Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Evolution Professor Sets New Record With 1.5 Hits Per Minute in Debate

An Incredible Demonstration of Evolutionary Thought

Evolution is a fact, but what kind of fact? To answer this question one must listen to the evolutionists. In his recent debate versus Paul Nelson, Joel Velasco gave a nonstop version of Darwin’s one-long argument that, once again, makes clear what kind of fact evolution is. Velasco gave a rapid-fire rundown of the scientific misrepresentation, logical excursion and, most importantly, religion, that motivates and informs evolutionary thought. By our count Velasco issued 13 scientifically misleading or downright false statements, 18 bare assertions or circular statements, 5 just-so stories, 6 miscellaneous fallacies, and, of course at the top of the list, 21 non scientific, metaphysical claims. That is a total of 63 violations of science in a mere 42 minutes, for an astonishing rate of 1.5 hits per minute.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Here is a Protein Machine That Adds Methyl Groups to DNA at Just the Right Place to Control Protein Production

Look What Evolved

Evolutionists say methyltransferases, like this one depicted in blue, and DNA depicted here in pink, were created by a series of random mutations. This even though we now know proteins twenty times smaller have no chance of evolving.

The Nelson-Velasco debate: Here is the Debate Within the Debate

Turning the Warfare Thesis on its Head

I hope readers have taken in the Nelson-Velasco debate from last month which can be seen here. It is a couple of hours with extremely knowledgeable and well-spoken philosophers advocating opposing views. But as in the greater, on-going origins debate, the crucial points are often unspoken and between the lines. While Nelson and Velasco talked biology, there was a completely different debate taking place.

Velasco led off with an extended barrage of powerful and compelling evidences for evolution. As usual the focus was on patterns of similarities between species that seem to refute design and teleology. To be sure there were weak points in Valasco’s arguments (yes humans have novel genes, no common ancestry does not have a monopoly on chromosomal fusion, biological designs do not fall into a nested hierarchy, the pentadactyl prediction has long since broken down, fossils do not fall into clean, unambiguous, gradual lineages, and so forth). Velasco was at least a little guilty of confirmation bias. Furthermore Velasco continually appeared to affirm the consequent. How could successful predictions, which actually were not so successful, lead to such certainty that evolution is true? Of course, as usual, the answer is that Velasco was not proving evolution but rather disproving the alternative.

From a positivistic perspective Velasco has only a series of predictions (or retrodictions) which offer little hope that the astonishing biological world arose spontaneously via blind, chance events. In fact the problems with most of these predictions lie far outside any sort of evolutionary noise that might be used to explain them. But if design and teleology are unquestionably ruled out, then so what? One way or another evolution must be true. As Velasco repeatedly warned, nothing else can explain these evidences.

Velasco’s arguments came as no surprise. It was all standard evolutionary thinking, though exceptionally well presented. What the audience may not have realized is that, in spite of all the technical language, this reasoning is not scientific. For when evolutionists destroy teleology, they rely on theological and philosophical premises not open to scientific scrutiny. And as we have pointed out many times, the argument that “nothing else can explain these evidences,” or as Theodosius Dobzhansky put it, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” is not from science.

All of this was highlighted in a way that probably was not obvious to most listeners. Nelson followed Velasco with an extremely effective and powerful presentation in which one of his basic points was the reminder that evolution requires change—lots of change. While Velasco’s powerful evidences emphasized similarities, evolution must cross oceans of biological transformations.

This is hardly controversial, but in his rebuttal Velasco had to pushback. He flatly disagreed with Nelson on this basic point, and sought to refocus attention back on those nonsensical similarities that win the day for evolution. Velasco could not allow the spotlight to be shifted from the problems with teleology to the problems with evolution.

It may not have been obvious to the audience, but amidst all the jargon and biological data, it is this fundamental point that rules and defines the origin debate. Is evolution a fact because teleology has been laid to rest by non scientific arguments, or is evolution vulnerable to the failure of its positivistic claims? Is this about metaphysics or is this about science? In this sense Velasco and Nelson, though debating each other on the same stage, were in completely different worlds.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mapping the Brain’s Connections—The Connectome

Beyond Belief

As we have seen before the brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth. That is not all the brains on Earth, nor all human brains, but merely a single brain of a single human. With over 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, and a quadrillion synapses, or connections, it is, as one researcher described, “truly awesome.” Researchers have found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, or as one evolutionist admitted, almost to the point of being “beyond belief.” Amidst all these nerve cells and connections, a key question is: “Exactly which nerve cells do all these connections link together?” These connections should reveal a great deal about how the brain works, for while a single nerve cell may be enormously complex, it is in the massive networking of these many neurons that the brain’s fantastic processing and cognitive powers are likely to emerge. Now new research is mapping out all these connections in the mouse brain.

It was a massive imaging job and it has produced almost two petabytes of data. The result is a high-level view of the mouse brain’s wiring diagram. The diagram is like a map of the major freeways and highways between cities, except the brain's mapping is in three dimensions and is far more complex. Future work will zoom in to reveal the city streets, but for now scientists can see the major data flows in the mouse brain. What they see are highly specific patterns in the connections between different brain regions. They also see that the strengths of these connections vary by more than five orders of magnitude. While there is still much to learn and understand about this wiring diagram, it is a fascinating peek at this most complex of structures in the known universe. One finding that has emerged from this, and previous studies of the brain, is that there is no evidence the brain could have arisen spontaneously as evolutionists claim. Indeed, beyond theoretical speculation with no empirical support, evolutionists have no idea how natural selection, acting on random mutations and the like, could have created the brain. But they are certain that the brain must have evolved.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

James Lovelock: I Was “a Little Too Certain”

An Environmentalists Decides to Follow the Data

If even evolutionist Matt Ridley’s criticism of AGW (anthropogenic, or man-made, global warming) has no effect on environmentalists then surely James Lovelock, Mr. Gaia Hypothesis himself, should open eyes. Lovelock now admits that he was “a little too certain” and that “You just can’t tell what’s going to happen.” And as for the environmental movement, Lovelock says, “It’s become a religion, and religions don’t worry too much about facts.” It is not that Lovelock rejects AGW altogether, but he realizes the problem is far more complex and uncertain than the dogmatic insistence of AGW proponents would have it. That is to his credit.