Recent Work in Creation Science

Jerry Bergman has written an article on CMI entitled, Did immune system antibody diversity evolve?

From the article:

The voluminous research on the evolution of the adaptive immune system describes in enormous detail both the similarities and differences between the immune systems of a wide variety of animals, but does not provide evidence for the evolution of these irreducibility complex systems. The complex, designed processes used to produce antibody diversity and then to fine tune the adaptive immune response are not evidence of Darwinian evolution, but rather of intelligent design.

Recent work has also shown that innate immune systems formerly thought to be very primitive are far more complex than once believed, blurring ‘traditional distinctions between adaptive and innate immunity.’38 Various phyla use ‘a remarkably extensive variety of solutions to meet fundamentally similar requirements for host protection.’37 The large discontinuity between the various means of generating immune system diversity in the animal kingdom makes it highly unlikely that one system could have evolved into another.

Creation scientists have also been hard at work in generating theoretical frameworks and hypotheses on a number of fronts.

1). A framework has been developed for explaining bacterial pathogenicity.

2). Fungi have been examined from a creationist perspective, and natural selection is considered as a process for the development of pathogenicity.  Similar to the first paper, evolutionary processes are considered corrupting influences of the original designs.

3). Initial work has been done on developing a field of creation microbiology.  Promising areas for future research and practical applications are also considered.

While those who pontificate about the absence of any real scientific progress being made from a creationist perspective, creation scientists are laying the groundwork for biological studies, and are generating testable scientific hypotheses.  Whereas materialist scientist do not often recognize their metaphysical assumptions, creationist scientists and IDers are generally much more aware of the metaphysical assumptions of science on both sides of the issue.

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6 Responses

  1. It does seem ironic that creationists, who admit that their efforts are based upon the Bible, at least feign exploring the “how” of creation, and pretend to frame hypotheses based upon the motivation of the Creator. Whereas the ID flock refuses even to investigate how their Intelligence might have implemented the first life or breathed biological information[1] into new species.

    However, “feign” and “pretend” are indeed the correct terms. On to the specifics.

    >>“Did immune system antibody diversity evolve” (Bergman)
    presents no hypothesis for how the adaptive immune system was created. It is almost entirely a tutorial on how the AIS works. The remainder merely presents evidence that it could not have evolved in a way that the author would have preferred. Or arguments from ignorance.[2] In other words, same old, same old. This is not creationist research, folks.

    >> “An Introductory Overview of Creation Microbiology”(Francis & Purdom) is touted as “Promising areas for future research and practical applications are also considered.”

    What framework? The entire article is a freshman-biology level description of conventional microbiology, all the way from viruses to lichens. Creation is not mentioned at all. Then, in the “Final Observations and Closing Comments,” we read “This paper represents a first approach towards describing cellular microbes in the context of creation biology and is a call for creation microbiologists to develop this aspect of the creation model.” Wha??? Where??

    But the authors do continue with some creation-related research questions. Such as: Why were microbes created? Seems to me the only data to be gathered and analyzed here is in the Bible. Do the authors really consider this to be “scientific” research?

    And we have a scientific prediction: “creationists have predicted that pathogenic states are due to an imbalance in resident microbes or due to the presence of misplaced or altered microbes (Francis 2009; Purdom 2009; Wood 2007).” Let’s see you design an experiment to test whether pathogenic microbes are “misplaced” or “altered” from … well, from what they should have been. A suggested project, “Classification of microbes within the creation model” is also a biblical problem, not a scientific one.

    And practical applications: “We believe that the next most important frontier in creation microbiology will be bioremediation. In this context microbes could be used to restore disturbed ecosystems.’” How does this depend upon any creation m,odel? By the way, guys, Ananda Chakrabarty discovered a microbe for cleaning up oil spills before 1980,[3] so you’re just a little late to the party for this one. Lame.

    >> “Design and Purpose in the Original Creation” (Loucks) researches the Bible to opine that “we can logically deduce when they were likely created based on the reasoning that each created system at the end of each day was complete or “good” (Genesis 1; Gillen 2008)).” In other words, our goal is to determine on which Day fungi were created, and our evidence consists solely of inferences from the Bible. Does this sound like a “scientific” research program to anyone? Again, most of the paper is a conventional description of the properties, of fungi and their roles in ecosystems—that is, in creation. The author notes that > In “The Role of Genomic Islands, Mutation, and Displacement in the Origin of Bacterial Pathogenicity,” AiG’s very own resident apologist assures us that creation research shows that “microbes were created on different days of creation (Days 3, 5, and 6).” Then she raises the research question, “What exactly caused this change from nonpathogenic to pathogenic bacteria?” Again, the vast bulk of this lengthy paper is devoted to an undergraduate lecture on pathogenicity, its types and perpetrators among the microbial mafia.

    Then, as before, we are treated to a section on “Future Research.” Not current research, mind you, but … but hold! The suggested research has nothing to do with creation models at all! Just ordinary stuff that no one knows yet.

    Finally a “Conclusions” section.[5] This starts with the assumption, without justification (except for the Bible) that all bacteria were created good. Again, we have a hopeful prayer that “A creation model is needed to understand how bacteria become pathogenic in a post-Fall world.” No suggestions as to how to tell when the Fall might have occurred, no hints for experimental design, just a wish that someone–someone with access to more funds than Purdom can squeeze out of Ken Ham–will take up the baton and run to the unmarked finish line in the clouds.

    None of these AiG articles, for all their pretentious length and sciency terminology, suggest any testable models for creation, nor does any of them offer more than an earnest supplication for someone to propose scientific research program of some unspecified sort.

    Shrink brags that “Creation scientists have also been hard at work in generating theoretical frameworks and hypotheses on a number of fronts.

    1). A framework has been developed for explaining bacterial pathogenicity.

    2). Fungi have been examined from a creationist perspective, and natural selection is considered as a process for the development of pathogenicity. Similar to the first paper, evolutionary processes are considered corrupting influences of the original designs.

    3). Initial work has been done on developing a field of creation microbiology. Promising areas for future research and practical applications are also considered.”

    What theoretical framework? What initial work? What recent creationist efforts? This is what passes for “Recent Work in Creation science”? Smoke and mirrors. Yet again, creationists offer diversions while they switch the pea under yet a different shell.

    To paraphrase Dante, “Lasciate ogni scienza, voi ch’entrate”[6]

    =======
    [1] They just smugly ask where biological information “comes from,” which is like asking where the beauty of a sunset “comes from.” And measuring biological information in bits is almost as fruitful as measuring beauty in milliHelens. (A milliHelen is enough beauty to launch one ship, if you hadn’t already guessed)

    [2] “The supposition that the RAG1 protein and the antigen receptor genes evolved from an ancestral transposon is ‘speculation’.” [citing reference]

    [3] His patent application was landmark decision at the Supreme Court (Diamond v Chakrabarty). A client of mine discovered and patented in 1983 a bacterium that had evolved the ability to eat polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs. Remember Love Canal?)

    [4] Why does the author think parasites are necessarily pathogenic? Apparently he’s never heard of the human gut microbes that help us digest food, or cleaner fish that eat the crud off of other fish, or the algae/fungi that form lichens—wait a minute! Loucks even uses that as an example for another purpose. Doesn’t he even read his own paper?

    [5] This is almost like live blogging. Too little time, too much junk.

    [6] Sorry, the pun doesn’t work in English.

  2. …creationists, who admit that their efforts are based upon the Bible, at least feign exploring the “how” of creation, and pretend to frame hypotheses based upon the motivation of the Creator.

    They should, yet it turns out that they shouldn’t:

    Seems to me the only data to be gathered and analyzed here is in the Bible. Do the authors really consider this to be “scientific” research?

    “Classification of microbes within the creation model” is also a biblical problem, not a scientific one.

    This starts with the assumption, without justification (except for the Bible) that all bacteria were created…

    One could just as easily say that the majority of evolutionary hypotheses begin with the assumption that philosophic naturalism is true. And so on. I wouldn’t claim that creation narratives of any sort are the epistemic equivalent of testable science but notice how Upson Downes always seems to have all possibilities covered given his effete status as one of the “Soft Men” of Darwinism. In this case, if creationists attempt to specify the Creator and frame their hypotheses using the Bible then his claim goes “down” and he will argue that they should not even make the attempt while murmuring about science as if it is his last and dying friend. On the other hand, if IDists do not attempt to specify the Creator biblically then his claim goes “up” and he will demand to know more about the creator that he did not want creationists to mention. Up or down, it’s all the same as he moves his projected pea/science under a different shell so that no one can attempt to use science to seek the truth of things. He’s not interested in the “truth” but then it turns out that science must inevitably build evolutionary creation myths for him which are probably true. Imagine that!

    As I have argued elsewhere it seems to me that his claims have more to do with his own “soft” psychological dynamics than the pursuit of knowledge of any sort, scientific or not. Ironically, for all the talk of science his own science is generally pseudo-science due to its lack of “hard” and “imposing” logical specification.

    On a more metaphoric note, the Jewish prophets seem to have represented mental patterns that emerge from Mother Nature symbolically as the Whore of Babylon who goes babbling on through history thanks to her pollution of language. Never mind the stygian stench emanating from polluted waters, this merely metaphoric pattern of thought is generally hidden/occult. After all, she’s merely a metaphor. She sometimes accuses her enemies of blasphemy, magic and sorcery from her ivory tower of babel even when all they’re doing is pointing out that words have meaning based on logic/Logos, the foundation of sound knowledge/science as we know it that led to the elimination of occult magick. Is her opposition really the clanging gongs of her “imposing” enemies or the immanent music of the spheres? At any rate, the Bible is generally merely metaphoric and symbolic so I don’t know why Upson made claims based on biblical language originally. After all, that just doesn’t seem very scientific.

  3. The host program dropped part of a paragraph from the above comment. here it is in full:

    >> “Design and Purpose in the Original Creation” (Loucks) researches the Bible to opine that “we can logically deduce when they were likely created based on the reasoning that each created system at the end of each day was complete or “good” (Genesis 1; Gillen 2008)).” In other words, our goal is to determine on which Day fungi were created, and our evidence consists solely of inferences from the Bible. Does this sound like a “scientific” research program to anyone? Again, most of the paper is a conventional description of the properties, of fungi and their roles in ecosystems—that is, in creation. The author notes that less than 1% of fungi are pathogenic, whereas evolutionists, viewing them as parasites, would expect almost all of them to be so. This is risible of course.[4] In summary, the author offers only a wish that someone, somewhere, might frame a theory and do some actual research on how the Curse affected fungi. Does that sound like a “scientific” question to anyone here?

    ERRATA. In footnote 4, I wrongly accused Loucks of not reading his own paper. In fact, the description of the “good parasitism” of lichens was in Francis & Purdom’s paper. Loucks didn’t read F&P’s paper.

  4. mynym: “One could just as easily say that the majority of evolutionary hypotheses begin with the assumption that philosophic naturalism is true. And so on.”

    One could indeed. But what comes next?

    Naturalistic scientists design experiments, observational programs, and models to test their hypotheses. Some of the hypotheses get confirmed and are published for criticism and/or replication by their peers. Some survive this process. Some yield unexpected results. Some force modification of the hypotheses, new hypotheses, or perhaps entirely new theories. And understanding progresses, through both success and failure.[0] A scientist once said that the most exciting words in research are not “I’ve found it!” but rather “That’s strange….”

    Intelligent design, on the other hand, stonewalls all attempts at framing testable models as to the nature of the designs—such as how DNA gets vaccinated in order to form a new species, what the limits might be on how different new species can be from their precursors,[1] and other matter that would make ID more than merely a pious platitude. And, of course, the capabilities and limitations of the designer are completely off limits.

    Creationists at least pretend to do research. Unlike ID, they need not fear that the public will view them as religiously motivated. However, although the AiG, CMI, and other authors employ sciency terms to dazzle the uninformed, their conclusions are all along the lines of “further study is needed” and “a creation model should be developed.”

    I would challenge mynym to find a single shovel-ready research program employing creationist principles which a scientist (real or creationist) could read and implement in his laboratory. All of Shrink’s examples are mere pleas that someone should come to their rescue and propose something—anything—that could be tested and published.

    mynym: “They should [propose research], yet it turns out that they shouldn’t:”

    Where did that come from? My whole point is that ID/C should propose research, but refuse to do so. I even gave some examples of what they might propose and test. Took me half an hour to come up with four possible research subjects.[2] None will be performed. Do not put the Lord your God to the test. That would be a lightningable offense.

    The point is not whether ID/C is allowed to conduct research. The point is that they have not, and, in particular, that the examples cited here by Shrink are in fact frauds. They propose no research, they conduct no research, they publish no research.

    To turn Newton’s famous pronouncement on its ear, “Hypotheses non fingent.”

    =========
    [0] Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

    [1] Stephen Meyer, in his Signature in the Cell, implies (although never stated explicitly) that all such information was infused at the origin-of-lifer point, and not afterward.

    [2] My personal opinion, of course, is that other reasons preclude such attempts. But they are certainly welcome to try. If anyone should show that life is designed, or that special creation did take place at a time certain, the propounder’s main problem would be how to get a flight to Stockholm quickly enough to accept his Nobel prize.

  5. One could indeed. But what comes next?

    Naturalistic scientists design experiments, observational programs, and models to test their hypotheses.

    And I suppose that unnatural scientists do not. But in any event, what model does the so-called “theory” of evolution show with respect to the receptors that you cited earlier?

    Intelligent design, on the other hand, stonewalls all attempts at framing testable models as to the nature of the designs…

    Putting ID aside for a moment, creationism generally meets the same epistemic standards as the theory of evolution, whatever it may be. This can be seen in the arguments of evolutionists themselves, as they draw out specifications or models based on theology (“God would make a panda’s thumb like this, not that.”) and then test the model (“Hey, thumbs are like this, not the way that creationism predicts. I just verified evolution and falsified creation.”) and so on. This is merely continuing in the tradition of Darwin who argued that the distribution of species on islands falsified a creation model. The creation model (the biblical one, anyway) actually predicts migration from a point of origins and variation within reproductive kinds and not instantaneous creation on islands. Darwin had to find some argument or another, I suppose. In any event, both opponents and proponents admit that testable models can be framed based on theories of creation.

    As far as ID goes, many scientists have claimed to have falsified ID so apparently testable models may be proposed in that case as well. It’s more important to note that ID is true philosophically and linked to the foundation of science as we know it regardless.

    This was just a side note but amusing for its naivete:
    If anyone should show that life is designed, or that special creation did take place at a time certain, the propounder’s main problem would be how to get a flight to Stockholm quickly enough to accept his Nobel prize.

    Not at all, if Obama took up science they’d bring it to him before he accomplished anything.

  6. Where did that come from? My whole point is that ID/C should propose research, but refuse to do so.

    You’re being disingenuous because when they move in that direction, you immediately argue that they should not:
    “Classification of microbes within the creation model” is also a biblical problem, not a scientific one.

    This starts with the assumption, without justification (except for the Bible) that all bacteria were created…

    Etc. What was it that you thought creationism was if not beginning with theoretical specifications or assumptions drawn from the Bible?

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