The Edge Becomes Clearer

Douglas Axe has written an interesting post in which he reviews a recent article by Darwinists and further demonstrates the edge of evolution (i.e., Michael Behe).(1) Darwinists are consistently unable to demonstrate how useful mutations can occur on a level to result in anything other than minor advantages (usually with a single point mutation that just breaks things), and I think Axe’s analogy to computer software is very apt.

By way of analogy, you might easily cause your favorite software to crash by changing a bit or two in the compiled executable file, but you can’t possibly convert it into something altogether different (and equally useful) by such a simple change, or even by a series of such changes with each version improving on the prior one.  To get a substantially new piece of software, you would need to substantially re-engineer the original code knowing that your work wouldn’t pay off until it’s finished.  Darwinism just doesn’t have the patience for this.

Furthermore, returning to the first question, it seems that even humble binding-site conversions are typically beyond the reach of Darwinian evolution.  Durrett and Schmidt conclude that “this type of change would take >100 million years” in a human line [1], which is problematic in view of the fact that the entire history of primates is thought to be shorter than that [3].

Might the prospects be less bleak for more prolific species with shorter generation times?  As it turns out, even there Darwinism appears to be teetering on the brink of collapse.  Choosing fruit flies as a favorable organism, Durrett and Schmidt calculate that what is impossible in humans would take only “a few million years” in these insects.  To get that figure, however, they had to assume that the damage caused buy the first mutation has a negligible effect on fitness.  In other words, they had to leap from “the mutation need not be lethal” to (in effect) ‘the mutation causes no significant harm’.  That’s a big leap.

What happens if we instead assume a small but significant cost—say, a 5% reduction in fitness?  By their math it would then take around 400 million years for the binding-site switch to prove its benefit (if it had one) by becoming fully established in the fruit fly population.  [4] By way of comparison, the whole insect class—the most diverse animal group on the planet—is thought to have come into existence well within that time frame. [5]

Do you see the problem?  On the one hand we’re supposed to believe that the Darwinian mechanism converted a proto-insect into a stunning array of radically different life forms (termites, beetles, ants, wasps, bees, dragonflies, stick insects, aphids, fleas, flies, mantises, cockroaches, moths, butterflies, etc., each group with its own diversity) well within the space of 400 million years.  But on the other hand, when we actually do the math we find that a single insignificant conversion of binding sites would reasonably be expected to consume all of that time.

(1). Bold Biology for 2009

Does referencing the Creator inhibit science?

Many materialists (atheists and theistic evolutionists most often) argue that materialistic philosophy is key to scientific advancement. If any ideas of Creationists are allowed to even be referenced, then scientific progress will halt and people will die. There will be mass and widespread calamitous events, and we will return to the Dark Ages.

Mphuthumi Ntabeni at The Southern Cross writes:

Newton, Faraday, Maxwell and Copernicus referred to the Creator in their scientific writings. No one accused them of being unscientific because of that. There’s no rule that compels science to have a materialist outlook, it’s just an incident of history. (1)

I have yet to see any evidence that convinces me that scientific progress will be inhibited in any way by referencing notions of a designer or even God. Nor have I seen any evidence that is not just as easily explained from an ID or even a Creationist perspective as compared to a naturalistic evolution perspective. So far, I see Creationism as having the most explanatory power and ID as focusing on narrow range of observations and scientific phenomena. Both ID and Creation Science are scientific disciplines.

I must also say that I have yet to see how the theory of naturalistic evolution, on a macro scale, has ever contributed to applied science. The concept of abiogenesis has not contributed to applied science. The Big Bang Theory has not contributed to applied science. In short, the notion that Godless science leads to progress has no legs to stand on. Perhaps it will evolve those legs in the next several billions of years, but I won’t be holding my breath.

(1). My case for intelligent design, The Southern Cross, Mphuthumi Ntabeni, Nov. 9, 2008

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part IX

Is it? Could it be? The time we’ve all been waiting for? Perhaps.. Let’s see.

Those dumb and stupid (1) creationists think that life originated through random processes. But we do now know, although we were confused before, that life did not arise through random processes. Although all of our previous ideas on abiogenesis were utterly incorrect, we have now, convincingly to us, solved the problem (praise Science). We do now know, that the formation of biopolymers, from monomers, is anything but random, but relies on the laws of physics and chemistry (2).

We’ve made a diagram. See…it’s true! Look at it–seeing is believing. See it, the Ur Cell.

So we do know, that the first life units (FLU’s), were probably a single self-replicating molecule or possibly RNA polymerase that acts on itself. You saw the drawing didn’t you? Or perhaps, “either protein enzymes or RNA ribozymes, that [did] regenerated themselves as a catalytic cycle.” So, the silly God-believers think that we do just think that molecules did turn into a cell, and think we believe in all the wrong ideas that we did have before!! They don’t know that we do now actually believe in the true idea, not all the old false ideas. We just re-ran the calculations with our new truth, not the dumb and stupid calculations of the creationists, but with respect to the “prebiotic soup” that did exist, but no longer exists, on the Earth. (2) Got it? Good. Now shut up. Go make stone tools, and let us get back to potentially saving lives, and for certain, saving minds (uh, brains) from ignorance (praise Science).

(1). http://www.carpenoctem.tv/killers/gacy.html
(2). http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html#Globule

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part VIII

Please pardon this digression in the name of the Almighty Science. Its ways are multitudinous, its adherents are just, ethical, loving, kind, and smarter than you (1). And then did some of the more intelligent beings on the planet, come to believe that life did arise from outer space. Not from E.T. (2) did it arise, or perhaps it did (3). Before we do become confused and think that real scientists could ever believe in space aliens, we must retract our statements (4). Let us not be misunderstood. We were feeling magnanimous to the IDiots that day. Sorry about that…we are no longer feeling that way. Since the ‘warm little pond,’ has been so hard to find, we turned to the cold rock in space. There, some of us did find what we were looking for, the key to the beginning of the life form to which we all owe our existence (praise Science). But as for certain DO we know, life did arise from non-living matter. So, we do not now think in silly little ways like either/or (Earth or Space). We do know that the early conditions of the Earth and Solar System were quite chaotic. The Earth did become bombarded by meteorites containing organic compounds (ahhhh….life-to-be units). The young little Earth did receive more complex molecules from space that we know were well on their way to becoming biology. Not actually biological themselves of course, but to-be-life units. Or perhaps, they could have been biological units, which arose in a more favorable soup such as Mars (already-life units). So, we do admit this is a bit of digression, and we do know it may be just as false as every other idea we’ve had, we also do know, that everyone who does have even half a brain (5), knows that abiogenesis did occur. So, soon, soon indeed, we will tell you how it happened.

(1). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaGgpGLxLQw
(2). http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=did-life-come-from-anothe
(3). http://www.discovery.org/a/4719
(4). http://richarddawkins.net/article,2394,Lying-for-Jesus,Richard-Dawkins
(5). http://www.intelldesign.com/?p=170

Some Views on the Modern Educational System and the Value of Naturalistic Evolution

My co-author, DB, wrote:

And yet, along with Skinner and many others, our education system has been heavily influenced by these atheistic ideas. As Mynym pointed out, at the end of his comment, our schools have become battle zones, where parents can’t be assured that their children will return home safely or, if they do, educated. Our education system, as well as our society, is despotically run by material science, the government and corporate agendas (who, by the way, are in the sack with each other), which have little to do with learning, values, ethics or morality.

Indeed! John Dewey was a psychologist who ended up being very influential in the American educational system. Unfortunately my field bears a lot of the responsibility for both advancements and ills with the modern educational system. Based on my experience with patients, the special educational system, eventually largely developed out of the work of Dewey, and other psychologists, has show much success. However, the general educational principles advanced by psychologists have variously resulted in both negative and positive effects on our culture and the learning of children.

Dewey purported,

“while honoring the important role that religious institutions and practices played in human life, rejected belief in any static ideal, such as a theistic God. Dewey felt that only scientific method could reliably further human good.” (1)

And as DB continues,

Material science wants students who have been been fully indoctrinated into a belief system which denies anything greater than man and, of course, science: the scientist cries, “Where will the tax supported funding come from if someone blows the whistle on our weak theories and science adventures?”

Research on the ‘focus of research’ (meta-research?), has basically shown that it follows the funding. Not only that, but the research outcomes tend to support the viewpoints of the funding source. This oftentimes, has an unconscious basis in human psychology, and needs to be considered in the “critical thinking,” that the commenter Carl Sachs has noted as very important. This pertains to biology, evolution, psychology, and medicine. Although I am not against “basic science,” the ‘where the rubber hits the road’ aspect of research (applied science), ultimately bears more importance in my mind. I pay taxes, and I think I do demand my tax dollars produce some potential real world benefits to human beings as DB has stated in a different way before. So, I continue to be interested, in a critical sense, in the applied value that naturalistic evolution has shown to society. In other words, how have folks living their lives on a day-to-day basis benefited from the highly speculative, and largely less than correlation research, on naturalistic evolution?

Freedom, Creationism, ID, and Naturalistic Evolution

A recent commenter, Mynym, wrote:

People who believe in creationism can advance science and create political systems in which great freedom exists. That is simply a matter of history. So what if they did achieve political dominance, it’s not necessarily a great danger which will stop Progress as we know it. It should also be noted that people who believe in creationism can also be moral degenerates who create despotic systems in which freedom hardly exists. Yet an interesting question is whether or not those who believe in forms of Nature based paganism in ancient times and philosophic naturalism and the Darwinian creation myth in modern times can create political systems in which great freedom exists. Given their philosophy and their history it seems that they cannot. They have a history of tending towards totalitarianism just as their philosophy tends towards a supposedly total form of knowledge which tends towards determinism and allows for no “gaps.”

Indeed. Creationism does not entail despotism or totalitarianism. So far an atheistic aspect of governmental structure has entailed these things. Although I do not say that it must. In reality, it has. And Creationists can be as evil as anyone else. Of that, I do not doubt.

Those who believe that mind and intelligence don’t “exist” and have an impact on the natural world have always tended towards having their own minds degenerate to the level of psychologists working for totalitarian governments based on the false view that conditioning is all that matters.

The following is attributed to Pavlov, the Russian physiologist, who advanced ‘classical conditioning’:

Conscious until his very last moment, Pavlov asked one of his students to sit beside his bed and to record the circumstances of his dying. He wanted to create unique evidence of subjective experiences of this terminal phase of life. The great scientific courage of Pavlov is exhibited by this story: he tried to learn, and to increase knowledge of physiology, even on his deathbed.

(1)

The great American behaviorist, and atheist, BF Skinner wrote,

Cognitive science is the creation science of psychology, as it struggles to maintain the position of mind or self.

And yet, cognitive psychology is the dominant view of modern psychology. BF Skinner did not believe in anything like free will. The only thing that was important was reinforcement and punishment. Where is the room for personal freedom in such a position that is so consistent with naturalistic evolution?