Monday, May 30, 2011

Evolutionist: Our Best Defense Against Anti-Science Obscurantism

Evolutionists say undirected, random events, such as mutations, accumulated to create the entire biological world. An analogy once used for this claim is that of a room full of monkeys pounding away at typewriters and producing Hamlet. Today the analogy needs to be updated from typewriters to computer keyboards, but otherwise remains apropos. When the letters are selected at random, a page (or screen) full of text is going to be meaningless. And the problem is no easier in the biological world. Whether English prose or molecular sequences, the problem is that there are relatively few meaningful sequences in an astronomically large volume of possibilities. Nor does selection help because the smallest sequence that could be selected—such as a small gene—is not very small. All of this is rather intuitive and for centuries evolutionists have been trying to solve the problem. Their latest solution is being called natural genetic engineering.

Heat death

It is obvious that randomly selected letters aren’t likely to form a meaningful message. The exact probability is difficult to compute but it is astronomical. As physicist Gerald Schroeder has pointed out, even a simple Shakespearean sonnet of only 488 letters would never be produced by those monkeys (there are 10^691, or a 1 followed by 691 zeros, different possible transcripts). As Schroeder explains:

Convert the entire 10 to the 56 grams of the universe (forget working with the monkeys) into computer chips each weighing a billionth of a gram and have each chip type out a billion sonnet trials a second (or 488 billion operations per second) since the beginning of time, ten to the 18th seconds ago. The number of trials will be approximately ten to power of 92, a huge number but minuscule when compared with the 10 to power 690 possible combinations of the letters. We are off by a factor of ten to power of 600. The laws of probability confirm that the universe would have reached its heat death before getting one sonnet. We will never get a sonnet by random trials, and the most basic molecules of life are far more complex than the most intricate sonnet.

And the fact that there are many possible sonnets, not just one, does not make a meaningful dent in these astronomical probabilities. Both prose and proteins are not going to arise by chance.

But evolutionists say it is not a matter of chance because natural selection guides the way. Evolution is not required to create a complete organism or even a complete gene, it needs only small victories which natural selection preserves.

Consider the word “selection.” It has 9 letters and for a 26 letter alphabet there are 26^9, or 5 million million different possible combinations of letters. The monkeys would never type out even this single word.

But what if a correct letter, whenever it happens to be typed, is preserved by natural selection? Then the search shrinks from 26^9 to 26*9 different possibilities. The search space reduces from 5 million million to 234 different possible combinations of letters.

From Charles Darwin to Richard Dawkins, evolutionists have elaborated on how natural selection largely removes the random element from evolution and makes the origin of the complex biological world all but inevitable. As Darwin wrote:

Although the belief that an organ so perfect as the eye could have been formed by natural selection, is enough to stagger any one; yet in the case of any organ, if we know of a long series of gradations in complexity, each good for its possessor, then, under changing conditions of life, there is no logical impossibility in the acquirement of any conceivable degree of perfection through natural selection.

Darwin explained that his theory “would absolutely break down” if we found a design that could not possibly have arisen gradually. Not surprisingly Darwin concluded that he could find out no such case. What he didn’t tell the reader is that his falsification criteria was impossible. It is obvious to objective observers that the biological world abounds with such designs, but showing this to an evolutionist is another matter.

Evolving even a single protein under carefully controlled laboratory conditions has proved to be elusive. You can see the details here, here, here, here and here. The problem is that blind gradualism, even with perfect selection, doesn’t magically produce fantastic designs as Darwin, Dawkins and the rest had hoped.

The specific difficulties with their fanciful idea are many. From the rough fitness surfaces to the smallest unit of selection not being small, it is difficult to coax intricate designs from a warm little pond.

Consider again, for example, the word “selection.” It seemed impressive that selection could reduce the search space from 5 million million to 234 different possibilities. But this cannot actually happen because selection cannot select individual letters. What good is an “s”? The word “selection” doesn’t make sense until you have the entire word.

Recognizing these problems evolutionists are now searching for non gradualistic mechanisms to do the job. Proteins must form not by the gradual accumulation of mutations but by sudden rearrangements and new designs may evolve by macromutations.

Perceptive readers will see the obvious problem: replacing gradualism with saltationism does not solve the underlying problem. For instance, from where did the protein modules come? Or from where did the macromutation mechanisms come?

Ultimately, no matter how many thought experiments and just-so stories are brought to bear, the problem remains the same. Evolutionists claim that incredibly complex designs just happened to arise all by themselves.

Natural genetic engineering

This silliness reached new levels in a recent review paper which attempted to summarize this emerging, non gradualistic view of evolution. Even evolutionists admit that biology has turned out to be complex. And this complexity is no less observed at the cellular and molecular levels of biology. As the review paper, for example, explains:

Molecular cell biology has uncovered sophisticated networks in all organisms. They acquire information about external and internal conditions, transmit and process that information inside the cell, compute the appropriate biochemical or biomechanical response, and activate the molecules needed to execute that response. These information-processing networks are central to the systems biology perspective of the new century.

The genome is not like a blueprint as evolution once envisioned, but more like an interactive read-write memory system. The cell’s ability to monitor, detect and repair genome damage is astonishing. But the complexity doesn’t stop there. Yes the genome often needs a repair, but it also sometimes needs a redesign.

The twentieth century discovered that cells can read and write information onto their genomes at several levels. Beyond this, cells can even restructure their genomes to meet environmental challenges. And these redesigns can be passed on to future generations.

All of this means biology possesses incredible capabilities evolutionists never envisioned. And it also means that biological change responds intelligently to the environment. Biological variation is not according to blind, undirected processes such as mutation, as envisioned by evolutionists. Evolutionists thought that such variation was random with respect to need and that adaptation was merely the result of the useful variations surviving via natural selection. This unintelligent process would require long time periods but biology revealed intelligent, fast adaptation.

There was strong resistance to this paradigm in the evolution camp but now evolutionists are increasingly finding it to be a convenient enhancement to the ailing gradualism. If organisms can restructure their genomes to meet environmental challenges, then could they not have evolved via such brilliance? This would remedy the problems with strict gradualism, and fit the abruptness of the fossil record.

Cells redesign proteins by shuffling their modules, and genes are shared between organisms via complex horizontal transfer mechanisms. To these add even greater mechanisms such as cell fusions and whole genome doublings and you have nature’s version of genetic engineering. Is this natural genetic engineering not capable of evolving the species?

Once we were breeders, so evolution was viewed as a natural breeder. Now we are genetic engineers, so evolution is viewed as a natural genetic engineer. Evolution somehow created this marvelous genetic toolkit with which to create the biological world. And fortunately the tools cooperate, working when and where needed, and not when and where not needed.

Now evolutionists can continue to speculate about “the origins of complex adaptive novelties at moments of macroevolutionary change.” For instance, is it not evident that retrotransposons were necessary for the emergence of mammals in evolution?

According to evolutionists, evolution just happened to create the retrotransposons which later just happened to be needed for the emergence of mammals. This and the many other fantastic mechanisms that form the natural genetic engineering toolkit first had to be created by evolution so they then could cause evolution to happen.

Evolutionists ignore such serendipity while they debate the nuances of how evolution occurred, secure in their knowledge that it did occur. As the review summarizes:

Thus, novel adaptations that require changes at multiple locations in the genome can arise within a single generation and can produce progeny expressing all the changes at once. There is no requirement, as in conventional theory, that each individual change be beneficial by itself.

Just as genetic engineering has many advantages over the old breeding techniques, evolutionists find that the new natural genetic engineering version of evolution works so much better than the old breeding version of evolution.

Anti-science obscurantism

Natural genetic engineering is the most recent version of evolutionists’ attempts to explain how the entire biological just happened to arise spontaneously. A fluke that now amazes us.

Evolution is a religiously motivated mandate that, from a scientific perspective, is unlikely. But as Michael Polanyi once explained, they will “come so firmly to uphold this fiction that they will regard it as ‘the scientific view’ of life and condemn anyone challenging this fallacy as an anti-scientific obscurantist.”

Polanyi was often prescient and no less so here. For the evolutionist’s certainty comes not from the science, but from the underlying religion. And crucial to this dogma is the turning upside down of science. The legitimate scientific concerns, that evolution is profoundly improbable, are themselves cast as an anti-scientific obscurantist, just as Polanyi put it. As the review paper concludes:

In other words, our best defense against anti-science obscurantism comes from the study of mobile DNA because that is the subject that has most significantly transformed evolution from natural history into a vibrant empirical science.

It is truly difficult to know whether to laugh or to cry. Evolution is, at once, both hilarious and dangerous. Religion drives science, and it matters.

1. Cornelius Hunter said...

Evolutionists say undirected, random events, such as mutations, accumulated to create the entire biological world. An analogy once used for this claim is that of a room full of monkeys pounding away at typewriters and producing Hamlet. Today the analogy needs to be updated from typewriters to computer keyboards, but otherwise remains apropos.

CH, your stupid strawman analogy forgot to include any feedback and the cumulative effect of iterations filtered by selection.

But I suppose that's why you wrote such a dumb-bunny thing in the first place, to pander to your IDiot sycophants.

It is truly difficult to know whether to laugh or to cry.

Watching your pathetic attempts to discredit science here I guarantee it's laugh. Sadly for you though, it's not with you but at you.

2. Evolution is, at once, both hilarious and dangerous.

As to hilarity, ridicule is not an argument.

As to danger, what on earth are you talking about?

3. Cornelius Hunter said...

Consider again, for example, the word “selection.” It seemed impressive that selection could reduce the search space from 5 million million to 234 different possibilities. But this cannot actually happen because selection cannot select individual letters. What good is an “s”? The word “selection” doesn’t make sense until you have the entire word.

selection
election
lection
section
sect...ion
set...in
et...i

LOL! You even face-plant on your example here CH!

4. Cornelius, to second what Pedant said above, can you clarify what you mean when you refer to evolution as dangerous?

5. Of course evolution is dangerous. Just look at the fangs of a lion.

6. Norm Olsen said...

Cornelius, to second what Pedant said above, can you clarify what you mean when you refer to evolution as dangerous?

He means dangerous to those with a narrow Fundy view of reality of course. That cognitive dissonance can be deadly.

7. Cornelius Hunter: Consider the word “selection.” It has 9 letters and for a 26 letter alphabet there are 26^9, or 5 million million different possible combinations of letters. The monkeys would never type out even this single word. But what if a correct letter, whenever it happens to be typed, is preserved by natural selection? ... But this cannot actually happen because selection cannot select individual letters. What good is an “s”? The word “selection” doesn’t make sense until you have the entire word.

What if words can mutate and recombine, but only offspring that form complete words are kept into the next generation? This avoids the problem of non-viable intermediates, such as sxxection and whatnot.

How long will it take to evolve a 9-letter word, like selection, starting from a 1-letter word?

Cornelius Hunter: Evolving even a single protein under carefully controlled laboratory conditions has proved to be elusive.

Actually, random protein sequences form functional proteins at a frequency of about 10^-12 or so.

8. CH:"It is obvious that randomly selected letters aren’t likely to form a meaningful message."

Yes, maybe that's why sonnets don't ever seem to form in alphabet soup. Yet, we should be wary about over-extending analogies into biology.

"It seemed impressive that selection could reduce the search space from 5 million million to 234 different possibilities. But this cannot actually happen because selection cannot select individual letters."

What you are saying is so as long as there are functional intermediates, selection is highly effective. Then you claim this doesn't happen; but this is because you are using an analogy. There are two major problems with your analogy.

Firstly, your example is massively biologically unrealistic, as we know that precise sequences are not needed to fulfil most functions. Look at the limited sequence conservation in mitochondrial genes, for example. Also, as Thorton points out, its hardly like genes would ever be expected to have evolved from nothing to everything to fulfil a specific purpose (with fitness=0 until the last nucleotide is correctly in place).

Secondly, no model of undirected evolution predicts anything like this analogy in any case. Evolution would be a teleological process if it had predetermined targets that it aims for. The model of evolution that most evolutionary biologists would rougly accept it that selection 'searches' sequence space for anything functional, rather than for specific 'solutions' to specific 'problems' (i.e. trying to select the word 'selection'). This opens up the scope of selection enormously, and that is before considering the important contributions of drift/non-adaptive processes to building complexity.

"Even evolutionists admit that biology has turned out to be complex. "

Admit? You will find it is these 'evolutionists' who are uncovering the complexity, not who have to 'admit' that it exists.

"And it also means that biological change responds intelligently to the environment.... biology revealed intelligent, fast adaptation."

Really, CH? How was intelligence inferred. Please explain.

9. Zachriel said, "How long will it take to evolve a 9-letter word, like selection, starting from a 1-letter word"

Have evolutionists shown that complex systems can actually co-op each portion of the steps in its development? No, at best they can cherry pick a couple weak examples of subcomponents. See flagelum. You can do that with any complex system. But that is not sufficient. It is quite an unproven claim that all complex systems can be incrementally developed from start to finish over time. All evolutionists ever respond with is a couple weak examples and a wimpy plea that they shouldn't have to explain EVERYTHING. Explaining almost nothing is a far cry from everything. But it illustrates the poverty of their theory and the illogic of their reasoning.

Using evolutionists reasoning NASA should be able to utilize an Apollo spacecraft to journey to another galaxy. It went to the moon! To go another galaxy involves just more miles! Limits, ha!

10. Oops, "own goal" again. The word "select" was (dictionaries tell me) created about 1560 from Latin pieces: "se" and "lect". The pieces were around, had their own meaning (one's self and choose) and were recombined. So the monkeys only have to have their output selected to get the "se" and the "lect", then the recombinant gets selected for.

As fot the direct analogy:

CH: An analogy once used for this claim is that of a room full of monkeys pounding away at typewriters and producing Hamlet. Today the analogy needs to be updated from typewriters to computer keyboards, but otherwise remains apropos.

it is, pardon me, disgraceful. When used by third-rate creationist debaters, it is either a sign of total ignorance of evolutionary biology, or a deliberate attempt to mislead an unwary audience into thinking that evolutionary biology is nothing but a theory of pure mutation, unaided by natural selection. That strikes the audience as an absurd theory. They are not being told of the effect of natural selection.

Why CH, who knows much better, would endorse this absurdity without at least a little embarrassment is a matter for puzzlement.

11. As always the vidiots like Thorton along with Zach and the other usual suspect Darwieners here are off by many orders of magnitude.

Selection is always the magic wand of Darwinism.

Some day you obsequious worshipers of Darwin may finally figure out that selection is just a cheap filter, weeding things out, and that coded information -by definition- implies intelligence.

But I doubt it. Your minds are on HOLD indefinitely.

12. Awwww, ain't he cuuuuute? Gary the little yappy puppy crawls out from under the sofa to piddle on the rug again.

How's that disproof of ToE by statistical mechanics coming Gary? Been almost a year since you bragged about having it, and you haven't provided it yet.

What's the problem?

13. Zachriel:

Actually, random protein sequences form functional proteins at a frequency of about 10^-12 or so.

That's a very confident statement, Zachriel. Are you basing it on Keefe and Szostak and Fisher et al or is there more work ongoing in this area?

14. Cornelius Hunter: Consider the word “selection.”

Zachriel: What if words can mutate and recombine, but only offspring that form complete words are kept into the next generation? This avoids the problem of non-viable intermediates, such as sxxection and whatnot. How long will it take to evolve a 9-letter word, like selection, starting from a 1-letter word

Neal Tedford: Have evolutionists shown that complex systems can actually co-op each portion of the steps in its development?

Yes, it's been shown for a great many cases.

Neal Tedford: See flagelum.

See mammalian middle ear.

Neal Tedford: It is quite an unproven claim that all complex systems can be incrementally developed from start to finish over time.

That's correct. The question Cornelius Hunter raised was whether words were such a landscape. So the question remains, does word evolution take as long as a random search?

Zachriel: Actually, random protein sequences form functional proteins at a frequency of about 10^-12 or so.

Alan Fox: Are you basing it on Keefe and Szostak and Fisher et al or is there more work ongoing in this area?

Any number of protein engineering projects, but Szostak was the seminal finding.

15. Any number of protein engineering projects, but Szostak was the seminal finding.

But do you think there is enough indication to assign a figure to the percentage of functional proteins that exist in all possible theoretical sequences. I also wonder about novel functionality and "key and lock" functionality between two novel proteins.

16. Or to put it another way, how sure can we be that any particular protein has no real or potential function of any sort in any context whatsoever?

17. Zachriel said, "See mammalian middle ear."

Can someone say cherry picking!

That is exactly my point. Evolutionists manage to cherry pick something out of the vast mosaic of living and fossilized organisms. Every situation and history can be cherry picked for whatever conclusion you want! It needs to be a systems approach and not simple cherry picking exercise.

18. Zachriel and all evolutionists,

I've presented this simple challenge before and evolutionists were never successful in answering the challenge.

Pick any simple household item that consists of 6 or more separate components or parts. Then imagine building it incrementally by adding each component one at a time. As you build it, the assembly under construction must be functional at each step.

Any takers?

19. Pick any simple household item that consists of 6 or more separate components or parts. Then imagine building it incrementally by adding each component one at a time. As you build it, the assembly under construction must be functional at each step.

Buy any household item. Use it. Was it worth the money? Did it break? Can you fix it? Is it worth it? Can you find a better made, cheaper product in the market place? How far can we take an analogy before it breaks?

20. Tedford the Idiot said...

Zachriel and all evolutionists,

I've presented this simple challenge before and evolutionists were never successful in answering the challenge.

Pick any simple household item that consists of 6 or more separate components or parts. Then imagine building it incrementally by adding each component one at a time. As you build it, the assembly under construction must be functional at each step.

Any takers?

Sure Tedford, and I'll let you pick any 6 part item.

1. part 1: functions as a paperweight
2. parts 1,2: functions as a doorstop
3. parts 1-3: functions as a prop for the window
4. parts 1-4: functions as place to put car keys
5. parts 1-5: functions as a toy for the cat
6 parts 1-6: expected function

Nothing in evolution says the same function must be maintained the whole time the current structure is evolving.

Idiot.

21. Joe said, "Oops, "own goal" again. The word "select" was (dictionaries tell me)

CREATED

about 1560 from Latin pieces: "se" and "lect". The pieces were around, had their own meaning (one's self and choose) and were recombined."

What about the pieces "se" and "lect". Are they free? No. Furthermore you overlook the obvious: intellect created the pieces and put them together. You'll need a bandage for that burn.

22. Tedford the Idiot said...

What about the pieces "se" and "lect". Are they free? No. Furthermore you overlook the obvious: intellect created the pieces and put them together. You'll need a bandage for that burn.

Tedford the Idiot missed the whole point, that CH claimed the word SELECTION couldn't have been formed from simpler precursors.

Good job there idiot.

23. In order to build something like a falgellum from pre-existing parts, don't you have to change those parts in very specific ways in order for them to function? Toxsin shooter proteins are not the same as flagellum proteins. How mcuh do we have to change a protein to change its function?

24. Ah, the silly argument from entropy. Haven't seen it in a while here and was starting to worry.

25. According to this study, changing functions in proteins is a really hard thing to do:

http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2011.1

Yeah, I know it was done by ID proponents, but it should still count for something.

26. This comment has been removed by the author.

27. CH: An analogy once used for this claim is that of a room full of monkeys pounding away at typewriters and producing Hamlet. Today the analogy needs to be updated from typewriters to computer keyboards, but otherwise remains apropos.

By appealing to this commonly trotted out flawed analogy, Cornelius has clearly revealed either profound ignorance in regards to evolutionary theory or profound dishonesty.

Of the top of my head….

- Hamlet can only be represented by one specific arrangement of characters. Large scale functionality can be implemented by diffrent implementations across different environments.

- Hamlet represents a pre-existing story line, with specific beginning, end and plot line. Evolution doesn't have specific implementation goals or even specific functional goals. It only needs solutions that are just good enough for it's current environment, which is what we observe.

- Evolution builds on existing patterns, rather than churning out a continuous stream of random patterns.

As they say, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt"?

CH: All of this means biology possesses incredible capabilities evolutionists never envisioned.

But your conclusion doesn't follow. A failure to envision some aspect of biology is merely more hand waving. Personal incredulity does not a good argument make.

Again, you're assuming that the unseen resembles the seen. Evolution appears unintuitive to you, therefore, it's a "silly" theory. But, as I pointed out in the previous post, the unseen doesn't resemble the seen. History has shown this quite clearly. As such, it's unclear why you'd expect this to be the case with the biological complexity we observe.

We do not start with observations and generalize them to create theories. Nor can we justify theories via observations and induction alone. This is justificationsm, which fits the typical theistic MO in regards to morality, origins, etc.

Instead, science represents a problem-solving enterprise which look like…

[ Problem ] -> [ Conjecture Solutions ] -> [ Criticism & Experimental Tests ] -> [ Replace Erroneous Theories ] -> [ New Problem ]

At which point your continued argument becomes a straw man.

Of course, if you disagree, why don't you enlighten us how you can appeal to justificationsm given the problem of induction?

And while you're at it, disclose where divine revelation fits in the traditional hierarchy of philosophy, induction and deduction.

These are really simply, relevant questions, which you have continual dodged.

28. natschuster said...

According to this study, changing functions in proteins is a really hard thing to do:

http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2011.1

Yeah, I know it was done by ID proponents, but it should still count for something.

If you printed it out and used it for TP it would count for something. Otherwise no.

Did you actually read the paper nat? Axe and Gauger tried to calculate how difficult it would be to change one existing protein (Kbl) directly into another (BioF). Only problem is no one in science thinks BioF evolved directly from modern Kbl, or even an earlier Kbl precursor. Even though both proteins are in the same superfamily there is no evidence to suggest a direct ancestral relationship between the two.

It would be like claiming you can never get to the top of a skyscraper because you can't leap across from the top of another skyscraper. That may be true but has no bearing on whether you could walk to the top of either building by starting at the ground level.

29. As evolutionists here talk about a simple word like "selection" evolving, keep in mind that they can't even give a consistent and honest definition to the terminology that they themselves create (i.e. JUNK-DNA).

30. So how many changes were necessary to make Biof from a theoretical ancestral protein?

31. Don't the evolutionists say that the flagellum evolved from the TSS III? Do they now sya that they evovled from a common, theoretical ancestral thing? A common theme in evolutionary thought is the co-opting of pre-existing stuff like homologous proteins. But don't signinficant changes have to be made before they can change function.

Some parts of a mousetrap, for examples, could be made from pre-existing parts, like the base might have been a doorstop. The staple is pretty generic. So is the spring. But the hammer, the bar, and the thing that holds the bait are pretty specific. To use pre-existing components, you would have to change them significantly.

32. natschuster, the very best explanation of evolutionists by their best minds always leaves me think, okay, please continue... But they stop and they NEVER (one of those rare times when the word is actually fully accurate) get beyond the wimpy little examples.

Even when they try to dismiss the mousetrap analogy they'll parade around a silly looking tie clip made out of a mousetrap that even the most comical geek would not allow... And they still fail to explain all the parts. Evolutionists are beyond comedy... it's a tragedy of scientific thought.

33. From the Louisiana legislature recently:

"After watching their pro-LSEA scientific peers testify about scientific problems with evolution, one anti-LSEA LSU biologist still had the audacity to testify before the House Education Committee that "there is no controversy among professional biologists about fact of evolution".

When one representative asked him, "Did you hear the testimony of the other professors we had here that were speaking before this committee?, he fumbled in response. So please let me state plainly to you what is going on here: Some Darwinian activists have an agenda to impose censorship on students by bluffing that there is no scientific controversy over neo-Darwinian evolution."

From:http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/05/science_law_and_economics_come046871.html

34. Neal:

These explanations remind me of a story I read.

There were two housewives, Rachel and Leah. Rachel borrowed a pot from Leah. When she returned it, it had a hole. Rachel wanted Leah to pay for a new pot. Leah answered, "I won't pay for a new pot for four reasons. #1. I never borrowed a pot from you. #2. It had a hole when I borrowed it. #3. The hole happened after I returned it. #4. It was worthless anyway, because it had a hole, so what do you care?"

35. natschuster, well said.

36. This prediction by the legendary philosopher of science(ie Michael Polanyi)couldn't be more spot on, it's fascinating to watch prophecy being fulfilled right in front of our eyes.

Another brilliant post thank you Dr Hunter.

37. Dr Felsenstein writes:

//or a deliberate attempt to mislead an unwary audience into thinking that evolutionary biology is nothing but a theory of pure mutation, unaided by natural selection.//

Most evolutionists wrongly assume that a preservation principle makes the job easier of finding small targets by unguided processes with no foresight. What happens with the mutations once they have hit the jackpot is irrelevant in making the job easier at finding the small targets in search space. Evolution has no knowledge, no foresight, of where to begin it's search, this is the problem. Natural selection comes into play after not before the targets have successfully been found. Natural selection has to patiently wait around until random mutations to strike it lucky, the fact that natural selection can promise to keep it's treasures safe once discovered does little to make the job easier for random mutations. Natural selection is narrowing the search space, because it has no prior knowledge about where to look for the targets, it has no foresight.

38. D4rw1n_sk3ptic said...

Most evolutionists wrongly assume that a preservation principle makes the job easier of finding small targets by unguided processes with no foresight. What happens with the mutations once they have hit the jackpot is irrelevant in making the job easier at finding the small targets in search space. Evolution has no knowledge, no foresight, of where to begin it's search, this is the problem.

Wrong. Evolution doesn't have to search the entire search space. In each generation it only searches (via genetic variations) the area immediately around the existing genome, and lets selection find the changes that increase fitness. Then it does the same thing next generation, and the next. Evolution also doesn't have to find a specific small target, it only needs to find any target that works.

You IDiots just can't seem to grasp the power of adaptive feedback mechanisms in finding innovative solutions no matter how many times their reality smacks you in the face.

39. natschuster said...

Neal:

These explanations remind me of a story I read.

See nat, that's exactly why we know you're a disingenuous ass with no interest in learning.

40. Alan Fox: But do you think there is enough indication to assign a figure to the percentage of functional proteins that exist in all possible theoretical sequences.

It assigns a *lower bound* to the frequency of functional proteins.

Alan Fox: Or to put it another way, how sure can we be that any particular protein has no real or potential function of any sort in any context whatsoever?

You probably can't. That's why it's a lower bound. Folding is a common property of random sequences, so there are presumably many with functions in some context or other.

41. Zachriel: See mammalian middle ear.

Neal Tedford: Can someone say cherry picking!

So you grant that the mammalian middle ear is evolvable, that is, there is a selectable pathway?

Neal Tedford: What about the pieces "se" and "lect". Are they free? No. Furthermore you overlook the obvious: intellect created the pieces and put them together. You'll need a bandage for that burn.

We proposed a model where existing words were subject to random mutation and recombination. Starting from a one-letter word, would the process find a nine-letter word faster than picking random sequences?

42. Zachriel said, "So you grant that the mammalian middle ear is evolvable, that is, there is a selectable pathway?"

No. It is just an example of cherry picking data from various fossils and organisms and framing (or forcing) that data into an evolutionary scenario. If you were true to all the data you would not just mention the middle ear repeatedly. What is not said speaks loudly to the poverty of your theory.

43. Tedford the Idiot said...

Zachriel said, "So you grant that the mammalian middle ear is evolvable, that is, there is a selectable pathway?"

No. It is just an example of cherry picking data from various fossils and organisms and framing (or forcing) that data into an evolutionary scenario. If you were true to all the data you would not just mention the middle ear repeatedly. What is not said speaks loudly to the poverty of your theory.

Tedford, please feel free to provide your ID explanation for the temporal distribution and morphological differences in the fossil sequences that Zachziel is describing.

44. Neal Tedford: No. It is just an example of cherry picking data from various fossils and organisms and framing (or forcing) that data into an evolutionary scenario.

One of the most common ID arguments is that such structures can't evolve. We introduced it as an *example* of the evolution of a complex, irreducible structure. It's not cherry-picking to consider an example. Are you saying it couldn't have evolved? Or what?

45. I thought that science was used in the pursuit of truth. What happens when the truth is that there is a God that created the universe. Does science then break down? Can not science accommodate this idea?

I thought that science was used in the pursuit of truth. What happens when the truth is that there is a God that created the universe. Does science then break down? Can not science accommodate this idea?

Sure it can. It just won't until you provide some empirical positive evidence for it. Something more than your incredulity and personal religious beliefs.

47. Peter Wadeck: I thought that science was used in the pursuit of truth. What happens when the truth is that there is a God that created the universe. Does science then break down? Can not science accommodate this idea?

Peter,

Why don't you tell us?

It is possible to *know* how God changed some genes, but not others? It is possible to *know* how the method God used determine which genes to change and how? Is it possible to know why over 98% of all species that ever existed went extinct?

Surely, this knowledge would come in quite handy to treating Althimer's, cancer and a myriad of other diseases, synthesize drugs, create new energy sources, grow more food under more conditions with less cost, etc.

However, it's theists such as yourself that claim the supposed *true* explanation for the biological complexity we observe is beyond human reasoning an problem solving.

"God did it" is a non-explnation. As such it's indefensible as an explaining anything in particular.

48. Thorton: Tedford, please feel free to provide your ID explanation for the temporal distribution and morphological differences in the fossil sequences that Zachziel is describing.

He cannot provide an explanation. To do so would be to concede the biological complexity we observe can be explained by human reasoning and problem solving.

To claim that anything has a supernatural cause is essentially a variant of solipsism. Rather than drawing a boundary at our minds by claiming we cannot know if an external reality exists, he's drawn a boundary at the biological complexity we observe.

49. Neal,

I'm assuming you're a realist, rather than a solipsist, right?

I'm asking because solipsists accept all the observations that you and I accept. They just claim each of these observation represent facts about facets of their internal selves rather than an external reality.

This means each and every discovery in physics, geology, and even biology could be claimed as evidence that also "support" solipsism.

If we must throw up our hands and be forever undecided about the biological complete we observe, then why are you a realist, rather than a solipsist?

In fact, this question is open to everyone here, including Cornelius.

And in case you're not familiar with solipsism...

Wikipedia's entry on Solipsism

50. @ scott,
-""God did it" is a non-explnation. As such it's indefensible as an explaining anything in particular. "

"Nature did it" is a non-explanation. As such it's indefensible. In short, you're a self-contradicting idiot.

-"To claim that anything has a supernatural cause is essentially a variant of solipsism."

That makes no sense, because you're simply talking out of ignorance. Solipsism is a by-product of extreme skepticism and nihilism you fool, the very opposite of Theism. Realism ever since its inception in Ancient Greece was always based on some broad Theistic assumption about the essence of reality. Learn your stuff before you open your stupid mouth.

Also, the notion that everything that is Real is in princple knowable to mankind is an article of faith that once again has it's roots in Theism. Now apart from an idiot, you're also being a hypocrite.

You're a pathetic strawman clown and nothing besides.

PS. Atheistic realist is an oxymoron. Deal with it.

51. PPS. Your entire understanding rests on a pathetic and false dichotomy that only makes sense in your own head (ref: solipsism), mainly a foolish attempt to unwarrantedly juxtapose reason and Theism. Which is comical considering that reason has no place in an atheistic world. Yet, keep borrowing ideal and realities from Theism in order to justify your atheistic superstitions. ;)

52. Hi, above45,

Do you do ad hominems this much when you meet new people?

You must be a lot of fun at parties.

53. Pedant:

"Hi, above45,

Do you do ad hominems this much when you meet new people?

You must be a lot of fun at parties."
===

Off hand I'd say he's genius at picking out one who is a retired angry bitter old man who has loads of time to waste on his hands. If you aren't the proverbial 'pot calling kettle black' example, then I don't know what is.

54. above45:

"PPS. Your entire understanding rests on a pathetic and false dichotomy that only makes sense in your own head (ref: solipsism), mainly a foolish attempt to unwarrantedly juxtapose reason and Theism. Which is comical considering that reason has no place in an atheistic world. Yet, keep borrowing ideal and realities from Theism in order to justify your atheistic superstitions."
===

If you ever taken the time to read his kook-world reasoning taken from pages in various parallel universes and noticed his erotic fantasies with Buddha, you'd understand that not only he, but countless atheists get their same worldview argumentation from the same philosophical eastern religious sources. Then you begin to realize where so many of them develop such crazy outlooks when you discover they actually spend most of their time , not in Labs or in the actual field observational activities, but on virtual mystical worlds of countless online gaming websites. Think I'm kidding ??? Seriously, do the homework on these sock-puppet ideologues.

Remember!!! The #1 motivating factor here is NOT about science. It's about their personal resentment of accountability and hatred of Biblical definitions of morality and nothing more.

55. The monkey/typewriter/shakespeare analogy assumes some things we don't have. We don't begin with a typewriter - the monkeys will have to fashion their own- in the same way that the format for genetic coding would have to be created. We don't have the alphabet - amongst the many squiggles, jots, and blots that the monkeys could produce they must alight upon an alphabet. Lastly we have to get ourselves some monkeys to do the typing - which is certainly possible, there are natural forces that can do this work; it is not an impossibility, yet it also ought not to be swept under the rug. Before we can get cells throwing out the lasso into the ether, as it were, attempting to find a suitable match we must get our DNA, specific codes, and a mechanism to try them out....all in the timetable before we suffer a heat death or run out of energy.