Saturday, January 29, 2011

Anthony Hopkins Schools Charlie Rose on the Religion in Science

As if we needed more evidence that myths abound regarding how science handles religion, Charlie Rose supplied it in abundance in his interview with legendary actor Anthony Hopkins last week. Fortunately Hopkins was able to disabuse the audience of Rose’s misconceptions, though it is not clear Rose was the better for it. Here is the relevant discussion, beginning at the 11:25 mark of the interview:





CR: You see it’s fascinating to me, because I’ve had, in a variety of television series—things that I have done having to do with scientists—and scientists can’t go there, because they can’t prove it

AH: Can’t go where?

CR: To faith! Because they’re not willing to—most of them, certainly there are exceptions—but I mean people like, you know Nobel Laureates. They can’t go there, because they can’t prove itScientists in the end say “I can’t go there,” because they can’t prove it, and their intellectual—their whole being as a scientist

AH: But there are many physicists who do believe. Dealing in particle physics for example, people are getting close to the essence of power of the—

CR: Well that’s part of what they’re working on in Geneva, is sort of the duplicating creation—

AH: And Einstein said … I don’t believe in a personal god, I believe in the god of Spinoza, where there’s an intelligence and a supreme awe-inspiring design at the back of the cosmos, starting from the Big Bang. Charles Darwin was a staunch member of his own church—he was a protestant. And when he went on the voyage of the Beagle it astonished him, the extraordinary range of life, and the power of life itself. And he never gave up his faith. Galileo was a man of the church—never opposed the church, but he got into a lot of trouble because he said things that upset the apple cart.

Hilarious. In response to Rose’s mythical meanderings, the actor Anthony Hopkins, without a moment of preparation, launches into a perfectly cogent discussion of the relationship between science and religion. In the space of 1 minute and 16 seconds Hopkins effectively deconstructs the media’s mythology. He begins with the diagnosis, cutting to the core with the simple question: “Can’t go where?” From there he begins with today’s scientists, and then progresses through classic historical examples (in order!) of Einstein, Darwin and Galileo—three of the most influential scientists in the history of modern science, each with their own different faith. Yes, his description of Darwin’s faith commitment may have been slightly off, but his overall thesis was spot on. I’m sure the audience learned something, but I doubt the myth makers did.

141 comments:

  1. What Anthony is saying is that there are scientists who can have religions beliefs despite being scientists, not that there is no opposition to sciences because of religion. Two very different things. He is not saying that there is a relationship between religion and science either. Can you be a bit more misleading at presenting this?

    Misguided religion drives your pseudoscience and rants, and it does indeed matter.

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  2. What Negative Entropy said: "What Anthony is saying is that there are scientists who can have religions beliefs despite being scientists".

    What Sir Hopkins said: "But there are many physicists who do believe. Dealing in particle physics for example, people are getting close to the essence of power of the..."

    I think N. Entropy is mistaken here. A.H. seems to be implying in that unfinished statement that at least some scientists believe as a result of their disciplines, not in spite of them.

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  3. Let us not forget that Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) was an Anglican clergyman.

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  4. Negative Entropy:

    ===
    What Anthony is saying is that there are scientists who can have religions beliefs despite being scientists, not that there is no opposition to sciences because of religion.
    ===

    Agreed, but Hopkins also easily dispells the myth that Rose rehearses that scientists do not hold religious or metaphysical views, but rather, by virtue of being a scientist, are purely driven by empirical science.

    ===
    He is not saying that there is a relationship between religion and science either. Can you be a bit more misleading at presenting this?
    ===

    What is important is that Hopkins points out that scientists are not atheists, or purely driven by scientific data, as Rose suggests. Quite the opposite. You can read more here:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/01/enduring-warfare-thesis-theses.html

    Evolution is not driven by atheism, materialism, naturalism, secular humanism, etc. Evolutionists are not necessarily atheists, and in fact often are not. And evolution entails religious claims. Science is hardly the cartoon world Rose imagines it to be.

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  5. Interesting video. Old bugger has a really cool watch!

    Middle of the video reminds me slightly of this part of an interview with Carl Jung.

    I think that was Jung's last interview. It's worth watching the whole thing.

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  6. CH:Anthony Hopkins Schools Charlie Rose on the Warfare Thesis

    I guess you could interpret their conversation as such, but that's not the only possible interpretation.

    To paraphrase..

    - - - - - - - - -

    CR: I've had scientist as subjects / guests in a variety of television projects and the've indicated they're unable to take the additional step you [AH] just described because they lack evidence.

    AH: Can't take what step?

    CR: The leap of faith! Because they're not willing to - most of the ones I've interacted with, certainly there are exceptions of course - but even Nobel Laureates tell me they cannot make the leap you [AH] just described because they lack proof. They tell me "I can't go there" because they can't prove it, and it's because their intellectual process as a scientist permeates their entire being.

    AH: But there are many physicists now that do believe in some sort of higher power / order / purpose in the universe. Dealing in particle physics for example, people are getting close to the essence of power of the -

    CR: You could say, that's what they're looking for in Geneva - it's a sort of duplication of that power -

    - - - - - - -

    So, I don't think Rose is making a blanket statement about all scientists. He's talking about a the majority of scientists he's interacted with.

    CH: Yes, his description of Darwin’s faith commitment may have been slightly off, but his overall thesis was spot on.

    Anthony appears more than slightly off in regards to Spinoza and Einstein.

    - - - - - - -

    AH: And Einstein said … I don’t believe in a personal god, I believe in the god of Spinoza, where there’s an intelligence and a supreme awe-inspiring design at the back of the cosmos, starting from the Big Bang.

    - - - - - - -

    To quote Einstein, "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."

    If saying there is some moral axis to the natural universe and that aligning ourselves with this axis will reduce suffering is religion, then you could say I'm religious.

    See Sam Harris' TED talk for more information.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_science_can_show_what_s_right.html

    As for Einstein supposing some purpose or design...

    "I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism."

    "Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a supernatural Being."

    As a hard materialist, Spinoza denied miracles and called them a refuge of ignorance. Spinoza shared Hume's view that miracles were epistemologically unknowable since they would require identifying every conceivable natural law that could account for it and systematically eliminating them as being inadequate. Nor was Spinoza was a dullest, but rather a monist in that there was only one substance with infinite modes.

    In rendering miracles incoherent, Spinoza rejected a God that could act in an identifiable way as a designing intelligence.

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  7. Scott:

    Spinoza shared Hume's view that miracles were epistemologically unknowable since they would require identifying every conceivable natural law that could account for it and systematically eliminating them as being inadequate.

    That argument also demolishes Dembski’s “Explanatory Filter:” If an observation is not explained by Law or Chance, then it must have been caused by Design. But human and animal design are explainable by law and chance, so Design entails a supernatural agency.

    Supernatural claims require presuppositions of completeness and realism, the two cornerstones of Hunter’s epistemological triad.

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  8. Noticed an error in my previous comment. What I intended to say was...

    As a hard determinist, Spinoza denied miracles and called them a refuge of ignorance. However, as a monist, Spinoza clearly rejected the supernatural, which indicated some form of materialism.

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  9. Michael,

    I think N. Entropy is mistaken here. A.H. seems to be implying in that unfinished statement that at least some scientists believe as a result of their disciplines, not in spite of them.

    You might as well be right. But even then, that would also be a far cry from what Cornelius pretends it to be.

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  10. Cornelius,

    Evolution is not driven by atheism, materialism, naturalism, secular humanism, etc. Evolutionists are not necessarily atheists, and in fact often are not. And evolution entails religious claims.

    No, evolution does not entail religious claims at all. I presented you with evidence of our common ancestry with the other apes. Not once did you show me any dependence of the data on me having to pray or anything like that. I also fail to see why would you cartoonize evolution with all those "drivers" when it is obvious that evolution the phenomenon is driven by variation and selection, and that the science is driven by empirical evidence. Anything else is just your attempt at discrediting the science.

    Science is hardly the cartoon world Rose imagines it to be.

    I doubt he was trying to present any cartoon. But who knows. That was just a conversation. As all conversations, doomed to be incomplete and, with some training in rhetoric, easy to misrepresent, as you beautifully exemplify.

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  11. Evolution is undergirded by religious and emotional motives just like global warming believers because everything is evidence for it or easily accommodated by it. Recently Al Gore said that the increased snow and cold was the result of global warming. Just like evolution then, whatever happens in the weather is evidence for global warming. Both are driven more by money and politics than by scientific methodology.

    The Stanford Prison psychological experiment sheds a little light on how people can be influenced into bad behavior. Scientists are not exempt.

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  12. Neal,

    Evolution is undergirded by religious and emotional motives

    How can you say that if you did not gave me any specifics about how any of the evidences I presented to you required me to think of gods before looking at them? Can you even slightly think that you might be biased against evolution so much that you see what's not there?

    just like global warming believers because everything is evidence for it or easily accommodated by it.

    I don't think so. Nor do I see how "easily accommodated" would make evolution or global warming a religion. Your opposition to evolution is 100% religious. Nothing to do with evidence. Your attacks to evolution are rather after-thoughts, unsustainable ones at it. So, if religions can accommodate anything, how come you can't accommodate evolution into yours?

    As for global warming, it is a bit of a misleading name for the thing we are facing. Overall, in average, the Earth is warming up. But temperatures don't just rise evenly around the planet. Lots of ice has melted at the poles, big chunks are being broken from the main ice caps. We now have a corridor that was not there before north of Canada. These are undeniable facts. Local weather suffers as a consequence, but this does not mean we have less snow, but that we have crazier weather than usual. Weather is the result of several factors. This is why it is so hard to predict.

    These things should be easier for you to understand. Weather is not the same as global warming, but global warming does indeed affect the weather, yet in unpredictable ways. That we have a severe snow storm does not mean the average temperature is not increasing. Can you understand that at all?

    Anyway, why would you rather be unreasonable about such things? Did you really expect uniform increases in temperature? If so, why do you think weather has been such a hard problem for so many years? Wouldn't you expect that, fi weather is directly related to average temp then predicting the weather would be a piece of cake?

    (Of course, since we can't predict the weather there must be gods in charge of it! That is the creationist rule, right? Complexity == gods, more complexity ======== The Christian God!)

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  14. Neal,

    Do you think Gravity is a natural secondary cause of God?

    If so, with the exception of an occasional miracle, this excludes God from constantly pushing and pulling on objects according to their mass. As such, one could claim that gravitational theory is religions and therefore bad science.

    Since physicists are so convinced that gravity, is a natural force, rather than a supernatural force, it seems the've made metaphysical claims as well. As such, how could they possibly critically examine the evidence to the contrary?

    We observe violations of gravitational theory at the very small scale (When gravity interacts with the strong nuclear force) and very large scale (at extremely hight energies.) We do not have a working theory of quantum gravity. No one has observed the curvature of space and time. We do not feel gravity, we feel the earth's resistance as our bodies fall to its center, etc., ad nauseum.

    After all, the phenomena of apples falling an planets moving could be due to one or more intelligent agents that pull and push objects according to their mass. Or it could be that gravity is actually unstable, but some intelligent agent constantly intercedes to offset the variation.

    Of course, we don't see theists such as yourself waiving their hands about how gravitational theory is bad science because gravity, as a secondary cause of God, doesn't conflict with their particular theological views.

    Do you expect me to believe this is merely a coincidence. rather than a transparent attempt to attack a field of science you don't like?

    Where's the outrage over gravitational theory? Where's the outrage over semiconductor research, which depends on a myriad of other scientific theories that could be considered religious as well?

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  15. Negative Entrophy said, "Lots of ice has melted at the poles, big chunks are being broken from the main ice caps. We now have a corridor that was not there before north of Canada. These are undeniable facts."

    -----

    Ice melts every year in the summertime! Overall global sea ice extant is near average. Global ocean temps have been cooling since 2003. A significant trend in thickening of arctic ice since 2009 is occuring even though ocean currents are reducing the overall arctic ice extent. The climategate scandal and UN climate reports have shown an incredible tendency by some scientists to bias the data in their favor... another "ends justifies the means" mentality... perhaps this is why evolutionists lie to school children.

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  16. Scott, We observe and measure gravity. We do not observe macro-evolutionary changes. All you have is subjective interpretation of the fossil record and a huge assumption of unity of evolution at all levels.

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  17. Neal, great to find you here! I'm still waiting for your answer on the organ of Corti. I already explained this twice in the original post. You seem to have skipped both comments, so here it goes again:

    1) As Pedant pointed out, it is stupid to claim that to find something unique in a group somehow disproves macroevolution. Such a feature would simply be a synapomorphy.

    2) It is even dumber to ask for the feature to be found in the extant diapsid "reptiles", which belong to a completely different clade. The absence of hair in "reptiles" also disproves evolution?

    3) The factual component of your claim is also wrong. The structure known as the organ of Corti in mammals is called basilar papilla in all the other tetrapods. It has the same hair cells, it's also located in the cochlea and serves the same function. It's a plesiomorphy. The particular configuration of the organ of Corti (the true synapomorphy) is slightly modified from the ancestral versions of the basilar papilla. Its also different between monotremes and eutherians.

    So, what was your "good presentation of facts" to make such claim?

    You are very keen in dissing evidence from fields you have no idea about.

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  18. Neal,

    What par of "a corridor that was not there" do you not understand? Was not there means was not there. I am not talking about a summertime corridor, I am talking something that truly was not there. Did you think I did not know that ice caps melt in summertime? They have melted much more than previously. Do you understand "much more"? This is undeniable. Lots of the north tundra that never melted before is meting now. We are losing species up there because of lack of ice and snow covering what was covered all year round.

    Again, what part of "weather is not the same as average temperature" would you have trouble with?

    It is easy to deny what does not seem to affect you much, but if you lived up there you would have a very different picture of what's going on.

    Is it Christian duty to deny anything that would require you to do some effort? Is it Christian duty to destroy the planet while denying that there is any problem? I know that your god was supposed to tell something about reproducing and getting dominion over everything, but dominion is not destruction Neal. "Grow and multiply" does not mean to the point of having no space for growing your food, nor having no space for energy, nor ... and so on and so forth. I mean, if there were just two humans, it makes sense to multiply a lot, but if there are billions, it does not make as much sense.

    Anyway. I know, Christians have to be blind to reason. I got it. Keep showing how dangerous your religion is.

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  19. Neal:
    Scott, We observe and measure gravity. We do not observe macro-evolutionary changes.

    I'm sure you can't measure macroevolution, but scientists can. And they do it all the time. They can measure morphological, physiological, molecular, and even behavioural change between species. Ask me for references if you want.

    All you have is subjective interpretation of the fossil record and a huge assumption of unity of evolution at all levels.

    There you are, dissing scientists again. Is your interpretation of the fossil record as well informed as your claim about the organ of Corti?

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  20. Neal,

    A significant trend in thickening of arctic ice since 2009 is occuring even though ocean currents are reducing the overall arctic ice extent.

    False. That would cause elevation of the ice cap, and nobody is seeing such thing. What people see is cavities and newer cavities beneath the ice cap. Meaning it is melting both sides and all.

    The climategate scandal and UN climate reports have shown an incredible tendency by some scientists to bias the data in their favor...

    This is false too. The scandal is based on misunderstanding technicalities that allowed the scientists to show the trends regardless the normal year-to-year noise in variation of temperature. You should do a bit of better research instead of buying into the sensationalist press.

    another "ends justifies the means" mentality...

    On your part. You rather ignore the answers to those false claims about biases than go to the proper sources. As I said. Easier to swallow pseudoscience than to think, verify, and think for yourself. This is why fundies like yourself will win.

    perhaps this is why evolutionists lie to school children.

    I have not seen any such thing. What would those lies be?

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  21. Scott: Do you think Gravity is a natural secondary cause of God?

    Neal: Scott, We observe and measure gravity.

    Based on your comment, you're either a naive empiricist or portray yourself as one when it suits your agenda.

    We observe objects moving and we measure that motion. This is separate from what actually causes that motion, for which we use gravity as an explanation.

    We observe phenomena which we attribute to gravity, such falling apples and moving planets. What we have is a superior explanation of this phenomena: the curvature of space-time, which represents a, single, natural, uniform force.

    Of course, you could prove otherwise by presenting evidence that shows gravity is a fact.

    Nor did I fail to notice your attempt to change the subject.

    Falling apples are caused by God directly, as a secondary cause (with the occasional miracle) or he has nothing to do with it. Pick your poison.

    We can say the same about lighting, which was thought to be caused God's anger. God is either hurling lighting bolts at the earth, which makes him the direct cause of death and destruction, or he's not. You can't have it both ways.

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  22. Negative Entrophy, you assume that since I do not buy into the nonsense of the warmers that I don't care about the environment. It's an "either you are with us or you want to destroy the earth" argument. You also assume that the only issues with evolution are religious based. It's an "either you are an evolutionist or you are unscientific" argument.

    All of the billions that have gone into the global warming myth could have been much better spent dealing with real problems. All the money that Warmers have spent could have put clean water in ever village in Africa.

    Who was driving the SUV's and creating global warming when the Vikings were farming in Greenland and sailing to Ellesmere Island?

    It's all about control in disguise. Warmers want to forcefully control people and so do evolutionists.

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  23. Scott, we can directly observe falling apples. We can't observe macroevolution. You are trying to compare a historical interpretation of the fossil record with directly observing falling apples. That's where your analogy breaks down. Physicists are well aware that their theories on one level can't just be assumed to work on all levels from cosmic to quantum. Evolutionists plunge headlong into assuming small changes accumulated to have done everything in life. The only thing that bridges the gap is imagination and rhetoric.

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  24. An imagination gap bridged by biogeography and stratigraphy, comparative morphology, and molecular evidence. You can safely disregard all those silly arguments because you are very well informed on all those topics.

    Now, I'd like to know what how do you bridge the gap between the fall of an apple and the orbit of Mercury? The masses, forces, and distances involved in those two phenomena differ by many orders of magnitude. Those are certainly different levels.

    Still waiting for an answer about the organ of Corti. Should I explain it for a fourth time? (scroll up)

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  25. Neal: Scott, we can directly observe falling apples. We can't observe macroevolution.

    So, when called on your disingenuous argument, you move the goalpost from gravity to falling apples and hope no one notices?

    Either you don't know the difference between observed phenomena and the underlying explanation of that phenomena, or you're disingenuously applying in just the case of evolutionary theory.

    Neal: You are trying to compare a historical interpretation of the fossil record with directly observing falling apples. That's where your analogy breaks down.

    No, that's the argument YOUR trying to make. I'm still comparing evolution as a explanation for biological complexity (including the fossil record) with gravity as explanation of falling apples.

    So, not only have you moved the goalposts, but your putting words in my mouth as well?

    Physicists are well aware that their theories on one level can't just be assumed to work on all levels from cosmic to quantum.

    But evolutionists are somehow NOT aware of exceptions in the case of biogenesis, horizontal gene transfer, hybridization, etc.? Really?

    Evolutionists plunge headlong into assuming small changes accumulated to have done everything in life.

    Again, that's the disingenuous argument YOUR trying to make.

    My position is that all observations are theory laden, including observations of gravity. If you say a falling apple is an observation of gravity, you're depending on the theory of gravity as an explanation for that motion, among a myriad of others.

    Evolution is the best explanation of the biological complexity we observe. To deny this would be similar to denying that gravity is the best explanation of falling apples, moving planets, etc. This is to say that science can reliably differentiate between competing explanations.

    The only thing that bridges the gap is imagination and rhetoric.

    Again, you could clear all this up by simply presenting evidence which shows gravity is a fact, rather than an explanation. Of course, we're still waiting for that best fit hierarchy for iPods, so I'm not holding my breath.

    Like Cornelius, it seems you're skepticism of evolution represents a form of solipsism, in that biological complexity represents a boundary were human reasoning and problem solving ceases to function.

    For example, take the following question: Do you think science explained anything, let alone biological complexity?

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  26. Negative Entropy-

    ""perhaps this is why evolutionists lie to school children.""

    "I have not seen any such thing. What would those lies be?""

    In my opinion the use of Haeckle's faked embryonic drawings in textbooks qualifies as a lie.

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  27. Neal,

    You keep avoiding my question. I'll repeat it for your convenience.

    Do you think Gravity is a natural secondary cause of God?

    Falling apples are caused by God directly, as a secondary cause (with the occasional miracle) or he has nothing to do with it. Pick your poison.


    Your silence on this issue speaks volumes.

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  28. So Neal,

    let me summarize your position about global warming:

    1. You started with "it is not happening"
    2. Now it is happening but nobody was driving SUVs when greenland was green.

    That is called moving the goal posts and shows that you only care about appearance of exchange, but you just don't care, as long as you can call the scientific community liars, one way or another.

    Well, I am no climatologist. I hear and read, and I conclude that this is real. No way around. It is happening. Seems like this is due to human activity more than anything else. Sure, we have had natural ice ages, and warming, and such before. Does that mean we are innocent? I doubt it.

    That's it. I see I cannot convince you to check beyond your sources of misinformation. That will always be up to you.

    How can "warmers" and "evolutionists" control people? I don't see any connection. Your religion on the other hand seems to be all about keeping you ignorant. Why would that be?

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  29. natschuster,

    I have checked the allegations about Haeckel's embryos. It all false.

    1. Haeckel did not fake any embryos. he copied from somewhere else, and his failure was that he erased a few structures here and there. But, those who have checked the originals from which Haeckel copied, have seen that there was nothing worse that those erasures.

    2. Of all the textbooks that I checked from one creationist web-site I checked, only one was using Haeckel's embryos, but they took them from a secondary source, meaning they might not have known these were Haeckel's. Still, even in that case, Haeckel's recapitulation idea was mentioned as wrong.

    3. As above, any mention to recapitulation, if existing, was about Haeckel proposing recapitulation but being wrong.

    4. Displayed embryos that look like Haeckel's do so only superficially. If you look carefully (there is a superimposition made by your creationists quacks), there are differences, and those seem to correct Haeckel's modifications as far as I see. Again, recapitulation is never described as true.

    5. Embryos still show similarities (similarities is not the same as recapitulation), and those similarities can betray common ancestry where adult forms might not be as clear. This is why embryos are illustrated in biology textbooks. Some embryos are photographs (I have seen creationists still claiming that these photographs are Haeckel's embryos, which is ridiculous). When a structure is missing the caption says so. For instance, I remember my textbook said "amniotic bad in whichever panel removed to be able to illustrate the similarity of such and such."

    So, no lies whatsoever. Only creationist propaganda.

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  31. Negative Entropy,
    How can "warmers" and "evolutionists" control people?

    Obviously, evolution is a commie plan to deprive people from our freedom to use antibiotics anyway we want.

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  32. "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

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  33. Scott:
    Evolution is the best explanation of the biological complexity we observe.

    Except there isn't any evidence that blind, undirected chemical processes can construct a functional multi-part system.

    So exactly what kind of explanation is it?

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  34. Geoxus:
    I'm sure you can't measure macroevolution, but scientists can. And they do it all the time. They can measure morphological, physiological, molecular, and even behavioural change between species. Ask me for references if you want.

    OK provide the reference that demonstrates how many mutations it takes to go from a land mammal to a fully aquatic cetacean.

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  35. pedant:
    That argument also demolishes Dembski’s “Explanatory Filter:” If an observation is not explained by Law or Chance, then it must have been caused by Design.

    Except that is NOT what the EF says. IOW your ignorance is showing, again.

    pedant:
    But human and animal design are explainable by law and chance, so Design entails a supernatural agency.

    Unfortuantely for you human and animal designs are not explainable by law and chance.

    You just make shit up as you go don't you?

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  36. Negative Entropy:
    I presented you with evidence of our common ancestry with the other apes.

    That same evodence can be used for a common design.

    And there isn't any evidence that the changes required are even possible. IOW there isn't any way to test the claim that only common ancestry can explain the evidence.

    It is all faith.

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  37. Scott:
    Since physicists are so convinced that gravity, is a natural force, rather than a supernatural force, it seems the've made metaphysical claims as well.

    Too bad there isn't any evidence that nature produced gravity- meaning there isn't any evidence that gravity is a natural force other than it exists in nature. But so do my cars but they are artificial.

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  38. Joe:"Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

    Joe,

    Quote mine often?

    Einstein: "I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism."

    So, in posting this quote, you're either disingenuously equivocating on the word 'religion' or your ignorance is showing, yet again.

    For example, if feeling humility in the presence of nature's magnificent structures is religion, then you could say I'm religious. If saying there is some moral axis to the natural universe, because aligning ourselves with this axis reduces suffering, is religion, then you could say I'm religious. If you define religion as getting up in the morning and going to sleep at night, then you could say i'm religious.

    In other words, despite your disingenuous attempt to suggest otherwise, is seems Einstein did NOT think a personal, anthropomorphic God that concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings was necessary for science.

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  39. Scott, I believe that God created the laws of physics and the universe. but,let's break your argument apart a little more. We can observe apples falling. We can observe planets revolving around stars and moons around planets. While we can observe small changes in biological systems no one has ever observed the kind of change needed to support the claim that all life is the result of evolutionary processes.

    Physicists call the attraction between masses gravity. The important point is that there is an observation. Newton, Enstein and others attempted to explain this attraction that they OBSERVED. Physicists will agree that these explanations of their observations are not complete.

    Evolutionists are first making the unobserved assumption that life is the result of evolutionary processes and we just need to figure out how.

    But, what we actually observe is a fossil record. What we actually observe realtime is small scale change. If you define evolution as simply change, then sure, everyone agrees that it is a fact. But, of course, the controversy is with the grand assumption that all of life is the result of purely evolutionary processes.

    You're confusing observation with subjective interpretation of the fossil record and making assumptions that small scale changes add up. Observations of small scale mutations show that there are real problems with making such assumptions. What we observe is some tweeking of the existing genes with limitations to directional change.

    Physicists test General Relativity to see if it can accurately predict cosmic as well as quantum phenomenon. We do not have a law of General Relativity and then force physicists to make theories to explain it for all levels. But this is essentially what evolutionists are doing in biology.

    Creationists are mocked because, they said, "everyone knows that evolution is a fact... from flu shots to growing bigger tomatoes", it's an observed fact. This is a strawman argument, because the grand assumption that small scale change adds up to account for all of life is unfounded and contradictory to what we actually can observe. Evolutionists are depending upon an unnatural, astronomically impossible lottery of mutations. They fall back to the "show it couldn't happen" argument. When we show them it couldn't happen, they fall back to their lotto position. Perhaps erosion could carve Mt Rushmore too and just the right rain storm could produce falling Big Macs too.

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  40. Joe G,

    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
    Albert Einstein

    I like quoting Einstein. Know why? Because nobody dares contradict you.
    Studs Terkel, as quoted by Oliver Burkeman, "Voice of America", The Guardian, 1 March 2002

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  41. Neal, still ignoring my rebuttal of your organ of Corti argument?

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  42. Joe G:
    OK provide the reference that demonstrates how many mutations it takes to go from a land mammal to a fully aquatic cetacean.

    There are no magic minimal numbers of mutations for morphological change. That's cartoon evolution. Also, you can't measure the actual divergence from extinct taxa. The closest and rough approximation would be a whole-genome alignment between something like a pig and a very basal cetacean. You can start looking for the mutations from there. But evolution is wasteful, most of the changes you'd find would be irrelevant, you'll never get any minimal number.

    Here is a ref for whole genome alignment:
    doi: 10.1093/nar/27.11.2369

    It's for bacteria, I didn't have much time right now. If you're really interested I will look for something on metazoan application.

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  43. Me,
    Also, you can't measure the actual divergence from extinct taxa.

    When I said that I meant genetic divergence from fossil taxa.

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  44. Negative Entropy:

    1: In the March 2000, issue of Natural History Magazine, Stephen Jay Gould did express outrage at the use of Haeckel's drawings in a century's worth of biology textbooks.

    2: I saw Haeckels drawings or close copies in the following textbooks:

    Living Environment
    Rick Hallman
    Amsco 2000

    Biology: The study of life
    William Schraer, Herbert Stoltze
    Prentice Hall 1995

    Biologia (Spanish)
    Kenneth Miller PhD. Joseph Levie PhD.
    PRentice Hall 2004

    In each book the drawings were presented as evidence of recapitulation theory and evolution.

    Now, should I believe you or my own eyes?

    Since I provided the names and publishers you can check fopr youirself

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  45. One thing I didn't see in the textbooks was the fact the gastrula don't look all that much alike, and mammalian blastual are so different that they arte given another name. They are called blastocysts.

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  46. Geoxus, I believe you still need to explain the evolutionary development of the organ of Corti. The ball has been in your court since the beginning of this discussion. Saying that reptiles have a counterpart is not an answer. Reptiles do not have the organ of Corti and mammals do. If we are to fill in the blank with our imaginations then just say so, but don't hold out like you've actually got evidence if you can't justify your claims.

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  47. Neal,

    You're missing the point that your argument was irrelevant and misconstrued. There was no reason to expect the organ of Corti to be present in a completely separate clade as the diapsid "reptiles". And nowhere you show how this should be evidence against macroevolution.

    Even so, I pointed to a structure with the same location in the cochlear duct, same highly specialised cell-types, and the same function. And that's not enough for you. The thing screams homology all over! A pre-evolutionary Richard Owen would have agreed.

    Explain what you think needs to be explained: what are the radical differences between the organ of Corti and the basilar papillae of other tetrapods? Are they more different than the stomach of a cow is from the stomach of a man? What kind of "evolutionary development" explanation do you need?

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  48. Putting more though in Joe G question, you could attempt to make an ancestral state reconstruction with the alignment and a good phylogeny, but branches would be so long that I'm not sure it would be very reliable.

    http://mesquiteproject.org/mesquite1.01/mesquite_folder/docs/mesquite/CharacterEvolution/AncestralStates.html

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  49. @JoeG

    Concerning

    “That same evodence can be used for a common design.”

    I would like to ask you if you could give details how evidence for common descent can be use as evidence for common design. Please be as specific as possible. Take whatever evidence that has been presented for common descent what you like.

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  50. "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

    Scott:
    Quote mine often?

    That isn't a quote-mine.

    And I never said nor implied Einstein said anything about a pesonal God.

    IOW you are the ignorant one, once again...

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  51. second opinion:
    I would like to ask you if you could give details how evidence for common descent can be use as evidence for common design.

    Do you know/ understand the evidence for universal common descent? Most, if not all, is based on similarities.

    Geez just look at Theobalds 29+ evidences and each one can be used for a common design.

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  52. Geoxus:
    There are no magic minimal numbers of mutations for morphological change.

    No one even knows if the transformations required are even possible.

    Putting more though in Joe G question, you could attempt to make an ancestral state reconstruction with the alignment and a good phylogeny, but branches would be so long that I'm not sure it would be very reliable.

    Common design and convergence can explain genetic and morphological similarities.

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  53. @JoeG

    So how does biogeography support common design?
    How exactly does the universal genetic code support common design?

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  54. second opinion:
    So how does biogeography support common design?

    How does it support universal common descent?

    second opinion:
    How exactly does the universal genetic code support common design?

    Are you serious? Well the same way a universal OS would support a common design- if it is universal it is common.

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  56. Joe G

    I would appreciate if you read the evidences I presented, then repeat the "the same evidence can be used for common design."

    Also, for common design you would have to find me a designer. But do remember first to read those evidences. You will see that "common designer" would be a lousy explanation, if explanation at all (under the thesis theses OP). Make sure you explain here how each is evidence for common design. You might start with how biogeographic ideas lead us to finding hominid fossils that betray human evolution by looking where we find our closest relatives today (but don't forget the other evidences, I just gave you the first).

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  57. @JoeG

    Why did the designer use one universal genetic code?

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  58. second opinion:
    So why did the designer not design different genetic codes?

    Why did different codes not evolve via blind, undirected chemical processes?

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  59. Negative Entropy:
    I would appreciate if you read the evidences I presented, then repeat the "the same evidence can be used for common design."

    I have read the evidence for UCD.

    Also, for common design you would have to find me a designer.

    Why? Design implies a designer and we still don't know who designed Stonhenge so the who is irrelevant to detecting design.

    You might start with how biogeographic ideas lead us to finding hominid fossils that betray human evolution by looking where we find our closest relatives today (but don't forget the other evidences, I just gave you the first).

    YOU might want to start with the genetic evidence that demonstrates the transformations required are even possible.

    But heck you can't even produce any evidence for the construction of protein machinery.

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  60. second opinion:
    Why did the designer use one universal genetic code?

    Why did blind, undirected chemical processes construct and settle on one genetic code?

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  61. @JoeG

    "Why did the designer use one universal genetic code?

    Why did blind, undirected chemical processes construct and settle on one genetic code?"

    So you don't claim that there is any difference between a blind, undirected process and the influence of an intelligent agency?

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  62. second opinion:
    So you don't claim that there is any difference between a blind, undirected process and the influence of an intelligent agency?

    There isn't any evidence that blind, undirected processes can construct a code. OTOH we have plenty of evidence of intelligent agenicies doing so.

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  63. Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.

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  64. In order to maybe make this more productive:

    We humans have inherited the universal genetic code from the universal common ancestor. That is why we have it. So why did the designer equip us with that code?

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  65. "Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive."

    Actually... No.

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  66. second opinion:
    We humans have inherited the universal genetic code from the universal common ancestor.

    That is what you say however you don't have any evidence for that. And that does not explain the origin of the code.

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  67. "Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive."

    second opinion:
    Actually... No.

    You don't know much about nutrition, do you?

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  68. second opinion:
    So why did the designer equip us with that code?

    Nutrition- we need to survive and couldn't do that unless the genetic make-up was very similar.

    Also it doesn't make any sense to keep reinventing the wheel...

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  69. @JoeG

    Come on! Just tell me why did the designer put the same genetic code in all the species? It clearly is not because it was inherited!

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  70. natschuster,

    1. I don't care what Gould expressed or not about a century use of Haeckel's drawings. I only care if they used them wrong. As far as I remember, and I remember quite long ago, recapitulation has been told to be wrong. Then, if they used the drawings not knowing about any frauds, then that is not lying, that is making a mistake.

    2. Miller and Levine's textbook. I read several editions, all mention Haeckel's recapitulation as wrong. None had Haeckel's drawings. Maybe your version Spanish is wrongly translated. The one I read in Spanish long ago was fine though (edition probably 2000). I also found a web page:

    http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/embryos/Haeckel.html

    Mentions Haeckel's recapitulation as wrong. It also said that they changed the drawings after reading an article about Haeckel's modifications to the drawings. They changed the drawings in 1998. So, your edition in Spanish might not be a 2004 edition after all. Still, recapitulation has been told wrong since my days as an undergraduate, long before 1998.

    I can't find anything on the other two books. While I might believe that such old editions had Haeckel's embryo drawings, I doubt they mention recapitulation as right. I was taught that recapitulation was wrong during the 80's.

    As I said, I researched several examples from a creationist web site, and none mentioned recapitulation as right. Only one was using Haeckel's drawings, but indirectly. All the books in that web site were old editions. You mention an edition of 2000, and an edition of 1995. So? Which lies? Lying happens when you know you are using the wrong stuff, and you don't change it. But if you discover an error and correct it, how is that lying?

    As for differences in other stages, if you are showing which features can help find evolutionary clues, you show which features are those. There is only so much space in a textbook.

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  71. Joe G,

    Excuse me, but it was you who said that the same evidence that I presented could be used for common design. So, it is you who should show how that evidence is evidence for common design.

    So, if you can't, just say so.

    I don't need to tell you how the first protein evolved to show you that we are relatives of the other apes. I don't need detailed genetics of the changes either. All I need is the evidence, and the evidence shows that we are relatives of those other apes. Now, you said the same evidence could be used for common design. Show so.

    Also, Stonehenge was built during human presence, thus we can infer design. If those stones were there before any humans, then we would not be able to claim design. We would have a fantastic puzzle.

    Since we see evidence pointing to natural explanations for our common ancestry with the other apes, there is no need for adding a designer when none seemed to have existed. Thus, you have to show me a designer first. So?

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  72. Joe G,

    OK provide the reference that demonstrates how many mutations it takes to go from a land mammal to a fully aquatic cetacean.

    Why would we need this? We have the fossils, the embryology, and the molecular evidence. Why would we need a precise number of mutations?

    Do you need a precise number and order of mutations to prove that we can derive dog breeds? Do we need that to demonstrate that we can produce dog breeds that can smell better than any wolf? Or is it enough to produce such breeds?

    Well, the evidence for the cetacean evolution is that good. The evidence for our common ancestry with he other apes is that good. Figuring out the precise genetic changes is interesting, challenging, beautiful, worth doing. Same about how the dog breeds were possible. But it is not necessary to know that we are relatives to the other apes, nor to know that we can and have produced dog breeds with such and such characteristics. We know that already.

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  73. second opinion:
    Just tell me why did the designer put the same genetic code in all the species?

    Why are you asking me?

    If you don't like the deign inference just demonstrate that blind, undirected chemical processes can construct the genetic code.

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  74. Negative Entropy:
    Excuse me, but it was you who said that the same evidence that I presented could be used for common design. So, it is you who should show how that evidence is evidence for common design.

    I am going by the evidence I have read about in biology textbooks- universal genetic code, nested hierarchies, genetic similarities, etc.

    I don't need to tell you how the first protein evolved to show you that we are relatives of the other apes.

    Except you cannot show anyone we are related to all apes via common descent.

    All I need is the evidence, and the evidence shows that we are relatives of those other apes.

    Except there isn't any evidence that the transformations required are even possible.

    IOW you don't have anything but speculation based on the assumption.

    Also, Stonehenge was built during human presence, thus we can infer design.

    That's not how it works.

    Since we see evidence pointing to natural explanations for our common ancestry with the other apes, there is no need for adding a designer when none seemed to have existed.

    Except that evidence doesn't exist.

    Thus, you have to show me a designer first.

    You don't understand how science operates. If we knew the designer then we wouldn't have a design inference.

    IOW you want proof and science doesn't operate like that.

    However if you had some way of objectively testing your claims then you would have something.

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  75. Negative Entropy:
    We have the fossils, the embryology, and the molecular evidence.

    None of that supports your claims.

    For one there are only a small handful of fossils. For another embryology doesn;'t help and there isn't anything in molecular biology that demonstrates the changes required are even possible.

    Dog breeds- for all their differences they are still dogs.

    Fruit flies- allegedly they have evolved new genes in 35 million years- however they are all still fruit flies!

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  77. Joe G,

    If you don't like the deign inference just demonstrate that blind, undirected chemical processes can construct the genetic code.

    No need. We see evidence for common descent. Our common ancestry with the other apes is true beyond reasonable doubt. So, we inherited the genetic code from our common ancestor. We can extend evidence and show common ancestry with many more species, and conclude that we all inherited the genetic code from a common ancestor. Starting elsewhere, we can find evidence, just as good of their common ancestries, and thus their genetic codes were inherited from their common ancestors. Maybe we will have difficulty joining the ancestries of everything at some point. But, since natural explanations have sufficed, why stop there and make a wish for a designer that nobody has shown to exist in the first place?

    Then, since natural processes do produce quite complicated stuff. Since we understand the relationship between information and energy, since long et cetera. Thus, while we might still not know the details, it makes sense that life could have originated by natural processes. "Undirected" might be the wrong word however. If meant to mean "without intelligent direction," then yes, it is undirected. If meant to mean "chaotic," then no. Natural processes have directions and predictable behaviours, which make them anything but "undirected" in that sense.

    Have a great weekend ladies and gentlemen!

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  78. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  79. Joe: IOW there isn't any way to test the claim that only common ancestry can explain the evidence.

    Joe, you seem to be confused. Evolution suggest that common ancestry is the best explanation, not the only explanation.

    Joe: Unfortuantely for you human and animal designs are not explainable by law and chance.

    Well, at least you've admitted it publicly.

    Of course, it's also likely that Joe thinks that reasoning and intelligence cannot be explained by law and chance either.

    Both of which would represent a boundary where human reasoning and problem solving cannot make progress. Essentially, it's a variant of solipsism.

    Joe, has science explained anything, let alone biological complexity?

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  80. Joe G,

    Now you are just being stubborn. You claimed agains the evidence I presented, yet, when challenged, all you have is empty denial. Fine by me. It is your decision. There is a point where it is better not to continue. Nothing to be gained by either of us.

    Adios.

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  81. Negative Entropy:
    We see evidence for common descent.

    Good for you. Too bad you can't verify what you see.

    Our common ancestry with the other apes is true beyond reasonable doubt.

    Yet there isn't any genetic evidence that demonstrates the changes required are even possible.

    But, since natural explanations have sufficed, why stop there and make a wish for a designer that nobody has shown to exist in the first place?

    Except natural explanations have not sufficed. That is the problem. You don't get to just say they have sufficed and it becomes so.

    Ya see Negative Entropy you still don't have any evidence that those "natural" processes can construct functional multi-part systems. And there isn't any way that natural processes can account for the origins of nature because natural processes only exist in nature.

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  82. Joe G:
    And I never said nor implied Einstein said anything about a pesonal God.

    So I guess you don't mind if we do some replacing...

    Science without unbounded admiration for the structure of the world is lame; unbounded admiration for the structure of the world without science is blind.

    Yeah, I can live with that. What was the point, again?

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  83. Scott:
    Evolution suggest that common ancestry is the best explanation, not the only explanation.

    Yet there isn't any way to test it.

    Unfortuantely for you human and animal designs are not explainable by law and chance.

    Scott:
    Well, at least you've admitted it publicly.

    I would think that everyone has. If something is explainable by law and/ or chance then we do not infer a designer was required.

    Of course, it's also likely that Joe thinks that reasoning and intelligence cannot be explained by law and chance either.

    Can those laws be explained by law and chance?

    Both of which would represent a boundary where human reasoning and problem solving cannot make progress.

    This is where you just say anything, got it.

    Joe, has science explained anything, let alone biological complexity?

    Yes.

    Don't get so upset just because your position can't explain anything...

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  84. And I never said nor implied Einstein said anything about a pesonal God.

    Geoxus:
    So I guess you don't mind if we do some replacing...

    If that is the best you can do...

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  85. Negative Entropy:
    Now you are just being stubborn. You claimed agains the evidence I presented, yet, when challenged, all you have is empty denial. Fine by me. It is your decision. There is a point where it is better not to continue. Nothing to be gained by either of us.

    Are you saying your evidence for the alleged common ancestry of humans and apes is not based on similar genetics, including alleged shared mistakes and chromosomal fusion, along with similar morphologies? Then perhaps you should post it again- or a link to it.

    Do you have any idea why PCs are so similar yet are made by different companies? Hint- common design.

    Do you have any idea why there are industry standards?

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  86. Joe G:
    No one even knows if the transformations required are even possible.

    Yes we know, the fossil record of whale evolution is extremely detailed. You almost couldn't have picked a worse example for your case.

    Common design and convergence can explain genetic and morphological similarities.

    Yes, common design can explain anything. Uncommon design can explain anything. Self-formation by spirits possessing matter can explain anything. And when you get asked the "why"s and the "how"s, you can simply reply: "Because the designer(s) fancied it".

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  88. Joe G,

    Of course we have evidence that natural processes suffice as explanation. Your ignorance does not count as anything. You keep claiming that "Yet there isn't any genetic evidence that demonstrates the changes required are even possible." Which changes are those? What is your evidence that they are not possible? What is your magical barrier? Again, if I see fossils that look almost as if we were computationally morphing a land-living animal into a whale, then they are evidence that whales evolved from land-living animals. I don't care how much you speculate that this is impossible, it happened. If I see that the embryos of whales go through stages similar to those of land-living animals, then they are relatives to land-living animals. Their embryos seem to be about to develop legs exactly in the same way as land-living animals, then they are relatives of those animals. If I see that the DNA sequences show them to be very similar to land-living animals, and all of the above, then they are relatives of those animals. No empty claim such as "you don't have evidence that the genetic changes required are even possible" works because the evidence shows that it was evidently possible.

    Same for our ancestry with the other apes. I see the many lines of evidence, thus it did happen. Claim as you wish, it still happened, the evidence will not disappear. Your "handful" of fossils are still there showing transitions from old ape form to human, with intermediate brian capacities and other anatomical give-aways. They were found because people looked where biogeography suggested. We share those parasitic inserted sequences. The same molecular data used for paternity testing show them to be far removed relatives ... long et cetera. So, hold to those straws. Me, I know the evidence, and I cannot but accept it for what it shows.

    I sure can verify what I see. I have. I continue to.

    I don't know what you wanted to say about "origins of nature," but even then no amount of gaps in human knowledge will make the evidence of our common ancestry with the other apes disappear. It is there to stay. Move the goal posts as much as you want, yet the evidence stays. Try and see.

    Now truly adios amigo. I think there is nothing else to say. Talk to you much later.

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  89. Do you have any idea why there are industry standards?

    Yes, of course, the designer you cannot show to have existed had to comply with those standards so that parts would be interchangeable with those designs by other designers that you cannot show to have existed either.

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  90. Joe G:

    "Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive."

    Bwahaha. It doesn't get much dumber than that. For the same set of amino acids and any given protein P, you can shuffle the codon->aa table around as much as you like and still be able to produce P.

    Besides, even if entirely different aa's were involved, why wouldn't we be able to digest them?

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  91. Scott: Evolution suggest that common ancestry is the best explanation, not the only explanation.

    Joe: Yet there isn't any way to test it.

    You'll have to do better than repeating your usual canned response, Joe.

    Are you suggesting there isn't a way to determine if one explanation is better than another? Really?

    Are you suggesting there isn't a way to determine if evolution provides an superior explanation of the biological complexity we observe compared to other theories?

    Joe: Unfortuantely for you human and animal designs are not explainable by law and chance.

    Scott: Well, at least you've admitted it publicly.

    Joe: I would think that everyone has. If something is explainable by law and/ or chance then we do not infer a designer was required.

    That's not what you said, Joe.

    You asserted that human and animal designs are not explainable by law and chance. You've just admitted to holding a presupposition that excludes law and chance from ever possibly explaining human and animal designs.

    Essentially, you've drawn an arbitrary boundary where human reason and problem solving can no longer make progress. Solipsism draws a boundary around the mind / brain, but you've a boundary around biological complexity.

    Regardless of what we observe; regardless of what we discover, you'll just keep saying that law and chance can't explain biological complexity. You've taken it off the table as an explanation.

    To illustrate my point, lets assume we jumped in a time machine and traveled five million years in the future. When we arrive, we're presented with detailed observations that show blatant examples of macroevolution. Rather than say these observations were due to law and chance, you could always claim that they were pre-programmed into our genome by some intelligent designer billions of years ago; what merely appeared to be random mutations, were actually intentional directed changes caused by a non-material designer we could not detect., etc. ad nauseum.

    Again, this is because you've drawn a boundary at biological complexity, which you consider fundamentally incomprehensible by human reason and problem solving.

    Scott: Of course, it's also likely that Joe thinks that reasoning and intelligence cannot be explained by law and chance either.

    Joe: Can those laws be explained by law and chance?

    I'm asking you, Joe. If you've taken biological complexity off the table, it's probably a given that reasoning and intelligence are off the table as well.

    Scott: Joe, has science explained anything, let alone biological complexity?

    Joe: Yes.

    Care to enlighten us as to what that might be?

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  92. Joe G:
    Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.

    second opinion:
    Actually... No.

    Joe G.
    You don't know much about nutrition, do you?

    Hahaha... Sorry, didn't realise you were a satirist. You should send your stuff to Colbert.

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  93. NG:

    So Hackle's faked drawings where used until the 1980's. That's almost a centuries worth of fraud.

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  94. And, if recapitulationm theory is wrong, wy do they bother with embryonic drawings, anyway?

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  95. Here's a ling to the Schraer and Schtoltze book:

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1254

    I know its from the discovery institute, but I did see this with my own eyes.

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  96. Neal: Scott, I believe that God created the laws of physics and the universe.

    My argument has two points.

    The first address the claim that a domain represents bad science or cannot examine evidence objectively because it makes metaphysical claims. However, In suggesting that gravity is a secondary cause of God, you must exclude it as a direct cause of God. As such, It's unclear how this does not represent a metaphysical claim, which should render it "bad science", according to CH.

    While we can observe small changes in biological systems no one has ever observed the kind of change needed to support the claim that all life is the result of evolutionary processes.

    However, observations of orbiting planets and apples falling are the kind of motions need to support the claim that they are all caused by a single, natural, uniform law? Again, given the supposed metaphysical claim above, how can we objectively evaluate evidence in the case of gravity since we assume it's a natural law?

    Do you see the problem here? I'm suggesting this line of argument is merely hand waving in the case of evolutionary theory. Scientific conclusions are fine, just as long as they do not conflict with your religious beliefs.

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  97. Neal: Physicists call the attraction between masses gravity. The important point is that there is an observation. Newton, Einstein and others attempted to explain this attraction that they OBSERVED. Physicists will agree that these explanations of their observations are not complete.

    Any motion interpreted as attraction could also be interpreted as a push or a direct manipulation. So, the idea that objects are attracted to each other could also represent two objects being pushed together. Or they could be directly positioned, moment by moment, by an intelligent agent. After all if a mere mortal can move an object in a circular motion around another object roughly based on it's mass, I'm guessing a more advanced designer could do so with much better accuracy and consistency. And an abstract designer, who has no limitations, could move an unlimited number of objects and do so with unlimited accuracy and consistency, right?

    According to CH, it seems that your metaphysical assumption that gravity is a natural force is preventing you from objectively interpreting the evidence. Bad science! (waves hands) Bad science!

    However, I'd suggest the real reason we accept gravity as an explanation of falling apples and orbiting planets is that adding an intelligent agent to the mix doesn't actually add to the explanatory power of the theory. The key here is that we're not talking about abstract movement of any kind, but specific movements that correlate with that object's mass.

    For example, a theory that the motions of the plants are caused by angels doesn't actually explain planetary motion. This is because it fails to explain why angels would move planets according to their mass. It's an explanation-less theory which is essentially a convoluted elaboration of gravitational theory. As such we discard it.

    Adding an angel to the mix doesn't add to the explanation of why planets move, which is precisely what gravitationally theory is all about. This is in contrast to supporting anyone's personal theological views about the cosmose, etc. Of course, in the case of gravity, there is no conflict with your theological views.

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  98. Neal: What we actually observe realtime is small scale change. If you define evolution as simply change, then sure, everyone agrees that it is a fact. But, of course, the controversy is with the grand assumption that all of life is the result of purely evolutionary processes.

    What we actually observe is not merely abstract small change but very specific small changes. The difference between what changes we do observe and the changes we do not observe represent part of the biological complexity we're trying to explain. Again, this is in contrast to supporting your personal theological views on human origins, which are necessary to support your theological views on sin, salvation, etc.

    Just like we no longer have Christian physics and Muslim algebra, the scientific explanation of biological complexity does not hinge on one's personal theological beliefs.

    You're confusing observation with subjective interpretation of the fossil record and making assumptions that small scale changes add up. Observations of small scale mutations show that there are real problems with making such assumptions. What we observe is some tweeking of the existing genes with limitations to directional change.

    Neal,

    Are you a creationist, in that the fossil record represents individual species that were created separately, either at once or staggered over time, or does your position represent one of many variants of intelligent design, in that some or all of the biological complexity we observe is due to a designer intentionally manipulated evolutionary processes?

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  99. natschuster: Here's a ling to the Schraer and Schtoltze book:

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1254


    As the diagram shows, embryos often do more closely resemble one another than their developed forms due to their divergence from common ancestors. They do not, however, recapitulate fully developed, primitive forms.

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  100. Hey natschuster,

    So Hackle's faked drawings where used until the 1980's. That's almost a centuries worth of fraud.

    No, they were not used to support recapitulation, and the "fraud" is not as if Haeckel faked the drawings, again, he had some missing parts. The creationists (and that first paper by ... Richardson?) miscompare them to stages that don't correspond to the ones drawn by those from which Haeckel made his versions. Some author traced later the originals, and was able to show exactly the changes made by Haeckel. Also, again, fraud is if you use them knowingly. Otherwise it is a mistake. Compare that to creationists insisting that drawings that were not made by Haeckel are Haeckel's, even photographs. This quite knowingly that those are neither Haeckel's, nor used to teach recapitulation as if it was true. This has been clarified enough times that creationists could have stopped talking about fraud, yet, they insist. Worse, they compare by doing the opposite to what Haeckel did, they exaggerate the differences. So who is being fraudulent? The textbook authors who have corrected the mistake, or the creationists who insist on calling a mistake a fraud, and on exaggerating the issue and insisting that recapitulation is being taught as true, when it has not been so? I believe those who correct their mistakes, and despise those who insist on calling any embryo drawings (and photographs!) "Haeckel's," and who insist that recapitulation is taught, when it is not so.

    And, if recapitulationm theory is wrong, wy do they bother with embryonic drawings, anyway?

    Because embryos do help discover common ancestries, and they show similar structures even if they are not identical. For instance, whales start developing legs (show leg buds), but then they reabsorb or develop only a few leg-like bones. Long et cetera. Development helps discover clues about common ancestries, which is not the same as the embryos going through evolutionary stages (recapitulation).

    Here's a ling to the Schraer and Schtoltze book:

    Well, these are not Haeckel's drawings. Have you seen Haeckel's? See also that it says that embryos of closely related species show similar patterns of development. Again, this is not the same as recapitulation. Our embryos are never fish, nor reptiles, and so on. Yet, they do show characteristics that betray evolutionary relationships. Neither because one hypothesis was wrong (recapitulation), nor because some author altered some drawings, will we renounce an excellent source of information (the embryo and comparative development). I would certainly not renounce a valid source of information just to make some noisy creationist quacks happy.

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  101. natschuster,

    Some impressions at a quick glance. Assuming there's no dishonesty from the DI here(big assumption), actually, that diagram does resemble Haeckel's, but you should note that there are important departures. The first stages of the chick, the pig and the human (why there's only a silhouette of the fish?) look much more different from each other than in Haeckel's originals and Romane's copy. Second stage embryos pig and human embryos also look much more different in this diagram. But, alas, the second stage of the chicken seems very inaccurate to me. The diencephalon, mesencephalon, and eyes should be much more prominent when the embryo has got the hind limb buds. I can't speak for the pig, I don't know much about it. Yet, again, the second stage embryos of the book are very different from Haeckel's (the pig and the human resemble each other much less; the chicken looks actually more accurate in Haeckel's drawings). I'm not sure what to make of this. Is it simply a very bad copy of Haeckel's or the authors intended to do some "corrections" to the original? Whatever it is, they did a bad work. I may try to ask one of the authors if I get some time. You could try it too.

    Some pics:
    http://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/wwwhuman/Stages/Images/Cst800.jpg
    http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/sgilber1/DB_lab/Chick/Chick_web_pages/Anisha_chick_page/main_chick%20page.htm
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/images/Haeckel-1874.jpg

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  102. Negative Entropy,

    I agree those are not Haeckel's drawins, but the diagram does seem based on Haeckel's originals. Haeckel or not, it doesn't seem very accurate to me. I'd agree it is a bad illustration. I agree entirely with the rest of your comment.

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  103. A layperson, e.g. me, would have a great deal of difficulty distinguishing the drawings in the book from Haeckles. The main difference I can see is the coloration.

    ReplyDelete
  104. The chicken, pig and human embryos in the second line in the Shtoltze book look just like the drawings in the Haeckle drawings.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Hi Geoxus,

    I still find lots of embryos photographed from that angle today. I guess some things become customary, like positioning embryos one way so that comparisons are easier to make. I agree that the ones in the link are awful illustrations. Maybe that's all they could afford back then.

    ---

    natschuster,

    I agree that for a lay person it would be hard to distinguish these from Haeckel's. Most importantly given the low quality of the illustrations. My comments about fraudulent creationists was not about you, but about those who sold you the idea. The creationist quacks who present these as "Haeckel's frauds still in textbooks today" should know much better. Seems to me that they actually rely on lay persons not being able to distinguish Haeckel's from anything else. They also count on you now knowing what recapitulation means so that you also buy into thinking that textbooks teach that as if true. As I told you, I was once presented with a creationist web site with about ten textbooks supposedly containing Haeckel's drawings and teaching recapitulation. Yet, I could see in the web site itself, that only one had Haeckel's drawings (from a secondary source), were all old editions, and most of the snippets of text didn't mention recapitulation, only similarities in development. The few mentioning Haeckel said that he proposed recapitulation, and that it was found to be wrong. Also, for some weird reason, to complete a list of ten textbooks, the web site had two or three editions of the same textbooks at times.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Negative Entropy,

    It's not only about the angle, but the selection of those particular species and stages. I do think Haeckel's drawings were in the mind of whoever did that diagram. The person who commissioned it must have known them.

    Also if it became customary to depict embryos from that angle it is quite possible that it happened because of Haeckel's influence, anyway.

    I will try to contact one of the authors and let you all know. I'm betting for a bad "correction".

    natschuster,

    Now that you say that, it is possible that a layperson would have as much difficulty distinguishing between Haeckel's drawings and actual embryos.

    I found a more complete set of pictures of chick development:

    http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/sgilber1/DB_lab/Chick/hamburger.pdf

    And drawings from Gray's Anatomy (Gray didn't want to convince anybody of evolution AFAIK):

    http://www.wikimd.org/index.php/The_Form_of_the_Embryo_at_Different_Stages_of_Its_Growth

    Compare those and the human embryo photographs to Haeckel's originals. Haeckel's human stage I is roughly equivalent to 26-30 days in the human photos. Haeckel's chicken stages I & II correspond to something between 15-24 days in the chicken photographs (don't get confused by the fact the posterior part is straight in the photos and curved in the drawings). If you can't see much differences, it is possible Haeckel drawings are not that very misleading for the layperson after all (for those two species). But we should do better. If they do not pass expert scrutiny, they shouldn't be included in introductory textbooks.

    Now do the really important thing: compare the photographs of human and chicken embryos. Can you see the similarities at certain stages? I think you can.

    You can learn about some modern evolutionary thinking on embryological development (not recapitulation theory) here:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/12/its-just-a-stag.html

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/12/its-just-a-stag-1.html

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/12/its-just-a-stag-2.html

    Yes, I know it's Pandas Thumb. It's hostile and you may not trust it. But you linked us to the DI, you can give it a fair try too.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Wow, how could I manage to post something that long? Blogger is really behaving itself these days. Praise the Blogger!

    ReplyDelete
  108. Hey Geoxus,

    Of course the customary angles and such would have been inspired by those of old, most importantly Haeckel. Haeckel was famous for his careful and detailed illustrations. I bet he influenced more than just embryology. As for the figures using some of the same species, well, I don't see why would people stop using the same species. It is not as if because Haeckel erased a thing or two people would stop been inspired by those drawings. I also read that Haeckel corrected the drawings in the latest editions of his book, also added species and stages. I don't see why someone should not be able to redeem himself.

    Anyway, yes, blogger is working much better. I have been able to answer at length lately.

    Best!

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  109. The picture in the text book does not look like the embryo in the photo.

    http://www.ces.purdue.edu/pork/images/ansci/part3.jpg

    And the chicken is different also:

    http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/imgnov04macro/series.jpg

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  110. Negative Entropy,

    I don't think we really disagree.
    By no means I'm trying to demonise Haeckel. Certainly, nobody should be dissuaded from illustrating the same species at the same stages. In fact, I'd like to have a modern, accurate, version of Haeckel's drawings (apart from his posterior corrections). Note that I pointed out general resemblance and important differences between both versions. I think we can both agree that the diagram was at leas indirectly influenced by Haeckel, and that the author was most probably aware of the parallelism. That is not the problem. The bad thing in this particular case is that the differences don't seem to be much of an improvement. Some similarities are much less exaggerated, but Haeckel actually did a better work with the stage II chicken. Also, the shapes are fuzzier.

    And for Haeckel influencing other things than embryology, I read somewhere that his beautiful "Kunstformen der natur" (my current desktop wallpaper) series made quite an impact in the Art Nouveau movement!

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  111. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  112. natschuster,

    The first and second stages of the pig embryos photo are awful. You can't make a proper comparison with that. I'm not even sure one of those stages actually corresponds to the ones depicted in the textbook. The third stage of the textbook looks more advanced than the last stage of the photo. Not very useful.

    The chicken embryo photographs are very nice, but there the first stage is not in a comparable view and then only the penultimate looks corresponding to the third stage of Haeckel and the textbook. Again, not very useful.

    Better compare to the links I provided in my longish reply to Negative Entropy and you (in case you didn't realise I addressed you too). The fifth post before this one.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Hi Geoxus,

    I don't think we disagree either. I felt we have been exchanging interesting information.

    Best!

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  114. Geoxus!

    Those illustrations "der natur" are gorgeous! Thanks!

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  115. Negative Entropy,

    You're most welcome!

    I felt we have been exchanging interesting information.

    However unlikely that seemed to happen on this kind of blog!

    ReplyDelete
  116. Encouraging news!


    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6016/404.full.pdf

    Recent survey done by strong advocates of Evolutionary biology says that only 28% of biology teachers are advocates of evolution.

    It is certainly not for lack of education that these teachers are not getting on board.

    What can the Darwinists possibly do to get these people to line up? Perhaps if Darwinists started with forcing three year olds to chant verses out of the Origin of Species until they memorize them they could get their advocacy rates up a bit for future teachers.

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  117. Tedford:

    Perhaps if Darwinists started with forcing three year olds to chant verses out of the Origin of Species until they memorize them they could get their advocacy rates up a bit for future teachers.

    Hilarious. Apparently you know a lot about forcing three year olds to memorize and chant verses!

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  118. Teford:

    It is certainly not for lack of education that these teachers are not getting on board.

    If you had read the article and looked at the graphic you would have learned that the teachers who were most confident about teaching evolution were those who had completed a course (one course) on evolution. A little knowledge is dangerous, as Satan well knows.

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  119. Neal,

    If evolution shouldn't be taught as an explanation for the biological complexity we observe, then what exactly should take it's place?

    Are you a creationist, in that the fossil record represents individual species that were created separately, either at once or staggered over time, or does your position represent one of many variants of intelligent design, in that some or all of the biological complexity we observe is due to a designer intentionally manipulated evolutionary processes?

    Or perhaps your real objection is that evolutionary theory conflicts with your religious beliefs?

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  120. Scott,

    My objection is that universal common descent is not supported by the fossil evidence or the empirical evidence or by logic. It is contrary to the Bible. Common Sense is lost to Common Descent. I can't think of any good reason to support it.

    I believe that God created a great mosiac of species over time and that some genetic variation has occured. Natural selection is real but far limited in its ability than the fanciful musings of evolutionists would dogmatically assert. Evolutionists are staking their science on an "unnatural" naturalism. Nature doesn't do what you say it can do.

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  121. Neal,

    I must be so patient. As you didn't (surely couldn't*) point the differences between the basilar papilla and the organ of Corti, here you have a link to a paper illustrating the three major kinds of basilar papilla and the organ of Corti (fig. 2). Note that the authors actually use the term "basilar papilla" for the "organ of Corti" of mammals too!

    http://zebra.biol.sc.edu/~vogt/trina/evolution%20choclea.pdf

    If you don't believe me, compare the "mammalian basilar papilla" in fig. 2 to the Wikipedia diagrams of the organ of Corti.

    What about the remarkable differences between the organ of Corti and the basillar papillae? Turns out that the organ is about as different from any basilar papilla as the three other kinds of basilar papillae are from each other. Which are the features of the organ of Corti that couldn't possibly have evolved?

    Neal, you found a goldmine here. I suggest you to invent a new term for the mammalian femur. Call it "long bone of Dembski", or something like that. Now you can say that macroevolution is impossible because reptiles don't have long bones of Dembski, they only have plain & stinkin' femurs.

    * I guess "Dr." Gish wasn't very detalied:
    http://www.icr.org/article/mammal-like-reptiles/

    Yet another "good presentation of the facts" I guess.

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  122. My objection is that universal common descent is not supported by the fossil evidence or the empirical evidence or by logic.

    When you say, "not supported … by logic", you've drawn an arbitrary boundary where the biological complexity we observe is beyond logic, human reasoning and problem solving. It's unexplainable. You've taken it off the table.

    It is contrary to the Bible.

    Of course, what you really mean is that it's contrary to *your* interpretation of the Bible.

    Common Sense is lost to Common Descent. I can't think of any good reason to support it.

    Again, you think an explanation of biological complexity which extends beyond "God did it" is in opposition to common sense. As such, it's no surprise that you can't think of any good reason to support it. This is an assertion on your part.

    I believe that God created a great mosiac of species over time and that some genetic variation has occured. Natural selection is real but far limited in its ability than the fanciful musings of evolutionists would dogmatically assert.

    On one hand, you acknowledge that evolutionarily processes actually do effect species development, even if only negatively. This is because you use negative mutations as part of your anti-evolutionary argument. But, on the other hand, you also claim that biological complexity we observe represents intelligent design.

    In claiming both of these views to be true, you're presenting implied theory of biological complexity. While this was probably not your intention, as your real goal is likely to paint such complexity as unexplainable, it's an unavoidable consequence of your claims.

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  123. -- continued --

    However, should we attempt to take your implied theory seriously, in that we assume it is true in reality and that all explanations must conform to it, we realize it is flawed.

    If your a creationist, in that the fossil record represents individual species that were created separately, either at once or staggered over time, the designer must manipulate this process going forward to maintaining the features he wants, while avoiding the features he does not. He must compensate for this process to ensure just the right species go extinct, while others do not.

    So, unless you'd like to rethink or clarify your claim that the biological complexity we observe was actually designed, in reality, (or start flat out rejecting much of modern biology) it would seem that evolutionary processes must represent at least part of the explanation for the biological complexity we actually observe.

    Of course, at this point, we're reached one of many variants of intelligent design, in that some or all of the biological complexity we observe is due to a designer intentionally manipulated evolutionary processes.

    In these cases, I'd ask does adding an intelligent agent to a theory of evolutionary processes actually explain the biological complexity we observe, in reality?

    No, it doesn't. What do I mean by this?

    Again, I'm referring to an attempt to take intelligent design seriously, in that we assume it is true in reality and that all explanations must conform to it.

    Note that when I say "explain biological complexity", I'm NOT referring to an explanation designed to support your particular beliefs on sin, salvation, etc. which would hinge on theological views of human origin. Instead, I'm referring to concrete biological complexity we observe, such as the specific patterns found in the fossil record, conserved proteins across species in molecular biology, why some species can synthesize vitamin-c while other cannot, why we have five fingers, rather than four size or some other number of digits, etc.

    Adding an abstract designer to the mix doesn't add any explanatory power to the biological complexity we observe. This is because it fails to explain why a designer would choose this small change rather than some other small change.

    Saying, "that's just what the designer must have wanted." does't explain why eyes in mammals and mollusks perform similar tasks yet have significantly different structures. Nor does saying there is some mysterious reason which we cannot understand.

    As such, Intelligent design is an explanation-less theory which represents a convoluted elaboration of evolutionary processes.

    Explanation-less theories are indefensible as explanations since they fail to explain the phenomena they are attempting to explain. It's really that simple.

    Of course, I'd invite you, or anyone else, to show how adding a designer to the mix actually helps to better explain the concrete biological complexity we observe.

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  124. Scott, what we observe is some genetic variation, but notice that fruit flies are still very much fruit flies, dogs are still dogs, cats are still cats, e-coli is still e-coli. Mutations can tinker around the edges of the genome but you can't show anything empirically beyond that. Natural selection is powerless to select for multiple intermediate neutral mutations before an adaptive advantage is conferred. It becomes a probability game with not enough time or population sizes and so evolutionists lose. You can write a billion words to make excuses, but that's the bottom line. Saying that evolution did it, not only is meaningless, but contradictory to the evidence. Evolutionists are subbornly resisting the facts of natures ability to change.

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  125. Neal,

    Saying that evolution did it, not only is meaningless, but contradictory to the evidence.

    It can't be meaningless and contradictory to evidence. If it has no meaning, it can't be contradictory to anything. Make up your mind.

    Evolutionists are subbornly resisting the facts of natures ability to change.

    Talking about stubbornness, still waiting for you to show the incredible differences between the organ of Corti and the basilar papillae and how they couldn't have evolved.

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  126. Neal wrote: what we observe is some genetic variation, but notice that fruit flies are still very much fruit flies, dogs are still dogs, cats are still cats, e-coli is still e-coli. Mutations can tinker around the edges of the genome but you can't show anything empirically beyond that.

    Neal,

    I don't have to show anything. This is because you've made claims about the very same biological complexity which would have implications about these very observations should it actually be true, in reality.

    Again, I'll remind you that you've claimed the biological complexity we observe represents intentional design on the part of an intelligent agent. Furthermore, you've acknowledged that mutations do effect the biological complexly we observe, even if only negatively.

    If this is the case, in reality, then the fact that dogs have conserved specific features while not going extinct must be at least in part due to manipulation of these processes by a supposed designer. Otherwise, what we observed could not be considered designed. It's really that simple.

    You've painted yourself into a corner by making both claims simultaneously.

    Natural selection is powerless to select for multiple intermediate neutral mutations before an adaptive advantage is conferred. It becomes a probability game with not enough time or population sizes and so evolutionists lose.

    Again, you've essentially asserted that the biological complexity we observe is beyond human reason and problem solving. It's off the table to be explained - ever. This is an assertion on your part.

    Saying that evolution did it, not only is meaningless, but contradictory to the evidence. Evolutionists are subbornly resisting the facts of natures ability to change.

    Again, you've already admitted that nature makes changes, even if only negatively. If what we observe truly represents design, then this designer must have at least, in part, manipulated evolutionary processes to obtain constancy once any species was created.

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  127. Neal,

    Perhaps this question will help clarify the problem.

    Part of the biological complexity we observe is that some species go extinct, while others have not. In fact, over 98% of all species that have ever existed have gone extinct.

    Was this outcome undirected or were the species that survived and the species that went extinct part of God's grand design?

    ReplyDelete
  128. Scott, your post and my replies:

    I don't have to show anything.

    --

    ME: Sure you do. A good theory stands by showing how it works. It doesn't stand by default. This is where Geoxus is stuck.

    ---



    Again, I'll remind you that you've claimed the biological complexity we observe represents intentional design on the part of an intelligent agent.


    ----

    ME: I'll go along with that!

    -----
    Furthermore, you've acknowledged that mutations do effect the biological complexly we observe, even if only negatively.

    ----

    ME: No. I said no such thing. Though beneficial mutations are rare, they do occur. At best, the greater the number of neutral mutations required before an adaptive advantage is available, the greater the improbability of the adaptive advantage occuring. Getting the neutral mutations set in the populations is a further hurdle. Lack of sufficient time and population size are further hurdles. Then, getting the adaptive advantage to become set in a population is still another hurdle.

    -----

    If this is the case, in reality, then the fact that dogs have conserved specific features while not going extinct must be at least in part due to manipulation of these processes by a supposed designer. Otherwise, what we observed could not be considered designed. It's really that simple.

    You've painted yourself into a corner by making both claims simultaneously.


    ----

    ME: As I said, mutations can tweak the genome around the fringes, but the basic design hasn't changed. Dogs are still dogs. I think where evolutionists greatly err is assuming that small mutations add up directionally... see above.

    ----
    Again, you've essentially asserted that the biological complexity we observe is beyond human reason and problem solving. It's off the table to be explained - ever. This is an assertion on your part.


    ----

    ME: No. The problem with evolutionists is that they subbornly refuse to accept what we do know about nature. We pretty much understand the normal and usual limits of natural selection and mutation. Evolutionists are in denial and are hoping for a zillion lucky unnatural events to occur in too short a time available.

    Your response to genetic variation in dogs is not logical according to what we know about them. You can't just assume that the forces that govern mutational activity on one level will apply at all levels. The difference between Newton's mathematics, Einsteins general relativity and quantum mechanics show that you can't automatically make assumptions like this about nature. Evolutionists need to give out more than assumptions like this.

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  129. Tedford:

    A good theory stands by showing how it works.

    I like that and I buy that.

    Your theory invokes special creation, doesn't it? So let's get some specifics. Such as how and when did God or the design team create tapeworms? Did they create them out of nothing or out of chemicals lying around? Did they create them before or after Adam ate the apple?

    I have lots more questions, but you can start on these. OK?

    (Let me remind you, Tedford, that your reputation as a design theorist is on the line.)

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  130. Scott: I don't have to show anything.

    Neal: Sure you do. A good theory stands by showing how it works. It doesn't stand by default. This is where Geoxus is stuck.

    Neal, I don't have to show anything in regards to the particular argument I'm making. Specifically, my argument is that evolutionary theory explains at least part of the biological complexity we observe. However, you're denying this while simultaneously claiming the biological complexity we observe was designed.

    Scott: Furthermore, you've acknowledged that mutations do effect the biological complexly we observe, even if only negatively.

    Neal: No. I said no such thing.

    It seems that your not actually reading what I wrote. Are you suggesting that mutations never reduce or disable functionality, ever? Again, for you to deny this, you'd need to start flat out rejecting much of modern biology.

    Neal: think where evolutionists greatly err is assuming that small mutations add up directionally...

    Again, see above.

    The fact that any particular species existed at on point, as indicated by the fossil record, but has gone extinct some between then and now, represents part of the concrete biological complexity we observe. This is part of the observed phenomena that evolutionary theory explains.

    For example, let's assume a species incurs a mutation which negatively reduces it's ability as a whole. However, at the time the mutation occurred this functionally was not critical for it's survival, so it did not have a critical impact on it's overall fitness.

    Now, move forward to some point in the future. This reduction becomes relevant due to a significant change in environmental conditions, variations in food supplies, competition from the introduction of a species that retained this ability, etc. The lost of functionality caused by the mutation in the past ultimately results in the entire species going extinct, while the other species survives in it's absence.

    What we actually observe is that fewer that 2% of species observed in the fossil record still exist while over 98% went extinct.

    Is the fact that human beings are part of the less than 2% that survived an undirected, natural out outcome or does it represent an intentional outcome planed by an intelligent designer?

    If the latter, then this designer would need to either manipulate or compensate for evolutionary processes to ensure the particular species we still observe today retained it's original features and did not go extinct. If the former than evolutionary processes, at least in part, played a part in determining when a species lost features or ended up going extinct since they were not compensated for.

    So, again, if you claim that the biological complexity we observe really is designed, then evolutionary theory explains at least part of the biological complexity we observe.

    Can we at least agree on this?

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  131. Neal: Sure you do. A good theory stands by showing how it works. It doesn't stand by default.

    In case it's not clear, I'm comparing and contrasting two different theories for the biological complexity we observe: your implied theory and the evolutionary theory of biological complexity. As such, I don't need to "show" anything.

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  132. Neal,

    Sure you do. A good theory stands by showing how it works. It doesn't stand by default. This is where Geoxus is stuck.

    No, Neal. I'm stuck at getting you to admit that your own ignorance and misplaced trust in pseudo-scientific charlatans led you to make a stupid and false point. If you really had a clue about what the organ of Corti is and how is the structure of the inner ear of amniotes you'd never said that the organ of Corti is inexplicable for evolution. You're not that stupid.

    Nobody expects you to know everything, just keep yourself from pontificating on things you are ignorant about.

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  133. Neal,

    Has science explained anything, let alone the biological complexity we observe?

    ReplyDelete
  134. Geoxes,

    My guess is that Neal is an instrumentalist in that science never actually explains anything or that there are some phenomena that cannot be explained. Period.

    Essentially, he is asserting that biological complexity is beyond human reasoning and problem solving.

    So, regardless of what observations we make, Neal will always argue that evolution can not explain the organ of Corti. Nor would he consider the details of the organ of Corti relevant in his decision to dismiss it.

    How smart Neal is irrelevant as he's taken it off the table of phenomena that can be explained. Period.

    This is the conflict illustrated by the Galileo affair. This is evidence of the warfare between science and the supernatural.

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  135. I made the above comments from my iPad, which was logged in to the wrong account.

    ReplyDelete
  136. For an instrumentalist, a scientific theory is simply a collection assertions about reality which are either observed or not observed. As such, if a prediction is not observed the theory must be false.

    This is analogous with religious prophecy. Either the prophecy is observed, in which case it's true, or it's not observed, in which case it's false. This is not to say there may not be some underlying chain of events that cause the prophesied outcome, but it's not relevant or necessary as the predicted outcome is the focus.

    While predictions are valuable in themselves, the real values is a theory's underlying explanations from which these predictions are ultimately derived. It's these explanations of phenomena that initially represent assertions, not the predictions we derive from them.

    It's likely that in Neal's case, everything is explained by a supernatural cause, which represents a boundary by which human reasoning cannot pass. But if this is the case, then this is actually a justification, not an explanation. The supernatural is essentially unexplainable.

    As such, it's likely that Neal's search is not for a better explanation of phenomena, but a better justification of phenomena. And that justification is the revelation of God, which he believes is beyond philosophy, induction or even mathematical deduction.

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  137. Scott,

    I think you're giving too much credit to Neal's rationalisations. He was simply parroting Duane Gish:

    http://www.icr.org/article/mammal-like-reptiles/

    Neal's just shooting anywhere he can. He says that to say that evolution did something is meaningless, and yet somehow it's also contrary to evidence (yes, it has no meaning but he can still test it against evidence!). And if he can't find contradictory evidence, then he'll say that it doesn't explain the evidence. But don't ask him any details or to the address real science. If he were an instrumentalist, he would have expressed that objection upfront. He's simply moving the goalposts. I see no indication of a coherent philosophy of science from his part, other than the infallibility of his interpretation of the Bible.

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  139. Geoxus:Neal's just shooting anywhere he can.

    Agreed.

    However, even if Neal is only throwing out objections to attack a field of science that conflicts with his theological beliefs, his objections along with his positive claims present an implied theory of biological complexity. We can then critique this theory and even compare it to existing interpretations of science, such as instrumentalism, justificationism etc.

    On one hand, Neal gives the impression that he want's to be taken seriously. But when we assume his objections along with his positive claims are true, in reality, and that all observations must conform to them, we can clearly see it conflicts with his own beliefs and even reveals details about his motivations for rejecting evolutionary theory.

    In addition, we can point out that this implied theory of an intelligent designer actually fails to explain the biological complexity we observe. While it's possible that his claims could represent some actual state of affairs, in reality, he cannot defend them as an explanation. As such, his argument (creationism) becomes indefensible for the biological complexity we observe.

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  140. Scott,

    You're right as taking a reasonable approach to a discussion with a consistent person... but for Neal, we'll have to see.

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