• Darwin’s Doubt -Prologue – Part I

    So begins our epic journey through a book. I may not be the best person to undertake this journey, but then the author probably wasn’t the best person to write this book either.

    Why do I say that? This book is about “The explosive origin of animal life and the case for intelligent design”. Stephen C Meyer is one of the founders of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He is currently the director of said center and a ‘senior fellow’ at the Discovery Institute.

    He has a bachelor’s degree in earth science and physics and a Ph.D. In history and philosophy of science. He has written 5 books (including Darwin’s Doubt) on the subject of intelligent design, but has not written (as much as my research allows) any peer-reviewed articles on any subject.

    Please note that Meyer had one paper published. That paper was subsequently retracted by the journal, because it did not meet their standards, it was not peer-reviewed, and it was on a subject that was not relevant to the journal. You can look that up more here.

    So what about Darwin’s Doubt?

    Our story opens with a brief mention of Watson and Crick who “first illuminated the chemical structure and information bearing properties of DNA”.  And right there, on page one, we have a problem. Now, I freely admit that I am hyper sensitive to this book and may be biased.

    So, with that being said, I’ll point out that Watson and Crick did not “illuminate” the structure of DNA. That work was actually done by Rosalind Franklin. She was the one who actually created the images (via X-Ray diffraction) that Watson and Crick used to formulate the hypothesis about the structure of DNA.

    While the nucleotide pairing structure of DNA was developed in the 50s (as stated by Meyer), the actual knowledge of how DNA transfer information to ribozomes (via nucleic acid triples) wasn’t discovered until the 60s.

    My problem isn’t so much that Meyer got it wrong, most people get it wrong. Almost no one outside of molecular biology circles knows about Rosalind Franklin. But Meyer should know about her. To me, this continues the shoddy research that Meyer had major problems with in Signature in the Cell.

    But we continue.

    On page two (of the Kindle edition) I see another concern. Meyer has apparently ignored the entire scope of evolutionary developmental biology. He says:

    Scientists now know that building a living organism requires information, and building a fundamentally new form of life from a simpler form requires an immense amount of new information. Thus, wherever the fossil record testifies to the origin of a completely new form of animal life – a pulse of biological innovation – it also testifies to a significant increase in the information content of the biosphere.

    (emphasis in original)

    This is a major claim. Indeed, this is the fundamental premise on which intelligent design is based. And there’s not a single citation to support this claim. Nothing. When he says “scientists”, I’m assuming here that he means more than fellow ID proponents Michael Behe, Douglas Axe, and Ann Gauger.

    Let me be perfectly clear, I don’t buy this claim. I think he’s wrong. The scientific field of evo-devo (evolutionary developmental biology) is the reason why. This field shows us that simple changes to an organism’s genome can result in massive changes to the organism itself. I would recommend Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo by Sean Carroll as an introduction to evo-devo.

    Indeed, when looking at the variety of life, we don’t see these massive changes to the genome that we would expect. To quote Gerhart and Kirschner Cells, Embryos and Evolution

    where we most expect to find variation, we find conservation, a lack of change

    What developmental biologists have found is that it’s not so much massive changes to the genome that creates diversity, but small changes to the regulation of genes.

    For example, in this paper Sean Carroll shows that to go from the wild Mexican grass teosinte to maize (image below) is not a change in gene function (specifically the tb1 gene), but a change in how that gene is turned on and off.

    CELL1162.f2.4C
    Selection for Plant Morphology Acts upon Variation in Developmental Gene RegulationThe domestication of maize (right) from teosinte (left) selected for ear and plant morphology. Genetic analyses have revealed that selection acted upon regulatory elements of the tb1 gene. (Photos courtesy John Doebley.)

     

    It really is that simple. And here’s where the problem with intelligent design’s application to biology is most prevalent.

    DNA is not just an information storage system. It is an active part of the control of the genes. Even when a new organism is only a collection of 16 cells, the DNA begins to regulate each cell differently. One cell begins to produce a certain hormone. Every cell in the organism will respond in a very specific way. The cell that produced that hormone becomes the front of the organism. The cells that receive the least amount of the hormone become the tail.

    Different genes are turned on or off at different times of the organism’s development based on these hormonal signals. A genetic mutation (as in the maize above) not in the gene that controls seed production, but in the gene that controls the gene for seed production results in a wildly different structure.

    This is the most fundamental misunderstanding that ID proponents have. It is a critical flaw in their notions. Basically, their notions don’t match with reality.

    Now, I’ve gone on for bit and we’re on 60 or 12,555 of the Kindle edition of Darwin’s Doubt.

    This is going to be a long slog.

     

    Category: Book ReviewCreationismEvolutionGeneticsResearchScience

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    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat

    • RexTugwell

      A long slog this will be indeed … for me, if only to keep you honest in your “reviews” of the book. Dr. Meyer doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment. It’s one thing to disagree with an idea, even adamantly. It’s another matter to be so opposed to it that you’re willing to be blinded by even the simplest facts and end up looking like a fool. It’s becoming increasingly clear that atheists must suffer from some kind of inferiority complex. How else to explain their constant attempts to ruin the reputations of good people while at the same time showing the world that they themselves deserve no respect but only pity?

      I have to agree with you that you may not be the best person to undertake this journey. It’s best left to persons willing to avail themselves of ALL the facts. I’m afraid the only shoddy research around here is your own. “Facts” regarding Meyer only merit a quick lookup on Wikipedia while to support your own position, you refer to sciencedirect.com. Let’s start with Rosalind Franklin. First, you need to be quoted in full:

      “My problem isn’t so much that Meyer got it wrong, most people get it wrong. Almost no one outside of molecular biology circles knows about Rosalind Franklin. But Meyer should know about her. To me, this continues the shoddy research that Meyer had major problems with in Signature in the Cell.”

      I thought you said you read Signature in the Cell. In SITC, Dr. Meyer tells the story of the time leading up to the discovery of the structure of DNA. In that account, along with Watson and Crick, Rosalind Franklin is an major character across 10 pages in the story. Meyer is clear that she was essential in the discovery due to her X-ray imaging of DNA as well as her molecular knowledge – especially with respect to the properties of DNA in the presence or absence of water. Meyer is correct that Watson and Crick “first illuminated the chemical structure” of DNA because while Franklin created the X-ray images of DNA, she did not believe the molecule to be helical. Watson and Crick did.

      As for the Meyer / Sternberg episode, that’s covered later in the book; if you get that far. I won’t include a spoiler here. The rest of your piece prematurely criticizes the book’s treatment of evo-devo as well as other theories and fields that try to explain new body plans and phyla. Be advised, Meyer’s research for the book is thorough and he’s anticipated the objections you’re likely to come up with. Your observation that changes in an organism is controlled by changes in how a gene is turned on and off is a major thesis of the book and is mainly covered in chapter 14 – The Epigenetic Revolution. This chapter, curiously enough, was NOT covered in Nick Matzke’s “review”. We’ll see whose notions don’t match reality.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        We’ll see.

        Isn’t it interesting that I, at least, admit that I may be biased, but Meyer never does, when he most assuredly is biased. Oh well. Doesn’t much matter.

        Until Meyer and the others actually do some research and until they develop a comprehensive, testable hypothesis, then ID is still dead in the water. This blog report isn’t a comprehensive take-down of ID. There’s nothing to take down. ID is meaningless.

        This book, so far, is just a whine that evolution can’t explain something. It’s not positive supporting evidence of ID. So far… that may change.

        But you know what. In the 15 years that I’ve been following the ID story line, they still haven’t done anything to support their own work. And they never will. ID is a socio-political philosophy. That’s all. And you and others have bought in to it hook-line-and-sinker. Why? I don’t know. I have my suspicions though.

        • RexTugwell

          I’d love to hear your suspicions of why I drink the ID Kool Aid.

          • Viktor Shakapopolous

            So, you’ve admitted to drinking the Kool aid. That is a start.

      • Hrafn

        It is hilarious to see Rexie put scare quotes around Matzke’s review. This review has sent the ID echo chamber into a complete tizzy, and has led them to dispatch their two star supercilious scientifically-illiterate talking heads, the Two Daves of the Apocalypse, David ‘the self-confessed crank’ Berlinski and David “The Kingdom of Priests” Klinghoffer to sneer at it.

        Their ignorant sneers simply puts greater focus on the fact that Matzke, unlike Meyer and his Boy Blunder research assistant Casey Luskin, is an actual scientist, and actually working in a relevant field (Evolutionary Biology).

        May I return the compliment and put scare quotes around Meyer’s (and ID’s) “science”, his “information” claims, his “credibility”, and the “accuracy” of his reporting of the state of scientific research.

    • Wayne Robinson

      I agree with your comment about Meyer’s assertion of the Cambrian involving a large injection of new genetic information. No reference to back up the assertion. Although, Meyer’s use of references is highly suspect, with a link to an endnote, giving ‘author, article name, pages’ – and then you have to hunt through the bibliography to find the source, which you have to do, because Meyer often gets his references wrong.

      It’s part of the reason why he later gets ENCODE wrong, claiming that it showed that at least 80% of the human genome is ‘functional’ whereas it was 20-80% – wanting there to be little junk DNA in all species.

      The large injection of new genetic information comes from his assertion that a single cell eukaryote had a genome size of around 1 million base pairs. And a typical metazoan such as a fruit fly such as Drosophila melanogaster has one of 140 million base pairs.

      What does Meyer think happened? The Cambrian explosion involved single celled organisms going to metazoans in less than 6 million years?

      He also asserts that the development of a gut involves the simultaneous development of digestive enzymes, such as lipases and proteinases. Bacteria had done that billions of years earlier.

      In another place he claims that evolutionists can’t explain the origin of eukaryotes by ‘random mutation and natural selection’. He’s right. They don’t. Eukaryotes arose from a symbiotic fusion of a eubacterium and an Archaea bacterium about 2 billion years ago.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        That’s one of the things I’m going to try to do as I read through this book. Actually find the references and read them to find out what they said and what Meyer said they said. Very often, the two aren’t even close.

    • Guest

      Why do you state that Meyer’s paper was not peer reviewed, doesn’t that mis-represent the wikipedia article you reference? It appears that the paper had been peer reviewed and approved for publication.

      That
      paper was subsequently retracted by the journal, because it did not
      meet their standards, it was not peer-reviewed, and it was on a subject
      that was not relevant to the journal. – See more at:
      http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2013/07/20/darwins-doubt-prologue-part-i/#sthash.iUvrVKBF.dpuf
      That
      paper was subsequently retracted by the journal, because it did not
      meet their standards, it was not peer-reviewed, and it was on a subject
      that was not relevant to the journal. – See more at:
      http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2013/07/20/darwins-doubt-prologue-part-i/#sthash.iUvrVKBF.dpuf
      That
      paper was subsequently retracted by the journal, because it did not
      meet their standards, it was not peer-reviewed, and it was on a subject
      that was not relevant to the journal. – See more at:
      http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2013/07/20/darwins-doubt-prologue-part-i/#sthash.iUvrVKBF.dpuf
      Please
      note that Meyer had one paper published. That paper was subsequently
      retracted by the journal, because it did not meet their standards, it
      was not peer-reviewed, and it was on a subject that was not relevant to
      the journal. – See more at:
      http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2013/07/20/darwins-doubt-prologue-part-i/#sthash.iUvrVKBF.dpuf

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        The only “reviewer” of the paper was Sternberg. No one knows what his review process was.

        A normal peer-review process involves several experts in the field and not only the editor of the journal.

        So, Sternberg who was the person who both sent papers out for review AND made publishing decisions was the only person involved with Meyer’s paper. That’s not a peer-review… that’s one creationist helping another creationist by publishing a paper that would never be accepted without that help.

        • Martin Lewitt

          What you describe is different than a statement that the paper wasn’t peer reviewed. Why weren’t you satisfied with just a supportable statement that the paper was retracted. Many papers are published that never should have been published. It is quite common in climate science for papers reporting climate model results to have no discussion of the diagnostic literature for the models and the implications for the the error ranges of the models. What is unusual in the Meyers case is not that it should have been retracted, but that it was retracted.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Who were the peer-reviewers?

            • Martin Lewitt

              They are anonymous, who were the reviewers for other papers in that journal? What evidence is there that papers in the journal that have not been retracted have been subjected to any more thorough review. Laziness can easily explain the lapse that let this paper through. I just find it strange that you aren’t careful to avoid the criticism of misrepresenting a source that you are intent on pinning on Meyer if you can.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              So you have no clue if this paper was properly peer-reviewed or not. Thanks. I note that the Proceedings publishes it’s list of reviewers each year… except for 2004, the year this incident happened

              Again, the paper was “reviewed” by the editor (which is not done). This is what Sternberg said. Meyer’s paper was on the Cambrian fossils. A subject the Sternberg does not have relevant degrees in (yes, for peer-review purposes, this is important) and other members of the society did have proper credentials.

              Sternberg ignored proper procedure and made a mockery of the peer-review process. You say it was actually “peer-reviewed”, am I understanding you correctly?

              I am curious.. who was “lazy” in this case? The only person who saw Meyer’s paper was Sternberg. Sternberg is a creationist, as is Meyer. That is the only reason the paper was published. ID proponents have been trying to get a paper published for years. Instead of doing actual science, Meyer writes a “review paper” with no new information, just a new conclusion drawn from someone else’s work and his buddy, Sternberg, publishes it as his last act with the Proceedings.

              Argue as you will, Sternberg said that he “peer-reviewed” it and he doesn’t have the proper qualifications to do so. There is no evidence that others reviewed the paper… unlike other papers, anonymous reviewers or not.

            • Martin Lewitt

              I would be surprised if it was properly reviewed. Probably most peer reviewers are lazy judging by how many errors I find in published papers, especially when I check the supposed sources. It is really common when there are several authors, people seem to assume the papers were internally peer reviewed.

              However, having made my point, I’d like to suggest that if you are going to claim that Meyer’s is misrepresenting a source, that in all fairness, you should realize there is a difference between disagreeing with an authors results and disagreeing with an authors interpretation of those results. An author is entitled to well founded results but doesn’t get to control the interpretation. A usuful guide would be the discussion section where the authors are given some leeway. Claims in that section are not part of the results.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              What are you talking about?

              I’ve shown that Meyer is misrepresenting sources. If he says that an author said x and the author really says not-x, then it’s not a “different conclusion”, it’s a misrepresentation.

              Meyer is free to draw “his” conclusion, but he’s not free to change other’s conclusions. And he does. We’ll see, keep reading.

    • Martin Lewitt

      Why did you claim that Meyer’s paper was not peer reviewed, when the wikipedia article you reference describes a much more complex situation, including evidence that it had been peer reviewed, and statements from a critic just doubting that the reviewers were scientists in the field, implicitly accepting that there might have been reviewers?

    • Martin Lewitt

      You might have brought up the evolvability of life enabled by robustness, developmental homeostasis and internal homeostasis. A gene modification that results in a longer leg bone for instance does not have to wait for or coincide with genes for longer blood vessels or muscles and tendons. Essentially, life evolved evolvability and amazing coincidences or networks of new genes, were not needed.

    • ReasonableDoubt

      I navigated here because some guy over at Pandas’ thumb sold this series of reviews as the “most ambitious effort” to slice and dice that poor fool Meyer. And since I would actually love to read a thoughful, well reasoned critique of Meyer’s work, I thought I would check it out. (Full disclosure: I actually agree with the poor fool, but I also like to understand the best arguments of both sides of an issue.)
      As usual, the reviewer’s attempt to illuminate Meyer as a fool actually ends up reflecting only the reviewer’s lack of understanding. (I am sure that the reviewer will now object that he, in fact, did not attempt to shine light of any wavelength whatsoever on any part of Meyer’s person. “Indeed, I have never even met Meyer! Aha!” <— Reviewer being overly literal. See paragraph 7 of the review.)
      Without too much delay, the reviewer turns his flashlight of truth from the irrelevant to the relevant, focusing the beam on Meyer's unremarkable assertion that significant increase in biological diversity involves significant increase in information. The reviewer doesn't think this is true. The "simple" explanation, says the reviewer, is that "DNA is not just an information storage system. It is an active part of the control of genes," which is apparently something that IDiots are just too blissfuly unware of. First of all, is the reviewer actually ignorant enough to believe that Meyer doesn't know that DNA actively participates in the control of genes? Or is this just a smear of Meyer? That's an honest question. It really could be either.
      Secondly, how does the fact that DNA is not "just an information storage device" answer Meyer's assertion? The only idea that the reviewer seems to be supporting (whether he knows it or not) is the idea that DNA stores information in a more complicated way than simple digital code. In other words, there's more information stored in DNA than might be apparent if viewed as a simple digital code. (Okay. Noted. Uhhh. And?) And, apparently, all you need to do to evolve a duck is to turn off the fish genes and turn on the duck genes. (Ohhh, so that's how it works!) The reviewer seems to be trying to counter Meyer's argument that increased diversity conincides with increased information by asserting that, in fact, … (drum roll please) … the information was already there from the beginning! Whoa, ID totally refuted, dude! I mean if the information was already there … then that … wait. Say that again?
      Its galling to be ridiculed by a fool.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Yes it is.

        First of all, is the reviewer actually ignorant enough to believe that Meyer doesn’t know that DNA actively participates in the control of genes? Or is this just a smear of Meyer? That’s an honest question. It really could be either.

        Honest answer, I think that Meyer does know this and he’s hoping that all his readers don’t know it. He’s a con man. He says sciency things that support a certain point of view (that of creationism) and he knows that those with a built in boas towards creationism will use him as a source. Meyer, unfortunately, does not use all of the available material and quotemines other pieces of material to create a misleading view of science.

        It does not require an immense amount of information to generate a new form of life. It requires very little change to generate a speciation event. We see it all the time. And yes, speciation events NOW are what will become larger groups in the future.

        Meyer, BTW, did not say “diversity” as you did. He said “a fundamentally new form of life from a simpler form requires an immense amount of new information.” Now, what is a “fundamentally new” form of life? Is it a new species? Again, we know that happens. Is it a new genus? What is a new genus. but a group of closely related species? What about a new family? That’s nothing more than a group of closely related genera. Etc. etc. Given time, it’s inevitable… no intelligence required.

        As far as the duck/fish thing. I know you aren’t that dumb and that it is strawman argument. I didn’t say it. I didn’t imply it. And I know it’s not true. If you need to explain why I’ll be happy to.

        • ReasonableDoubt

          I just knew that you were going to get defensive about the duck/fish thing. It was not a strawman argument. I know you didn’t say, think, or imply it. And nobody reading what I wrote, besides an Asbergers patient, would have thought that I was implying that you believed it. IT WAS SARCASM. So yeah, I’ll pass on the explanation of why you don’t believe what I never said you believe.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Then why bring it up?

            If you have comments that can help, then be plain about them. If you have criticism, then be plain about. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well in text, especially when no one knows you.

        • ReasonableDoubt

          Furthermore, if Meyer is try to hide the fact that DNA participates in the control of genes, it’s odd that he would talk about it so damn much!

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Well, if SitC is any indication, he either doesn’t understand it or he is just trying to confuse the issue. We’ll see… I’m only on chapter 2.

      • Dkennedy

        These was my sentiments exactly — and you “illuminated” my points far better than I did.

        The reviewer seemed to think by making matters more complicated he eliminated the need for ID’s “information”.

        • SmilodonsRetreat

          There is no need to remove the need for “information”. However, non-intelligent sources can generate such information.

          It is up to ID believers to provide evidence that ONLY an intelligence can generate such information AND that such an intelligence exists.

          • Dkennedy

            Actually, it’s only necessary to prove that only intelligence could create that information, then the simple fact that these things exist proves that intelligence’s existence automatically.

            Although, yes, the ID crowd has their hands full – indeed – because the materialist view is inclined to believe that human consciousness, all living life forms and every facet of the universe – including the laws of physics and the likes of things such as the periodic table spontaneously appeared.

            As a result – they are already convinced that “nature” can do these acts (somehow) and pointing out that only an intelligence does such things won’t carry much sway.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Incorrect. We KNOW that non-intelligent systems can create information. That’s a simple fact.

              Therefore, to show the existence of Intelligent Design, you MUST show the existence of the designer.

            • Dkennedy

              Guess it depends what your definition of is is.

              Static noise could be called ‘information’, but anyone intuitively knows the difference between random garbage and an data that is intelligently configured. But given one form of definition everything is data. That is not what we are speaking of. Non-intelligent systems do not write stories, they don’t create songs, they don’t create anything structured in a way that requires planning and forethought — which is pretty obvious, because they don’t have thought.

              But now, I’m arguing what is the very crux of the position, so I can’t imagine I’d find agreement. You on the other hand think that biological systems can construct themselves as a result of random mutation and natural selection. It takes intelligence to make something as simple as a Transformer, yet they still reveal signs of what they change from / to, yet you believe that random chance and the fact that things die builds humans and animals.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Yes, You should define your terms, because everyone knows that there is a difference between information and meaning. ID proponents always get that confused.

              You should read up on Shannon information, which is A) calculable and B) no related to “meaning” at all.

              You also construct a strawman argument. You state what I believe without knowing the last thing about what I think. You’ll note I don’t say “believe” because I do not believe in anything. I accept that there is sufficient evidence to support the idea that random mutation AND SELECTION (and multiple other processes) are sufficient to explain the diversity of life around us.

              I also accept that there is exactly zero evidence for any non-human designer. If you have that evidence, then you should present it. Your entire argument depends on it.

            • Dkennedy

              ” If you have that evidence, then you should present it. Your entire argument depends on it.”

              But you have confiscated all the evidence and placed it all under the umbrella of “nature”. You’ve decided that “nature” makes worlds, and people and animals – and periodic tables – and physical laws and the table of elements. That “nature” that is mindless but works systematically at doing these things with random processes, random processes that made themselves and propagate themselves.

              So which evidence would I point to? You’ve claimed all of eternity.

              And I’ve seen no place that I’ve misrepresented evolution.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              If you say that evolution is random, then you have misrepresented evolution… as has been told to you twice in these threads.

              OK, so show me the natural designer. Show me the thing that created life. What is it? Where? Show me your god. Provide the evidence.

              Even if it’s supernatural, we will see traces. Just like we can’t see electrons or wind, but we can see what they do and control them.

              You are the one making the claim, why don’t you provide the evidence that convinced you that every biological scientist on the planet is wrong and you are right?

            • Dkennedy

              “Even if it’s supernatural, we will see traces. ”

              If a person writes a book — are there ‘traces’ of that person in the book? Yes, in some respect, there are signs of the creator’s character – their personality, but nothing more. The evidence is the creation. The character of the creator is always in whatever it designs… but there is nothing else to speak of. An artist makes a painting, is there any sign of them? No, just a painting. Clearly if we are talking about a creator that makes a universe – if it wishes to have signs of it’s existence, it will be there….. but why? If a creator of universes wants to be known they surely have the ability to make their presence known to all of creation.. simultaneously even. From what the philosophy and understanding of religion has shown.. that’s not God’s intention – that’s a matter of faith.

              But the evidence is everywhere. I spent 25 years as an atheist, and like yourself I saw no sign of a God — once I believed I realized it was like I was walking around blind — isn’t the intricate work of what was created evidence enough? We have consciousness… from where? Where does it originate? From what source? From our experience we know that if something is created – it’s created from something or someone — not simply appears. Maybe in your world things spontaneously appear into existence.. but not in mine.

              As far as lying about evolution… really? Evolution isn’t random? So who wrote the program? A mutation occurs. Usually by dealing with some harmful substance… and usually that mutation is deleterious or neutral.. but that’s another subject. Mutations are random. By natural selection – you mean things die. Great. Nothing misrepresented about evolution, it’s random mutations that create organisms – apparently at one point out of nothing — yes, I know, you’ll say that’s another subject, you want to divide the two into getting to the first cell, then everything that follows it , but there’s really no separation – it’s the same subject.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              “The evidence is the creation.”

              And that is the point. Via all the various creation stories and via science, we get the same result.

              The ONLY difference is the creator itself. That’s why you have to provide it.

              I’ll stick with the system that provides all the tools that you reject, science. That is, until there is evidence of a creator. And no, as we have already established, the thing is not evidence that an intelligent agent had to create the thing.

            • Dkennedy

              So, you will use a tool to detect what we’ve determined won’t be detected in that manner – especially since you assume borderline omnipotence by nature itself. We know that a wide assortment of things in nature perform a whole host of activities that entire teams of engineers with our human brains cannot fathom can be done, yet the assumption is that nature does this simply because – it’s nature, and it does that. Add to that the fact that there’s little hope of future scientific endeavors illuminating the question any further — and this is why:

              I suppose this wouldn’t be the best juncture to go into the fact that I don’t believe science has ever shown us “why” anything does anything. This statement usually brings about pages of indignation. The shortest version: You can define down to an incredibly high level the details of every interaction for something (say.. how sound works) in the attempt at explaining sound — but in the end it doesn’t actually explain why sound does what it does. All science can do is document the interaction, and yes, the result of that is all the marvels of technology at our disposal.. but it never answers the original question “Why does sound perform how it does?” Why does hydrogen and oxygen, two gases, come together to form a liquid? No, I don’t mean to start a discussion of covalent bonds and to go into detail about HOW it occurs, I mean why. Science isn’t a tool to address it – it is mum on the topic. There’s no logic to how the interaction of the two gases become a liquid even with the most thorough understanding of what all occurs at the microscopic level.

              Have you ever seen a speaker built? That is, a regular speaker – woofer, tweeter – magnets and all? I’ve watched on youtube people make them by hand – but the fact that those work to reproduce sound in perfect fidelity is truly amazing, there’s nothing to them really. Now, I know your response is probably something like “well, you don’t understand it then”, but that’s not the point — the point is that in this world and with the natural laws we have, understanding HOW something works doesn’t tell you WHY it works — it just tells you it does. There are certain questions science is unequipped to answer, this question is one of them. If you wonder what all this has to do with your comment — look at the first line in this comment.. I promise, it all fits together.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              1) Why do you keep saying what I believe? I’ve told you I don’t “believe” anything. I have evidence for the things that I think are correct.

              2) I do not assume omnipotence. What gave you that idea? I know that natural systems are highly constrained. There’s more that those systems can’t do than can do.

              3) Yes, natural systems do the things. Heat flows from higher concentrations to lower concentrations. That’s how the universe works. There are no angels or demons guiding the flow of thermal energy.

              4) Why is a meaningless question when you’re talking about natural systems. Merely asking why forces you to assume that some agency has a reason. To show that to be valid, you must provide evidence that such an agency exists. You have not.

              When (If) you provide evidence that some intelligent agent exists and can create universes, organisms, life, etc and provide evidence that natural systems cannot, THEN we can talk about “why”. Until then, there is no “why” to discuss.

              We might as well be talking about why Sauron wants to rule Middle Earth. We can talk about it all day long, but it’s an utterly meaningless discussion.

              We think that “nature” is all there is because there has never, in the history of Earth, been any evidence to suggest that there is anything beyond nature… i.e. supernatural (though, I guess subnatural either). When you can provide evidence of these things, then we can talk about them. Until then, we’re arguing about myths.

              The creation is not evidence of a creator. What is the creator of stars? Gravity. That’s it. You can say that god created stars, but he used gravity… OK, then why do we need “god” at all in the discussion. We can understand how gravity works so well that we can detect the minuscule changes in gravity over different parts of Earth. We can predict how gravity affects the movement of object, even light. Soon, maybe, we will be able to manipulate gravity. All of that and there is still no evidence of god in the creation of stars.

              That’s the entire point. I think that natural systems can do everything that currently exists, because there is nothing else.

            • Dkennedy

              Everyone “believes” something. No matter whether it’s unicorns or who’s likely to win the next election – there is no subject that someone doesn’t have a belief about. Some with strong conviction – others wavering. – Some could be very undecided because of mixed views for and against, but still that is a belief. Actually, it’s telling that you resist the idea of stating that you “believe” anything. All beliefs are based on what we consider to be the facts — even if they are wrong, they’re the facts according to us. I wager that a GOP voter that says Obama is Muslim has his “facts” as well, — maybe it’s just his middle name that causes him to think so – but still, those are his facts, and that’s his belief. Science has had a very long history of being wrong – and when not wrong, having various degrees of rightness. There have been many things that the consensus of scientists all felt were true — then they were overturned. Though they may be driven by facts, it turns out it was actually just a belief. I imagine you believe in dark matter and dark energy, because that’s what you’ve been told by scientists. They don’t even know if such a thing is or isn’t true – it just makes their equations work. You believe things based on the facts you are given… true or not.

              “I do not assume omnipotence. What gave you that idea? I know that natural systems are highly constrained”

              First, let me say it’s completely understandable from a scientific perspective to assume it’s ‘constrained’ to that, I get it – it’s the very basis of science. We can’t go assuming natural law could change at any moment or all of science goes out the window – I understand.

              But those laws DID change – they went from not existing to existing.

              From a big bang perspective what has ‘nature’ done? At this point we feel we have a decent grasp of the story all the way back to a fraction of a second into the universe’s existence. There was no time, there was no space – no gravity, the very laws of physics didn’t exist in any form that we understand, at least that’s what the math tells us – because the equations virtually fall apart at that point. I’ll avoid the term “created” for it’s implications — but the fact of the matter is the very fabric of existence formed – laws and all.

              The cosmos and it’s physical ‘constraints’ , spewed forth out of nothing – or possibly from a quantum level probability.. or what have you. Though the universe operates within these constraints, something that behaves in this manner and is that powerful doesn’t exactly imply it is forced to. It is just as likely that it, well…. intends to.

              But I know, you want me to provide proof of that. You want me, here in this blog, to provide the concrete evidence that ends the debate that’s gone on since the dawn of time. Not likely to happen. I do have what I consider to be personal proof, but it’s experiences that I’ve had – and as a result doesn’t carry any weight.

              On that note though, people often state there is no way to prove God exists, which is just simply not true. Well, we could prove it as much as we ‘prove’ anything else. It could be as simple as stating “if God exists I’ll turn over this rock on the ground, and it will say this exact phrase on it” The more specific .. the higher degree of certainty, I guess. Simple as that and it’s proven, long as you’ve accounted for the fact that no one is messing with you anyway.

              Einstein stated “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous”, I love that line — that guy was on to something.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Dear Quote Investigator: The following statement is attributed to the brilliant physicist Albert Einstein:

              Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.

              I have been unable to find any solid information to support this ascription. What do you think?

              Quote Investigator: There is no substantive evidence that Einstein ever made a remark of this type. It is not listed in the comprehensive collection “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein” from Princeton University Press.
              http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/04/20/coincidence/

              This is a perfect metaphor for our conversation. You supply things that you “know” to be true, but are actually incorrect. I supply the evidence that such a thing is incorrect. What you do with that information, now that it has been given to you, determines what kind of a person you are. Will you continue to use that quote? Knowing that it is most likely incorrect. Or will you stop using that quote? I’ll never know the answer to that.

              We can argue about belief. That’s fine. If you don’t want to support your belief in Intelligent Design with facts, then belief is all it can be. On that, we are agreed.

              Sadly, the natural world doesn’t work on beliefs. That’s the great thing about science, it works whether you believe in it or not (paraphrase from Neil deGrasse Tyson (who actually did say that)).

              Let’s talk about some facts.
              1) Evolution works. New species have evolved. Evolutionary principles have been used to correctly predict future and past events and changes in organisms.
              2) Intelligent Design is a system purposefully designed to destroy science, force Christian religion on people, and use trickery to insert religion into science classrooms in a country where that is illegal.
              3) Meyer, in Darwin’s Doubt, purposefully misrepresents what scientists say about evolution.
              4) Meyer, in Darwin’s Doubt does not provide a single bit of evidence to support ID.

              Which of these facts do you disagree with? I can provide evidence for every single one of them. I have, in this very blog. It doesn’t take much effort to find them.

              Do scientists know EVERYTHING about the universe, how it came to be, and all aspects of how it works? Of course not. No one has said otherwise. Could god be hiding somewhere? Sure.

              But here’s the thing. In thousands of years of desperately searching for evidence of god, Jesus, or anything to support any religion… nothing has been found. You know how I know? Because if there was, you (and every other creationist) wouldn’t ever shut up about it. You would start every conversation with that evidence.

              Therefore, in spite of the 30,000+ religions that humans have concocted over the millennia, there is no evidence that supports any of them. Therefore, it is so unlikely as to be totally ignored (which it is) that any religion is correct.

              Science, however, it based on facts and evidence. You are using the tools developed by science to try and discredit science, which is silliness in itself. I will continue to use and promote the ONLY system for gaining knowledge that actually works.

            • Dkennedy

              First –

              The only manner online to find that Einstein DIDN’T say that (I know, because I’ve looked) is by specifically typing “Did Einstein say …”

              I ran across the quote ages back along with dozens of other familiar Einstein quotes and had absolutely no reason to investigate it

              I spend my time debunking an entire assortment of things, so much so that I have developed a tendency to type DEBUNK at the end of most things that I type into a search bar. You get bothered by the fact that you think I state your views on things without knowing them or what you believe — well join the club. I continually debunk posts relating to politics, religion, science but hey, I said that quote so you latch onto it and decide that it encapsulates every aspect of who I am.

              That’s something you’ve done from the beginning. Find one particular thing or another and decide that this specific thing defines every single characteristic about me. You did it because of a use of the word weather. You did it with this quote… The use of the word ‘weather’ rather than “climate” means (and I’d have to dig up the way you reacted) that I clearly know absolutely nothing about science. The quote by Einstein, you decided, means I just believe anything I wish regardless of facts – and not only that continue to believe it whether corrected or not.

              There’s a certain type of person that reacts in this type of manner.. they have names for this condition.

              Yes, I find it embarrassing to learn that the quote isn’t actually from him. And given that information – I’m not using it (although honestly, I see only the one page that states they couldn’t find proof of the quote – but I don’t see any sites showing otherwise).

              It’s really too bad that you react this way. I see it as a tremendous character flaw, because overall we have had what I considered an interesting, although somewhat fruitless, discussion.

              ———-

              That being said.. there was still some other substance of a sort to respond to in that comment.

              As far as your quick list of FACTS, that you promise proof of –

              1) New species have evolved.

              We find new species every year. As far as the word ‘species’, there isn’t even a proper understanding of what a ‘species’ IS. Definitions are pretty important when it comes to things like “finding new ones”.

              First tell me the defining difference between two species: You were quite troubled by the idea of “specified information”, so you understand how important definitions can be.

              2) Intelligent Design is a system purposefully designed to destroy science.

              Interesting. To “destroy science” (ominous sound). How do you propose someone would “destroy science”? Science is, generally, a method of doing things – you can’t “destroy science” anymore than you can “destroy philosophy” or art, or music – (although, I suppose some bands do get accused of “destroying music”, but it’s not technically possible).

              ID doesn’t buy the evidence that natural selection and mutation (and genetic drift and other factors espoused) are enough of a mechanism to account for the massive metamorphosis that evolution claims to have done in the matter of millions of years. It also claims that the fossil record doesn’t account for it. The defense is usually (among other things) that very specific situations are needed to produce fossils – though interestingly, lately we are finding a plethora of preserved tissue inside of dinosaur bones that aren’t even exceptionally preserved. But anyway, the real point is — ID can’t ‘destroy science’ and no it’s not trying to ‘destroy science’. By the way, if your ‘proof’ of such a thing is some quote from someone at some point in the Discovery Institute’s past.. which is what I’d expect.. that does not constitute proof that all of the people who are involved and pursue ID are conspiring to “destroy science”… geez. But still, I can’t wait to see it.

              As far as 3 and 4… I’m willing to believe Meyer could have misrepresented a quote or multiple quotes even. Meyer is one person – people are flawed and have their own motives for manipulating facts for their purposes. As far as 4, that’s largely opinion and would require going through the entire book and debating each line of text on whether it constitutes “proof of ID”.

              As far as your paraphrase of Tyson – “That’s the great thing about science, it works whether you believe in it or not”

              Science works to get us closer to the truth – but it’s not at all always correct, nor is it without it’s ‘beliefs’. Medical science once upon a time removed women’s reproductive organs when they were acting crazy, they were ‘hysterical’ — hence hysterectomies. It didn’t help them much. Science has been wrong about a great many things throughout time. I’m not against science by any means, but even the consensus of scientists that you trust have been proven incorrect throughout time. If they were wrong… and it wasn’t a “belief”, then what was it?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I am truly fascinated. For someone who claims to debunk things, you just accept ID why?

              Do the same level of detail that you do with you political debunks on intelligent design. Or do you just accept that there is an intelligence?

              Let’s see if I can focus on more than one of the things you have said (most of which I do ignore because it is drivel, you are the one that keeps bringing up weather. It’s a failed analogy, let it go.)

              The wedge document written by the discovery institute (of which Meyer was president of the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture at the time).

              “GOALS

              Governing Goals

              To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.

              To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.”
              http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html
              You can see that the DI accepts that they wrote the document here: https://www.discovery.org/f/349|

              DEFEAT SCIENCE… those aren’t my words. Those are the direct words of the group who invented the idea of intelligent design (in it’s modern form). ID is really nothing more than Paley’s argument updated with bad math (that no one has ever actually used) and worse logic.

              Let’s talk about species for a moment. It’s true that defining a new species is generally difficult. It’s like porn, you know it when you see it. However, there are multiple instances of new species arising concurrently with the parent species. For example, in Lenski’s lab, a probable new species of bacteria developed from E. coli. I say probable, because bacteria are difficult enough to determine species. However, the justification for this is simple.

              One of the defining traits of E. coli is that it doesn’t utilize citrate. In fact, that’s the test to determine if a bacteria is E. coli or salmonella. Yet, Lenski’s lab has evolved (please, show me exactly where the designer acted in this example) a new E. coli bacterium that can utilize citrate. While the lab has yet to publish a paper calling it a new species, I think it’s justified.

              How about we start with insects:

            • Dkennedy

              I’m not going to respond in full, but I had to comment on the fact that you do exactly what you accuse others of,. It, by your own definition, is lying.

              Even more remarkable, you are unaware of it.

              You quoted Discovery Institute as stating they wanted to “Defeat scientific materialism”, yet took the liberty of altering it to “Defeat science”

              Heck, you might as well have just added the ellipses for good measure.

              Though you, apparantly, must think the two have the same meaning, they do not – and if there wasn’t underhanded intent you would have preserved the whole statement in your original comment that you claimed you had proof of.

              Do you not think this is precisely what Meyers is doing with his quotes?

              Scientific materialism does not equal science. If it did, well then there’d be no need to specify, would there?

              If you had stated this was their view I’d have had no issue with it. They believe in God, thus they of course want to defeat the view that permeates science that materialistic causes are the only possible explanation.

              Yes, I’m aware of the old “can’t let a divine foot in the door” view of science, what they wish to show- and sufficiently, is that there is another possibility other than simply blind, dumb nature as the cause. I, of course, share in that goal.

              What that goal translates to, is supplying credible evidence of a higher power, not “destroying science”.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I note that you don’t define science. You don’t define “scientific materialism”. You state things without any evidence to support them.

              Name an aspect of science that is not in the material world.

              Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are identical with material interactions.

              Science is rooted in the material world. Science does not deal with the supernatural.

              Therefore, regardless of any semantic games you want to play. They are the same thing.

              I’m not lying, I’m saying exactly what they intend to do. Get rid of science and replace it with Christianity. Dembski himself said that any science that does not embrace god is fundamentally deficient.

              “What that goal translates to, is supplying credible evidence of a higher power, not “destroying science”.”

              Did you even read the document?

            • Dkennedy

              Things are always tricky when we go into this idea of “natural” and “supernatural”

              Mainly because… if something happens in the natural world, it instantly becomes ‘natural’, no matter what it might be. If a statue cries blood, and is confirmed – whatever the case on what might be thought of the phenomenon then it would become a part of the natural world that such a thing can occur – so this is where this topic is getting hung up.

              In your above statement you are actually the one playing word games. “Science is rooted in the material world. Science does not deal with the supernatural.”

              Anything supernatural that occurs would occur in the material world. If ID is correct that it took a mind to create what exists here — then you are studying supernatural phenomena manifesting itself in material form.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Again, the only difference between ID and evolution (especially if you read ID blog posts), is the existence of the designer.

              ID makes no predictions. Only says, after scientists make a discovery, that the discovery is predicted by ID.

              ID develops no useful tools. It makes no improvements to our knowledge.

              Really, I want to know, if ID where true, what would change? Would organisms stop evolving? Because populations do evolve and that is a fact.

              The only difference is the designer. So, to show ID is correct, you must produce a designer. That is provide evidence that a designer actually exists. To use “design” as evidence of a designer, you must show that it is not possible for non-intelligent systems to do these things. Since you cannot show that, nor can you show the influence of the designer on systems which we know evolved. Then, ID is meaningless.

              As fa as supernatural. It’s perfectly plausible that a supernatural thing can cause effects in our world. Read Flatland for an example as to how that might look to us. However, in spite of several thousand years of diligent searching, no such event has ever been recorded or observed. Everything, so far, obeys the rules of our universe.

              Either the designer started the universe and walked away, which doesn’t help religion at all, or there is no designer.

            • Dkennedy

              ” in spite of several thousand years of diligent searching, no such event has ever been recorded or observed.”

              If a supernatural even is observed in a test environment, it would simply be considered an anomaly. So, in test environments we aren’t likely to know if such a thing was or wasn’t.

              In a NON test environment, there is only personal experience.

              Requesting a supernatural event to occur again, on command, seems also to be rather presumptuous and egotistical.

              If an event that “cannot happen” by materialism – happens, that just makes it ‘not supernatural’.

              All your bases are covered. What would be supernatural? A man coming back to life? Well… that happens all the time – even at points that we consider them dead and without brain activity.. but what does that mean – science’s reaction would be that there’s just still things we don’t understand about death – and that it’s possible to return from it even when there’s apparently no activity. How about cancerous tumors vanishing in relatively no time? Science will just say it’s a relative mystery of science and there’s things we don’t know yet.

              I only see one thing that always comes up —– a limb sprouting back where there wasn’t one. That’s the atheist favorite. But that almost leaves us in a state of “until someone grows a limb back, there is no God”

              What would make you believe? Serious. What would be an example – and not only an example, but how would it need to be documented to convince you?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I’m not asking for it to be repeatable on demand. I’m asking any evidence one any event could be chalked up to supernatural forces.

              You don’t have a designer. That’s all there is to it.

              You hope there’s one. You believe there is one. But you don’t know.

            • Dkennedy

              One of the main experiences that led to my belief –

              I came at it from the concept of science — what would prove it to me? I felt that if I’m willing to believe then I need to set the criteria – which is why I asked you the question.

              I won’t bore you with the details — because there’s far more to the story, and far more experiences that occurred that month. Many of them. This is one of the biggest though..

              My view was that to believe I would need to see things that science couldn’t explain.

              As I said – this is the ultra short version.. but I awoke one morning and there was a commercial on for a ministry — as I laced up my boots for work the minister stated “The lion and the lamb will sleep together” — I thought about the statement for a second.. then went about my day.

              At work, all day long I kept thinking of that line, like a song stuck in your head – and kept feeling like “why do I keep thinking of that”..

              Later that night I went to a party at a friends house. At one point in the night it had become somewhat odd, everyone had trickled one by one into the entrance area, the ‘second’ living room, which normally is never used. One thing about that, it was dark in there – with just light streaming from the other room. I wandered in to find where everyone had gone. Laying in the middle of the floor was a dollar bill. I reached down and picked it up — I turned to the room, trying to be funny – and said “alright, who’s dollar is this”, just figuring someone would say “it’s mine”.. but instead, the next odd thing was everyone said in unison “It’s Brian’s dollar.” I then turned to Brian, he was the host of the party — he had long brown hair to his waist – a real ‘rocker’ type, and I’ll always remember he was wearing a “Team 666” t-shirt. He was an atheist. and I imagine still is. So anyway, I turned to Brian and was still just trying to be funny… holding the dollar I stated “Ok , Brian, can you PROVE that this is your dollar?” He then said “no, Dave, you keep that dollar” and I’m like, “Brian, everyone says it’s your dollar, so take the dollar” and this time, Brian is noticeably shaking.. and states “No, Dave, you keep that dollar – because I found a dollar lying on the street today and it said on it “the lion and the lamb will sleep together”

              At which point I threw the dollar at him and said “Brian, get the &(*% out of my head!”

              No, I never had said anything about the commercial I saw that morning, seriously – why would I? Nor did I at any time say it out loud. Also of note, Brian’s house was full of continually broke individuals – they didn’t even have TV’s or cable service.. though even if he had seen the same commercial that doesn’t explain the strangeness of it.

              That is only one story in about a dozen that occurred within a one month period of time. I had drank one beer that night, so no – I wasn’t high or drunk. Brian actually searched his wallet for the dollar he spoke of that he swore he found.. but he spent it. The odds of someone randomly saying such a thing are astronomically small.. especially when considering the words “The lion and the lamb will sleep together” (the exact phrasing he said, and the one from the commercial) do not appear in the Bible…

              Of course, you can discount it – and you can say it means nothing, especially since it didn’t happen to you. But this along with many other similarly incredible experiences – and some that I won’t share – have made me believe, because after all, I set the criteria and mentally told myself that if that criteria was met, I would believe.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Right, so confirmation bias and personal incredulity are the reasons for your belief.

              Fine.

              Still no evidence for a designer. You believe in god. That’s fine. Maybe even the Judeo-Christian god. OK. Still can’t teach it as science in schools. Still no evidence for it.

              And it still doesn’t mean that evolution doesn’t work.

              Tell me, have you read the articles I’ve talked about Meyer lying yet?

            • Dkennedy

              Confirmation bias would be a situation where you will not give support to alternate possibilities.

              Your “alternate” possibility would only be “coincidence”, which I do not in any way buy. If all occurrences can be explained as “coincidence” then where do you draw the line? If I had written a code of 50 numbers down – and had a hunch that later those numbers would be said aloud, and they were — would that be sufficient? How about 100 numbers? As I said, to find reason for belief you would first need to have guidelines on what would qualify. There was absolutely no reason for Brian to make that statement – unless he happens to be a mind reader, but that wouldn’t even be the case.. as I wasn’t actively thinking of that at that point. Confirmation bias? I was an agnostic who had, in a sense, given up on religion. That is another incredible story – I always wore a St. Christopher medal as a joke – I called it my ‘catholic detector”. A couple weeks previous to this night I just described I had finally seen what was currently my favorite band, Christian Death (as I stated — I was very anti-religion) At that concert during a song called “sick of love”, during the chorus I ripped that medal off and threw it on the ground. I decided that I was done considering myself agnostic — I had given the benefit of a doubt and never had seen anything as evidence. Directly after that experience is when the strange “coincidences” started occurring. It was daily and went for about a month straight.

              That experience in itself set the stage. I’ve learned that there’s meaning to the idea that you have to give up looking for something to find it. It happens in daily life with something as simple as losing your keys – once you stop searching and your mind has given up… it then occurs to you.

              But, I know, confirmation bias. As I stated, you would first have to have some guidelines about what would make you believe before there is any chance of that being fulfilled. Mine was simply to witness things that could not be explained to my satisfaction by random chance or statistics — something that I couldn’t explain away as just a “coincidence”.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              And here it is… the law of big scary numbers.

              Let’s say you wrote down ten letters. How often would you expect to find a word?

            • Dkennedy

              Unless you are talking articles — or very short words appearing just somewhere within the ten digits – then practically never. If you are talking simple words then it’s more likely than not – more likely than having a word in scrabble.

              But, If we limited it to 10 letter words the odds become absolutely staggering – especially due to being limited to only 10 letter words (which there are only so many) To know the odds you’d first have to establish the number of 10 letter words in the language. If we are speaking of it spelling that word in order – then the numbers become far more ridiculous.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I said “a word” not a ten letter word.

              I am copy/pasting a brilliant post by +Arthur Paliden found on The Book of Faces. The original is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/10150112797390640/permalink/10156373022715640/

              The Power of Randomness
              A while back a creationist, well to be truthful every creationist has at one time or another, made the assertion that random generation cannot ever end up with any form of usable information. To back up this assertion they state that it would be the same as typing a random mess of characters on a keyboard and expecting words to appear. Then to back up this assertion they typed about 60 characters of random gibberish.
              Interestingly enough when you actually looked at the string it did in fact contain words. But then you might say that the creationist in question might have typed real words as a result of muscle memory which would of course negate the observed results. So I decided to actually run an experiment that actually used random generated strings and then parse those strings for English words. (You know science)
              So I wrote a simulator that generated 60 character random strings and then parsed out all 2 to 10 character sequences, I ignored single character words, in the string and compared them against a dictionary. The routine was then run 1,000,000 times. The results included up to 8 character words.
              Iterations = 1,000,000
              Total Tests = 503,000,000
              Word length = 2, count = 7151190
              Word length = 3, count = 2674758
              Word length = 4, count = 373686
              Word length = 5, count = 25679
              Word length = 6, count = 1617
              Word length = 7, count = 77
              Word length = 8, count = 3
              Word length = 9, count = 0
              Word length = 10, count = 0
              Next I wondered what the results would be in I introduced a delimiter to treat each string as an individual word. So with the 26 letters I included a space as the word delimiter. So I wrote another simple routine to investigate this method of random word generation. The routine was run 10 million times with the following results.
              Iterations = 10,000,000
              Number of Words of Each Length
              Word length = 2, count = 47498
              Word length = 3, count = 16858
              Word length = 4, count = 2359
              Word length = 5, count = 163
              Word length = 6, count = 14
              Word length = 7, count = 0
              Word length = 8, count = 0
              Word length = 9, count = 0
              Word length = 10, count = 0
              So as you can plainly see using the example, championed by the creationist, randomness does actually generate usable information.

            • Dkennedy

              Why would I be interested or impressed with the odds of *A* word in 10 letters. Like I said, that’s easier than scrabble and isn’t in any way relating to the type of things I’m speaking of. Most of the letters of our language can be words in some order. If you feel that’s relevant.. not really sure how?

              And no – that’s not supplying “usable information”. — it’s as much junk as the random numbers you used — garbage in and garbage out. It has no meaning and no purpose — it’s not ‘useful’ or ‘usable’ or any variation.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              It’s only interesting because it directly refutes your understanding of probability and randomness.

            • Dkennedy

              It doesn’t refute anything. Matter of fact – it’s exactly what I TOLD YOU before you put up your silly number analogy – yet, for some reason you still felt it necessary to post it.

              How is it a “refutation” when it’s WHAT I SAID before YOU SAID IT??

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              “If all occurrences can be explained as “coincidence” then where do you draw the line? If I had written a code of 50 numbers down – and had a hunch that later those numbers would be said aloud, and they were — would that be sufficient? How about 100 numbers? ”

              It’s just bias. You remember it because it happened… that one time. You don’t remember the thousands of times a day nothing like that happens.

              Confirmation bias.

              “But the odds of that happening…” Are impossible to calculate and meaningless anyway. Because improbable things happen.

              The odds of you winning 1.3 billion dollars on Wednesday is massively small. But I’m willing to bet that someone wins.

              And that is the issue. When thinking about probability (coincidence) you can’t just think about the ONE thing that happened. What else could have happened to make you believe (in this case)?

              There’s an interesting article I wrote about a while back.

              Creationists talk about how remarkably improbable proteins are. It has to be “just so”. But that’s not true. It doesn’t have to be just so. Some researchers looked a database of random proteins that were exactly 80 amino acids long. So the probability of each one was 80^20. How many do you think resulted in the ability to cleave ATP? They found 4 families of proteins (about 24 total proteins) all of which could cleave ATP.

              And you say, “that’s not a big number at all”, but that’s just 80 amino acids. What about all the 79, and 81, and 78, and 82 lengths… etc. etc. etc. It wasn’t even all of the possible 80 amino acid proteins. It was only about a trillion of them (or about 0.000000001% of the total number).

              Vastly improbable things happen. Improbable doesn’t mean impossible. It certainly doesn’t mean it was required that an intelligent agent create all those pieces just so you would believe again.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              As an aside… what are the odds that the article I posted would have been posted by a friend on G+ today?

              OMG, must be… 1.

            • Dkennedy

              The odds of extraordinarily unlikely things, given even the number of things that occur in a day, are still so staggering that such an unlikely thing isn’t likely to happen IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE.

              For example: How many people win that lottery you spoke of — the big jackpot? Anyone you know?

              In the same sense — if you run into the next door neighbor while in London England at a grocery store, people will state as you just did that basically “how many times DIDN’T it happen?” The thing is — for a scenario like I just described it’s likely to never happen due to the sample size. The number of times you’ve been in a far off region – the number of people you run into – etc. Yet, everyone is likely to have a story like this. Why is that? Because like is not random — it happens through patterns. – it’s basically written. Yes, seemingly pointless things occur – but there is order in the background that we do not understand. This is why impossible odds occur readily.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              If there are odds, then it is not impossible. You need to visit another blog here. “The Odds Must be Crazy”. Most of the posts are descriptive things of what the odds actually are for events.

              “it’s basically written”…

              And here we come to it. By who? How do you know?

              Do you honestly have evidence that is the Judeo-Christian god that is doing the writing? How do you know it’s not the adversary or Cthulhu or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or that we’re a high school student’s simulations final project?

              You don’t know. You can’t know. Even if there was a writer (designer), you have no idea who or what it is, because there is no evidence for anything.

              You have your belief. And that’s fine. Guess what. Nothing that exists as a tool, process, or functioning system that we use in our world was ever developed on a belief. It was developed with the practices of engineering and science. One of those sciences is evolution, because it works. It’s predictive. It results in tools that allows us to solve other problems. And it’s supported with so much evidence from so many different fields (physics, chemistry, geography, geology, molecular biology, genetics, etc. etc. etc.) that evolution is a fact.

              As far as the rest… it’s just confirmation bias.

            • Dkennedy

              “If there are odds, then it is not impossible”

              Odds are a fiction and a literary tool. There are no actual “odds” of anything, because nothing ‘random’ actually occurs. Even a computer doing random number generation isn’t actually ‘random’ — there are a whole host of ways that we use to ‘simulate’ random, but random cannot be done. What the word “random’ means is that there are too many factors involved for our mind to predict the outcome. That’s all it means. A mind powerful enough definitely could predict the results of anything though.

              As far as evolution, “Evolution” doesn’t let you ‘solve’ anything.

              DNA research – Genetics – that does.

              Evolution is first built on the ever useful circular reasoning (things that are better survive, if it survived – it’s better) and mutations, which we already are aware of with genetic research anyway – mutations which are only ‘good’ normally by sheer accident and not a true improvement of the creature (no net gain in fitness) — for example, since viruses fit in rather key/lock manners, the virus can be ineffective due to the mutation — yet it still actually just a deformity. Evolution is not ‘predictive’, the predictions they make about steps from one animal to another are found to be incorrect daily until the ‘tree of life’ is just one giant bush with no idea how to get from one species to another or by what steps. They predict in one just so story and then retract it in a constant flow — with the retractions much quieter than the just so claim. They revise every age that they postulate, with the age changing by sometimes millions of years.

              But, you are also making a very bizarre argument — because from your argument everything is fundamentally mutually exclusive. You are creating some strange either / or. Science is fundamental to our existence and crucial to the advancement of society — but religion isn’t counter to science. The truth is what is important.. and at one point it seemed like that was the goal of science. I have no disagreement with science — but the over reaching claims of evolution, I definitely do. It is not Science vs Religion, it’s not even ID vs Evolution – it’s random mindless processes vs meaningful existence – but science and religion are not mutually exclusive, as I was saying. Throughout the ages and yet today scientists are inspired by and pursue both.

              Call him the spaghetti monster, or whatever you wish – he’s not too particular about the name. The Judeo Christian God? Well, there’s not much else — I think we started this conversation with me explaining that. Muslims are an off shoot of the same religion, they just felt that Muhammad was their prophet and Jesus was not God incarnate — yet they still follow the Torah, they’ve just tacked on the Quran. Yes, they war, but they shouldn’t – nor should Shia and Sunni – they are brothers. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism. What’s that leave us? Buddhism, Buddha had no actual belief when it came to Gods, not that he professed – he just had wise sayings and ideas about a properly lived life. The only large religion that makes some statement about a God would be Hinduism. So which God? Well, I guess the question is whether you believe in reincarnation — or are some splinter of Christianity. But I’ve already answered all this — in about the first reply I made directly to you – when you were stuck on the cliche Dawkins “which God?” question.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              “Odds are a fiction and a literary tool. There are no actual “odds” of anything, because nothing ‘random’ actually occurs. ”

              On that we agree… though not for the same reason. I think the universe is deterministic. You think the universe is determined.

              “As far as evolution, “Evolution” doesn’t let you ‘solve’ anything.”

              And yet, the principles of evolution (mutation, selection, sexual reproduction, drift), applied to computers can develop products faster and more effectively than teams of experts. When cancer researchers discovered a very rare tree that produced a compound that could reduce some tumors, they look at evolution to determine what species were closely related and found one that was common enough to be harvested. When Neil Shubin started looking for Tiktaalik, he used evolution to predict the likely environments, age range, and types of specimens to look for.

              So that claim is clearly false.

              I’m not even sure how to parse that next paragraph, it’s so full of gibberish and wrong information, I’m really surprised. I would suggest you read this article FIRST (http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2015/01/21/winning-vs-not-losing/), then this article (http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2014/02/20/most-mutations-are-harmful/), then this article (http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2015/02/20/casey-luskins-top-ten-misunderstandings-of-biology/) part 4 specifically.

              “But, you are also making a very bizarre argument — because from your argument everything is fundamentally mutually exclusive.”

              One of the traits of successful debaters is to understand their opponents argument. You do not. My argument is that there is A) no evidence of design B) no evidence of a designer. Everything else I’ve said has been in response to a false claim that you have made. Indeed, every time you change discussion topics, you are just showing that you have no evidence for design or the designer.

              “You are creating some strange either / or. Science is fundamental to our existence and crucial to the advancement of society — but religion isn’t counter to science.”

              It’s not strange. And religion is directly counter to science. Religion is about faith, which is defined as belief without evidence. Science is focused ONLY on evidence, there is no faith. Science works. Everything tool, system, process that we use every day in our lives is due to science. Not a single one is due to religion.

              “The truth is what is important.. and at one point it seemed like that was the goal of science.”

              At one point? It’s still true. It’s just not the truth that the majority of Americans want to hear, so they ignore it.

              “I have no disagreement with science — but the over reaching claims of evolution, I definitely do.”

              Of course you don’t. You would be a hypocrite to use the tools of science to try and discredit science.

              What are the claims of evolution? Name one.

              Humans and other primates are related… fact. There is so much data supporting that claim that it is undeniable. This is true from multiple fields of study.

              Mutations happen. Fact. Selection happens. Fact. Common Ancestry, 99.99999999% positive. We can’t know for sure (which is not an admission of ignorance), but every single data point for over one hundred years supports that claim.

              “It is not Science vs Religion, it’s not even ID vs Evolution – it’s random mindless processes vs meaningful existence”

              Meaningful existence? You think denying reality makes for meaning in your life? You think that a deity which you have never seen (no one has ever seen) that tells you to do things and causes coincidences like your friend talking about a lamb and a lion instead of just knocking on the door is what causes meaning in your life.

              That is a very sad life my friend. You know what drives meaning in my life. My family. My son. The pursuit of knowledge. Helping others. Being a good person. None of which requires religion.

              But people like you can’t accept that we are meaningless in the grand scope of the universe. How unbelievably arrogant to think that their deity created a known universe that is billions of light years in diameter with billions of galaxies, each with billions or trillions of stars, most containing planets, many of those containing life, and that deity causes a friend of yours to say something about a lion and lamb so you’ll believe in it.

              ” – but science and religion are not mutually exclusive, as I was saying. Throughout the ages and yet today scientists are inspired by and pursue both.”

              Sure, there are plenty of scientists who are religious. But that does not inform their science. It can’t, because science doesn’t work that way.

              You’ve taken a misunderstanding of science, a misunderstanding of odds, a misunderstanding of religion, and combined them together to misunderstanding the universe. There is no purpose. Only what we make.

              If you think otherwise, then it’s up to you to provide evidence that your deity exists.

              So you’re a theist, who just believes in some higher power? Any higher power?

              Doesn’t matter. There’s as much evidence for Jesus Christ as there is for Allah as there is for Coyote as there is for Odin and all the others. That is… none.

              Everything else is just a denial of reality.

            • Dkennedy

              “they look at evolution to determine what species were closely related ”

              Genetics – and even just a basic understanding of similarities – can determine what’s ‘related’. What you overlook is that you are just coming to a different conclusion about the same features – common design / types will appear the same as common descent.

              Though I appreciate your view that you are an authority on all subjects and thus have determined I misunderstand anything that you disagree with, including something you have shown no knowledge or even interest in – religion – I’ll have to disagree.

              I understand odds – even stating your refutation before you posted it. I’ve done the same with my responses on religion and in some cases evolution, I’ve predicted and countered your rebuttal before you even stated it. I know the odds, and I also understand what is probably and what is astronomically unlikely. I know the history of the religions and no, I don’t have any misunderstandings there — would you be interested in hearing the Buddha’s life story? I doubt it.

              You say that when it comes to religious scientists, religion ” does not inform their science”. Interesting — because THEY would say otherwise. One of the popular arguments by secular science is that once you feel “god did it” then there’s no reason to go through the rigor of science. The funny thing is — it’s just the opposite. Religious scientists feel they are observing the mind of God and there is nothing more important to them – and spiritual. Why am I here discussing these subjects? I’m sure you can give some very cynical responses — but where does my interest come from? I don’t care what you believe, because I know reflexively you are going to say it’s some attempt to change your mind. I don’t know you – or care. I enjoy talking about the subjects and I absolutely love debate in general. I also am endlessly interested in both subjects – science and God. It’s that INTEREST that fuels people in all endeavors. It’s incredulous to state that it doesn’t inform their science. It also informs their science because they are not expecting randomness or uselessness in nature, because they believe a brilliant mind designed it and the outcome should reflect that.

              ” people like you can’t accept that we are meaningless in the grand scope of the universe.”

              It’s all perspective isn’t it? If we are sitting here in a limitless universe — I’d say that makes us vastly meaningful — the vast space only shows how important we are, half full – half empty – it’s all perspective.

              “Meaningful existence? You think denying reality makes for meaning in your life? You think that a deity which you have never seen (no one has ever seen) that tells you to do things and causes coincidences like your friend talking about a lamb and a lion instead of just knocking on the door is what causes meaning in your life.”

              Knocking on your door? As I’ve already said (and you would first need to actually understand religion) It’s about faith, if God wanted everyone to know his existence – that could be done instantaneously. That’s not the goal. Though you scoff and don’t understand it, we have free will. We are given enough to believe and we are then expected to make a choice. The choice we make has already been predetermined and is known, but we still need to go through those motions and choose for ourselves.

              “That is a very sad life my friend. ” Not at all.

              “You know what drives meaning in my life. My family. My son. The pursuit of knowledge.”

              Without meaning then there is no actual knowledge, it’s all trivia and passing the time. Maybe we can increase the bandwidth on our internet connection — or eek out a few years by improved medicine – but that is all dust in the wind and in the end irrelevant. Yes, that would be a sad life.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              This entire conversation is futile. I thought you were different, but I always assume that about creationists. I’m always disappointed as well. You refuse to understand what your misunderstandings are and then you say this

              “As I’ve already said (and you would first need to actually understand religion) It’s about faith, if God wanted everyone to know his existence”

              I wonder, if you actually read my comments when we talked about the difference between science and religion. The part where I defined religion as being “faith”.

              I’m tired of this game. You have stated that you would reject Meyer arguments if they were shown to be lying. I have done that, it’s up to you to read them. It’s up to you to provide evidence of a designer. It’s up to you to provide evidence of design.

              You haven’t. Just continued to state your misunderstandings of evolution again and again.

              Since you have been corrected on those misunderstandings and continue to use them, then you are either purposefully lying or don’t understand even the very basics of evolution.

              Your choice, but I’m done for now.

            • Dkennedy

              AGAIN:

              “Unless you are talking articles — or very short words appearing just somewhere within the ten digits – then practically never. If you are talking simple words then it’s more likely than not – more likely than having a word in scrabble.

              But, If we limited it to 10 letter words the odds become absolutely staggering – especially due to being limited to only 10 letter words (which there are only so many) To know the odds you’d first have to establish the number of 10 letter words in the language. If we are speaking of it spelling that word in order – then the numbers become far more ridiculous.”

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Sure, IF the requirement that everything happen ONLY that way.

              Life isn’t like that. First, there could have been thousands of millions of combinations of events which would have had the same result. Unless you consider all of those as well, you have a faulty calculation.

              Then you have to consider the simple fact that this one was somehow important to you. You remembered it. Confirmation Bias.

              Just like in 5 card stud, the odds of getting a royal flush are 1/649,740. But you know what? The odds of getting the 5c, 7d, jh, 2h, and 8c is actually less than that. It’s just that the hand I just described is meaningless in poker, while a royal flush has some arbitrary meaning.

              Same with words. But not with living things. The odds of things modern proteins are not determined by probability and randomness… because they evolved.

            • Dkennedy

              “The odds of things modern proteins are not determined by probability and randomness… because they evolved.”

              This statement doesn’t make any sense in the context of what you are saying. It actually, in a sense, sounds like what IM saying… which is rather confusing. You sound as if you are saying ‘they aren’t random, because they happened’. I, personally, do not believe in any sort of randomness (technically, I see life as a combination of both free will and predestination — but that’s another story) From your view there is no guiding, planned principle underlying this world other than basic physical laws. They have no ability to plan or organize. A mutation, as a result, can only be random — no different than a mutation of DNA due to viral infection or environmental contaminants — cancer, as an example, isn’t a plan for evolution, it’s cell mutation. Without a mind behind such a thing there is no ‘planning’ for this process – it would be a roll of the dice, and if somehow the deformation of the genetic structure (mutation) works out positively, then it would allow that creature to live better than the others (natural selection).

              You can’t have it both ways. A mindless process can’t have a plan – and it can’t be anything other than random because it has no goals, no purpose — not even survival.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              No, I’m saying that they didn’t Poof into existence as fully formed modern versions of the molecules, because they have been in existence for millions of years, some of them for billions of years, and have that much genetic history behind them.

              You have to be very careful how you use words. Words can have very different meanings. Survival is a goal, but that’s not even the correct way to talk about evolution. Again, it’s the things that reproduce more get those genetics into more offspring. If there is an advantage to those particular genes, then it is more likely that those particular genes will become more common in the population.

              That’s not a goal. It’s not directed. It’s basic math. In fact, it’s trivial to see in dozens of analogies, which I won’t use because creationists have a notoriously hard time understanding that analogies are not the thing.

              Read the articles that I posted for you earlier. Read the evidence I’ve provided.

              You keep saying things as if they are insurmountable. But they aren’t. They aren’t even correct. You can say that mutations are always harmful. But that is simply not true. The evidence is overwhelming.

            • Dkennedy

              “survival is a goal, but that’s not even the correct way to talk about evolution. ”

              It isn’t a goal with evolution. It isn’t a matter of the right way to talk about it, it literally has no goal including survival. Which you seem to acknowledge but in a way that implies you still disagree and that it’s just semantics. The species as well as the cell itself and the mutation doesn’t care whether it lives or dies – it has no goal of proliferating it’s DNA, it has no preference – it can’t – because it can’t have goals – it’s simply incidental that it lived and as such gets carried forward.

              Not only is the proposed process ‘random’ because it has no direction, deleterious (because error correction is there to prevent the mutation at multiple levels — so, why does evolution evolve things to prevent evolution?), it supposedly is building entire systems without attempting to. Miraculous, I’d say. The equivalent of building Disney World accidentally.

              Mutations are beneficial for the reasons I’ve stated. It’s no different than if you were born without an appendix, then you would be immune to appendicitis. As far as observed mutations.. we have two contenders:

              The E coli experiment – the beneficial mutation was from what I’ve read a duplication. Nothing novel gained – although it used the duplicated gene for a different function. Also, I recall a loss of fitness in the generations.

              Lactase Production —- we always could produce lactase, we simply stopped producing it at a certain age – the gene that was dominant instead didn’t shut down the production.

              These, from what I’ve seen, are the big two examples of the marvels of observed evolution.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              MUTATION is random (to a point)
              SELECTION is NOT random.

              Until you understand that basic fact, you will forever misunderstand this entire discussion.

              Evolution is not random because selection is not random. Mutation provides diversity. Selection results in genes that provide more fitness (or at least are not totally deliterious) for that environment moving to fixation in that population.

              As far as observed mutations you know of two?!??!?! Seriously? I can show you a paper where a ribozyme evolved for different mutational familes that resulted in a 94-fold improvement in binding efficiency in 72 hours. I’ve written about it several times. Look at the sickle cell gene, it’s beneficial (in some environments)…a single point mutation.

              Regarding E. coli. Considering that the defining trait of E. coli is that it cannot utilize citrate, I think that utilizing citrate is a pretty big deal. But, what’s even more interesting is that they froze those samples and can trace the mutations over the history of the experiment.

              But you can look that all up. Instead of relying on whatever faulty information you have.

              Tell me, have you read any other Darwin’s Doubt posts I’ve made, or only this one?

              But, you creationists seem to want a lemur to give birth to a human… now that’s novel. Of course, no scientist would ever think that is even reasonable. You are the guys who want “poof”.

              Tell you want. Define your terms. Define “novel”.

              In short, you still have no evidence for a designer. Your misunderstandings of evolution are causing you to think it doesn’t or can’t work. You’re wrong. I’m curious if you will be able to admit it. I won’t hold my breath.

            • Dkennedy

              Selection is pretty damn random – why? Because living and dying is random. The best doesn’t always win.. nor would I say that it’s even likely to be close to always. Dumb luck, environment, disease and whole hosts of situations could wipe out your progress.

              First, to think that every single change that occurs is somehow “make or break” is just silly, which honestly is what people portray when they think of natural selection, that every change is beneficial enough to be a deciding factor in the survival of a species.

              It’s just not. Most changes wouldn’t be. So there goes one of the crucial mechanisms for evolution. A mutation could be beneficial, but simply not to any degree that it would benefit survival in any meaningful way — and it would just die out. It could be almost anything, possibly a large number of mutations that would SOMEDAY be an eye (because that’s how this whole thing would have to work) Maybe this SOMEDAY eye would be serving some small beneficial role in the mean time.. (because, again, that’s how it’s portrayed – to get around the concept of irreducible complexity) but after millions of years of unguided development, the animal dies out because the mutation just wasn’t really crucial at that stage. Not to mention the countless mutations that would be strictly neutral. But first we’d have to go on the idea that a fin changing to a leg over millions of years would actually serve some use that was better than the fin it already had.. rather than just a deformed fin or a deformed leg.. or tentacle – or whatever it would be — floating around with that for what would be 1000 times the length our entire recorded history.

              So yes, even selection is random.

              “you creationists seem to want a lemur to give birth to a human”

              Nope. Nor said anything of the sort. Although mutations that form entire body structures and take millions of years to go through the stages, it seems we’d notice some animals working on stuff… as in something, anything. I know, I know… the typical response is that everything is in a state of change right now and that everything is evolving. Given the fact that all organs / structures that exist — 100% of every animal on the earth — had to form over time, from the ground up, then these types of changes would be visible everywhere — everything would appear to be in the process of becoming – and it would be clear. There wouldn’t even be a question of evolution because you could just look around. Things don’t just sprout fully formed wings, they would have to go through millions of years of in-between stages.

              And random mutation is such a cruel, cruel creator. Why? Because it doesn’t know what it’s trying for. Possibly an animal would be forming a tentacle like arm… but then it gets new beneficial mutations, and now on the tentacle it’s got a hard spiky protuberance that is useful as a weapon… but then it gets a new mutation and starts to develop an eye at the end of the tentacle spike thing.. Evolution only cares if it helps survival? Correct? So it has no direction – it has no plan, and the outcome of it would look like that – it would be some alien looking creature that survives very well but appears to have been spit out by a random biological part generator.

              But no, you have no problems with any of these ideas — why? Because there’s a consensus – and evolution is useful in every scientific discipline, and it’s been proven! So there’s no need to worry our heads about the things that don’t make sense about it, it will all be explained in due time, we just need a few million years.. and you’ll show me.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              You continue to have a false understanding of evolution. I don’t know what to do with you at this point.

              You cannot back up your own claims and support your own ideas with evidence. You make claims about evolution that are false.

              You simply refuse to understand the basics of evolution.

              Did you READ the articles I posted for you? If you have and still saying the things you said in this comment, then you are purposefully misrepresenting the science. You religion, surely, has something to say about purposeful misrepresentation.

            • Dkennedy

              You continue to not even address what I’m stating.

              Misunderstand evolution? Every body plan that exists – all organs and all structures that exist in all creatures were formed, step by step, by the evolutionary process — correct? Or no?

              It’s mutation by mutation. Though I am willing to accept that there could be no noticeable change to the organism until after a certain number of mutations occur, the fact is there are only two roads you can go down with the evolutionary process – and only one of them that could be supported by evolution. Two ways – and no other.

              1) Either organs, body plans, etc would develop – in some alternate simple form – on their way to becoming more complex structures, but by necessity still be functionally useful to the organism

              Or

              2) Entire body structures would appear out of nowhere.

              Obviously only the first option is accepted from an evolutionary viewpoint. Limbs don’t just appear – neither do organs, they would have to start out as functional but simpler versions. If you have another way of it happening – I’m all ears. If you insist on saying it’s my lack of understanding.. and don’t want that to just be seen a pathetic cop out to avoid the question – then just answer a third manner for mutations to become new structures. Not only does that not reflect what we see in nature in any way, it also doesn’t reflect the fossil record. Repeatedly we find fossils that are stated to be primitive forms of a given species that are near identical to the form that currently exists 10’s of millions, or even 100’s of millions of years later. We could say that this species did evolve, but it’s ancestor remained as well, but if that’s the case you open up the question of why this doesn’t happen in so many other cases. All species want to survive – it isn’t as if when a superior version of the cheetah is born all other previous variations and their genetics just vanish from the earth. It isn’t like the new version of the iPhone came out… it’s an animal, one with a population in the millions in many cases. The splintered off version would not eliminate the previous slightly different variation. This would lead to near endless incremental versions of an animal existing side by side.

              If you think this is a misunderstanding of how evolution works — then it shouldn’t take more than a few sentences to explain why. As far as ‘articles’, I can look back through your comments but don’t recall seeing links?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Exaptation: Where a system has one trait evolves a second trait.

              That second trait may take overtake the original trait in value to the organism. Classic example, wings. Wings evolved as arms in the classic one bone, two bones, many bones of every tetrapod. Feathers evolved as displays and insulation (probably the former initially, then exaptated into the latter), both which, when combined and added a little further evolution resulted in basic flight, then more advanced flight. These things are pretty easy to see in the fossil record… and in genetics: https://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2014/12/04/historyoffeathers/

              ” We could say that this species did evolve, but it’s ancestor remained as well, but if that’s the case you open up the question of why this doesn’t happen in so many other cases.”

              WOW, really? You just fucking asked me if humans evolved from monkeys, why do monkeys’ exist?!??! Jesus wept. There’s reams of articles about this. I’ve written about it at least three times.

              Let me ask this question to you another way. If you came from your dad, how come he still exists? More appropriately (to evolution), if you came from your grandfather, how come your cousin still exists?

              see here for example: http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2013/03/11/weaknesses-of-evolution-part-14-why-are-there-still-monkeys/

              If you accept the idea that cousins can exist, then you have accepted everything you need to know about the various forms of speciation. Only in rare cases does an entire population change (over time) into another species. Most of the time, a small portion of that population (the reasons are many and varied) shifts into a new species. This is easy to see both in the fossil record AND in the genetics of species… again, I’ve written about it dozens of times. see here for example: https://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2013/02/26/weaknesses-of-evolution-part-11-small-changes/

              Read this one the types of speciation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation

              “This would lead to near endless incremental versions of an animal existing side by side.”

              AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE SEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              Canids. Just look at domestic dogs. Teacup Chihuahua to the giant mountain dogs and mastiffs. A range of organisms from a few ounces to more than a hundred pounds. Take out enough of the intermediaries and any paleontologist would call them different species. Compare a Russian wolfhound or greyhound skeleton to a pug or English bulldog skeleton. Any anatomist who had never seen a dog would call them different species.

              We can cite dozens of cases of this, it’s called a “cline” where species A can interbreed with B and maybe C. B can interbreed with A and C and maybe D. C can interbreed with B and D and maybe A and E. But there is no way that A and E can ever interbreed. Where do you drawn the line between species?

              Linean taxonomy is at fault. We often can’t just put species into nice neat little boxes. As much as we try, we just can’t. There’s always exceptions to the rules. That’s why most biologists and evolutionary biologists use cladograms and talk about phylogenetics instead of taxonomy now.

              Again, you actually may have a great understanding of evolution, but you’ve been convinced that it’s silly by another creationist and don’t get it. That’s the way it really works.

              This is great. Actual progress.

            • Dkennedy

              “Wings evolved as arms in the classic one bone, two bones, many bones of every tetrapod. Feathers evolved as displays and insulation (probably the former initially, then exaptated into the latter)”

              Changes in evolution are small steps, not “Arm > Feathered arm > Feathered arm with skin flaps > wings” There are transitions that simply have to come between those steps – and considering those transitions take millions of years, those transitions would be ongoing and apparent – NOW. All over. You cannot have everything in a state of change and yet everything appear to be a finished product. It’s just not possible.

              If something gains a new limb, a new ANYTHING, you will see that occurring – and that’s EVEN if I accept such a preposterous idea as large steps (cause by your description it’s as if one generation had one bone in their wings – and boom, next generation was born with two bones in their wing) It just wouldn’t work like this.

              And yes, I read your links –

              You pointed out in the one that similar animals have similar DNA. Of course they do
              “All small cats (everything but the Bay cats and Pantheras) share an insertion at UBE1Y”

              This is the extreme problem with looking at evidence and making judgments about a history you didn’t observe. OF COURSE similar animals have similar genes… and guess what? In the areas that they are different, their genes will be different. Man and apes have similar genes — because they are similar in structure.

              “Canids. Just look at domestic dogs. Teacup Chihuahua to the giant mountain dogs and mastiffs.”

              Um no. – That is not showing a progression of evolution to modern day dogs – . They are all interbreeding variation. So where is the example before say the Wolf? What examples do we have of what the canine family predecessors were? Yes, I understand they would look different as they would also be evolving, but there has to be something that you can point to that was what the dog came from. Not only one, but I would expect a vast line of them… why? Because evolution comes in small step by step changes – not jumps. The only defense I see would be that all of it’s predecessors died – which is awfully coincidental. The same would be said for the Feline family – as well as every animal we know of. We see them and their variations today – but we don’t see any sign of any steps previous.

              What you have is this giant cluster of modern dogs with no steps leading up to them. No steps leading to the wolf, and no fossils either. No living remnants – and no dead ones.

              What we term a “species” is improperly designated. By simple definition a “species” are simply a type of animal that can interbreed. Dogs are not different “species”, though we call them that — Humans are divided into different “races”, though if we were defining it the way we do with dogs, since we are different types but can interbreed – it would imply they are “species”, not races. The further proof of that is that the “race” designation is only used when it comes to people. Why should a hierarchical class definition be different when it comes to one type of animal simply because we belong to that category?

              Honestly… It’s surprising that you replied to my statement in this way — I’m talking about what led up to dogs, cats. We cross breed dogs as well – that has nothing to do with mutation – it’s just breeding two animals that are close enough in species that they will have offspring.

              ” Compare a Russian wolfhound or greyhound skeleton to a pug or English bulldog skeleton. Any anatomist who had never seen a dog would call them different species.”

              Nope. Any person can see that all dogs are dogs – including the wolf. Do you have trouble recognizing a variation of a dog you haven’t seen as a dog? They are all simply variations of a species. Built into the species is the ability to only go so far away from your own kind and still have progeny — this helps us understand and define these ‘types’. If you can’t breed with it — it ain’t your species.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              “There are transitions that simply have to come between those steps – and considering those transitions take millions of years, those transitions would be ongoing and apparent – NOW. All over. You cannot have everything in a state of change and yet everything appear to be a finished product. It’s just not possible.”

              Yes… and that’s exactly what we see in the fossil record as more and more (especially Chinese) fossils are found.

              “f something gains a new limb, a new ANYTHING, you will see that occurring – and that’s EVEN if I accept such a preposterous idea as large steps (cause by your description it’s as one generation didn’t have one bone in their wings – and boom, next generation was born with two bones in their wing) It just wouldn’t work like this.”

              You still don’t get it. There’s this thing called contingency. It’s the simple fact that modern things are stuck with the stuff that came before. Organisms aren’t cars, you never see anything totally new. That’s a CREATIONIST requirement… not a science requirement. Creationists demand that new structures poof into existence and scream at biologists when they don’t.

              Every, and I mean every, vertebrate animal has limbs (yes, even snakes and dolphins) and those limbs, when they appear, are all based on the exact same structure. I said what I said in a very specific way. Every mammal, reptile, bird, and amphibian limb is based on one big bone attached to two small bones attached to many bones. You will find variations on this. Birds have some small bones hyper lengthed. Horses have very, very tiny small bones (except for the middle digit), even whales and ichthyosaurs have the same format. one big bone, two smaller bones, many more bones. There hasn’t been a MAJOR change to this structure in almost 400 million years. Tiktaalik had that same structure and even earlier fish had that too.

              It’s so ironic, you are using the actual facts of evolution as an argument against evolution.

              “This is the extreme problem with looking at evidence and making judgments about a history you didn’t observe. OF COURSE similar animals have similar genes… and guess what? In the areas that they are different, their genes will be different. Man and apes have similar genes — because they are similar in structure.”

              You have it backwards. You forget your high school biology. DNA–>RNA–>proteins.

              Humans (humans ARE apes) and chimpanzees have similar structures BECAUSE we have similar DNA.

              And we can observe this history of organisms through their DNA. There have been thousands of papers studying how the changes in DNA have collected through time. What changes have occurred in which groups. That’s the entire basis of those cladograms that are in my articles. Statistical analysis of most likely probabilities… not saying that “similar organisms have similar DNA”.

              If you read what I wrote, 2 paragraphs above where you quoted me…
              “They didn’t tell the computer that lynxes and bobcats were closely related or that caracals and servals were probably closely related. These are the relationships developed purely by computer analysis.”

              One time is just a guess, but when 17 separate genes all result in the same cladogram… well, you know all about odds. Which is more likely, that god (excuse me, the designer) made every organism studied so far appear to be in exactly the same spot as evolution predicts? Or maybe just evolution? I know which you would choose.

              “Honestly… It’s surprising that you replied to my statement in this way — I’m talking about what led up to dogs, cats. We cross breed dogs as well – that has nothing to do with mutation – it’s just breeding two animals that are close enough in species that they will have offspring.”

              Interesting. Where do you think that the differences come from? Mutations. Heck, there’s a cat breed that we know exactly when the mutation happened, where, and the name of the cat it happened in. Look of the history of Scottish Folds.

              You see, you (don’t feel bad, all creationists have this problem too) think that there is some proto animal that then divided into all the phylums and those were major freaking changes and that kind of stuff is impossible. Except, that’s not what happened.

              Again, you (and Meyer) let Linnean taxonomy confuse you as to what is real.

              Species, actually populations, are the only thing in reality. In reality, there are no Kingdoms, phylums, classes, etc. That’s crap that one guy made up almost 300 years ago. It doesn’t work any more.

              Here’s an interesting story. Reptiles and Birds are both classes in the phylum Vertebrata. But in reality, birds are a specialized adaptation of dinosaur, which is, itself, a specialized adaptation of reptile. This is roughly like saying that you and your grandfather are the same generation. It makes no sense.

              Evolutionary analysis, phylogenetics, fixes those issues and presents the true picture.

              Look at that cat cladogram again. The organism at 12… what was it? It was a cat… and the evidence suggests it was actually Felis Silvestris. From which a population diverged and became Felis catus. No go all the way back 10.7 million years to number one. Was that a cat? Probably not as you would recognize it… but (and here’s the really important part) IT WAS A SPECIES.

              Over millions of years (about 1.4 million) that single species became two different species (2 and 33 on the cladogram). Those were two species… probably a little more “cat-like”. 33 then branched into two separate populations. One of which (about 6 million years later) is what we call the Clouded Leopard. The other population spread out (was very successful) and because the ancestor of all the Panthera species.

              You have (or will have) kids and they have kids and they have kids and your great, great, great children will look very little like you, probably not act like you, and definitely have different beliefs than you… but they are all people. Until, eventually, and it happens so subtly over millions of years (most of the time) that they aren’t Homo sapiens anymore.

              Like those dogs, which you may disagree with, but without the intermediaries, I’d like to see you try to breed a wolfhound and a teacup Chihuahua, you can’t tell where one species begins and one ends… when you are looking at the entire population in real time. No one has any idea which individual will be the parent of a group that will eventually become a new species.

              That being said, we have seen it happen, in the lab and in the wild.

              The point here is that the species (well… population) is all. There isn’t a fish that suddenly sprouts a perfect amphibian limb. Didn’t happen, never happened and only creationists expect it and require it. No biologist thinks that is what happened.

              “If you can’t breed with it — it ain’t your species.”

              This represents the problem with the biological species concept. While I use it too in this example, it simply is not correct. By this definition Tigers (Panther tigris) and Lions (Panthera leo) and leopards (Panthera pardus) are all the same species. Yes, they can all interbreed and have grandchildren.

              Dogs, wolves, and coyotes are the same species as well.

              Yet, the teacup Chihuahua and the wolfhound, which obviously cannot produce offspring without significant human intervention are also the same species.

              Just those examples show that the understanding of species, as a concept, is flawed. We all still use it, because no one has figured out anything better. But it is flawed.

            • Dkennedy

              “They didn’t tell the computer that lynxes and bobcats were closely related or that caracals and servals were probably closely related. These are the relationships developed purely by computer analysis.”

              The computer WOULD detect similar things as similar. I don’t see why that’s remarkable. They of course are similar and their DNA would reflect that as it’s what make them what they are. DNA isn’t magic after all… so of course if you have similar eye structure you’re going to find similar DNA underlying.

              “It’s the simple fact that modern things are stuck with the stuff that came before. Organisms aren’t cars, you never see anything totally new. That’s a CREATIONIST requirement…”

              No, it’s not — it’s a requirement of anything that at one point DIDN’T exist and came to be. There simply is going to be a predecessor – a point – where those things originated and came to exist. By steps or in whole – one way or the other – there’s no other option. It’s not a ‘creationist requirement’, it’s an architectural / logic requirement. You say ” It’s the simple fact that modern things are stuck with the stuff that came before” .. if things were ‘stuck’ with the stuff they had before, then there would be no evolution. At some point all things came to be by evolutionary standards. Honestly, I find what you’re saying here incoherent…

              “Creationists demand that new structures poof into existence”

              No, no one is asking that anything ‘poof’ into existence, except I guess you — because you expect entire animals to exist without trace of the process that led there.

              “Every, and I mean every, vertebrate animal has limbs (yes, even snakes and dolphins) and those limbs, when they appear, are all based on the exact same structure..” etc

              Yes… they do. And it would take millions of years.. actually that’s giving evolution credit.. it would take a tremendous amount of time with a long history of step by step mutation to reach the point of having those limbs – piece by piece. Wherever it occurred through the lineage whether it was what we now know as the lemur.. or it was the process from a fish to a lizard – it should appear in abundance in the fossil record documenting that limb development. We have animals with those limbs and without them – no in-between.

              “You have it backwards. You forget your high school biology. DNA–>RNA–>proteins. Humans (humans ARE apes) and chimpanzees have similar structures BECAUSE we have similar DNA.”

              The two would be identical and there is no determining which is the case. Things that are the same would have similar DNA and vice versa. Pointing out that their DNA is similar and what you get from that information is based on agenda.

              “I’d like to see you try to breed a wolfhound and a teacup Chihuahua”

              And then again you say

              “Yet, the teacup Chihuahua and the wolfhound, which obviously cannot produce offspring without significant human intervention are also the same species.”

              Though I haven’t looked into it, but they most likely can breed – it’s simply a logistics issue 🙂 No different really than an extremely obese person trying to breed – it’s simply size. But, like I said, I haven’t checked to see if they could produce progeny – they may be at a breaking point, species wise, for that.

              “There isn’t a fish that suddenly sprouts a perfect amphibian limb”

              Didn’t say it did, but by your view a creature of some type — most likely a fish – went from not having limbs to having them. Evolution does not have the view that just one day it had limbs – correct.. or not? Cause you seem to not accept either gradual or abrupt evolution, all you will accept is that these things came to exist and are related, but don’t in any way address a how. The fish or whatever creature that went from not having limbs to having them by an evolutionary process must have done so over extraordinarily long periods of time, and I would figure in steps. It would be traceable if such a thing occurred because the ground would be littered with it’s relatives.”

              —————
              In summary, your reaction is confusing. If something came to exist it has to happen in some form of steps — if not, then it is YOU who are stating they ‘poofed’ into existence. If it happened in steps then those steps should be easily documented. We are talking about changes that came from accumulated point mutations — so we should have 10’s of millions of years of fossils showing the progression – a change that would have involved a ridiculously large population of animals. We have animals with limbs and without them – I’m simply asking for how you get from one to the other.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              “The computer WOULD detect similar things as similar. I don’t see why that’s remarkable.”

              Then I don’t understand your problem here. What you seem to be saying is that the results of evolution and design are exactly the same. The problem, is it means that the only difference between evolution and design is the existence of a designer. So, that’s the only evidence that will support the idea of intelligent design. Which is a big problem because no such evidence exists.

              “No, it’s not — it’s a requirement of anything that at one point DIDN’T exist and came to be.”

              You are confusing abiogenesis (which does have plenty of support) and evolution. Evolution only works with what is already present and alters it slightly (rare cases… a lot).

              “It’s the simple fact that modern things are stuck with the stuff that came before” .. if things were ‘stuck’ with the stuff they had before, then there would be no evolution. At some point all things came to be by evolutionary standards. Honestly, I find what you’re saying here incoherent…”

              It’s called “contingency” and I’ve mentioned it before. It just means that what came before in evolution is what evolution works with to do new things. Nothing brand new ever just pops into existence.

              You need to read Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish. It explains that everything in our bodies (and every other tetrapod) can be traced to modifications of things in fish. Gill arches that exist while we are embryos become things like ear bones. You need to read this book to understand A) how we know this and B) what all the details are.

              The painful things (as Doc Bill has already mentioned) is that the things you are saying can be easily looked up. It’s out there. The information is not hiding.

              Let’s continue.

              “es… they do. And it would take millions of years.. actually that’s giving evolution credit.. it would take a tremendous amount of time with a long history of step by step mutation to reach the point of having those limbs – piece by piece. Wherever it occurred through the lineage whether it was what we now know as the lemur.. or it was the process from a fish to a lizard – it should appear in abundance in the fossil record documenting that limb development. We have animals with those limbs and without them – no in-between.”

              Bull shit. We have a number of in-betweens. Just another “No transitional fossil” people.

              http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/5632/20140114/ancient-fish-began-developing-legs-before-it-moved-to-land.htm

              http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061019093718.htm

              http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S153458071200531X

              http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7303/full/nature09137.html

              http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v513/n7516/full/nature13708.html

              http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7404/full/nature11124.html

              These links talk about both fossil finds and the genetics of the fin-to-limb transition.

              “The two would be identical and there is no determining which is the case. Things that are the same would have similar DNA and vice versa. Pointing out that their DNA is similar and what you get from that information is based on agenda.”

              This is not correct. I’ve explained why. Convergent evolution shows that different DNA can result in similar morphology… or do you think a tuna and an icythosaur are basically the same genetically?

              “Though I haven’t looked into it, but they most likely can breed – it’s simply a logistics issue 🙂 No different really than an extremely obese person trying to breed – it’s simply size. But, like I said, I haven’t checked to see if they could produce progeny – they may be at a breaking point, species wise, for that.”

              I have looked into it. I know dog breeders. It’s nearly impossible for a male teacup Chihuahua to bring a female wolfhound into heat, much less successfully get sperm into her. A female teacup would be killed in the mating and, if by chance, she survived, either the growing embryos would kill her or they would be totally non-viable. Simply because the genes that make a 5 gram heart don’t work with the genes that make a 1 kilogram heart (and apply that same logic to every single structure in the animal”

              “they may be at a breaking point, species wise, for that.”

              So, you’ve just admitted that they may be considered separate species. Again, we know this. If not for the fact that the intermediaries exist, they would be classified as separate species.

              “Cause you seem to not accept either gradual or abrupt evolution, all you will accept is that these things came to exist and are related, but don’t in any way address a how. The fish or whatever creature that went from not having limbs to having them by an evolutionary process must have done so over extraordinarily long periods of time, and I would figure in steps. It would be traceable if such a thing occurred because the ground would be littered with it’s relatives.”

              I’m sorry, you’re confused. I’ve continued to promote gradual evolution… allowing for Punc eq.

              Of course, now you’ve brought up the fossilization problem and the simple fact that this event occurred between 450 and 375 million years ago or so. And you know what? When we look in those rocks… we find the specimens you seem to be claiming don’t exist. The intermediaries.

              “In summary, your reaction is confusing.”

              Only because you have a huge misunderstanding of evolution.

              “If something came to exist it has to happen in some form of steps — if not, then it is YOU who are stating they ‘poofed’ into existence. If it happened in steps then those steps should be easily documented.”

              Which they are, both fossilized specimens and genetically.

              “We are talking about changes that came from accumulated point mutations — so we should have 10’s of millions of years of fossils showing the progression – a change that would have involved a ridiculously large population of animals.”

              Except for the inherent problems of fossilization, you are correct. You must know how rare fossilization is. Just living in a particular environment means that fossils would be extremely rare. In the environments we’re talking about now, it’s more common… there’s just been 400 million years of Earth movements since then.

              “We have animals with limbs and without them – I’m simply asking for how you get from one to the other.”

              And the information that we know is easily available. I got Your Inner Fish for $4 from Half-Price Books. I’ve given you some additional links as well.

              Do we know every single step for every single change? Of course not. It’s not reasonable to even request that.

              I will now request that you provide equivalent details about your chosen notion of how life developed. When, how, who, what, etc. I’ll expect an equivalent number general articles and peer-reviewed research, by established researchers in the field (lawyers, historians, and computer scientists are not biologists and paleontologists).

              I’ll expect that level of detail.

              One last question, have you read any of the other articles in this series and seen how Meyer misrepresents the evidence?

            • Dkennedy

              “You must know how rare fossilization is.”

              Yes, it’s exceedingly rare when representing any of the main transitions! I’ve noticed. 🙂

              I’m about to leave work and will look at your links and respond in full soon.. just don’t have time now..

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Yes it is. And yet, you’ve been given multiple links and if you read my articles, you’ll find dozens more.

              Tell me. Who told there weren’t any fossils and why did you believe them? Would you be upset if you found out they lied to you?

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils

            • Dkennedy

              They number in the small handful and each is questionable in their own right.

              Your condescension is quite hilarious. No one “told me” anything – I look up and read information continually from all across the web – live science, new scientist, science magazine, – I’ve looked into transitional fossils on many occasions.

              First, there’s the concept of what is considered ‘transitional’. As I’ve stated repeatedly – but you always fail to grasp, you are actually the one who’s implying that entire body structures ‘poofed’ into existence. A transitional fossil which is basically a fish with short legs isn’t very transitional.. especially considering we have so many creatures similar to that that do exist currently – such as mud skippers and a whole host of others — but that’s a sidetrack.

              Again — Do you feel that fish went from having fins to having feet with no steps in between?

              THAT’s the point. Since I’m not the one who believes without question the evolutionary process, it’s not MY job to answer what path such a thing would take — that’s on you. I have no idea how a fish would go from having a fin to having a leg – but as I’ve said A LOT of times, there would be steps of some sort in that process. You wouldn’t have a fish – then a fish with stubby legs, with all of the bone structure of current limbs. If that is what you think is ‘transitional’ – then you believe in “poof”. You believe mutations do something far more than anything we’ve witnessed and it implies that it would take enough mutations to completely construct a portion of a body plan. There WERE no limbs to have any type of ‘convergent’ evolution – no way for the limb information to spread to the animal, because it didn’t exist. So, do you believe that when we are talking ‘transitional’ that we mean “a fish that has fins” and then “a fish that has legs” ? Because there’s nothing transitional about that.

              Our info about fossils changes all the time -and what we have reported as “transitional” also gets updated.. but from what I recall of Tiktaalik (because YES, I do look into these things – I don’t have people “Tell me things”, I read.) The Tiktaalik fossils were actually a skull (which has a remarkably “alligator-ish” look about it) and a pelvis, and a partial fin.
              https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0a/Tiktaalik_belgium.JPG/800px-Tiktaalik_belgium.JPG

              – from that, they determined it was transitional. The idea that this tells us about the transition to land makes little sense. The second issue was that they also found footprints that came millions of years before Tiktaalik — so the idea of it being ‘transitional’ became pretty shaky. So we have a partial fossil that they are reading a lot into and also a dispute placing the creature quite a ways after that transition already occurred.

              Let’s take a look at some others — shall we?

              Ventastega – “A large, dorso-ventrally flattened predatory fish with a well armoured labyrinthodont-like skull. While the fins themselves has not been found, the shoulder girdle is essentially similar to that of Acanthostega, indicating it too had feet rather than fins.

              So, even the idea that this one has feet is speculation — the only thing found of this is the shoulder girdle. They provided us with a nice artist’s rendition though.

              The next – Acanthostega
              https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ec/Acanthostega.JPG

              Which, I think, appears to be a skull — unless they felt that the rest of the fossil (that is, the part that’s relevant concerning the TRANSITION of the transitional fossil) was unimportant, then I would assume that that is all they found and they are speculating on the feet portion.

              And the next one is this:
              https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e9/Ichthyostega_skull.jpg/1024px-Ichthyostega_skull.jpg

              Now, again, unless they felt that the part of the fossil that is actually relevant to the TRANSITION, it apparently is just a skull. From the picture it’s also a ‘reconstruction’..

              At this point.. I’m not really sure I have the time or interest in commenting on this crucial ‘transitional’ fossils.. I think I’ve sufficiently looked over them.

              But yes, I’ve looked through the evidence on many occasions — though you of course feel the need to assume this is news to me.

              1) We have no lack of fossils. Fossils fill our museums – and then some. There are hundreds of thousands. What is lacking is the transitional fossils which are fewer than say 100.

              2) The transitional fossils that we do have are pathetic reconstructions and speculation based on a small piece of a skeleton. When it comes to science, speculation was not considered until evolution came along — now it’s acceptable, just like telling ‘just so’ stories. Now science is an artistic rendition and a story of what ‘could have’ happened.

              3) The ‘transitional’ fossils still aren’t even the transitions I’m speaking of. Fish don’t just go along with fins and then have feet — there is a transition there – one that would take millions of years and would happen in steps. NO, I cannot tell you in what manner it would occur.. because I can’t even IMAGINE a process where it would – but what you are giving me is “poof”.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              In this case, I think I have to go with the hundreds of scientists who are trained in anatomy and paleontology rather than some random guy on the internet who says, “I don’t think that’s a skull”.

              AGAIN – No.

              Very well. I still expect an equivalent amount of detailed about your designer.

            • Dkennedy

              It apparently chopped off the rest of that lengthy comment…

              The essence was:

              We have no shortage of fossils. We just are missing the ones that show evolution.

              The so called transitional fossils are both sad reconstructions and almost always missing the part of the fossil that represents the transition. Since when did speculation, stories and artist renditions become ‘science’…. I know when — when Darwin had a theory.

              Even after that – the transitions are not even transitional. There is noting to document the path from fins to having legs — there are instead reconstructed, speculated fish with legs. As I’ve said – I have no idea how a fish goes from fins to legs, it’s not my theory — it’s on YOU to tell me how that would occur. Instead we have fish with fins – and fish with legs (sortof). – nothing ‘transitional’ about that.

            • Doc Bill

              Dumb Kennedy writes: ” So where is the example before say the Wolf? What examples do we have of what the canine family predecessors were?”

              I think it’s more descriptive than insulting to call you a very stupid and lazy person. I single Google search, “evolution of canids” will give you the entire story; thousands of fossils and genetic evidence going back 50 million years to the miacids at the branch between the canids and felids.

              Also the YouTuber AronRa has several videos on the foundations and phylogenetic analysis of the feliforme family. He does a very nice job of laying out the entire lineage, understandable even to a 2nd-grade undereducated numbskull like you.

              However, Dumb K, pearls before swine in your case. You simply don’t care. Alas and sadly, what you think or don’t think is irrelevant to ongoing biological research in spite of your pitiful, juvenile poo-flinging contempt for knowledge. Sad to be you.

            • Dkennedy

              “I single Google search, “evolution of canids” will give you the entire story; ”

              Nope, it definitely doesn’t. Just looked through many of the links and what it shows it a whole lot of phylum tree relationship depictions showing the typical wolves and dogs and their relationships. When searching for fossils I find some very nice artistic drawings of an ancestor from 10 million years ago – which looked like a dog. Going back to the earliest on the chart we have Hesperocyoninae, who by artist depictions also looks like a dog – they existed for some 20 million years by the story line. So, rather than your sad little insults – I would like some evidence of the process where they developed the features of dogs — as in something that doesn’t just look like a dog – maybe I need to go farther back in the timeline.. but this http://cdn4.sci-news.com/images/enlarge2/image_3145e-North-American-Canids.jpg is a dog — actually it’s more of a ‘fox-dog’ I would say. And that was a supposed 20 million years or so ago. That is what multiple google searches have provided. I searched for what you suggested as well as “evolution dog fossils” and looked up Hesperocyoninae to try to locate what ‘evolved’ into that dog… but seeing nothing that details that process.

              Oh and, also, asshole, don’t presume what I care about.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Doc, apparently, he wants a step-by-genetic step analysis for every species or he won’t accept evolution.

              I asked him for the same detail on his notion… we’ll see what he says.

            • Dkennedy

              I added to that comment — a lot.

              Look back over it — maybe this makes the question clearer. Maybe it’s the fact that whether it’s dogs or dinos they appear in the fossil record appearing like dogs and dinos – and over 20 million years they still do and do not show one significant feature change / adaptation. The differences amount to the same ones we see in animal interbreeding – longer coat, slightly larger, slightly shorter – that is not evolution, that’s simple variation.

              Again, how much time does it take for fish to develop a primitive leg, is 20 million years enough?

              Whatever the first dinosaurs evolved from — I’d figure SOME type of primitive reptile – How long did it take them to evolve from that form to the dinosaur portrayed at 240 million years? Do we see the steps from whatever the Stegosaurus was like before it was a Stegosaurus – the Tyrannosaurus…?

              “he wants a step-by-genetic step analysis for every species or he won’t accept evolution.”

              No, I want you to admit that such a thing is not available or possible. That the animals we see appear in the fossil record without steps leading to them. 20 million years ago we had dogs, we still do. We had Mantis’s 100 to 128 mya — at least the claim is – and we still have them, and they don’t at all appear like they’ve been doing much with their free time. http://i.livescience.com/images/i/000/080/599/original/mantis-Burmantis-lebanensis.JPG?1452273331

              etc. etc. etc.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              “Look back over it — maybe this makes the question clearer. Maybe it’s the fact that whether it’s dogs or dinos they appear in the fossil record appearing like dogs and dinos – and over 20 million years they still do and do not show one significant feature change / adaptation.”

              Bullshit. You haven’t actually looked at the fossil histories then. Cetaceans started out as small antelope like critters that weren’t whales.. even though they have the defining feature of whales.

              “Again, how much time does it take for fish to develop a primitive leg, is 20 million years enough?”

              416 – 397 Mya…so yeah about 20 million years is plenty of time. That’s the estimate between the divergence of sarcopterygians into coelacanths and rhipidistans.

              “Whatever the first dinosaurs evolved from — I’d figure SOME type of primitive reptile – How long did it take them to evolve from that form to the dinosaur portrayed at 240 million years? Do we see the steps from whatever the Stegosaurus was like before it was a Stegosaurus – the Tyrannosaurus…?”

              I don’t know. I haven’t studied that period much. Let’s use this thing called Google…

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stegosauria#Evolutionary_history

              Perhaps some simple reading would help you.

              “No, I want you to admit that such a thing is not available or possible. That the animals we see appear in the fossil record without steps leading to them. 20 million years ago we had dogs, we still do. We had Mantis’s 100 to 128 mya — at least the claim is – and we still have them, and they don’t at all appear like they’ve been doing much with their free time.”

              You do understand that evolution isn’t a constant right? A species that is successful will retain it’s form until it’s not. Read what I wrote above. The coelacanths evolved about 400 million years ago. They still exist today. But they are NOT the same species as existed 400 million years ago. There are differences, small though they might be. BUT, in that same period of time, every land tetrapod that has ever existed has evolved and the vast majority of them have gone extinct (dinosaurs are just one example).

              I will freely admit we don’t have every single organism between the Titaalik and modern humans. That would not be a surprise to any scientist.

              And you know what. The theory of evolution and common descent do not depend on finding every single specimen of every single organism.

              Here’s what you are saying. If I ask you to provide me the name and address of your ancestors who were alive in 1730, can you do it? Of course not. That doesn’t mean you didn’t have ancestors then.

              And you still can’t provide a single detail about even WHO the designer is, much less when, how and what it did. Yet evolution still works.

            • Dkennedy

              The stegosaurus article is lengthy – but so far what I don’t see is evidence.

              I see stories — but not fossils. I see fossils of fully formed dinosaurs — but no documentation of any kind for how it got to be.

              It is wikipedia after all, so I’m not saying that somewhere through multiple links there may be information to back up their stories – but I’m not seeing it on that page. Instead what I see is a page of people stating how they feel the stegosaurus came about.

              So here’s the question:

              We have fully formed skeletons of them — with relatively no reconstruction

              Yet we don’t have any documentation of the millions of years of transformation leading to that?

              I’m giving the benefit of a doubt that something could be out there.. it’s just I sure don’t see it on that page.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              In other words, despite your claims otherwise, you ARE asking for every single fossil in between.

              Good to know you have totally unreasonable demands when it comes to science and absolutely no demands when it comes to your own pet notions.

              Again, provide the equivalent detail you DEMAND from science for your own pet notion.

            • Dkennedy

              Actually a reasonable number of actual fossils that would be transitional. Even one would be a start.

              Ones that fail to fill that category.
              1) artist renditions and speculative theories about a chunk of bone which doesn’t even display the piece of the animal in question that would be pivotal to the transition.
              2) Fossils that simply reflect the finished state of the transition. As in, “here’s a fish – here’s a fish with feet, so what’s your problem?”
              3)Phylogenetic trees together with stories of how it all occurred. The type of which change on a continual basis and don’t even agree between two scientific disciplines –

              Again. I didn’t create the theory of evolution — so I don’t have a ‘theory’ to defend — but Darwin did, and he stated if there aren’t transitional fossils, which he assumed would be abundant, then his theory was false.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I’m sorry, but it takes a special kind of person to read the peer-reviewed research, with pictures of transitional fossils and still ignore them.

              Again, we’re done. You have no interest in learning about evolution, just preaching against it. When you refuse to support any alternative notions. That’s dishonest. At least admit that you think ID is true and that there is zero evidence for it.

            • Dkennedy

              I’m willing to buy evolution if evolution had foresight and a new mechanism for producing it’s outcomes. It has nothing to do with any investment in “ID”, it’s the idea of what can explain the results.

              I could use a million analogies.. it doesn’t matter which – but if a guy is dead with apparently a gun shot wound, and they tell you he died of a heart attack — you are going to dispute that claim.

              Fact is, all of the data out there is useful and informative (as long as they aren’t going into ‘just so’ territory), but if it doesn’t explain the crux of the issue – that the mechanism can’t produce the results, then why would I buy that? I wouldn’t and no one should.

              I could believe in evolution from a standpoint of a ‘guided’ process.. because that would be possible. As in “this creature is going to go from fish to lizard. It’s going to have many million years of having useless appendages that do nothing for it’s survival, but it’s going to do it anyway – because we need lizards” That I could understand. But not mutation and selection, they just wouldn’t do this.

              I’d expect that of you or anyone – if what is espoused doesn’t explain the phenomena logically then why would you believe it? Because others do? Because those others “are smart guys”?

              – sidenote:

              http://phys.org/news/2015-12-evidence-cavity-dwelling-microbial-life-billion.html

              Here’s some bacteria — looks like they haven’t changed in 3 billion years.

              Or….. did some of them evolve… but left them behind? Is it a perfect niche or not? If some felt the need to evolve.. wouldn’t they all — I mean, it’s 3 billion years.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Still misrepresenting things I see. Keep going.

              If you use analogies, then you have failed.

            • Doc Bill

              Dumb Kennedy simply doesn’t understand the basic concept of evolution. It’s like trying to explain an organic synthesis to a person who denies chemistry exists. (to use an analogy and fail!) Alas, Dumb Kennedy isn’t the only person who is stuck at a cartoon level of reality, preferring to believe that bears say “Hey, hey, hey!” and steal pic-a-nic baskets. It boils down to the same old, same old, same very old and tiring question: if dogs evolved from fish why are there still fish? Hey, it’s still a bacterium! Hey, it’s still a cockroach? Hey, why did it stop evolving? How come it didn’t evolve wheels and jets? It’s just turtles all the way down!

            • Dkennedy

              ” A species that is successful will retain it’s form until it’s not”

              Then you follow up with the coelacanths ..lol. What exactly is your idea of ‘successful’? Again, circular reasoning — if something survives .. it’s successful.

              Evolution doesn’t KNOW if it is surviving or not — there is some recent research on the idea that mutations increase when an animal is ‘stressed’, but in general it doesn’t know whether it’s doing well or not. 100’s if not 1000’s of species go extinct everyday, so I guess they didn’t ‘evolve’ fast enough. If a theory can’t be disproven then it isn’t a scientific theory. The coelacanth was believed to be extinct… yet we found one — if there is any creature that is in need of evolution, it would appear that it would be the PERFECT case.. it’s bordering on extinction and has been for most likely millions of years. Things can’t simply evolve because they aren’t doing well in their current environment — if they are doing poorly in their current environment, they die out.

              There is this tendency in evolution to attribute Lamarckian behavior to creatures — they fill niches and adapt in some sort of attempt to survive, but evolution doesn’t have the ability to see it’s nose in front of it’s face. The creature is just living… or not. It has mutations.. or it doesn’t. It can’t look around and go “shit, we aren’t doing very well as a species — we need to do some evolving”!

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Totally wrong. Still. But you have yet to accept any explanation I’ve given, so there’s not any point in continuing.

              You STILL haven’t provided the equivalent level of detail that you demand from science for your own pet notion. Why is that? Because we both know that you can’t.

              Tens of thousands of peer-reviewed articles from dozens of fields all supporting one idea vs. a holy text written by totally ignorant bronze age goat herders.

            • Dkennedy

              That’s great.. and if a ‘theory’ has no mechanism that can provide the results that it claims to provide, then in any other field the theory is wrong. Random mutation and natural selection (and the hodge podge of contributing factors that assist with the process) cannot account for what we see – for one simple reason, mutations are random and do not know what they are trying to do. Yes, natural selection assists with this.. because the failures die.. but that doesn’t account for what we witness. We don’t see the production of all these failed attempts – we just see successes.

              I don’t have a theory. I don’t need a theory. I’m stating that the theory of evolution as described cannot function without some other mechanism. Any theory is up to criticism – no alternative needed.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              You are, of course wrong.

              You are right, no alternative is needed to render a theory wrong. But evolution isn’t wrong. Despite what you think, it is still predictive. It still produces useful tools and products. It is still supported by dozens of totally separate fields of science with well over a hundred years of evidence.

              You want a complete description, then take a number of courses. But you won’t accept my evidence, which is the same as any professor would bring. You obviously have read the Kitzmiller trial, which covers the material you claim to want, but throw out because every single organismal step from hundreds of millions of years ago isn’t present.

              You have no interest in learning about science or evolution. You just want to prove it wrong, then maybe design (god) will be correct. It won’t happen that way.

              We both know you have zero evidence for design or god. So, what are we left with?

              On the one hand we have tens of thousands of scientists, doing actual research, going in the field in the harshest of conditions, going into their labs every day for nearly 30 years to do experiments. Using evolution to predict where to find fossils, to predict cancer treatments, to help with everything from agriculture to factory planning.

              On the other hand we have design, which has no evidence, and a bunch of people who are not scientists who say “it’s too complex and we don’t every every single fossil step, therefore it was god”.

              I understand the problem. Again, I’m disappointed, I thought that there was someone who would be interested in actually learning.

              I was wrong.

            • Dkennedy

              ” Again, I’m disappointed, I thought that there was someone who would be interested in actually learning.”

              It’s amazing that you persist with this… I looked through all those links and articles. I read the articles every single day, across all platforms. I read multiple articles on science websites – yes, science websites, not religious, not creationist. I do every day of my life — do you know why? Because I love learning. But I also have a mind of my own. I don’t simply accept consensus, and there are plenty of scientists out there – in NASA, in high level positions who also don’t accept this — but fewer of them come forward than actually exist because this is the treatment they get – so it’s just easier to go with consensus. Matter of fact, if they are in the field they absolutely cannot voice this opinion – cause they would have to deal with the consequences of that opinion. Today I read through the abstract of a peer reviewed paper, but could not read the actual paper (have to be a subscriber) — I consume vast numbers of articles, entire books online, but still – simply because I don’t agree with the consensus doesn’t mean I’m not “interested in learning”. Even the tidbits that I’ve picked up looking through articles during this discussion with you I’ve been very interested in, the problem is the assumptions they are going into many things with. But, if it makes you feel better to assume I “don’t have an interest in actually learning..” great.. it’s just simply not true.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              When you believe (not know, not have evidence, but believe) that something is wrong. Then you read these articles and look for faults.

              It’s not about learning, it’s about reinforcing your closely held beliefs… even if you won’t admit it to yourself. Studies have shown that counterfactual evidence only reinforces belief in one’s own pet notions.

            • Doc Bill

              Great. Dumb Kennedy is a conspiracy theorist, too. Why am I not surprised?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I’m sure there are plenty of scientists who disagree with evolution. I can name several of them. Of course, they either A) have a monetary interest in NOT accepting evolution or B) are not biologists. Dentists are not biologists. Computer Scientists are not biologists. etc. etc. etc.

            • Doc Bill

              Sure, the world is full of crackpots. Sagan said, paraphrasing, that people believe all kinds of stupid shit. The common feature of “dissenting scientists” is that none of them are credible. They present no data and can’t even demonstrate their notions with data that is available. Behe is a classic example. Even though all of his notions have been thoroughly refuted it doesn’t stop him from flapping his gums about them. After so much he simply becomes boring and irrelevant, like our Dumb Kennedy. “Looks like a fox-dog to me.” Well, I’m sure a thylacine looks like a wolf, so much as to be called the “Tasmanian Wolf,” but guess what, buck-o, it ain’t a wolf. Not even a canid and all the denial in the world won’t change that.

            • Dkennedy

              Incorrect. I’ve a vast number of views that change over time as I acquire new evidence.

              Quick example: I was an atheist. The views I hold now I thought were laughable in the same way that YOU do now.

              But no, that’s your reflexive response – that it’s simply that I refuse the information or only take information that supports my views.. which is not at all the case. It wasn’t when I was an atheist who in college wrote a paper debunking the historical Jesus.. I later on learned far more on the subject and realized that you can make an argument against anything, even the truth.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I’m sorry. You are not showing that you understand what we’re talking about. You may be knowledgeable about evolution, but I really don’t think so. The claims you have made, the statements you’ve made, show a deep misunderstanding of everything from basic evolution to probability.

              You can say whatever you want. But the evidence so far presented is against you.

              As far as the historical Jesus, if you can provide ONE piece of evidence to support it, then I’d be happy to listen. But so far, there isn’t any for him either. There’s NO first hand evidence. Claims made about him are not supported by other historical information. And the writings of other people in the century afterwards are all third or fourth hand.

              But you believe what you need to. The great thing about science is that it is true whether you believe it or not.

            • Doc Bill

              Dumb Kennedy displays all the symptoms of Dunning-Kruger. Except rather than bafflegab it’s a temper tantrum. Scientists are in a conspiracy to protect who knows what, but DK “just knows” that evolutionary theory is wrong because he “JUST KNOWS!” And, besides, it looks like a fox-dog. Case closed.

            • Dkennedy

              “The great thing about science is that it is true whether you believe it or not.”

              So, you’re saying that everything a consensus of scientists have thought was true – throughout our history? Interesting. Strange that they offer so many quiet retractions in the media, strange also that they have so many articles stating they are ‘surprised’ to learn such and such – and that the new data turns everything we thought on it’s head.

              Guess I was imagining it – because science is just always true, always.

            • Dkennedy

              Guess we reached that point 🙂 The point where all you can appeal to is scientific consensus, but after all – wasn’t that where we started? But I know, I just don’t understand and haven’t listened clearly to what you’ve explained, that’s all it is. Has nothing to do with any failing of evolution to explain what we witness… it’s just my hard-headedness.

              That’s fine. Hey, guess what? The squid hasn’t changed in 500 million years! That’s because it’s perfect…. or, well, unless it DID change… in which case it wasn’t perfect. Nothing circular about that. If it dies out as a species, well then – it just couldn’t adapt fast enough – Not sure why no one has proven this theory wrong, I mean – other than the fact that there’s no way you could.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Yes, we’ve reached point because you have nothing to offer and have rejected the evidence that every reasonable person concludes results in evolution.

              You have absolutely refused to discuss or provide any evidence for your own ideas of how it happened.

              We’re just talking past each other. As happens every single time. The creationist demands evidence that can’t possible existence, that no scientist requires, and then refuses to support their own ideas in any way shape or form.

              We have reached this point, again, because creationists look at science and how only to discredit it. Misrepresenting science the whole while and making demands that they don’t understand.

              I’ve seen this hundreds of times. No Kennedy, you aren’t the first. You aren’t even the hundreth person to make these kinds of arguments. And you know what?

              After 20 years, ID is still nothing, evolution gets more and more support every day and you creationists still deny reality.

              OK, we’ve reached this point. Congratulations. You may go now.

            • Dkennedy

              Looks like bacteria, the ones with that super short generation, aren’t much changed over 3 billion years.

              http://phys.org/news/2015-12-evidence-cavity-dwelling-microbial-life-billion.html

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Yeah. so?

            • Doc Bill

              Ah, the Behe Defense. At Kitzmiller, Behe wanted a complete step-by-step, mutation-by-mutation analysis including environmental, population and other factors. In the same testimony Behe said that he didn’t do research on his own ideas because he didn’t think it would be “fruitful.” And in a final display of childish arrogance Behe announced that it wasn’t up to him to prove his notions true, rather for others to prove them false.

              Quite an admission of failure from a former scientist turned creationist crackpot.

              In Tamarian, Behe at Kitzmiller, when the walls fell.

            • Doc Bill

              Typical creationist boilerplate. It gets old after a while. “Show me a new organ. Show me a new appendage.” My answer to that is, “Fuck you,” because you really can’t address that level of stupidity coupled with willful ignorance. What creationist want to see in evolution is creationism! Poof, new organ to do who knows what. Poof, new appendage to do who knows what. Well, evolution is not creationism and that’s the point.

              So to Dumb K I would say, “You are a monkey, you evolved from the goo to the zoo to you, you have no soul, you’re not Special and after you die your molecules are going to fall apart and be repurposed into, hopefully, something more useful than you turned out. Sorry the Universe doesn’t care about you, Dumb K, you couldda been a contendah!

            • Dkennedy

              Oh, and I overlooked this little zinger of yours:

              “WOW, really? You just fucking asked me if humans evolved from monkeys, why do monkeys’ exist?!??!”

              Cute. No I didn’t.

              Let’s look at it like this — Let’s look at the lowly stick bug — an absolute marvel when it comes to camouflage.

              So how many tries did the stick bug ‘try’ before it got the camouflage right? How many millions of random shaped stick bugs happened in the process? So many generations of pear shaped and other bizarre forms before finally it started to look like a stick?

              Evolution doesn’t know what it’s going for — it only ‘works’ or doesn’t.

              If that stick bug had evolved to the point of being somewhat ‘sticky’, it still would take more evolutionary steps — which are random mutations – and they may or may not be improvements… so that progress would get lost…

              And each of those mutations would be a different mutation. Considering the original bug it came from didn’t go extinct, there’s no reason to assume that each generational improvement (because it’s always an improvement if it gets carried forward.. right?) would die out.

              But actually…. what we have here disagrees with itself. So if each change has to be an improvement – or it won’t help survival – but each step is random – then what you have is a situation where each mutation has to be beneficial one on top of the other… soft of winning at evolution roulette repeatedly. Each step that gets it closer to being a stick bug carries over, the ones that don’t…. don’t. But what about all those others? What about when it gets half way to that perfect camouflage — would all of those disappear? Even if it missed a step on the mutation wheel of change? They’d still try to survive – and they would still have all the generations that came before. So what you would end up with is a spectrum of stick bugs that look like varying degrees of ‘stick’iness — some better than others.

              This is not at all what we see. We see one stick bug that has made it to perfect camouflage —- and none that came before.

              Or how about the zebra. We aren’t sure why the Zebra has it’s stripes, but one ‘just so’ story is that since Lions see in black and white – and they are the zebras biggest predator – zebras developed these stripes. See, the stripes cause a sense of vertigo when standing in groups and the lion can’t really tell how many zebras are in the pack.

              So, how many tries did it take by random mutation? How many polka dot and other type zebras had to happen before they stumbled on the perfect camo? And where are those zebras? Zebras want to live like any other creature. The predecessors may not have had as ideal a camo as the current version, but one would think some of those others would still be out there trying to hang on to existence. At least 1 – especially since there would have to have been 1000’s.. maybe much more, versions of the zebra before it found this tool for survival.

              But that’s not what we see… is it? We see just the 1. The rest are dead and gone… every other. Seems to happen with everything out there.. just that one champion and all the rest disappeared.

              And since evolution is an ongoing process.. we should still see that happening today. The old version hanging on to existence with it’s less than ideal answer to survival – and the new version gaining traction.

              If that’s “just not how it works” (which I predict you saying) and if “you, apparently don’t understand evolution” which I also predict would be your lame reply… then how would it work. Mutation is random, it doesn’t know what it’s trying for — if it does, then it’s planned and inherent in nature – like a program – and that would require a mind.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Again, your argument is “I don’t know how it happened and it’s really complicated, therefore an unknown intelligence whose has apparently been alive since before the creation of the universe did it”

              OK, provide the evidence for the designer.

            • Dkennedy

              Nope. That’s not my argument. My argument is that you are supporting a theory and to support a theory you would have to show that what we see could actually be produced by the mechanism described.

              I have provided examples of what that mechanism would produce — yes, they are thought experiments of a sort – but anyone could understand that this is the case if looking at it logically (besides, science is producing not much more than thought experiments these days anyway.. it’s acceptable as proof) Example being — a stick bug couldn’t just evolve into a stick bug without leaving remnants of that transformation – step by step – and also generations of similar insects that would be trying to survive — actually an awful lot of them – each group heading in their own direction. Evolution as described would produce practically nothing definable as a given species due to the sheer variation caused over the mutation path. The other half of my argument is that the fossil evidence is truly bad, to the point where we have a handful of bone pieces for all of these transitions and yet we have all of these full fossils for the main animal we are describing. We have animals appearing and disappearing – like magic – evolution’s mechanism doesn’t portray a way this would occur, evolution portrays SINGLE POINT mutations. The vast majority of which are neutral or harmful. Multiple mutations to reach a given adaptation cause the likelihood of the change to occur to become a vanishingly small chance. You show me the mechanism and I will believe the theory — the problem is, any mechanism that produces novel changes, any mechanism that produces this type of change requires forethought and intelligence.

              Good day.

    • Eerik Salke

      Even if genes are more than just information, this still doesn’t explain how evolution has taken a single celled creature with a small genome to something more complex like human beings who have a significantly larger genome. At some stage evolution must account for the very existence and development of new genetic information, regardless of how it behaves. Meyer probably didn’t feel the need to go into details about dna functionality because it still doesn’t provide an answer to the vore problem, how did it get here and how is new genetic information made? Evolution has no answers for these questions.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        You might want to skip to the section in Chapter 11.

        Meyer ignores about 120 papers that actually deal with this. I’m not going to describe them all, but there will enough to show that “information” (which curiously enough Meyer never defines) can be created by known genetic processes.

        What’s more is that this information has been known for well over 11 years now. I would encourage you to read actual science instead of creationist books and websites.

        • Eerik Salke

          Your review of chapter 11 doesn’t currently address the new genetic information dilemma, will it come later? If not, I assume that these ‘120 papers’ cover something more than mutations and doubling? Even transplated virus DNA, transposons and pseudo genes ultimately don’t explain how no genome at all became a massive genome.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Yes it’s coming.

            Let me ask this. Why DOESN’T gene duplication and mutation create new information?

            Do you know what the smallest RNA with a metabolic function is?

            • Eerik Salke

              Why doesn’t it? It kind of feels a little like this might be one of those ‘you don’t have enough imagination’ to believe in evolution moments? Because mutations & duplications have two limits 1) they both require an existing genome to work with 2) even with an existing genome they can only copy and / or degrade it. Unless there actually is proof out that shows these processes creating actual fresh new DNA? Which I’ve never seen. Even RNA, as far as I understand it, only works with pre existing DNA, which it can regulate & edit, but which its never been shown to actually create.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              As I said, that “actual proof” that you’ve never seen is in some 100+ papers that I’m reading right now.

              It’s been shown, in dozens of experiments that changes to the genome both increase the amount of information in the genome and can change the effects of the genome.

              You haven’t seen these because you aren’t looking for them. A duplication is a NEW gene. It may be the same as the old gene, but then mutations kick in. I’ve written at least two articles linking to peer-reviewed work that describes this.

              In fact, as we see the VAST majority of mutations are neutral and do not affect the gene at all. Again, I’ve written about this a few times.

            • Eerik Salke

              The difference between manipulating pre existing DNA, even when RNA is doing it, and creating actual fresh new DNA is a BIG difference. But, evolution absolutely requires the latter.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              No doubt about it. And we see that.

              Again, I want you to supply the MECHANISM that prevents DNA from changing. You’ve already admitted that duplication happen. That’s a simple fact.

              You can find hundreds of examples of positive mutations (as well as negative mutations) in the literature… if you look. Those are facts.

              Combine the two and you get that exact thing that you think cannot happen.

              Indeed, look at the article I wrote about color blindness. We see the full spectrum of colors because of exactly a duplication of an opsin gene followed by mutations that changed the wavelength the opsin is sensitive too.

              That is exactly the thing that you say is impossible. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

    • Dkennedy

      And changing the premise from hormones regulating a gene instead of from simply that one gene changing doesn’t actually change anything at all about the situation.

      If you have a hormone that when more is received at the front, it becomes the head – and less is received at the tail – and a tail is form – you have an intelligent system that has formed to control this.

      This is the most amazing form of moving the goal post I’ve ever seen. Do you know what I would liken it to? I have a single switch in my house — by just flipping that switch an entire arrangement of lights turn on — just by flipping that one switch. So from that we can determine that one single mutation of the switch from off to on can change a wide assortment of things! No intelligence needed. Do you see how ridiculous that sounds? There is an entire underlying structure that works in concert with that switch – that required intelligence to be structured. If one hormone makes a massive change when secreted a lot or a little, then that hormone has been DESIGNED to have this massive effect. It makes no difference if you point specifically at the switch, or the network of wires involved – it’s all one system that was designed intelligently.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        You still have not provided any evidence that anything you describe is an intelligently designed system.

        You still have not provided any evidence that anything you describe can only be created by an intelligence.

        You still have not provided any evidence that an intelligence exists that can create said system.

        In other words, this is an argument from incredulousness.

        • Dkennedy

          You’re totally right. All of the universe requires no intelligence to come into being. Intelligence ITSELF came to be from that same system. This very conversation came from that system. But you are right, how in the world could I make the incredibly incredulous argument that intelligence would be required. It’s simply amazing that you can’t see what you’re saying. ALL the elements that exist — EVERYTHING – including intelligence, including the laws – every body plan – everything came to be – and I somehow need to prove to you that it requires some form of logic / comprehension to do so.

          You have the argument from incredulousness, because you are saying life and intelligence comes from inanimate objects if you add enough time. Matter of fact those rocks and space itself that eventually become life and intelligence come from nothing — at least that’s what science is leaning toward. A hot, highly compressed ball that blew up into everything.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            It’s very easy. You say that such things require an intelligence to be created.
            A) You have not proven that, just stated it.
            B) You have no evidence that such an intelligence exists (only your hopes and dreams)

            Therefore you have but words.

            However, it is a known fact that evolutionary principles can result in systems of stunning complexity. Indeed, it is a known fact that evolutionary principles can result in things that would be considered irreducibly complex.

            You should also read up on the current research about the Big Bang, the mathematical explanations and the facts that the theory (scientific usage not popular usage) of the Big Bang (much like evolution) A) describes what we see and what we don’t see extremely well B) predicts the results of both experiments and observations and C) results in tools and processes that can be used in other fields. None of which is true for Intelligent Design.

            So, until you step up and provide some kind of evidence for your beliefs… that’s all they are. Beliefs. You can believe gravity doesn’t affect you, but you’ll still fall when you jump off a bridge.

            • Dkennedy

              ID has to use a deductive process of comparing things that exhibit intelligent design to make their claim.

              What you do is you are using the circular reasoning of pointing out other items inside this system (which were also, by ID’s claim, intelligently created) to show that it doesn’t require intelligence.

              My analogy to show what I mean — I’ll go back to my joke about the fish.

              The fish says to the other fish “well, if there isn’t a God, then who changes the water?”

              But the other fish (being played by you) says “The water changes itself. it’s just nature”

              The first fish replies back “How do you think it has the ability to do that?”

              The you fish replies “It’s not unusual for it to do that, it does a lot of those kind of things — like look at that statue of a sunken ship over there — it just appeared one day. Nature does a LOT of amazing things.. no God needed for any of it.”
              ——–
              The point is, using other intelligently designed items inside this system to show that this is what nature does doesn’t dispute intelligent design. It technically (by ID’s view) would ALL be intelligently designed. That’s where this argument about ID gets incredibly difficult to prove.

              One aspect of it all though – is that we can point to something produced by intelligence and recognize the aspects of it. We can recognize the hallmarks of intelligence. We can recognize that the mechanism of random mutation could not over time create humans – and that physical laws could not create themselves. Pointing to it in this world and saying “it happens – so see, I proved it can happen” says nothing of the source.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              “ID has to use a deductive process of comparing things that exhibit intelligent design to make their claim.”

              Do you know what the difference is between living things and every known intelligently designed system?

              If you don’t, then you have no idea what’s going on. If you do, then you know why using the deductive inference process is fatally flawed in this instance.

            • Dkennedy

              The only “difference” between living things and intelligently designed systems would be that the first are “living”. Your baiting question clearly implies you have a specific answer in mind – but the fact of the matter is that it is only your assumption that there is anything else that separates the two.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Excellent. So you have admitted that there are several differences. In which case any analogies between intelligently designed system and living things are just that… analogies. And, because your last sentence implies that “living” is the only thing separating the two, the key thing that separates is living things can self reproduce, but do some imperfectly. THAT is what allows evolution to happen.

              You cannot use the argument that because we design complex things that only intelligences can generate complex things. Indeed, it’s trivial to show that isn’t true.

              Therefore, the person saying that living things (and/or the universe) is designed, must provide evidence that A) those things can ONLY exist due to an intelligence B) That such an intelligence exists C) That the intelligence is actually responsible for life and the universe and everything.

              Saying things are complex isn’t enough. That’s a meaningless argument.

            • Dkennedy

              Ahh, but it isn’t only living systems that exhibit intelligence, and yes, this runs exactly counter to ID’s arguments.. but I’m not representing ID – I’m arguing about the universe and a plausible creation of it as a whole.

              This is why I spoke of the weather (climate). This is why I speak of the periodic table. This is why I speak of the entire system at play. Though an ID follower would focus on living systems and separate them from non-living, considering an idea of an intelligent creation of the universe that distinction would be artificial. Obviously, given my premise anyway, all of it would be intelligently designed – they just use biological systems to make the point clear.

              But..it somewhat blurs the issue. If all things are created by a mind – then pointing to biology to prove your point is going to actually diminish your point – because you allow others (like yourself) to point out other features of nature that act in a similar intelligent way. ID basically has set a trap for themselves with this.;

              The system as a whole is ‘organized’. There are processes, rules, laws. I pointed out the weather because it acts with apparent purpose, but all things in this universe do – it’s just clearer when looking at the weather. The sun, the moon – heck.. even things like snow have purposes. The earth renews itself in ways that we would not even be clever enough to devise.

              Science credits itself with each achievement in unlocking the abilities of every elementl on the periodic table — but I’d state that all of the intent of those chemicals were placed in them from the beginning. We “discover” technology and chemistry — we are finding things which were already written. We ‘discovered’ electricity — we even ‘discovered’ TV and computers — and nuclear power — not invented them.

              Why do I say that the potentiality had to be placed inside of them from the beginning, from before the universe came to be? Because a random world, a world of accident would be a world of nothing working. It would be a world of things like an earth with no livable land and all water — or vice versa. It would be a world of dice throws.

              Yes, proving that while existing inside that system is difficult – because there’s nothing really to compare it to. It’s a logical assessment – and ends up, unfortunately, being a philosophical argument. To really prove my point all I could do is show a universe created by random processes.. I can’t provide that – but logic should tell you it’s the case.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              In other words, you have zero reliable evidence to support anything you’ve said. You know you can’t provide any evidence. And everything you’ve typed to this point is just the way you think/believe it should be because of your personal biases.

              Got it.

              Now, I would encourage you read more from Meyer than the firs few pages of the prologue. Let’s see how you do with the actual things he claims and the actual evidence that shows he’s wrong. Enjoy.

            • Doc Bill

              However, saying things are complex is the sum total of the “intelligent design” creationist argument. The irony is that ID enthusiasts know even less about ID than they do about evolution. I know, it seems impossible, but it’s an accurate depiction.

              Our friend, DK, will never figure it out, though, because if it looks complex then it might be a fox-dog and it’s turtles all the way down.

            • Doc Bill

              Ah, yes, the flailing death throes of the defeated creationist. I’ve seen it many, many times before. Now it’s just a mad scrabble of disjointed ideas, screaming, frothing and flecks of creationist spittle messing up the place.

              No knowledge of chemistry. No knowledge of physics. No knowledge of biology. No knowledge of the history of science. But a pristine, exact and The Truth of an opinion.

              Golf clap, Dumb Kennedy, golf clap. You have established yourself right there among the dumbest of the dumb, the clueless of the clueless and the ineffectual of the ineffectual.

              Please do us all a favor and slink back to your basement, turn on Fox and load into your VCR all of Palin’s stump speeches, old Hannity shows and whatever rubbish you fill your “brain” (and I use the term loosely) with.

              Meanwhile, the intellectuals will go off and have a fun party. You’re not invited, in case you didn’t get the drift.

              A new planet has been proposed based on gravitational studies, Smilodon, let’s go explore!

            • Dkennedy

              Ah yes, the blathering insults of an atheist with nothing of import to say. I’ve seen it before, the hand waving and character attacks – the bleak outlook, the 4th grade debate skills with $10 words.

              Oh, how you have put me in my place.. cause you KNOW me soooo well. I’m a far left liberal Democrat, you asshat.

            • Doc Bill

              Fox-dog. Says it all.