Saturday, April 27, 2013

Comparing Evolution to Empirical Observations Such as Gravity

Reveals How Primitive is Evolutionary Thought

In evolutionary thought there is a stark contrast between its scientific ambiguity and its metaphysical certainty. There are all kinds of problems in explaining how the world could have arisen on its own, and yet at the same time evolutionists constantly assure us that evolution is a scientific fact. For example, while Philip Ball urges his fellow evolutionists to admit that we don’t fully understand how evolution works at the molecular level he simultaneously presents the idea as a fact and bemoans those who doubt this new truth. But how can we be so certain the species originated spontaneously when our best attempts to explain how this could have happened continue to fall short? When I pointed this out an evolutionist rebuked me for making the elementary mistake of conflating the details of a theory with its truth value:

We don't fully understand how cancer works. Does that make cancer not a fact?

This rebuttal is worth examining not because it makes sense (it doesn’t) but because it is a standard response.

Evolution standard bearer Stephen J. Gould once compared the certainty of evolution with that of gravity:

Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome. And human beings evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.

Gould was not the first evolutionist to compare evolution with empirical observations such as gravity. Such comparisons date back practically to Darwin and they have not ceased since then.

This is remarkable because these arguments are fallacious and bankrupt. They tell us much more about the state of evolutionary thought than the supposed truth of evolution.

Whether the comparison is to gravity, or to cancer, or to any empirical observation, we consider it to be a fact because we can observe it. Whether or not we can explain it, and to what degree we can explain it, has no bearing on the observation itself. So Gould is correct that gravity does not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain it.

But we do not observe humans evolving from apelike ancestors. That is the claim of evolution, and it is a claim that suffers from substantial scientific problems. That is not a comment on evolution, it is a scientific fact.

Yes evolutionists do debate rival explanations for how the species originated, but there is no observation of evolution that “doesn’t go away” during the debate. There is no fact of evolution to fall back on while evolutionary explanations encounter scientific problems.

This fallacy in the evolutionist’s comparison with empirical observations is not subtle. In fact the fallacy is so trivial one is embarrassed for evolutionists. And yet there it is. Leading evolutionists have always and continue to use this utterly ridiculous argument. What is important here is not that the argument fails, but that evolutionists believe it is an effective defense of their untenable position. The argument fails in its defense of evolution, but it reveals how bankrupt and vacuous is evolutionary thought.

108 comments:

  1. It is important to distinguish between evolution in the sense of common descent from a limited number of simple ancestors and evolution in the sense of the mechanism for how that descent happened. The first may not be observed but the evidence is overwhelming - just consider that every day we observe that viable offspring differ only slight from their parents and never the contrary. Given this one fact alone we have to choose between common descent from a simple origin or species popping into existence out of thin air. You can call it a metaphysical prejudice if you like - but I dismiss the latter as an ad hoc explanation. Add the fossil record, biogeography, the heirarchical nature of life and the evidence for common descent from simpler ancestors is just overwhelming if not directly observed. Just as we have overwhelming evidence for the movement of the continents and the development of the solar system and indeed the beginnings of the cosmos.

    I think Philip Ball's point is that there still a lot to be determined about the underlying mechanism, particularly at the molecular level. Just as there is a lot of detail to be determined about the the movement of the continents and the development of the solar system and indeed the beginnings of the cosmos.

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    1. " just consider that every day we observe that viable offspring differ only slight from their parents and never the contrary. Given this one fact alone we have to choose between common descent from a simple origin or species popping into existence out of thin air. You can call it a metaphysical prejudice if you like - but I dismiss the latter as an ad hoc explanation."

      This has to be one of the stupidest reasonings I have ever heard here (besides of course Thorton's rantings). Offsprings look slightly different from their mom and dad so common descent of all species is true. Cornelius I think you have another candidate for how bankrupt and vacuous evolutionary thought is.

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  2. I think you are mistaken about continental drift, Mark. Nobody has seen a continent move. And nobody can show me the tracks they moved in. Until you can show me every inch of the route they took, and much, much more, I say such tiny, incremental steps adding up to a macromovement of continents is just hogwash.

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    1. Alan - you are correct. So as the leading materialist explanation cannot provide a detailed account they must have been designed. I never thought of that ...

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    2. Mark:

      So as the leading materialist explanation cannot provide a detailed account they must have been designed.

      Who made that claim? (or is it a strawman?)

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    3. It's in the Bible. Genesis.

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    4. CH,

      This one is even better:

      "There you go. Until we see it happening, we know it didn't happen."

      The atheist/deist pendulum swing from utter credulity to hyper-skepticism is a thing to behold. On the one hand, because they can't "see" a designer, there can be no evidence for one, but then, on the other hand, ... You can't argue with such sheer arbitrariness, which is sheer irrationality. You can only marvel that they are so willing to render conspicuous their idiocy and/or hypocrisy.

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    5. God, Jeff! Lets have no wesaly talk of designers. No point, after Dover. Call a spade a spade. And call God God!

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    6. Alan, you again render your idiocy conspicuous. There can be no evidence for effects caused by what is meant by "God" unless those effects evidence DESIGN. I.e., if what is meant by "God" doesn't include being an intelligent designer, "God" explains nothing explicable by the inductive method. But attributing certain inferred design effects to God (if defined as designer of the inductive order of the universe) can simply be a move for parsimony. I.e., God can explain why induction works per se (i.e., GENERICALLY), if indeed it does, but induction itself explains how we infer SPECIFIC designs.

      But one is free to infer design without explaining the validity of (i.e., the non-incidental correspondence of it to a non-solipsistic reality) inductive inference if they so choose. But that route is epistemologically arbitrary and therefore indefensible.

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    7. Liar for Jesus Jeff still clueless, still with the philosophical blithering I see.

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    8. Moronton, I see you're still so moronic (as Alan) as to not realize that inferences to unobserved events are ONLY warranted because of some kind of analogical extrapolation FROM inferred causes that are known to EXPLAIN the observed in a relevant way (and these can involve probabilistic tendencies). This is precisely what can't be done for UCA. Nothing we know about evolution can be extrapolated from some precambrian initial conditions to imply or indicate (even probabilistically) a UCA-style biological history. You, Moronton, are an absolute idiot.

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    9. So LFJJ, you going to try and top your last record of 400 posts worth of scientifically clueless and inane philosophical blithering? You can do it if you try!

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    10. Mark:

      So as the leading materialist explanation cannot provide a detailed account they must have been designed.

      Who made that claim? (or is it a strawman?)


      It is the ID argument in essence. Show me one argument for ID that does not include the perceived improbability of evolutionary theory (remember that CSI and IC both depend on assessments of the probability of "chance" alternatives)

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    11. Mark:

      So as the leading materialist explanation cannot provide a detailed account they must have been designed. … It is the ID argument in essence.

      Can you provide an example?

      Show me one argument for ID that does not include the perceived improbability of evolutionary theory (remember that CSI and IC both depend on assessments of the probability of "chance" alternatives)

      No, the fact that evolution is improbable does not rely on its failure to “provide a detailed account.” Those are two different problems.

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    12. Dr Hunter asks Mark

      Can you provide an example? [of an ID argument that defaults to "it must be designed"]

      *Jumps in rudely*

      Dembski's CSI and Behe's 'irreducible complexity'are both examples. All ID arguments take this form: some argument from incredulity followed by "therefore design" or now more honestly "therefore God".

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    13. Atheists typically deny foundationalism. Thus, per those atheists, there is no intuitive relative plausibility criteria. Thus, per those atheists, no argument is more plausible than another per that arbitrary epistemological approach. Thus, positing that the universe popped into existence 5 minutes ago (since one can render that account historically coherent) is, per a non-foundationalist epistemological approach, no more or less plausible than any other history. This is the idiocy that atheistic science has descended into to rid itself of the relevance of incredulity PER SE.

      So, Alan, incredulity, in some sense, will always be relevant to those who think the 5-minute theory of the universe is less plausible than a longer history. That it isn't to you just shows how utterly worthless your version of "science" actually is.

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    14. CH: No, the fact that evolution is improbable does not rely on its failure to “provide a detailed account.” Those are two different problems.

      J: I think it's more accurate to say that naturalistic UCA is A-probable. No probability can be calculated for it at all. And, on the other hand, a zero probability of its occurrence is neither counter-intuitive nor counter-indicated.

      Moronton said it best. Naturalistic UCA doesn't depend on probability. But since it doesn't follow deductively (even probabilistically) from anything we know about evolution applied to the relevant initial conditions, it is simply a FACT that there is ZERO evidence of it that anyone has yet found.

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    15. This is the idiocy that atheistic science has descended into to rid itself of the relevance of incredulity PER SE.

      Don't call me Percy!

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    16. So, Alan, incredulity, in some sense, will always be relevant to those who think the 5-minute theory of the universe is less plausible than a longer history. That it isn't to you just shows how utterly worthless your version of "science" actually is.

      Do you live in a mud hut. I suspect you avail yourself of the odd product of science. Maybe you even partake of the healthcare system on occasion. Do you ever take in a weather forecast or do you throw bones?

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    17. Alan, no one is claiming that science doesn't ALSO continue to do the things it used to do. But by embracing an arbitrary epistemology, it no longer remembers why the old way produces air conditioning, etc. Nor can it say the old-style inductive conclusions are more or less plausible than the 5-minute theory. Those of you who have no free-will don't care about this. Because you don't FREELY adjudicate to make INFORMED decisions. You just act deterministically. So of course what is true or plausible is absolutely irrelevant to you. You can't FREELY affect the future at all, regardless.

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    18. Per the approach that incredulity has no relevance to science, it is just as plausible as not that all the air conditioners in existence popped into existence 5 minutes ago, meaning that scientists had no role in their existence as far as we can tell. That's the deductive price you have to pay to CONSISTENTLY hold to the absolute irrelevance of incredulity to science.

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    19. Given that deductive price, big boy, do you have the sense to articulate a nuanced role for incredulity in science that renders science subject to meaningful demarcation? I'm betting not.

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  3. As The erudite Dr. Hunter points out:

    But we do not observe humans evolving from apelike ancestors.

    There you go. Until we see it happening, we know it didn't happen. So there. I mean, it's not like a recorded verifiable event, like the parting of the Red Sea by Moses (with God's help of course). Now there's a fact you can get your teeth into!

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    1. Alan:

      This is what we see happening:
      animal breeders working with cats and dogs, anxious to come up with new breeds that can be sold, reach a limit to where they can go with their various breeds, limits arrived at by the declining health of subsequent offspring.

      Darwin saw this. Huxley saw this.

      This is what we see. There is no limitless plasticity in species---a la Darwin. When we move beyond what we "see", then we enter the realm of "belief."

      Give me some good reason for "believing" in Darwinism.

      Now, as to what we "see", we also incredible complexity in eukaryotic cells. And, we see a "code." And "codes" imply "intelligence." We "see" this. Would you like to deny this?

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  4. Since Quantum Mechanics provides the most complete picture as to how particles behave, I wonder why neo-Darwinists never claim that evolution is as well established as Quantum Mechanics?

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    (Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003)

    Perhaps its because,,,

    Why Quantum Theory Does Not Support Materialism - By Bruce L Gordon:
    Excerpt: Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world.
    http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbscience.aspx?pageid=8589952939



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    1. BA,
      Since Quantum Mechanics provides the most complete picture as to how particles behave, I wonder why neo-Darwinists never claim that evolution is as well established as Quantum Mechanics?


      Because most people don't really understand QM,for instance"

      "Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world."

      Gravity on the other hand is universally understood

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    2. In what way does the otherwise mysterious nature of Quantum Mechanics disqualify its establishment as the sovereign, most repeatedly-tested and useful paradigm of modern science, vel?

      Rather than encourage people to investigate the literature on Quantum Mechanics and learn about its extraordinary explanatory power in the 21st century, it seems you would prefer to manipulate public opinion with 18th century science.

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    3. velikovskys

      Gravity on the other hand is universally understood


      Sorry but that's only microgravity. No one has ever witnessed macrogravity. No one alive today has ever witnessed Pluto make one whole orbit around the sun.

      Remember, according to CH we're not allowed to infer a known process produced the observable evidence unless we witness the whole thing first hand.

      Say, I wonder who witnessed the Designer in action?

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    4. Paul,
      In what way does the otherwise mysterious nature of Quantum Mechanics disqualify its establishment as the sovereign, most repeatedly-tested and useful paradigm of modern science, vel?


      I suggest you put that question to Jeff if you have the guts.i merely said that QM is in many ways non- intuitive.Therefore not optimal as a example.

      But to follow DrHunter's lead no one has ever witnessed a particle only its " supposed effect".

      Rather than encourage people to investigate the literature on Quantum Mechanics and learn about its extraordinary explanatory power in the 21st century, it seems you would prefer to manipulate public opinion with 18th century science.

      In what way?

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    5. By touting Darwinism; and preferring to invoke an 18th century discovery as the ultimate standard of scientific certainty, to QM.

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    7. Evolution is the scientific fact. Are we foolish to tout the heliocentric view of the solar system because it occurred in the 16th century?

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    8. Well, its predictive power has been rather more limited than that of Quantum Mechanics, and never would be able to exceed it.

      http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.0133

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    9. Works for me, but even limited predictive power is useful in situations.

      In your view is QM in conflict with the TOE?

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    11. "According to quantum theory, measurements generate random outcomes, in stark contrast with classical mechanics. This raises the question of whether there could exist an extension of the theory which removes this indeterminism, as suspected by Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (EPR). Although this has been shown to be impossible, existing results do not imply that the current theory is maximally informative"

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    12. "Gravity on the other hand is universally understood"

      I'm not looking forward to extending effects of gravity on certain body parts of older gentlemen.

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    13. Eugen,

      ......extending effects of gravity on certain body parts of older gentlemen.


      Too bad those extending effects don't affect all body parts of older gentlemen. That would be some compensation for the rest.

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  5. Since Quantum Mechanics provides the most complete picture as to how particles behave,

    No, no! It's the Bible that provides the complete picture. Don't give way on that as you never know where it might lead. Dancing, even!

    I wonder why neo-Darwinists never claim that evolution is as well established as Quantum Mechanics?

    Well, why don't they? Why would they?

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    1. You didn't read his post with any degree of attention, Reynard. Think decimal places.

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    2. You didn't read his post with any degree of attention, Reynard.

      That's true.

      Think decimal places.

      And this will transform Dr. Hunter's post into coherence? How exactly?

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    3. I was prepared to do your thinking for you up to a point, Reg, but if all the 'i's were dotted for you, and all the 't's crossed, a Belfast Protestant would be more open to carrying the Pope in a sedan chair that you would be accept reason that goes against your cult of the Double Helix.

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    4. Paul,
      I was prepared to do your thinking for you up to a point, Reg, but if all the 'i's were dotted for you, and all the 't's crossed


      " Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, "

      Let your light shine, Paul so all may glory in your wisdom.

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    5. I try, vel, as you know! It is important. If only Pius XII had realised how incumbent it was on him, as the vicar of Christ on earth.

      But, of course, he was a product and exemplar of the Tridentine culture, so many aspects of which I deplore.

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    6. Paul,
      But, of course, he was a product and exemplar of the Tridentine culture, so many aspects of which I deplore


      Amen brother but they do put on a show,

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    7. But, mercifully, that's beginning to change, Vel.

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    8. Because even they know it isn't?

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    9. Depends on which direction the change

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    10. Paul ,
      Because even they know it isn't?


      ?

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  6. Dr. Hunter, you may appreciate this recent video from Dr. Nelson:

    The Miracle of Development Part 1 - Origins with Dr. Paul A. Nelson - video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD9qMvz6T90

    The Miracle of Development Part 2 | Origins with Dr. Paul A. Nelson
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vz12PI3BkQ4

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  7. 'No, no! It's the Bible that provides the complete picture. Don't give way on that as you never know where it might lead. Dancing, even!'

    Oh Reynard, you can do better than that. Well, you can't actually, so regard that as a rhetorical Tut! Tut!

    Now, try and answer his point, in lieu of responding with another question - rhetorical at that. Unless you're really too dim, (which I doubt), though the possibility of even a half cogent answer would be an asset to you.



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    1. Now, try and answer his point..

      There's a point other than the Bible is inerrantly true and trumps reality in any stand-off? What other point is Dr. Hunter making, then, Paul.

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  8. LOL! CH takes a month off to regroup and the best he can come up with is to recycle Ken Ham's musty old Creationist stupidity:

    "Were you there???? Did you see it???"

    Great job CH! With arguments of that caliber you'll have science beating a hasty retreat in no time!

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    1. "LOL! CH takes a month off to regroup and the best he can come up with is to recycle Ken Ham's musty old Creationist stupidity:"

      As usual you completely missed the point. The month off was a gracious attempt of Cornelius to see if you could find a life enough at least to be civil but alas.....the experiment was doomed to begin with :)

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  9. It seems to me that the problem is more than just the fact that we haven't actually seen evolution. It hasn't been established that evolution is not astronomically unlikely, or even possible. IT goes against common sense and our everyday experiences.

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    1. It seems to me that the problem is more than just the fact that we haven't actually seen evolution.

      I know. That Damn Richard Lenski and his bacterial broths. The nerve of the guy claiming he has pulled off evolution in a test tube.

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    2. Alan Fox

      I know. That Damn Richard Lenski and his bacterial broths. The nerve of the guy claiming he has pulled off evolution in a test tube.


      And all those frauds in animal husbandry who supposedly use artificial selection to produce new breeds when really they get the Designer to POOF them into existence. No evolution seen here!

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    3. Kohlrabi is still only a cabbage!

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    4. Guys:

      And after all those generations, they still remained e.coli. It looks like I wasn't clear. When I said evolution, what I meant was species-to -species change. Dogs are still dogs. Cows are still cows. Are yuo guys trying to prove my point? No matter how hard they try, people can only get species to change so far.

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    5. You were clear - they are just obtuse.

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  10. 'Now, try and answer his point..'

    'There's a point other than the Bible is inerrantly true and trumps reality in any stand-off? What other point is Dr. Hunter making, then, Paul.

    You seem to be indissolubly conflating a belief in Creation with biblical inerrancy, in the teeth of all the empirical, scientific evidence for Creation via the Big Bang, as well as the similarly unanswerable Fine Tuning of the universe.

    But first of all, why don't you first of all admit that that was a fatuous question you asked, in view of the Phil's raising of the little matter of the 13 decimal places? This is not a rhetorical question.

    The problem is Reg. (Reginald being the English for Reynauld [don't know if that's just medieval French or modern, as well]), you are all such religious 'nuts', fanatics, even. And I resent that. I've always considered that my turf.

    So, there was me, dutifully trying to concentrate on the science (not as expressed in sums[!] and symbols, I hasten to add) and there you all continually keep raising issues of biblical belief!

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    1. But first of all, why don't you first of all admit that that was a fatuous question you asked, in view of the Phil's raising of the little matter of the 13 decimal places? This is not a rhetorical question.

      I'll admit to not taking you seriously. And now you want me to look at on of Phil Cunningham cut-&-paste screeds. I ain't wrestlin' with that tar baby, No, Siree, Bob!

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    2. Alan Fox
      And now you want me to look at one of Phil Cunningham cut-&-paste screeds.


      Few who try to decode the mysterious batspit77 ever live to tell the tale!

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  11. You know what? I prefer your 'down home', folksy evasions by a mile to the ever-decreasing circles of the sophistries of Kantian Naturalist, currently on a sabbatical from UD. But then, I'd prefer to read the by-laws of the every County Council in Britain.

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    1. Careful Paul,BA may post those by laws if provoked. What is your beef with KN, still smarting from a drubbing?

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    2. I think KN has taken more than a Sabbatical. Have you noticed how critics come and go at UD? Odd that.

      Whatever else I might say about Dr. Hunter, I do have to compliment him (again)on his open comment policy. Mind you, I also have to compliment those commenters who invest a lot of time in trying to counteract the creationist idiocy that rolls around this site.

      You're welcome to call in here when you get through reading the bye-laws.

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    4. I understand. The big, wide world is a scary place and that first step out of the door... you never know where it will take you!

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    5. Just had a screed deleted, Reynard, and shown this message: 'Service unavailable Error 503.' I'll try again.

      Thank you very much for the link, but I never look at the blogs and fora expressing opinions that are 'not quite the ticket'.

      I'm a fundamentalist in that way. My world-view is based on knowledge that is more real to me than this world. Not that I wasn't a raging agnostic in my youth.

      'Bob' is a nice name, but did you mean 'Bub'? Or is Bob a non-apocalyptic 'new name' given to me.

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    6. 'you never know where it will take you!

      You've been eating from that big box of chocolates your Momma gave you, haven't you?
      But she meant nice surprises, so don't be fearful.

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  12. It's possible, subliminally. But I can't say because I never understood a word he was saying.

    His posts made Cornelius' most esoteric texts seem as if written in a vaguely familiar language. You know, well probably not, being a boffin yourself, I expect, it's always a relief to come across the occasional familiar English preposition and conjunction. I won't say I'm overcome by a feeling of outright triumph on those occasions, because I always FEEL I may have missed something.

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    1. I have that same feeling with Jeff, luckily Zach does all the work editing Jeff's posts.

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    3. http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/52051ec56f/airplane-oh-stewardess-i-speak-jive-from-dirttron

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  13. Whether the comparison is to gravity, or to cancer, or to any empirical observation, we consider it to be a fact because we can observe it. Whether or not we can explain it, and to what degree we can explain it, has no bearing on the observation itself. So Gould is correct that gravity does not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain it.

    Since you are referring to Gould's essay Evolution as Fact and Theory it would be as well to remind ourselves about what he wrote on the nature of facts and theories:

    Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.

    Moreover, "fact" does not mean "absolute certainty." The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.
    [My emphases]

    In other words, as has been pointed out many times before, that living things can change over time was known long before Darwin. In that broad sense, evolution is a fact. It happens whether or not is is caused predominantly by natural selection or some other process. Animal breeders exploited that property to produce strains better-tailored to specific human needs. Darwin, in part, simply asked what should have been the obvious question: if breeding or
    artificial selection can modify the forms of animals, why not environmental pressures or natural selection?

    But we do not observe humans evolving from apelike ancestors. That is the claim of evolution, and it is a claim that suffers from substantial scientific problems. That is not a comment on evolution, it is a scientific fact.

    No, it is a strawman for one simple reason. It is not the claim of evolution that we should expect to observe the evolution of modern humans from their ape-like ancestors within the span of a single human lifetime or even that of recorded human history. What evolution predicts is that such transitions are much slower. They take place over hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. Just as we do not see continents drift of mountains rear up so we do not see large animals changing into something else before our eyes. That doesn't mean it is not happening, just that it isn't obvious by direct observation. It is no failure of the theory of evolution that we do not see what it never predicted we should see.

    Returning to this question of explanation, I noticed - and commend to Jeff - that one definition is "to make plain or understandable". A purported explanation fails to be such by that definition if it is couched in the jargon of philosophy to the extent that it is all but incomprehensible to an intended lay audience.

    [Continued]

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    1. Ian: Returning to this question of explanation, I noticed - and commend to Jeff - that one definition is "to make plain or understandable". A purported explanation fails to be such by that definition if it is couched in the jargon of philosophy to the extent that it is all but incomprehensible to an intended lay audience.

      J: But no one is explaining naturalistic UCA in a plain or understandable way that is consistent with what we know about mutations and DNA. The reality of the causes of biological history are necessarily much more detailed and complicated than any "plain and understandable" articulation can knowably capture. And there's no sense in denying that just to dupe the uninformed public into thinking we've explained what we haven't remotely explained.

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    2. "In other words, as has been pointed out many times before, that living things can change over time was known long before Darwin. In that broad sense, evolution is a fact."

      This is just the same tired conflation of the various ways the term evolution is used. IF energy has unlimited variability then given an infinite cosmos its own intelligence is inevitable. So your garden variety evolutionist (atheistic) believes in some restrictions to variability on some level or they would bow to the logic of Theists. Furthermore since it is the main function of genetic structures to replicate not invent there is no reason to believe in the unlimited variability of any species so your point is DOA for two reasons.

      "No, it is a strawman for one simple reason. It is not the claim of evolution that we should expect to observe the evolution of modern humans from their ape-like ancestors within the span of a single human lifetime or even that of recorded human history."

      No that is a strawman. You've used his analogy as substitute for Cornelius' full point and even then you have got it wrong. Read with a modicum of comprehension. Cornelius is not saying its the contention of evolution that we should see it but is stating that the contention that "humans evolving from apelike ancestors" is what cannot be seen. You've confused yourself taking the quote out of its context and botching even whats left. All of this hand waving is just to avoid the the obvious and simple reality that there is a huge difference between science where you can go out and observe nature as it NOW is and one in which you must deduce about past events. However when has atheism not argued against reason in a hopeless attempt to deny the other rational viewpoint?

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    3. Jeff April 28, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      [...]

      J: But no one is explaining naturalistic UCA in a plain or understandable way that is consistent with what we know about mutations and DNA.


      Sure there are. Zachriel has been doing his best to provide it here and there are other attempts at the Talk Origins Archive, for example.

      The reality of the causes of biological history are necessarily much more detailed and complicated than any "plain and understandable" articulation can knowably capture.

      Strange as it may seem, biologists are probably well aware of just how complex life and its causes are. And I think it can be articulated plainly and understandably. How much detail you want will determine just how briefly it can be done.

      And there's no sense in denying that just to dupe the uninformed public into thinking we've explained what we haven't remotely explained.

      This is simple strawmandering. You're implying that evolutionary biologists are duping the public into thinking that science knows more than it does. I'm saying that's not the case, that scientists are generally quite honest about how much they still have to learn. But honesty means not just recognizing that you still have much to learn but also how much has already been learned.

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  14. [Continued]


    As an example of how it should be done, I was reminded of a brief exchange of letters between Richard Dawkins and English theologian Michael Poole. I don't necessarily agree with Poole's position but he writes more elegantly and lucidly that I have seen from almost anyone from that side of the debate. This is what he wrote on the nature of explanation:

    The concept of explanation is more multifaceted than Dawkins appears to recognise. To explain something is to make it plain and there are various ways of doing this. The literature on the nature of explanation is vast, but Brown and Atkins have set out a simple analysis of the concept:

    "Our typology consists of three main types of explanation. These may be labelled the Interpretive, the Descriptive and the Reason-Giving. They approximate to the questions, What?, How?, and Why? Interpretive explanations interpret or clarify an issue or specify the central meaning of a term or statement ... Descriptive explanations describe processes structure and procedures ... Reason-giving explanations involve giving reasons based on principles or generalisations, motives, obligations values.

    So, typically, an object such as a thermostat might have a number of compatible explanations:

    An interpretive explanation. A thermostat is a device for maintaining a constant temperature.

    A descriptive explanation. A (particular) thermostat consists of a bimetallic strip in close proximity to an electrical contact.

    A reason-giving (scientific) explanation Constant temperature is maintained because, when the temperature falls, the bimetal strip bends so making electrical contact. It switches on a heater which operates until at a predetermined temperature, the bimetal strip bends away from the contact, thereby breaking the circuit.

    A reason-giving (motives) explanation An agent wished to be able to maintain enclosures at constant temperatures to enable people to work comfortably, ovens to cook evenly, and chickens to hatch successfully."

    It is with the reason-giving explanations that our concerns lie. For it needs to be understood that there is no logical conflict between reason-giving explanations which concern mechanisms, and reason-giving explanations which concern the plans and purposes of an agent, human or divine. This is a logical point, not a matter of whether one does or does not happen to believe in God oneself. For it is an invalid reason for rejecting the concept of a divine creator, that we understand how the world came into being. But this point is one which Dawkins consistently overlooks. He fails to acknowledge that there is no logical contradiction between the claim that living things are the outcome of evolution by natural selection and that they could also be the outcome of the plan and purposes of an agent God.


    In other words, a theory is not a failure if it describes more than it explains. Quantum theory, as we know, is regarded as highly successful. It has observed, described and tested phenomena at the sub-atomic level to a high degree of precision. Yet it includes phenomena such as the two-slit experiment and entanglement for which there is no adequate explanation yet, at least in terms of classical physics. That doesn't mean it is wrong, just that we have a lot more to learn. And having a lot more to learn doesn't mean we don't know anything at all.

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  15. Cornelius, you constantly conflate evolution itself with the ToE or what you call "evolutionary thought", and you play games with other words, like "spontaneous". Spontaneous has more than one definition. Which one are you relying on? What, specifically, do evolution and the ToE have to do with "how the world could have arisen on its own"? In your own words, define evolution. Define "the world". Define "arisen". Define "on its own". Define "evolutionary thought".

    You said:

    "But we do not observe humans evolving from apelike ancestors."

    THAT is what REALLY bugs you and other god pushers, isn't it? You believe that you are 'specially created in God's image' and are therefor exceptional, superior, "God" like, VASTLY above EVERYTHING else on this planet and throughout the universe, right?

    Is your insecurity so extreme that you think that overcompensating will fix it? Does believing that you're specially special really make you special? There are over 7 billion people living on this planet right now, and billions of others have already lived and died. You're one of the MANY. NO ONE is so special that "the world" can't get along without them, and "the world" did and would get along just fine without any humans at all.

    You're wasting the only life you'll ever have trying to convince yourself and others that some impossible, ridiculous, religious fairy tales are true and that the so-called "God" associated with those fairy tales is real. Meanwhile, your only chance at life is passing you by.

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  16. The problem is with the responses to CH's article is equivocating the various meanings of evolution.

    A look at the most ancient fossil beds that have been discovered shows a lot of critters that no longer exist and many of the ones that are alive today are not in these ancient fossil beds. So some things have changed. Bird beaks have been observed to oscillate in size, etc That is an observed fact.

    From this then, the evolution ship launches into the thin stratosphere of equivocating "goo to you" speculation with these simple observed facts. We'll call these observations A.

    The great equivocation begins.

    Because A is an observed fact, then it is also supposed to be a "fact" that all organisms we see today are descended from a single common ancestor in the distant past.

    Evolution is also used to mean the mechanism of change or the biological process Darwin thought was responsible for all of life descending from a common ancestor.

    A bird beak size change of 2mm is supposed to mean evolution is a fact and because evolution has been observed, it is also a fact that all life can change so much that all of it is descended from an ancient common ancestor. For the evolutionist, the onus is on the skeptic to show why it can't happen under every possible condition.

    So, like gravity, we can observe an apple drop 2mm and that is an observed fact. From there we can extrapolate that the apple could drop 10 miles if the conditions are right... even if no one has observed it.

    Evolutionists, can observe bird beaks 2mm larger. From there they extrapolate... but they ALSO EQUIVOCATE. That is the difference between gravity and evolution. Evolution ADDS equivocation whereas gravity does not.

    An apple that is free falling will behave much differently than an apple that has a secured rubber band attached to it.

    There do appear to be real limiting factors in the amount of plasticity in genetic variation and adaption. Limits to plasticity have been observed. Evolutionists excuse it because there wasn't enough time or the condition not quite right, but that's guessing.

    If the average bird beak size grows by 3mm and then shrinks by 2mm, then grows by 3mm and shrinks by 2mm, you have a sum of 10mm...in a relatively short timeframe. So, the total amount of change back and forth, if added up, is substantial. What I'm saying is, that lots of change is observed in practical timeframes, but lots of directional change is NEVER observed.

    So, the bird beak change we observe is like the apple with a rubber band. Things are never as simple as evolutionists want it to be.

    Comparing gravity with evolution is like comparing gravity with the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8. Only someone with an entirely simplistic viewpoint or wicked agenda would insist that the comparison is accurate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neal,
      An apple that is free falling will behave much differently than an apple that has a secured rubber band attached to it.


      The force of gravity on the apple remains the same, the rubber band provides a counteracting force. What is the counteracting force to the observed force of evolution? Does DNA know it has changed enough, no more mutations?

      There do appear to be real limiting factors in the amount of plasticity in genetic variation and adaption.

      Citation please

      Limits to plasticity have been observed. Evolutionists excuse it because there wasn't enough time or the condition not quite right, but that's guessing

      If scientists are guessing that means so are you, what is the basis for your guess?

      Comparing gravity with evolution is like comparing gravity with the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

      You definitely need to work on your analogies.
      Windows 8 is another version of the the same basic OS with significant differences, in biology this would be a speciation.

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    2. Tedford the Slow

      What I'm saying is, that lots of change is observed in practical timeframes, but lots of directional change is NEVER observed.


      "Insular Dwarfism is a biological process in which large animals, over time, evolve to be smaller to better suit their environment. This most often happens on islands where food may be in shorter supply (giving smaller animals an advantage) but has also been seen in animals who are genetically cut off from the rest of their species for other reasons."

      Observed instances of insular dwarfism

      Island Foxes
      Pygmy Raccoons
      The Honshu Wolf
      Dwarf & Pygmy Elephants
      Balinese Tiger
      Pygmy Hippopotamus
      Dwarf Water Buffalo

      Time rolls on, Tedford stays an idiot.

      Delete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Vel said, "What is the counteracting force to the observed force of evolution? "

    You're assuming that there is a "force of evolution" that is directional. Mutations are not "forces". Natural selection is not really a force either. Actually there is serious error checking that occurs at the cellular level that maintains the integrity of the DNA. Some of the DNA is known to be tightly conserved. The bottom line is that there is not much plasticity in life forms that we actually observe.

    Why are evolutionists guessing about plasticity? Simply because lots of directional change is NEVER observed. Bird beak growth is not even mutation based. Nothing new is created. It is variation of the regulation of existing proteins. To take what is happening to the bird beaks and use that as a prime example of the mechanism that supposedly caused all of life to evolve from a common ancestor is criminal. That is like saying the process that creates white hair is the same as that which causes baldness. Evolutionists equivocate many things together. To equivocate all change together and use one type of change to factualize a never observed change is sad.

    I'll go out on a limb and claim that the upgrade from Windows 7 to 8 took intelligent design by experienced IT people : ). Are you claiming that speciation is the result of intelligent design, or are you now equivocating evolution with intelligent design and engineering?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tedford the Slow

      Why are evolutionists guessing about plasticity? Simply because lots of directional change is NEVER observed. Bird beak growth is not even mutation based. Nothing new is created. It is variation of the regulation of existing proteins.


      Which is evolution by definition.

      "The genetic basis of beak morphology in Darwin’s finches

      Adaptive radiation among Darwin’s finches has resulted in more than ten different finch species exploiting a variety of ecological niches on the Gala´pagos islands, reflected in distinct beak morphology. Species feeding on cactus flowers have long, pointed beaks, species eating seeds on the ground have deep, wide beaks, while insect eaters have slender, pointed beaks. Differences in external beak morphology are consistent with corresponding differences in craniofacial skeletons and it has been shown experimentally in other bird species that the cellular origin of beak development is in the neural crest-derived mesenchyme. Studying the expression pattern of growth factors implicated in avian craniofacial development, Abzhanov et al. found a strong correlation between beak morphology and the level of expression of bone morphogenetic protein 4 (Bmp4) in the mesenchyme of the upper beak. This suggests that regulation of Bmp4 expression is a key variable determining quantitative variation in beak morphology of Darwin’s finches, although it cannot distinguish between a role of cis-regulatory elements or of variation in the induction/transduction of upstream factors. Subsequently, the same group used microarray hybridization to identify differentially expressed genes among finches with different beak morphology. This led to the identification of calmodulin (CaM), a key component of a Ca21-dependent signal transduction pathway essential for the control of bone differentiation and growth, being expressed at much higher levels in cactus-feeding finches than in other species. These studies not only provide new insight into this textbook example of evolution by natural selection. They also show both the power and feasibility of combining several genomic approaches to non-model species, in this case including the construction of a species-specific expression array. In addition, they constitute an unusual example of experimental confirmation of the functional significance of the proposed genetic mechanism by experimental manipulation in a model system: misexpression of Bmp4 and CaM in developing chicken embryos has an effect on beak morphology similar to that seen in finches"

      Genetic basis of fitness differences in natural populations

      Time rolls on, Tedford stays an idiot.

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    2. Thorton ,
      Time rolls on, Tedford stays an idiot


      Thereby proving evolution is not a fact. QED

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    3. velikovskys

      Thereby proving evolution is not a fact. QED


      Populations evolve, not individuals. :)

      Thank FSM Tedford's only a one-off.

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    4. Neal,
      You're assuming that there is a "force of evolution" that is directional. Mutations are not "forces


      I didn't say it was directional, your contention is that it cannot stray from the mean, that like a spring, whichever which direction it goes it pulled back. Why? What is to prevent one more mutation, a non reversible change in the enviroment to permanently change the mean? We are only seeing a snapshot of time, how do you know what the mean was 600 yrs ago?

      Why are evolutionists guessing about plasticity? Simply because lots of directional change is NEVER observed. Bird beak growth is not even mutation based. Nothing new is created. It is variation of the regulation of existing proteins

      What to prevent greater variation in regulation? What if those genes mutate? What force bring the species back to the historical mean?
      It seems to me that you are the one guessing,biologists actually do experiments to answer the question of how things work

      of the mechanism that supposedly caused all of life to evolve from a common ancestor is criminal.

      Biblical law?

      I'll go out on a limb and claim that the upgrade from Windows 7 to 8 took intelligent design by experienced IT people :

      True,


      Are you claiming that speciation is the result of intelligent design, or are you now equivocating evolution with intelligent design and engineering?

      Oy vey, it was your analogy Neal. I have no idea what you meant Lets review.
      Comparing gravity with evolution is like comparing gravity with the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8

      The best I can tell you are equating evolution with an upgrade of the OS. A speciation change in the OS, which you contend that evolution is incapable of such a change. So either there are at least two kinds of evolution, in which case you are equivocating , or there cannot be any upgrades possible in any OS. Or it is a bad analogy.

      Delete
    5. Thorton,
      Thank FSM Tedford's only a one-off


      Not hereabouts, Neal is the mean. After all look at Governor Good Hair, at least Neal seems able to count to three.

      Delete
    6. Thorton,

      Well buddy, it's playoff time. Your Sharks vs the Canucks, and my Leafs vs the Bruins. As far as I am concerned I think your Sharks have a good chance of advancing, my Leafs, not so much.

      The Leafs have had a miserable time beating the Bruins lately, so my best hope is that things will average out over the series and they can win a few. If Reimer is hot, they have a chance.

      So, I'm going with your Sharks in 6 and (I hate to do this) the Bruins in 7. Ottawa will beat Montreal and the Penguins will beat everybody. I'm predicting Chicago & Pittsburgh n the final. How daring is that? Penguins and Blackhawks would be an amazing series to watch.

      Let me know what you think. Hope you're taking care of yourself.

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    7. Hey Nick!

      Maybe I'm smoking dope but I kinda like the Leafs' chances against the B's. Boston has been scuffling lately, not playing very well so maybe the timing is right.

      Out here on the left coast, the Sharks have been sorta flat the last week too. Many of their older players are starting to look tired.
      We're 3-0 vs. the Canuckleheads this season but that means nothing now.

      How's the sale go? All done with the paperwork finally?

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    8. Thorton,

      I hope you're right about the Leafs, I would really like it if they could get past the first round, that would be a huge step.

      The sale is complete, but the paper work seems to be eternal. I guess that's due to there being multiple businesses, with one owning the other and so on and so on. I hoped to have it all done by now, but might not get it all completely wrapped up until August. Cest' la vie.

      Talk to you after the games tomorrow. take care.

      Delete
    9. Hey Nic,

      Did you hear about the new offer sweeping Toronto bars?

      "Free beer during all Leafs second round playoff games"

      ...sorry, that was cold. But I was amazed that a Randy Carlyle coached team would be such no-shows for a game. Kessel was just terrible, and he wasn't alone.

      Out here, the Fish played tough and gritty, took the first in Vancouver 3-1. Probably a little too early for Canuck fans to start burning cars though. ;)

      Delete
  19. Vel, let me fix my analogy. Speciation could be compared to a Windows upgrade from 7 to 8. It would be ridiculous to compare such an upgrade to forces such as gravity. So, it is ridiculous to compare the marvelous engineering of the various life forms to unintelligent forces such as gravity. You have no examples of so-called forces of evolution causing animal speciation. So much change we observe in animals, but NEVER speciation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Much better, now if you can realize that because something is analogous in one way does not logically entail that is similar in all ways.

      Delete
    2. Regulation of the Bmp4 protein affects the size of the finch beaks. This has nothing to do with where the beaks came from in the first place. Not only do evolutionists extrapolate, but they also equivocate. They equivocate the expression of the Bmp4 with origin of Bmp4 plus everything else required for the structure and function of the beak. It all gets lumped together under the term evolution. Then, deceptively, one kind of process (protein regulation) is used as evidence for the origin of new proteins, structures and novel functions. It's criminal

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    3. Neal Tedford: This has nothing to do with where the beaks came from in the first place.

      Beaks are made of keratin, a family of structural proteins found in the epidermis.
      http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/10/148/figure/F3

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    4. Zachriel, a microchip is made of silicon. Congratulations. You have explained nothing.

      Delete
    5. Sorry, Neal Tedford. You have been around for so long, we just figured you would get the gist. Beaks are just modified skin, microevolution.

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    6. Tedford the Slow

      This has nothing to do with where the beaks came from in the first place.


      Where did beaks come from in the first place Tedford? Why do birds still retain the (unexpressed) genes for growing teeth in their beaks?

      It's criminal

      I agree, willful ignorance as bad as yours should be criminal. In a perfect world it would be painful too.

      Delete
    7. Neal,
      So, it is ridiculous to compare the marvelous engineering of the various life forms to unintelligent forces such as gravity


      No gravity, no life forms, Rock breaks scissors.

      Delete
  20. Zachriel, "beaks are just modified skin". A microchip is simply modified silicon. Nothing there, let's move along.

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  21. Neal Tedford: Zachriel, "beaks are just modified skin". A microchip is simply modified silicon. Nothing there, let's move along.

    You can't separate one thread of evolution from the body of evidence, but certainly the origin of the beak is not such a conundrum. Keratin is a family of structural proteins in the epidermis. Incremental improvements can be advantageous. Beaks appear in the theropod lineage. Small changes in regulatory proteins, such as calmodulin and bmp4, are associated with different beak morphologies. (Bmp4 expression controls width and depth, Calmodulin expression controls length.) Beak morphology is inherited, and we can observe evolutionary changes in beaks, as well as the result of diversification, such as in Darwin's Finches.

    ReplyDelete
  22. On The Nature And Origin Of The Universe...
    Classical Science Replaced By 2013 Gravity Comprehension !!!

    איך נברא היקום יש מאין
    New Science 2013 versus classical science
    http://universe-life.com/2014/02/24/gravity/
    Attn classical science hierarchy ( including Darwin and Einstein…)
    “I hope that now you understand what gravity is and why it is the monotheism of the universe…DH”
    =================================
    Gravity is the natural selection of self-attraction by the elementary particles of an evolving system on their cyclic course towards the self-replication of the system. Period
    ( Gravitons are the elementary particles of the universe. RNA genes and serotonin are the elementary particles of Earth life)

    כח המשיכה
    כח המשיכה הוא הבחירה הטבעית להיצמדות הדדית של חלקיקי היסוד של מערכת מתפתחת במהלך התפתחותה המחזורית לעבר שיכפולה. נקודה
    ( הגרוויטון הוא חלקיק היסוד של היקום. הגנים, הנוקלאוטידים של חומצה ריבונוקלאית והסרוטונין הם החלקיקים היסודיים של חיי כדור הארץ) Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com/2013/11/14/subverting-organized-religious-science/
    http://universe-life.com/2013/09/03/the-shortest-grand-unified-theory/

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