Friday, September 25, 2015

Yockey and a Calculator Versus Evolutionists

Zero Probability is Not a Problem

In a 1977 paper published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, Hubert Yockey used information theory to evaluate the likelihood of the evolution of a relatively simple protein. Yockey’s model system was cytochrome c, a protein consisting of about one hundred amino acids. Cytochrome c plays an important role in the mitochondria’s electron transport chain (ETC) which helps to convert the chemical energy in carbon-carbon and carbon-hydrogen bonds, in the food we eat, to an electrochemical potential energy in the form of hydrogen ions (or protons) stored within the mitochondria’s inner membrane. Like water pressing against a dam and turning its turbines to generate electricity, the high-concentration hydrogen ions drive the ATP synthase “turbine” to create the high-energy ATP molecule. Like the electrical outlets in your house, the ATP molecule provides a standardized form of energy that is used for a wide range of applications in your body, such as muscle contraction and nerve signals. There is no scientific explanation for how the ETC evolved. There also is no scientific explanation for how a single protein, such as cytochrome c, evolved. Yockey explained this in 1977, and since then the problem has only gotten worse.

Given 20 different amino acids to choose from, then for a protein with a sequence of 101 amino acids, such as cytochrome c, there are 20 raised to the power of 101, or 20^101, different possible amino acid sequences. That represents an astronomically (and impossible) number of sequences for evolution to search through to find a functional cytochrome c protein.

The problem is more complicated than this, however, since the different amino acids are not equally likely and there are many different sequences that will form a functional cytochrome c protein.

Yockey accounts for these factors to determine the effective number of sequences evolution would have to search through to find cytochrome c. For instance, Yockey uses the known cytochrome c proteins at the time, from many different species, to get an idea of the different amino acids that are possible at each position, within the sequence of 101 residues. Some residues allow for quite a few different amino acids while others seem to be more stringent.

This approach is reasonable, but by no means the only way of estimating the number of different amino acid sequences that could work. One way or another, the bottom line is this: while the number of different sequences that could form a successful type of protein, such as cytochrome c, is a pretty big number, it doesn’t solve the problem.

Yockey found that the probability of evolution finding the cytochrome c protein sequence is about one in 10^64. That is a one followed by 64 zeros—an astronomically large number. He concluded in the peer-reviewed paper that the belief that proteins appeared spontaneously “is based on faith.”

Indeed, Yockey’s early findings are in line with, though a bit more conservative than, later findings. A 1990 study of a small, simple protein found that 10^63 attempts would be required for evolution to find the protein.

A 2004 study found that 10^64 to 10^77 attempts are required, and a 2006 study concluded that 10^70 attempts would be required.

These requirements dwarf the resources evolution has at its disposal. Even evolutionists have had to admit that evolution could only have a maximum of 10^43 such experiments. It is important to understand how tiny this number is compared to 10^70. 10^43 is not more than half of 10^70. It is not even close to half. 10^43 is an astronomically tiny sliver of 10^70.

Furthermore, the estimate of 10^43 is, itself, entirely unrealistic. For instance, it assumes the entire history of the Earth is available, rather than the limited time window that evolution actually would have had. And it assumes the pre existence of bacteria and, yes, proteins. In fact, the evolutionists assumed the earth was covered with bacteria, and each bacteria was full of proteins. That of course is not an appropriate assumption for the question of how proteins could have evolved in the first place. In fact, it is circular.

Of course the evolution of a single protein is only one of many problems for evolution. Consider, for example, the cellular apparatus that constructs proteins—the protein synthesis machinery. One paper used a back-of-the-envelope, simple and conservative calculation to show that the probability of such an apparatus evolving by chance is one in 10^1018. That’s a one followed by 1,018 zeros. Normally in science this would be considered far beyond impossible, so therefore evolutionists are considering an infinite universe, or multiverse, to solve the problem. In such a universe, it does not matter how improbable any event is, it will eventually occur:

Origin of life is a chicken and egg problem: for biological evolution that is governed, primarily, by natural selection, to take off, efficient systems for replication and translation are required, but even barebones cores of these systems appear to be products of extensive selection. The currently favored (partial) solution is an RNA world without proteins in which replication is catalyzed by ribozymes and which serves as the cradle for the translation system. However, the RNA world faces its own hard problems as ribozyme-catalyzed RNA replication remains a hypothesis and the selective pressures behind the origin of translation remain mysterious. Eternal inflation offers a viable alternative that is untenable in a finite universe … In an infinite universe (multiverse), emergence of highly complex systems by chance is inevitable. Therefore, under this cosmology, an entity as complex as a coupled translation-replication system should be considered a viable breakthrough stage for the onset of biological evolution.

There you have it. Probabilities don’t matter. You can point out how unlikely evolution is, and evolution remains a fact. Science is done by people, and people seek certain answers, regardless of the data.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

50 comments:

  1. Cornelius, your argument starts from a false premise. You take an existing protein, any protein, and try to back calculate the probability that it could evolve. This is only valid if you assume that the specific protein was the goal. If that were true, then your argument may be valid (I say "may" because I am taking your word on the numbers, but I haven't known you to intentionally mislead).

    But who has ever said that the specific protein, or the system in which it functions, is the only one that could possibly work? Even if there were one other possible solution, the probability numbers are cut in half.

    I am sure that you have seen this analogy before, but it is worth repeating. You are a unique individual that has unique DNA (unless you are an identical twin). What is the probability that the unique combination that resulted in you could be due to natural processes? The probability that the one of millions of spermatozoa cells from your father fertilized the one of thousands of ova from your mother that would result in you is extremely small. Now add on the probability that you would come to term. Now add the probability that your mother and father had sex at the time necessary for this sperm and egg to get together. Now ad the probability that your mother and father would actually meet and marry. Now add these probabilities going back several generations. It will not take too many generations before you arrive at pribabilities that are astronomically low.

    Yet, you exist. Why?

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    1. First, here is some background:

      http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/12/evolution-and-poker-professor-says.html

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    2. Cornelius, I am waiting for the "second".

      But, while you are at it, please explain how you can exist given the astronomically low probability that you should exist.

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    3. So the argument goes like this. The low probability of a protein, such as cytochrome c, evolving is not important because there are many other proteins that could have evolved and functioned. So the world that we have is but a sampling of a vast set of possible worlds. And the proteins that we have are but a sampling of a vast set of possible proteomes. It must be vast in order to resolve the low probability problem. You can't merely have a couple dozen other possible worlds. That is not going to help. You need an astronomical number of possible worlds. There's just no scientific evidence for anything of the kind.

      If anything, the world we observe show no signs of such flexibility. You can't just take away cytochrome c and insert some other type of protein. At least, that is what the science suggests. Perhaps that would be possible, but we certainly don't have evidence for it.

      If you don't get it, here is another approach. Try applying this argument to automobiles. Yes, you could have a world with a lot of different kinds of autos, none of which exist today. But that set is small compared to the enormous universe of all possible configurations. The set of functioning autos, while large, is tiny compared to the set of all configurations. The non functioning configurations dwarf the functioning ones.

      The problem is much worse in molecular biology because there isn't as much flexibility.

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    4. Here is another such example, for reference:

      http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2012/03/heres-that-monumental-evolution-blunder.html

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    5. Cornelius, you still haven't addressed the fact that you exist.

      Do you not understand the difference between the probability that a specific outcome will come about, and the probability that an unsoecified outcome came about? Let me help you. One probability is 1.0. The other is considerably smaller.

      We are not talking about the probability of one specific protein. We are talking about the probability of any protein in any possible, functional system.

      This is not the same as the multiple universe question. This is the rewinding the tape question. Following your proposition, the only possible outcome to rewinding the tape of life would be "you ". Following mine, you would not exist. Neither would I. Neither would humans. There may be an intelligent life form, but the odds of it being human are vanishingly small.

      Calculating the probability of anything, after it occurred, is only valid if that outcome was the only one possible.

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    7. Asking "please explain how you can exist given the astronomically low probability that you should exist" shows that you don't really understand statistics or logic. The other alternative is that you're intentionally using specious arguments to derail this discussion.

      First look at the chances of conception and childbirth given intercourse. Well, these are obviously quite high, since the population of the earth is growing inspite of our best efforts. So, let's say the chance of childbirth given intercourse is 1 in 20. I don't know the exact number, but it is not astronomically low.

      Some person had to be born, and it turns out that it was the author. All of the billions of other conceptions in the world, throughout history did not produce the author.

      Look, it's like throwing 1000 coins up in the air and, looking at the results and saying wow, there is a really low probability that I would have gotten the very specific result that I did get (looking at how each coin lands). It must be magic. In fact, there is such a small probability that I would have gotten this result that something impossible must have happened.

      Well, yes, but that is because you are pretending that you predicted how the coins would fall, but you did not actually do this ahead of time. When you throw 1000 coins in the air, the improbable thing is that you don't get any result at all, that they stay in the air. In real life, you know that you are going to get one result out of an extremely large number of possibilitites. When someone is born, yes, you can look backwards and say that this person's DNA is just one possible arrangement in a vast set of all possible DNA arrangements, BUT it had to be one of the possibilities! It is improbable to the point of impossibility that you will get the exact result that you desire, but you will definitely get a result.

      This has nothing to do with the cytochrome C discussion! The cytochrome C example requires one very specific result from all of the possible combinations. There is no way for this result to happen by "chemical evolution" (an oxymoron).

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    8. "Asking "please explain how you can exist given the astronomically low probability that you should exist" shows that you don't really understand statistics or logic."

      Given that I make a living as a statistician, I suspect that you might be wrong.

      My analogy, and yours with the coins, is an excellent one for cytochrome C, or any protein, for that matter. Cornelius is going under the assumption that cytochrome C was the targeted outcome. If it was then his numbers are meaningful. But cytochrome C wasn't the target. An equivalent (or better, or slightly worse) solution could be obtained with any number of other possible combinations. And if that had occurred, Cornelius would be talking about the improbability of it evolving. Much as I argued about the improbability of him existing.

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    9. Unguided evolution cannot explain cytochrome C, or any protein, for that matter. You lose.

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    11. LoL! Adults know that mRNA codons are not catalysts. You failed that test.

      Also your position cannot explain cytochrome C, or any protein, for that matter. You lose. Now go cry to your mommy.

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    12. I could prove God statistically. Take the human body alone - the chances that all the functions of an individual would just happen is a statistical monstrosity.

      George Gallup - Statistician

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    13. Thanks for playing Joe. Now let the adults talk.

      Asehel and Cornelius, further to cytochrome C, why would it form an evolutionary tree very similar to those proposed using morphological characteristics?

      http://chemistry.umeche.maine.edu/CHY431/Evolve2.html

      Cytochrome C is highly conserved, but it is not immutable. In fact, it is not a single chemical, it is better looked at as a class (or subset) of similar compounds with the same function. Comprising hundreds, if not thousands, of unique chemicals. That alone significantly lowers the levels of improbability that Cornelius is talking about. And these are real alternatives, not possible ones. Who knows how many alternatives there are?

      If you are to have a meaningful probability you have to account for all of the cytochrome variants that would work, not just the one found in humans.


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    14. LoL! Adults know that mRNA codons are not catalysts. You failed that test.

      So time to shut up you big crybaby.

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    15. William Spearshake

      If you are to have a meaningful probability you have to account for all of the cytochrome variants that would work, not just the one found in humans.


      To get any real probability you also have to take into account the long term iterative feedback process that produced them, not make the dumb assumption that they had to fall together from their components all at once.

      Creationists love their idiotic "it's too improbable!!" arguments. Real science just laughs at them then ignores them.

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    16. No, *real* science laughs at comments such as that. If you knew anything about *real* science you would know that no one is assuming "all at once" and that the science does not indicate protein evolution is likely.

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    17. And then there is this.


      Thanks for playing Joe. Now let the adults talk.

      Asehel and Cornelius, further to cytochrome C, why would it form an evolutionary tree very similar to those proposed using morphological characteristics?

      http://chemistry.umeche.maine.edu/CHY431/Evolve2.html

      Cytochrome C is highly conserved, but it is not immutable.

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    18. Thank you for the link. At the bottom it says:

      Such trees tend to agree closely with those constructed by evolutionary biologists using morphological data, and provide independent evidence of common descent.

      That is, of course, yet another evolutionary canard motivated by religion. The science, on the other hand, says the exact opposite. For example:

      Simply put, gene trees and species trees should be congruent. But while this has often been claimed to be a successful prediction, it is now known to be false. As one study explained, “Perhaps most unexpected of all is the substantial decoupling, now known in most, although not all, branches of organismal life, between the phylogenetic histories of individual gene families and what has generally been accepted to be the history of genomes and/or their cellular or organismal host lineages.” (Ragan, McInerney and Lake)
      https://sites.google.com/site/darwinspredictions/gene-and-host-phylogenies-are-congruent

      But then again, Epicureanism never was about science.

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    19. "First, here is some background:

      http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/12/evolution-and-poker-professor-says.html"

      I like the coin flipping example. The only problem with it is if we control every aspect of the coin flipping process we can control the outcome and chance is found wanting again. Actually this is what we see in biology right? Every single aspect of biological life is tightly controlled down to the quantum level of precision. Am I taking it too far by saying there are no chance interactions?

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    20. It has long been known that weakly conserved genes and there proteins produce inconsistent trees, as we would expect. But strongly conserved genes and their proteins produce remarkably congruent phlogenies. Where they are of greatest value is in areas where the morphological lay based phlogenies are ambiguous.

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    21. Marcus: mmm, that sounds like a hard question.

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    22. WS:

      It has long been known that weakly conserved genes and there proteins produce inconsistent trees, as we would expect.

      Sounds like a tautology. In any case, what is important is that gene trees, for all kinds of genes, contradict traditional trees far beyond evolutionary "noise."

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    23. No, what is important is that trees for strongly conserved genes are remarkably congruent with each other.

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    24. We would expect that with a common design.

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    25. WS,
      The problem with your ancestry analogy (probability that your exact combination of DNA would result from all the possible combinations of sperm and ovum throughout your entire family history) is the same as the coin flipping arrangement analogy - you are picking one outcome after the fact from a limited variety of outcomes that had to happen.
      Here's a better analogy: throw a deck of cards off the empire state building. What are the odds that a royal flush is the only 5 face up cards? Really really high, right? Yet it is one possible outcome from a list of outcomes that HAS to happen - the 5 2 cards HAVE to fall either face up or face down.
      Now, change the analogy - What are the odds that the 5 cards fall into a royal flush in a fan-fold shape like a player has arranged them in his hand? Now we've included events that DIDN'T have to happen - a fan-fold shape. Just like cards don't have to fall in a certain shape, proteins don't have to form from acids (and, naturalistically, they don't without an already existing life form to make them).
      The correct analogy for Yockey's calculation would be throwing 10 card decks from the top of the Empire State building and having them fall into a perfect house-of-cards replica of Buckingham Palace.
      If you come across a perfect card-house replica of Buckingham Palace, I suggest you consider a better response than "well, it's no more unlikely than your specific arrangement of DNA, I'm sure it happened accidentally".

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    26. DRC466, is the unique combination of DNA that is found in every one of Cornelius's cells not more complicated that a house of cards in the shape of Buckingham palace? And it is arranged through a series of extremely improbable events, astronomically improbable if you go back several generations. Although all analogies suffer from weaknesses, I think that mine is still appropriate.

      Cornelius' argument is based on the false assumption that the cytochrome C found in humans is the only compound that will function. But we know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of variants that are possible. This lowers the level of improbability significantly.

      The probability estimate, unless I am reading it incorrectly, completely ignores that mutations and selection act along billions of lineages (probably the wrong word, but I hope my meaning is clear) simultaneously, not just one. Even though only a single lineage may survive over time.

      This further lowers the level of improbability that Cornelius claims.

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    27. Unguided evolution cannot produce any proteins regardless of how many different variations there are.

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    28. "Unguided evolution cannot produce any proteins regardless of how many different variations there are."

      Yup. That settles it. You have convinced me.

      Now convince me that frequency = wavelength.

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    29. Now convince me that frequency = wavelength.

      There is a one-to-one correspondence

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    30. Once again you have convinced me. I bow to your superior intelligence.

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    31. What about those catalyzing mRNA codons? Why did you run away?

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    32. Joe, please read up on the definition of a catalyst before you make a fool of yourself. Sorry, before you make a bigger fool of yourself.

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    33. mRNAs codons are not catalysts you ignorant coward.

      I know what a catalyst is. You do not. Only a moron thinks that mRNA codons are catalysts- enter William Spearshake.

      Why did you run away? Why can't you support your claim?

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    34. WS,

      So, before I cross you off my list of sane people who are able to reason logically, let me make sure that I understand what you are saying:
      You believe that, because the unique arrangement of any individual's cells and DNA has such an astronomically small possibility of occurring, that it is reasonable to believe that throwing 10 decks of cards off of the empire state building will result in a perfect replica of Buckingham Palace.
      Is that really what you are saying? That any astronomically improbably event is believable because you can artificially create a set of conditions that define any given arrangement of atoms or sequence of events as astronomically improbable?

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    35. Drcc466, thank you for making the attempt to understand both sides of the discussion. Some people (Joe) are not mentally capable of making the effort.

      That is not what I am trying to say. The Buckingham palace analogy, and the Cornelius DNA analogy are the same. If we are under the presumption that Cornelius or Buckingham palace are the only possible outcomes that would work (be functional) then you would be right to be highly doubtful. But that is not what we are talking about. We may not have ended up with Cornelius, or Buckingham palace, but the probability of there being a functional human being (not Cornelius), or an arrangement of cards that does not appear random, would be very high. Why does it have to be Cornelius or Buckingham palace (no offence, Cornelius)?

      Cornelius' probabilities assume that there is only one outcome that would work. And that there can not be millions of simultaneous "experiments" going on at the same time to arrive at a functional solution. Both are false assumptions.

      If you want to arrive at a valid probability, you have to start with valid assumptions. Cornelius does not start with valid assumptions.

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    36. Cornelius' probabilities assume that there is only one outcome that would work.

      Evidence please. We all know that you are a moron and a liar. Heck you are so stupid that you think mRNA codons are catalysts.

      If you want to refute the probability argument come up with some way to model unguided evolution. Until you do you don't have anything to whine about except for your failure. Loser.

      However you cannot come up with anything so you whine about probability arguments all the while failing to support any claims of your position.

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  2. Cornelius wrote: "Given 20 different amino acids to choose from, then for a protein with a sequence of 101 amino acids, such as cytochrome c, there are 20 raised to the power of 101, or 20^101, different possible amino acid sequences."

    This is true but only if you know a priori that the search space for that protein started out as 20^101. You don't know that. The problem for Darwinian evolution is exponentially much worse than this calculation shows. Reality is not prescient. If you don't know what you are looking for, the search space is infinite.

    I have said it before. The combinatorial explosion kills Darwinism and materialism dead even before conception, before they can begin to be accepted as plausible theories. They never saw the light of day.

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  3. You guys are pretty funny! According to you Yockey supposedly proved evolution is impossible way back in 1977. Yet since that time there have been hundreds of life science professional journals publishing hundreds of thousands of technical papers on all aspects of evolution but not one of them noticed. Seems ToE's demise had been greatly exaggerated. :)

    Let's compare that record with the Discovery Institute's fake science journal "Bio-Complexity". Anyone want to tell me how many papers they've published total in 2015? Here's a hint - it rhymes with the word hero. :D

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    1. Yawn ... more absurdity from the evolutionist ...

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    2. William,

      "Yet since that time there have been hundreds of life science professional journals publishing hundreds of thousands of technical papers on all aspects of evolution but not one of them noticed."

      Well, the question is settled then. After all, hundreds of thousands of technical papers can't be wrong.

      As for evolutionists not noticing, that is not surprising considering most of them go through their professional lives wearing blindfolds.

      "Seems ToE's demise had been greatly exaggerated."

      Does the phrase 'flogging a dead horse' sound familiar?

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    3. Nic, I would just like to point out that your comment should have been directed at Ghostrider, not me.

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    4. ghostrider the buffing moron- Not one paper supports unguided evolution producing proteins. And there isn't any ToE.

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    5. William,

      "Nic, I would just like to point out that your comment should have been directed at Ghostrider, not me."

      I'm sorry about that, William. It's called senility, we'll discuss it later,... if I remember... what were you asking me?

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  4. lets say that in a sequence space of 10^64 (a functional cytochrome c) there is more then the number of sand grains in the usa beaches (something like 10^20). its still give us a functional protein in about 10^44 mutations. its a lot. and remember that a lots of proteins are unique to many species.

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  5. correction=10^20 functional proteins.

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  6. It sounds to me like this:

    The Creationist ( or IDist if you will )==> Life is so incredibly tuned that the probability of it just happening by random processes, for which we have zero explanation, is laughable.

    The Evolutionist ==> We exist therefore we evolved. Probability 1.0. What's the problem?

    All the while I'm reading that both of these positions are based on faith . Therein lies the rub. The evidence clearly supports unknown and unseen forces/processes because neither a creator God nor the intricate evolutionary processes are visible in the microscope.

    As a Christian, I have no problem with faith. I content that my faith is better founded than faith in ToE but what does that matter if ToE doesn't even recognize the truth of its position?

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    1. The only faith ID requires is in the faith that we can determine when nature is operating/ has operated freely or was an intelligent agency required. That is the faith that our knowledge is sound.

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    2. Joe

      The evolutionists, as I've known them, hold to faith in the unrealized discovery; the idea that the discrepancies/flaws/holes in their theory will one day be explained. This doesn't make them stupid, merely unconvinced of an alternative.

      I began reading this blog regularly after reading something Dr. Hunter wrote about evolution that went like this:
      (paraphrased) Evolution is not a flight of fancy or a whimsical belief. It's a highly sophisticated, well documented study. To dismiss the theory out of hand is a mistake.

      Your statement implies that God (or intelligent agent) can and in fact must exist. That I agree with the existence of God isn't to say I agree completely with your argument. To the evolutionist it's perfectly valid to say that a (yet undiscovered) naturalistic process must exist as it agrees with their worldview. As I recall, valid isn't the same as true or correct. Your conclusion doesn't give rise to your worldview, it's the result of it. This is why you cannot fathom the argument of the evolutionist any more than they see the truth in yours.

      Where I believe evolutionists have overstepped is the indoctrination of generations into the evolutionary paradigm. By refusing to admit that ToE is based on faith in ToE, evolutionists in the academic community have succeeded in generating conflict between science and religious faith. Something Dr. Hunter refers to as the Warfare Thesis. This position is harmful to everyone, both religious and secular, and reason enough to point out every flaw/discrepancy/hole that can be found in ToE. The decision to place one’s faith in a worldview should be done with full knowledge, not indoctrination through dogma (a mistake Christians make all the time as well).
      The only rationale for it [Warfare Thesis] is the very human desire to destroy dissent. I find Christians, myself included, are not immune to the desire to destroy dissent rather than persuade with patience.

      Cheers.

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