrezLim=&ex=&exl=&exh=&ns=100&screenWidth=1920

    Go over to the “Collapse Mode” popup menu on the far right and change the setting to “Show All.” Our apoE4 sequence is the “unnamed protein product” highlighted in yellow.

    The dendrogram you see is a graphic representation of the mathematical relationships between all those human sequences. You can click on any of the nodes and you’ll get a popup window showing the actual alignment and links to the sequences. For example, clicking at the node for just the apoE sequences gives you this:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/blast/treeview/blast_tree_view.cgi?request=page&rid=RZ33BT8X015&dbname=nr&tree_nc_id=NCID_01_1078294_130.14.22.39_9105_1233096655&seqaln_nc_id=NCID_01_2274577_130.14.22.94_9105_1233095897&seqType=Protein&loadBioSeq=&dispAlignsID=30&queryID=lcl|72764&queryAccession=lcl|72764

    Periods are identities and dashes are gaps. This is just showing all the APOE alleles (variants) that have been sequenced–nothing controversial there, right?

    Keep in mind that these are all human sequences. Only the horizontal lines are mathematical representations of the differences between them; the vertical spacing and order is meaningless–think of it as a mobile that can be hung by the initial node on the left, leaving all the other nodes free to rotate, so that you could stop the rotation at any time and lay it flat without losing any information.

  119. Links don’t work. Here they are respectively:

    http://tinyurl.com/ch3ayd

    http://tinyurl.com/ao6a6x

  120. Okay. Nifty program, and thanks for introducing me to it. I did another search with that allele yesterday, and thought the results were interesting.

    How does this demonstrate common descent?

  121. You’re welcome.

    This, by itself, doesn’t demonstrate common descent. Remember, we’re trying to do science by testing predictions of hypotheses, not geometry proofs.

    What mechanism do you hypothesize to explain the mathematical relationship between APOE and APOA?

  122. Sorry, that should be between APOE and APOA4, not just APOA.

    The biochemical lexicon did not correspond well to genetics.

  123. Honestly John, I really don’t know. I don’t know enough about it to form a hypothesis. How do you explain it?

  124. I appreciate your honesty, but have to point out that you don’t have to know anything about it to form a hypothesis as a jumping-off point.

    We know that these are apolipoproteins that bind lipids of the same chemical family. Let’s start with the biochemistry. If they were intelligently designed to bind different lipids, would the Designer have designed them to be specific or merely selective? You can come up with multiple testable ID hypotheses about these proteins, but they involve specifying the (relative) time, purpose, etc. of design.

    My hypothesis is that these proteins evolved from a common ancestor long before the common ancestor of either humans and the other great apes, or the primates diverged from any other mammalian orders, such as rodents. That makes clear predictions about biochemistry as well as where similar sequences will appear in the hierarchy when we add them to the human sequences.

    You can, of course, dismiss this as mere interpretation of an enormous amount of biochemical and genetic evidence we already have, but I’ve lived through discovering a new mouse gene that didn’t fit the nested hierarchy at the time. I couldn’t put it (purely mathematically) into one of the only two known protein families that it resembled in mammals, and the most similar (purely mathematically) sequence was one from yeast. Note that despite the myth that we are followers of dogma, the lack of fit was the primary reason why it was accepted for publication in Nature.

    What would ID predict to be found following my own discovery, up to the sequencing of complete genomes? What would MET predict?

  125. John, I really hate to even hazard a hypothesis about something that I am not very familiar with. Maybe in time I will learn enough about proteins to feel more comfortable with doing so. I’m not trying to cop out here, I just don’t know.

    You can, of course, dismiss this as mere interpretation of an enormous amount of biochemical and genetic evidence we already have, but I’ve lived through discovering a new mouse gene that didn’t fit the nested hierarchy at the time. I couldn’t put it (purely mathematically) into one of the only two known protein families that it resembled in mammals, and the most similar (purely mathematically) sequence was one from yeast. Note that despite the myth that we are followers of dogma, the lack of fit was the primary reason why it was accepted for publication in Nature.

    I think you misunderstand my interpretation that many evolutionists are followers of dogma. I agree that they adjust their hypotheses about “how” common descent happened, but they never question that it did indeed happen. They also largely don’t even consider the possibility of intelligent design. Your protein study is interesting. That’s maybe similar to something I noticed when I ran that protein in the database. It was more closely related to a protein in the mitochondria of yeast than it was to a similar protein in a fish.

    What would ID predict to be found following my own discovery, up to the sequencing of complete genomes? What would MET predict?

    I’d like to read the paper. I think it would be important for me to know something about the function of the protein. If you don’t want to post it here, that’s fine. Just let me know, and I’ll email you so you could email it to me privately to preserve your anonymity.

  126. John, I really hate to even hazard a hypothesis about something that I am not very familiar with. Maybe in time I will learn enough about proteins to feel more comfortable with doing so. I’m not trying to cop out here, I just don’t know.

    I understand what you’re saying, but hypotheses are tools, not arguments. Even hypotheses that are wrong usually yield useful data. Science starts somewhere.

    I think you misunderstand my interpretation that many evolutionists are followers of dogma. I agree that they adjust their hypotheses about “how” common descent happened, but they never question that it did indeed happen. They also largely don’t even consider the possibility of intelligent design. Your protein study is interesting. That’s maybe similar to something I noticed when I ran that protein in the database. It was more closely related to a protein in the mitochondria of yeast than it was to a similar protein in a fish.

    I see what you’re saying, but both of the cases I’ve brought up actually illustrate what you don’t see us questioning, if I can explain them clearly!

    In the APO case, common descent predicts:

    1) That for these two homologous proteins (APOE and APOA4), as we sequence their orthologs from other species, orthologs from different species will be closer to each other than they will to their homolog in the same species. IOW, mouse APOE will be nearly identical to human APOE, and mouse APOA4 will be nearly identical to human APOA4. This puts enormous constraints on design hypotheses.

    2) There will be no constraints on the relative similarity of mouse APOE to human APOA4 or the converse pair. IMO, that pretty much trashes any design explanation one can muster to explain the dendrogram, but if you have one, I’m all ears.

    3) As we add APOE and APOA4 sequences from additional species, common descent predict a dendrogram for each one that retains the same general node position that we saw for the human sequences alone. This is because we hypothesize a duplication event that allowed separation, natural selection, and drift to create the two different proteins that we have, and that the duplication occurred before, say, mammals split off from other vertebrates (this point is about the “how”-common descent merely predicts that such a point of convergence exists).

    4) This is the really important part: the dendrograms for APOE and APOA4 should be superimposable on each other, and those should be superimposable, in turn, on the dendrogram that field biologists developed from tallying features from living animals and fossils.

    5) This superimposability will not be perfect, because we have systematic errors. An aa change followed by a reversion will be scored as 0 changes instead of 2. Our sample size in the case of APOs will distort things because they are so short, which in turn predicts that longer sequences will give better superimposability. Clearly, natural selection will distort these relationships for apolipoproteins, as you can see that regardless of whether they were designed or evolved, different mammals have different diets and would have different optima for lipid-binding protein function.

    I hope you can see that common descent also predicts:

    6) The systematic errors above must be quickly overcome by sequencing additional genes and obliterated by sequencing whole genomes. The lack of common descent predicts the opposite.

    Common sense predicts that:

    7) These mathematical analyses of sequences, after sufficient sampling to overcome the systematic errors, will be far more reliable than any dendrogram produced by old-school morphologists and paleontologists. One example of this is the relationship of birds to dinosaurs and other reptiles. Paleontologists debated it, but sequencing the genes of living animals sealed it beyond any reasonable doubt.

    Let’s see if we can get through the predictions of common descent first before distinguishing them from the “how” predictions and my own work, which gets more complicated.

  127. John. You make some interesting arguments, unfortunately, I don’t have the time to fully think it through to respond right now because of my work schedule. I might have some time later tomorrow or Sunday.

  128. That’s OK- I don’t either. I’ll check back later.

  129. John,

    Do you have any references in the literature for those hypotheses? Or are those your own hypotheses? Were the hypotheses made before the discoveries, or is it a description based on the data?

  130. The Origin of Species. It’s the only figure in the book. All the predictions flow from that. There are, of course, exceptions like horizontal transfer, but the failure to fit the NH predictions is what caused scientists to look for other causes in most cases.

    1) These dendrograms have been constructed using features. Obviously, those are more subjective and are easily trumped by the mathematical analyses of sequences.

    2) These mathematical analyses are the best we’ve got.

    3) After considerable evolutionary (or design) distance, the similarity becomes insignificant when it gets into the mid-20s percent range. BLAST used to print out a histogram of your query sequence against all the sequences so that you could see whether your best matches fell outside of the bell curve–I don’t know if that can be done any more.

    4) After the mathematical analyses lose utility, for large families of modular proteins we still can leverage domain gain/loss, which no one’s attempted to explain by design, because the Designer would be finding and losing modules through the process, which makes no sense for God. While domain gain/loss is more subjective than BLAST, it’s more objective than the morphologists’ approach. For at least one huge family of hundreds of different, yet related proteins, with 19 subfamilies, it suggests that the ancestral eukaryote had only 3 of the 19 subfamilies.

    The convergence is covered here (IMO, not very well):

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section1.html#independent_convergence

    …but we’ve learned much, much more since that was written.

    It may be a while before I reply, as things are working better than I thought they would in the lab and my workload has doubled.

  131. 1) Should be “Initial dendrograms were constructed…”

  132. Here are some problems with what you have laid out John.

    1. There is now growing agreement that phylogenetic trees don’t work, and should be discarded.

    2. Even geocentrism makes successful predictions, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

    3. The hypotheses you generate are not really hypotheses, but descriptions of data. They may be accommodated by common descent, but do not entail common descent.

    4. There are falsifications to each of your hypotheses.

    5. I’m not sure how you are making the predictions you are making from a design perspective. They don’t seem to absolutely follow to me.

    Here is a rebuttal to the convergence argument from true origins.

  133. John,

    Here is what a friend has to say about the issues you raise.

    By means of molecular comparisons it is impossible to prove evolutionary common ancestry (ECA) for the simple fact that it is impossible to disprove design derivation (DD).

    Suppose for instance a scenario like this:

    species A contains a unique specific long DNA sequence a;
    species B contains a unique specific long DNA sequence b;
    species C contains a unique specific long DNA sequence (a+b) (the concatenation of a and b). Species C is anterior in time to both A and B.

    C
    / \
    A B

    (a+b)
    / \
    a b

    This scenario can be explained by both ECA and DD.

    According to ECA species C is the evolutionary common ancestor of A and B. A and B arose by evolution thank to the split of (a+b) in a and b.

    According to DD species C is the design derivation from A and B. Species C arose by design thank to the concatenation of a and b in (a+b).

    The usual Darwinist objection to this argument is that species C is anterior in time to A and B and then the DD explanation fails. This objection is not valid because intelligent design can well be independent from time (a designer is free to differentiate the design time and the construction time). In other words species A and B might be designed before C and deployed after C.

    This simple logic argument suffices to show that no molecular comparison can prove ECA and disprove DD. From the point of view of molecular biology the choice between ECA and DD is an un-decidable problem as matter of principle.

    http://progettocosmo.altervista.org
    http://www.intelligentdesign.tk (alias)

  134. Going way back, I mistakenly said of evolutionary biologists: Instead they generally seem to content themselves with imagining things about the ancient past based on a fragmentary record of the skeletal remains of organisms, with little regard for the study of living organisms here and now.

    John pointed out that evolutionary biologists do study living organisms here and now. That’s correct.

    I was thinking of the evolutionary scenarios imagined by paleontologists but I said biologists by mistake. The main points remain, paleontologists are generally seeking to find and identify actual ancestors based on a fragmentary record of the skeletal remains of organisms. On the other hand, evolutionary biologists and those who study soft anatomy are not identifying an actual ancestor or phylogeny and instead engage in pattern recognition/classification and assume common descent based on that without identifying an actual line of descent among specific organisms by specific mechanisms. Sometimes this pattern becomes so prevalent that they make statements about “birds” evolving from “reptiles” and so on.

  135. From the point of view of molecular biology the choice between ECA and DD is an un-decidable problem as matter of principle.

    That may be because it’s a myopic point of view.

  136. The main points remain, paleontologists are generally seeking to find and identify actual ancestors based on a fragmentary record of the skeletal remains of organisms.

    Why should they bother when we have evidence like this:

    http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/morphed

  137. That’s true Mike. I’m not sure either why they waste time looking for rocks to confirm what they already know is true. They can also turn that opossum-like creature into a whale using computers.

  138. I saw the commercial for this show (Morphed) just last night. I rushed to the tv to turn the sound up and stubbed my flipper! I love science fiction;-)

  139. If your “nested hierarchies,” “genes,” prove common descent, then that should be evident in the “whole,” or chimps and humans, also. You know what I mean: visible, measurable and verifiable to the common Joe like me.

    I don’t see why you espouse such a criterion. Are you similarly inclined when it comes to, say, string theory? Or just evolution? Why should the validity of a scientific theory hang on whether or not a non-scientist can ‘verigy’ it for themselves.
    Of course, I think evolution IS evident in ‘the whole’, whatever that is supposed to mean. What traits do humans possess that chimps do not that are NOT merely modifications of pre-exisitng traits?


    A nested hierarchy is visible, organisms have been observed to fit a pattern of groups within groups based on morphology or the study of their form for some time. Common descent was hypothesized based on what had already been observed to pervade biology* but as it is claimed as a “prediction” when the existence of a structure of nested hierarchy is observed in biology by modern means it is interpreted to represent common descent in an even more “incredibly specific” way. But if you do not agree to hypothesizing that the pattern can be read to represent common descent then progress in observing it is moot.

    A bunch of words that appear to have very little meaning. Early classifications, such as Linnaeus’, were limited. One can predict the placement of an organism in a phylogenetic tree without the benefit of seeing where others had placed it.
    There are. of course, testable and tested methodologies employed in producing phylogenetic trees. Are there any such methods that are employed in IDcreationism to test any claims or predictions of IDcreationists? It is my understanding that Behe has decided not to even try to test his claims. One might wonder why.

    Here’s a satire of the argument: “What we predicted about what was already observed of organisms has been verified by using modern techniques to observe more of the same pattern that was already observed in the past. Incredible!”

    That is some knee-slapping satire, right there.
    I wonder what sort of satire you’d be employing if modern technologies had NOT verified already-made observations? I suspect you’d be claiming victory in that case, too.

    The issue is not the existence of a pervasive pattern or that modern means have shown it to be pervasive, it’s how it is linked to common descent. If it is not hypothesized or assumed to be linked to common descent then more observations of it may have little to do with the actual ancestry of organisms. And there are many reasons to think that the pattern has little to do with creative evolution given that natural selection is a preservative process which is unlikely to create such a structure, most observable processes are destructive as opposed to progressively creative, etc.

    I always have to shake my head a little when I read things like this. Creationists either write as if there is no mechanism to produce variation (mutation) or they write as if the variation can only be preserved. And even weirder – the same creationist will, depending on the situation, write of both! NS works on what is there, so true. Yet there are many ways to produce “new” stuff on which NS can act.
    If mutations produce 10 varieties, but only 2 or 3 are viable within a particular environmental context, sure, it will ‘preserve’ that which was already there. But what was already there was not ‘always’ there.
    A bit subtle, I know, and perhaps that is why creationists with limited science backgrounds don’t seem ot mention or grasp it and end up writing very confidently about something that they are unable to see that they are incorrect about. The Dunning-Kruger effect.


    I’m sorry, I’ve not made any claims about the Jewish creation myth as best I can recall.

    Given that you have argued that creationism has been falsified, you have. In fact you go on in this comment to try to falsify creationism and that entails making claims about it.

    Sure, I was responding to your points.

    There is certainly evidence that such a myth is, in fact, a myth, and that the earth is very old…

    If uniformitarian assumptions are made there is just as much evidence that the earth is young based on uniformitarian views.

    Really? Could you expand on this – and please note, that if you can do this, you will be the FIRST creationist to ever produce actual evidence that the earth is actually young, as opposed to mere complaints about supposed flaws in other dating methods.

    However, some uniformitarian assumptions make about as much sense as measuring the rate at which sand passes through an hourglass sitting in a room full of toddlers and assuming that it has been constant. But at any rate, there is just as much evidence that the earth is young.

    I see. So I guess you know all about uniformitarianism. Is it your position that uniformitarianism excludes catastrophic events from consideration? And in the end, I rellay would like to see this evidence that you speak of. It will be especially timely in light of the fact that YEC John Woodmorrappe has recently written a paper admitting that bristle cone pine ring chronology data is accurate and go back some 8,000 years.

    …and that rather than being independantly created by a deity that extant species descenced from ancestors.

    According to creationism the vast majority of “species” descended from ancestors so you seem to be setting up a false dichotomy there.

    Realy? It is not difficult to find YECs that deny that ANY evolution has taken place.
    What mechanism does YECism posit for this ‘evolution’ from ancestors?

    I see. Well, the fact of the matter is that were creationism true, then we should see what would purportedly be considered discontinuities. But they do not seem to exist.

    You are proposing that continuity falsifies creationism and discontinuity verifies creationism so it’s up to you to demonstrate what sort of continuity or discontinuity you have in mind. In order to falsify creationism it is up to you to specify what should be seen theoretically and then verify or falsify it empirically. So far your claims have been very vague, your theory of creationism: “…we should see what would purportedly be considered discontinuities.” and your supposed empirical falsification: “But they do not seem to exist.” Huh?

    Burden shifting. So common in YEC circles. Well, since you are shifting the burden on to me to devise criteria on which to judge creationist claims regarding descent, I will do so.
    I say that a YEC-favoring discontinuity is a protein coding gene that is demonstrated not to be under intense selection pressures that exhibits a percent identity of less than 80% with the homologous gene in a species that has been hypothesized to be the species’ closest relative.

    You appear to insist that there must be some number appended to this to make it ‘real’, despite not appearing to be able to append any numbers to creationist claims. Very well, that is what these discussions are like – lots of double standards and such.

    I do refer to different epistemic standards because your side claims to be scientific, works to have the State support an evolutionary creation myth while censoring dissent, claims that hypotheses of evolution are similar to the theory of gravity and so on and so forth.

    Ah, the old censorship/martyrdom gambit. Such claims are getting old. Especially when the most “well known” such cases turn out to have bveen substantially embellished.
    But let me see if I have this straight – since you do not claim that your side is scientific (I’d bet that would be news to a number of the folsk at AiG and ICR) you are justified in making vague, imprecise, qualitative statements, but since my position is premised on science, I have to produce the very things that you claim are unnecessary for you to?

    Given these sorts of claims and this sort of history of course you need to meet a totally different epistemic standard than a Sunday school teacher promoting creationism in a church and so on.

    Yes, of course. And not only that, we have to present it in such a way that a sunday school teacher with no science background could look at it an measure it and verify it for himself, right?

    I call BS. And I do so premised on my own experience.

    Several years ago, a YEC on a discussion board (the CARM board) and I were having a similar discussion. She was asked what sort of evidence could she be presented that she would consider supportive of evolution. She stated that she would find evidence that there was a steady rate of decrease in DNA sequence identity between more and more distantly related species when compared to one ‘base’ species ‘troubling’ to her YEC position.
    I presented a data matrix for DNA sequence data for 25 species doing exactly that.
    Her response? Oh, well, she said that she wasn’t really convinced after all.
    Creationists like to make these magnanimous claims, yet when it comes down to it, they will simply never accept anything that goes against their faith.
    And you want to characterize US as being ‘closed minded’?

    Yes, I suppose we are all just monumentally ignorant of creationism…

    In my experience the vast majority of people promoting evolutionary creation myths (even those specifically criticizing “creationism”) are monumentally ignorant of any sort of specification that can be derived from creationism, although they claim “creationism” to be falsified and so on.

    Well then perhaps you can explain what some of these creationism derieved ‘specifications’ are?
    Instead of just alluding to them?

    ….while all run of the mill internet creationists must be recognized as ultimate authorities on all issues related to evolution.

    Actually how it usually goes is that anyone who’s professional identity as a scientist has been fused to an evolutionary creation myth seems to think that they are an authority on the history of science, the philosophy of science, creationism and many things which fall outside the scope of their microscope.

    Yet, here you are, pontificating about evolutionary ‘creation myths’ and writing about how NS cannot ‘create’ anything.

    Add to that this comical requirement that the burden of proof FOR creationism as well as the burden of falsification of it lies on those who do not even advocate for it.

    The burden of proof is on those who claim that creationism has been falsified scientifically.

    Really? What about those who declare evolution to be false? They get a free pass? They can just say so over and over?
    I can look at my own research and see powerful evidence supportive of descent. It is not consistent with creatinist claims. It is generated using tested methodologies. What do creationists have? Bogus probability calculatons? Scripture?

    The thing is, NOTHING can falsify creationism. Nothing I could possibly write could not be dismissed by hiding behind ‘God’s will’, ‘God’s mysterious ways’, ‘God’s miracles.’

    Surely you not only know that but have employed such dismissals?

    Ironically you haven’t really specified what would falsify all hypotheses of “evolution,” the moves that you have made toward specification so far would actually generate new hypotheses of evolution, perhaps “NOTHING” can falsify or do away with evolutionary creation myths in general.

    Why is that ironic? What is ironic is that it is considered ironic that I have not yet done something that I was unaware I would be required to do.
    It is not my fault that you are unclear what a theory is, what an hypothesis is, how science operates, etc.

    At any rate, I have never employed such dismissals although there are indeed different standards of knowledge when it comes to theological or philosophical speculations and that which is said to be scientific or a known “scientific fact.”

    “Different standards of knowledge” – translation: bible worshippers need only defer to Scripture to ‘prove’ their points true; their opponants need to jump through hoops to live up to the unrealistic and illogical double-standards they set down, not that it matters, since any attemtp to do so will be nitpicked and logical-fallacied to death.

    What a world…

  140. And you folks wonder why you are generally held in such low esteem…

    On the other hand, evolutionary biologists and those who study soft anatomy are not identifying an actual ancestor or phylogeny and instead engage in pattern recognition/classification and assume common descent based on that without identifying an actual line of descent among specific organisms by specific mechanisms. Sometimes this pattern becomes so prevalent that they make statements about “birds” evolving from “reptiles” and so on.

    It is so cute to see people who are clearly spectacularly ignorant of what they are discussing present their caricatures and condescending commentary with an air of certainty.

    Yes, mynym, we are all just hoodwinked by our predispositions and our inferior worldviews into actually believing that mere ‘pattern recognition’ correlates to common descent.
    Oh, to live in such a world…

  141. Doppelganger said,

    And you folks wonder why you are generally held in such low esteem…

    Hey, Dop, Ol’ Buddy, let me jump on scripture, as you expect me to do, to answer your snideness above!

    “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

    (John 15: 18-21)

    Now, from the other portion of me, the portion like you (which I despise), and the only you can relate to, I could care less that you don’t hold me in esteem, as I’m sure is true of all of us who believe! Decorum prevents me from telling you how I hold you, other than in contempt, with a good chuckle;-) TA TA!!!

  142. What traits do humans possess that chimps do not that are NOT merely modifications of pre-exisitng traits?

    The whole template of your thinking seems to be rooted in the notion that everything is explicable in terms of past events, leaving one to wonder if anything is actually happening now or if it is all “merely” reducible to past events. Are the brain events which cause you to write such drivel traceable to modifications of pre-existing biological modifications tracing back to things like natural selection operating on the excretory organs of a group of ancient ape-like creatures? If so then why do you think that what you happen to think based on your possibly imbecilic brain events is true?

    One can predict the placement of an organism in a phylogenetic tree without the benefit of seeing where others had placed it.
    There are. of course, testable and tested methodologies employed in producing phylogenetic trees.

    Calling a nested hierarchy “phylogenetic” does not show ancestry, especially given that the hypothesis of common descent is being excluded a priori.

    Are there any such methods that are employed in IDcreationism to test any claims or predictions of IDcreationists? It is my understanding that Behe has decided not to even try to test his claims. One might wonder why.

    Of course there are claims and predictions in both ID and creationism. That’s why Darwinists have published peer reviewed articles claiming to falsify many of Behe’s claims and so on.

    ….produce “new” stuff on which NS can act.
    If mutations produce 10 varieties, but only 2 or 3 are viable within a particular environmental context, sure, it will ‘preserve’ that which was already there. But what was already there was not ‘always’ there.

    Exactly, if anything natural selection tends to work against creative evolution which points back to the real issue having to do with origins, the source of variation or the “material basis of evolution” as one critic of the creative charlatanism typical to Darwinism put it. It is necessary to continually point out that natural “selection” is not creative or comparable to creative intelligent selection rooted in sight and insight only because Darwinists have consistently pointed to blind, destructive or preservative processes as if they are the equivalent of sighted or constructive processes. It is a basic distinction, yet it must be pointed out.

    A bit subtle, I know, and perhaps that is why creationists with limited science backgrounds don’t seem ot mention or grasp it and end up writing very confidently about something that they are unable to see that they are incorrect about.

    Try again: “And there are many reasons to think that the pattern [of nested hierarchy] has little to do with creative evolution given that natural selection is a preservative process which is unlikely to create such a structure, most observable processes are destructive as opposed to progressively creative, etc.”

    You seem to be agreeing with me and then claiming that I’m incorrect because there are sources of variation. Of course there are sources of variation, especially given that “variation” includes things like insects losing their wings and so on. The question of the progressive origins of wings and insects themselves is generally another sort of question altogether, yet that is the relevant question when it comes to creationism or ID. The distinction between constructive and destructive processes may seem a “bit subtle” to myopic people who spend a little too much time looking into test tubes without regard for basic distinctions typical to life but it’s actually pretty simple. Construction isn’t destruction, preservation is not creation, life is not death, sightedness is not blindness, etc.

    I don’t expect anyone with the Darwinian urge to merge to see valid conceptual distinctions based on language. For those who already have knowledge based on discernment I would note that the metaphoric womb of Mother Nature which Darwinists are so eager to crawl back into looks suspiciously like Plato’s Cave, yet these are the myopic little fellows who purport to explain all specification and form observed in species.

    Really? Could you expand on this – and please note, that if you can do this, you will be the FIRST creationist to ever produce actual evidence that the earth is actually young, as opposed to mere complaints about supposed flaws in other dating methods.

    Not at all, many creationists have pointed out that if observed rates of change are assumed to be uniformly valid measure of time then many observations can be cited as evidence of a young earth, young life, etc.
    E.g.

    When an animal or plant dies, its DNA begins decomposing. Before 1990,, almost no one believed DNA could last 10,000 years. This limit was based on measuring DNA disintegration rates in well-preserved specimens of known age such as Egyptian mummies. DNA has now been reported in magnolia leaves that evolutionists claim are 17 million years old. Fragments of DNA are also claimed to be in alleged 80-million-year-old dinosaur bones buried in a coal bed and in the scales of a 200-million-year-old fossilized fish. DNA is frequently reported in amber encased insects and plants that are supposedly 25-120 million years old.
    These discoveries have forced evolutionists to reexamine the 10,000-year limit. They now claim DNA can be preserved longer if conditions are dryer, colder, and freer of oxygen, bacteria, and background radiation. Measured disintegration rates of DNA, apparently under these more ideal conditions, do not support this. Therefore, the previously measured rates were probably not several thousand times in error. (In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown :29)

    There are typically problems with uniformitarian assumptions of any sort. There are problems with orthodox dating methods. For example, a maverick geologists notes:

    ONE DAY, MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS AGO, I picked up an apparently dull geology textbook and found my attention arrested by a single sentence. The book was called Pre history and Earth Models and was by the professor of metallurgy at Utah University, Dr. Melvin Cook. Cook, a physical chemist now in his eighties, is a world expert on high explosives and his textbook on explosives for mining is still a classic work of reference. Professors of metallurgy do not usually stir up trouble in the academic world, but what I had read in his geology book was more explosive than any text on TNT.
    In his preface Cook wrote: “An attempt to publish a manuscript giving direct evidence for the short-time chronometry of the atmosphere and oceans entitled ‘Anomalous Chronometry in the Atmosphere and Hydrosphere,’ not unexpectedly nor without some cause, met with considerable opposition and was not published.”
    Who on earth had prevented Dr. Cook from publishing his paper? I wondered. And what could a metallurgy professor have to say that was so heretical that someone wanted to prevent its publication? I found that his book contained scientific evidence and reasoned argument which showed that something was terribly wrong with the orthodox scientific view of methods of dating. The most widely used methods, such as uranium-lead and potassium-argon, had been found to be seriously flawed, not merely in practice but in principle. In addition, the methods yielded dates so discordant as to make them unreliable.
    Cook showed for example that if you used the uranium-decay method on the rocks of the crust you got the conventionally ac cepted age of over four thousand million years. But if you used the selfsame method on the atmosphere, you got an age of only a few hundred thousand years. He also showed that the entire amount of “radiogenic” lead in the world’s two largest uranium deposits could be entirely modern. Clearly something was wrong.
    When I dug deeper, I found that Cook was not a lone voice. Other papers by scientists in reputable scientific journals expressed similar doubts and findings.
    I eventually came to the alarming realization that although ra dioactive decay is the most stable source of chronometry we have today, it is badly compromised as a historical timekeeper, because it is not the rate of decay that is being measured but the amount of decay products left. For this reason, all radioactive methods of geochronometry are deeply flawed and cannot be relied on with any real confidence in this application.
    At the end of the last chapter, I asked, How could science have gone so far wrong? The answer turns out to be that it is not science which has gone wrong, merely those scientists seeking to defend a single idea—Darwinian evolution. Science has proposed many methods of geochronometry—measuring the Earth’s age— all of which are subject to some uncertainties, for reasons I shall describe in a moment. But of these many methods, only one technique—that of the radioactive decay of uranium and similar elements—yields an age for the Earth of billions of years. And it is this one method that has been enthusiastically promoted by Darwinists and uniformitarian geologists, while all other methods have been neglected.
    (Shattering the Myths of Darwinism by Richard Milton :37-38)

  143. Realy? It is not difficult to find YECs that deny that ANY evolution has taken place.

    They made a valid argument about the limitations of selectionist/Darwinists interpretations of evolution and adaptation without denying “change” in general. It has been Darwinists themselves who have claimed that Darwinian evolution is the only type of “evolution” that there is, creationists are merely taking them at their word.

    What mechanism does YECism posit for this ‘evolution’ from ancestors?

    Creationism predicts prescribed adaptation and the primacy of the Word, language and sentience, i.e. technology based front-loading rooted in language or information. It does not need to posit a “mechanism” to be true anymore than one needs to posit mechanistic explanations for the text that you write here. In fact, in order to deal with things rooted in language and information one may need to avoid a false mechanistic view of things or at least be aware of the myopic limitations to such views and not try to extend them beyond the physical substrate in which intelligence and language are made manifest. Otherwise a book burner may as well argue that they have refuted the contents of a book by burning it.

    I say that a YEC-favoring discontinuity is a protein coding gene that is demonstrated not to be under intense selection pressures that exhibits a percent identity of less than 80% with the homologous gene in a species that has been hypothesized to be the species’ closest relative.

    Right… at any rate, as far as burden shifting goes of course you have to meet a very high standard of evidence unless you’re going to admit that criticizing evolution is not the equivalent of believing that the earth is flat, the theory of evolution is not the epistemic equivalent of the theory of gravity, etc. These claims are typical to proponents of the collection of hypotheses known as “evolution,” so the burden of evidence is quite high. On the other hand, proponents of ID typically do not make arguments which assume that their hypotheses are the epistemic equivalent of the theory of gravity and so on, do not argue that those who deny ID may as well believe in a flat earth, do not argue that their views must be taught in State schools and their opponents excluded, etc. Yes, there is a different burden of evidence when you make different types of claims.

    Ah, the old censorship/martyrdom gambit. Such claims are getting old. Especially when the most “well known” such cases turn out to have bveen substantially embellished.
    But let me see if I have this straight – since you do not claim that your side is scientific (I’d bet that would be news to a number of the folsk at AiG and ICR) you are justified in making vague, imprecise, qualitative statements, but since my position is premised on science, I have to produce the very things that you claim are unnecessary for you to?

    You would claim that ID and creationism are non-scientific nonsense, correct? But if that’s the case then you can’t have it both ways, on the one hand arguing that ID should be censored from scientific discussion because it’s not science while on the other acting as if censorship is non-existent. If ID is not science and therefore should be censored from scientific discussion then the pretense that scientific discussion is open and the pretense that scientific consensus means anything other than that which is enforced a priori must be dropped:

    If there is no incentive to say or do otherwise, and if in fact there are strong pressures not to voice dissent, then how can we possibly rely on the credibility of the scientific or academic consensus? I woudl suggest, for these and other reasons, that crowing about a consensus maintained under the threat of severe punishment is hardly a stance worth bragging about.
    ….whenever I hear the claim that “scientists all agree that evolution is how life on earth progressed,” I take a look at some of the case studies in this book and remind myself how much stock I ought to place in such a claim. If all the Darwin dissenters have been eliminated, the claim that all good scientists agree about evolution is hardly an argument we should listen to. (Slaughter of the Dissidents by Jerry Bergman :104)

    But if scientific discussion is open to ID then it seems that ID may be scientific after all. Note that science is not an epistemic equalizer.

    Why is that ironic? What is ironic is that it is considered ironic that I have not yet done something that I was unaware I would be required to do.
    It is not my fault that you are unclear what a theory is, what an hypothesis is, how science operates, etc.

    Consider this hypothesis, the defense mechanism of a nerd is charlatanism. Given that they don’t have much else to work with, they are forced to focus on intelligence and knowledge. That’s part of the nature of being a nerd. So in a theoretical debate with science geeks this type of pattern might emerge every time they could not answer an argument or deal with a bit of evidence: “I know more than you. Oh how I know it! in fact, I’m feeling a bit scientific now!” Hypothetically speaking I’d say that every time some “Science, science!” claims occurred it would be likely that a nerd was feeling a little scared or insecure about something or other. (Especially if they seemed intent on clinging to their metaphoric Mommy Nature through some form of “natural explanation,” seeking connection to her to the point that they could never seemed to stop trying to suck at her teat.)

    From one of the articles that the Shrink cited having to do with the “incredibly specific” relationships that John was going on about in that neurotic way he has:

    “At first it’s very scary… but in the past couple of years people have begun to free their minds.” Both he and Doolittle are at pains to stress that downgrading the tree of life doesn’t mean that the theory of evolution is wrong – just that evolution is not as tidy as we would like to believe. [I.e. “evolution” is receding back into the hypothetical goo from which it arose to some extent.] Some evolutionary relationships are tree-like; many others are not. “We should relax a bit on this,” says Doolittle.

    (Emphasis added) Scary? That’s an odd thing to say. Why would a scientific theory be scary? If a scientific theory happened to match the psychological dynamics of its proponents then it might be a little scary to see it go.

    If a scientific theory was fused to a person’s professional identity as a scientist then they might get a little scared about things. Professional identity seems to be the same reason that biologists get so upset with me when I make any move toward criticizing “biologists” in general. (It seems to be a trigger for charlatanism, which is all well and good. I enjoy it. Besides, one can typically learn something by it.)

  144. “It does not need to posit a “mechanism” to be true”

    Hilarious. I do not think the word “true” means what you think it means.

    It seems to me that the word “time” is important and the phrase “cause and effect” is important and that the word “mechanism” relates time and cause and effect in a logical way. So if you are not interested in a “mechanism”, you are not interested in “time” or “cause and effect” and that means you are not interested in studying “reality”. And that means you are not interested in “science”.

    So why should anyone who is interested in science pay any attention to your nonsensical ramblings?

  145. It seems to me that the word “time” is important and the phrase “cause and effect” is important and that the word “mechanism” relates time and cause and effect in a logical way. So if you are not interested in a “mechanism”, you are not interested in “time” or “cause and effect” and that means you are not interested in studying “reality”. And that means you are not interested in “science”.

    I am interested in sentience and the nature of knowledge. It’s interesting that science itself may show that time may not have the “logical” structure that you think it has. I.e. science itself may undermine a mechanistic philosophy even as you’re beginning to claim that a mechanistic philosophy defines science (and consequently knowledge as we know it).

    At any rate, you should be the first one to live by your own mechanistic standard for knowledge and science. So what is the mechanistic explanation for the biochemical state of your brain that “causes” you to write what you have written here? Dawkins says that there is a Blind Watchmaker, perhaps you could imagine something similar.

    The illusion of “science” (i.e. knowledge) that you are promoting leads one to imagine things about the past based on a mechanical view of time instead of studying cause and effect at present based on current empirical observations. If everything must be reduced to patterns of cause and effect that trace back in time then must one be blind to cause and effect here and now?

  146. Pardon the posting on an old thread, but it seemed to stop just as it was getting interesting. John was not being particularly clear in spots, and no answer has been made to Shrink’s friend positing that ECA and DD are indistinguishable.

    In this, I hope to provide a little insight as to why biologists think that ECA is the right answer.

    Shrink: your friend’s example of assorting a and b into different species is possible but rare. Unique specific long DNA sequences concatenated like that are hardly ever found.

    In truth, you could not tell the difference between ECA and DD in such a small tree, and could even make the case for it in a larger tree.

    Part of the reason is that direct ancestry is not generally available. Excepting some experiments in which samples of earlier generations are frozen for later comparison or sequenced on the spot, or where we are comparing literal parents with literal children, we are comparing living organisms, none of which came from one another.

    Since they did not come from one another, a single tree is considered “unrooted”. That is to say, you cannot generally tell where a gene or protein “started” in a single tree.

    That is why the confirmation of ECA as likely requires a lot of trees, with a decent number of representatives in each tree. Taking ubiquitin, cytochrome-C and any particular variety of hemoglobin will give you three decent trees to work with, for example, since there are close analogs of these proteins in just about every living thing that has cell nuclei.

    Where the comparison to something like common design would come about is in the pattern of differences. The aforementioned proteins, for example, vary quite a bit amongst living creatures.

    (They have been sequenced for a large number of creatures as well, which helps out with any demonstrational exercise you might like to do.)

    For common ancestry, we would expect those differences to follow taxonomic lines. Not simply in general terms, e.g. primates have one kind, fish another, ruminants another, but more specifically than that: amongst rodents, Cavimorpha should share more amongst one another than Dipodidae or Cricetidae. We would expect that pattern to be very similar for just about any gene or protein we chose.

    Common design, on the other hand, has much fewer limitations. Excepting the case where common design imitates common ancestry exactly, there are no set limitations on which variations of the genes go into which beings. There is no reason for identically-functioning proteins to follow a taxonomic pattern. Why not fish hemoglobin for cetaceans like dolphins? Why not humans getting one cytochrome C and every other animal getting one particular different one.

    Those alternate cases could disprove common ancestry, but they are the rare exception, not the rule.

    Aha, but there are exceptions, right?

    True, but they come in one basic variety which is not without a mechanism.

    This alludes to the New Scientist article to which you link, and that is horizontal gene transfer. We know this happens, and to a large extent, how it happens. This is still largely a prokaryote issue, and does mess up some means of extracting trees for microorganisms, vertical gene transfer is still largely the case even there. Kurland et al. have a decent critical analysis on the issue, but there are more comprehensive ones around.

    Horizontal gene transfer can even happen in larger creatures. It is rare, but does happen. The markers of what has happened are, however, usually preserved. Wolbachia managed to insert its entire genome into fruit flies, and ERVs (endogenous retroviruses) still carry the markers of their viral past.

    You can even make trees based just on ERVs. They take up 8% of the human genome, which gives a decent amount of material to play with, even if you just look for their gag, pol and retrotransposon areas. (e.g. U12969)

    Casually against the common design hypothesis, one can wonder why a taxonomic pattern of disabled infections has been put into genomes, but you don’t even have to go that far.

    Anyhow, that is some but not all of the reasons why biologist think of ECA as “all but proven” – it is sound on a statistical level – but it cannot, of course, discount the “common design that looks exactly like common ancestry” case.

    HTH.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: