• Evidence For Creation and Intelligent Design

    The Ham/Nye debate brought up a very important question. What would make me change my mind about creationism (including Intelligent Design)?

    There’s a lot of parts to that and I’ll talk about a few of them.

    What would make me change my mind about creationism/ID not being science?

    I do not think that any form of creationism is correct science. Parts of the things that they claim can be investigated by science (e.g. did a world wide flood occur?). But in general, creationism does not offer a testable hypothesis. To be a part of science, this would have to change.

    One way creationists could go about this would be to identify possible designers, determine what effects/situations would be present with one type of designer and not others, then look for those effects. This is similar to what science does when there is an effect with an unknown cause.

    Creationism needs to make testable predictions… then test them. Just saying “we predicted junk DNA wouldn’t exist” isn’t enough. Anyone can say anything, especially after the fact. But taking those predictions and making the tests and investigations would be a big start.

    Another thing that would be very helpful to creationists is to settle on a single idea. If you go to a forum or blog about creationism or ID, you’ll see dozens of different ideas about what it is, how it works, what it means. There’s Old Earth Creationism, Young Earth Creationism, Intelligent Design of organisms, Intelligent Design of the Universe, and multiple variations on all of them. These guys need to all sit down and do some serious thinking about one thing, test it, determine the validity of that idea and move on.

    This will likely never happen because, as we all know, creationism and ID isn’t about evidence, it’s about beliefs.

    Evidence for a Young Earth/Universe

    The Young Earth Creationists have the biggest problem. There is simply no data consistent with a young Earth (less than 3.5 billion year old). However, what things would be evidence of that?

    If the universe were only 10,000 lightyears in diameter. If the speed of light where known (or found) to vary as much as 100,000,000% (estimate).

    Evidence of a Biblical Young Earth might be if there was a single layer of rock on Earth that was eroded, covered by a single layer of rock that was depositional. If the mutation rates of organisms were known (or found) as much as 100,000% (estimate) and not destroy the offspring. If no radioactive samples were shown to be older than 10,000 years or that the weak nuclear force (responsible for radioactive decay) was known (or discovered) to vary by as much as 100,000,000% (estimate).

    Evidence for Special Creation

    What I mean be special creation here is, just as the creationism/ID textbook Of Panda’s and People describes it.

    Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features intact — fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc.

    What we would see in the fossil record (the actual fossil record, not the one creationists think exists), is the sudden appearance of major features.  Yet, in every single case, so far, there is significant evidence of precursor features in the fossil record. Feathers, for example and since they are specifically mentioned, have a long and detailed fossil record.

    Other evidence for special creation would be that no organisms have similar, but slightly altered genes. Indeed, I would think that many organisms have exactly the same genes (in many different areas) would be evidence,  at least, against evolution, which is not the same thing as evidence for creation.

    Totally no genetic similarities would also be evidence against evolution (common descent), but probably not evidence for special creation.

    A long time ago, we just to talk about Precambrian bunnies. And that would certainly help to discredit evolution. But if there were sudden appearances of many different groups, where they had no right to be, that would be evidence for special creation. This goes much beyond what Meyer (for example) thinks happened in the Cambrian explosion. Here, we’re talking about the appearance of birds before dinosaurs, mammals before sharks, or real anachronisms. Not just missing fossils between one group of arthropods and another group of arthropods.

    Evidence for Intelligent Design

    Evidence that make me consider ID to be a scientifically useful concept would be thinks like: ID being used to predict whether something was designed or not.  If any ID proponent could use the principles of ID to determine whether a gene, a string of text or anything else was designed or not would be an amazing step forward. In the decade or so that I’ve been asking for this, no ID proponent has even attempted to try it. A few scientists have, using tools of science. I posted a string of digits and several scientists correctly identified it as designed, by using a statistical analysis of the numbers and judged that they were non-random.

    Other evidence supporting ID would be discovery of the actual designer or the tools used by the designer (here’s a hint, if the designer used evolution, then it wasn’t really ‘designed’).

    **

    In reality, these things will never happen because these notions of how things came to happen are useless. They are worse than useless, they are fundamentally broken.

    If all these disparate groups engaged one another and developed a research plan and then did the research and accepted the results, then they would all come to the same conclusion. There is no evidence for a creator or designer and there is mountains of supporting evidence for evolution.

    The simple truth was uttered by Ken Ham in the debate. “What would make you change your mind?” Ham responded, “Nothing.”

    Science and skeptics can change their mind. Deniers do not. Oh, some say that they will, provided that science meet their standard for evidence. But we all know that’s not true. If they held their standards of evidence for their own chosen notion, then it would fail.

    The consensus is in. Evolution (and science) is simply to useful and too good at figuring stuff out. I’ll tell you honestly, even if evolution were 100% wrong, it wouldn’t be the creationists who figure it out. It would be scientists.

    Category: CreationismScience

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    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat

    • Doc Bill

      For “intelligent design” creationism to be considered a useful concept, there would have to be the ABSENCE of the Wedge Document that states that “intelligent design” is a non-religious way to circumvent the US Constitution establishment clause and promote creationism in public school science classrooms.

    • Void L. Walker

      What’s so humorous to me is that creationism/ID could never make any predictions at all, it is simply impossible from the start for it to do so. Essentially it is a baseless assertion with no empirical evidence contained, and no function for society. It is at odds with the very nature of science. But hey, when you have a drug like religion on the brain you’d be amazed what lengths people will go to in order to uphold and protect it. In some ways, Christians remind me of meth-heads….generally they have slightly better teeth, though.

    • As long as we are talking about JBS Haldane and fossil rabbits in the Precambrian, the Bible would be much more convincing to me if it explained God’s inordinate fondness for beetles.

      • Carol Sperling

        Or his fondness for death.

    • L Zoltan

      William S. Harris
      “As a medical researcher with more than 30 years of experience, the
      recipient of five NIH grants, and more than 250 scientific papers in the
      peer-reviewed literature, I know something about science, and I find
      the theory of “intelligent design” to be scientific and not religious.

      State
      Sen. Jeff Monroe recently has introduced a bill to permit the teaching
      of intelligent design in South Dakota public schools. Without addressing
      the specifics of the bill, I do agree with its underlying intuition:
      that the exclusive presentation of Darwinism as the “scientific”
      explanation for the appearance and diversification of life on Earth is
      biased and scientifically untenable. The more we learn about cellular
      biology and the fantastic interdependent molecular machines found in
      even the “simplest” bacterium, including the presence of volumes of
      digitally-coded information in DNA, the more irrational the
      materialistic explanation — that we are only the products of molecules
      in mindless motion — becomes.Current
      scientific evidence points not to undirected random chemical
      interactions as the explanation for life, but to the intervention of a
      mind. Intelligent design makes no claim whatever about the nature of the
      designer — that is beyond the reach of science. But science does have
      rules about how to detect the past actions of an intelligent agent. “Is
      this pointed rock an arrowhead, or just a stone? Was the fire arson or
      accident? The same logical constructs form the foundation of intelligent
      design theory.”

      http://www.argusleader.com/article/20140206/VOICES05/302060026/?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Once again, why do you accept the conclusions of one person (who isn’t an expert in evolution or creationism) and reject the conclusion of the thousands of scientists who actually do evolution research?

        Talk about the fallacy of expert inflation.

        Has your “expert” addressed any of the things in the OP that would actually be needed to make ID a science?

        You quote people like him, because and only because, he agrees with YOUR opinion. Not because he’s actually an expert or knowledgeable about the subject.

      • gil

        actually we find “fossils in wrong place ” all the time:

        http://creation.com/fossils-wrong-place
        the evolution is false now?

        • SmilodonsRetreat

          I know of no fossils from “the wrong place”. You don’t have a clue as to what is even expected do you?

          Show me a peer-reviewed paper (not a link to a creationist website) that says “this fossil is in the wrong place”.

          You see, science is about getting data. Sometimes, data comes in and things have to change. Unlike creationism in which new data is shoved to fit into the creationist framework or ignored until someone figures out how it can be shoved into the creationist framework.

          And, I’m sorry, but creationist publications and websites are known to lie. Yes, they are liars. They constantly misrepresent science, data from science, and scientists. Darwin’s Doubt is an excellent example of this, in which I found dozens of outright lies about what a paper said. This isn’t a problem with just Meyer either. It’s endemic across all of creationism. Hence projects like the ‘quotemine project’ exist.

          If you want to be taken seriously, then don’t quote or link to creationist sites anymore. If the information is real, then it will appear in actual science literature.

          • gil

            actually i can do this. but before this- define me what is “wrong place fossil”. for example: do a fossil of human near dino is a wrong place fossil?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Define ‘near’? Horizontal space? Vertical space? Time?

              I assure you, despite what you might have read, there is no evidence of any human fossil anywhere near the same stratiagraphic layer as a dinosaur fossil (excepting, of course, birds which are dinosaurs).

              If you have read this at a creationist website, then please point me to it so I can look up the original paper (if they even list one) and show that they are lying to you.

        • Christine Janis

          This article is all about simple range extensions. Yes, vertebrates are now known from the Lower Cambrian. Surprisingly, they are things more primitive than any known fish. This is not the PreCambrian rabbit.

          As our knowledge of the fossil record increases, then the ranges of taxa will likely increase. What else would you expect? But none of these examples are of forms that are “out of place” in the evolutionary sequence. A Wollambi pine surviving to the Recent — no problem. A living dinosaur today would be no problem. A dinosaur in the Silurian would be a huge problem. Find me a Wollambi pine in the Archaen, and then we can talk “out of place”.

          “Out of place” does not mean “in a slightly different place from what we thought when we had less information”. It means “out of place with our understanding of evolutionary history”. No such fossil has been found.

          • gil

            ok, lets continue. again- if someone will find a human fossil with dino fossil, its not a problem for evoution. they will just say that the human evolve eariler then we thought. so in any case the evolution will not be falsified.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              That’s not true and you know it. But your hypothetical is just that, hypothetical. It won’t happen.

              There’s always possibilities of erosion and such moving a fossil from one bed to another, but (as someone who has actually done paleontology work) it’s very easy to tell when this happens.

            • gil

              actually its happan all the time. animal family pushed back even 100 my!so human with dino its nothing.
              bill, look above my link(creation.com). you will find there a lots of article about evolution-vs creation. read some of them and decide for yourself.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I’m sorry. You must think that someone cares about the stories you write.

              Let me rephrase. Do you have any peer-reviewed evidence of this happening… that isn’t a known issue, such as a landslide moving one set of fossils into another strata.

            • gil

              take this one smilodins:

              http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/7/5/775

              The new species extends the fossil record of the family by approximately 35 Ma and of the genus Nephila by approximately 130 Ma, making it the longest ranging spider genus known
              like i said before- its like to find dino fossil with humans.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Umm.. no.

              Now if the paper had discovered fossil orb spiders in the PreCambrian… THAT would be a problem.

              Again, you seem to have this misconception (as do most creationists) that everything in the fossil record is already known and fixed. It’s not. Less than a hundreth of a percent of all rocks have been examined for fossils. But this, so the date extended by a 130 million years? That doesn’t destroy evolution any more than the discovery of Homo Florensis.

            • gil

              so there is no problem to push human back to dino age. what the different?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              The difference is EVIDENCE. There is no evidence that humans extend back 65 million years.

              When you have evidence then we can talk about it. But you won’t find it. Why? Because we already know that Homo sapiens doesn’t go that far back. Primates don’t go that far back.

              Based on the best possible evidence, there were no humans living 65 million years ago.

              I can’t believe that I’m having to explain this…

            • gil

              you said:

              ” Because we already know that Homo sapiens doesn’t go that far back. Primates don’t go that far back.”

              they tought the same thing with the Nephila
              genus.
              again- what the different?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Again, the precursor forms that humans came from don’t go that far back.

              Primates are thought to only go back about 65 million years. Even though the earliest known primate dates back to 55 million years. WE are primates. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841917/

              Here’s a pretty good image of what those early primates were like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinius

              Now, while spiders, crocodiles, sharks, ray-finned fishes, and the like have been around, largely similar to their modern descendants for 300+ million years in some cases. Mammals are relatively recent invention and primates are a recent invention among primates.

              We came from this primate (or a close relative). It took humans some 50 million years to evolve from these primates. Unlike sharks, spiders, etc, Homo sapiens doesn’t have the ancestral history necessary to be around much earlier.

              Now, and this your “aha momement’, unlike creationists, if additional evidence comes to light, then we scientists can change our minds. IF and WHEN new evidence comes to light, then we might revise our history of the humans species… as has been done innumerable times since Leaky’s work in Africa in the 70s.

              However, that evidence will come from other scientists, not creationists. You may wish to predict that human origins will be older than we think, you may even be right. But there’s one crucial difference. You’re just making shit up that you wish was true and calling it a prediction.

              Scientists are actively looking for evidence and more information. Creationists aren’t. Scientists understand that it’s going to take much, much more than a single spider being found earlier than we thought to over throw modern evolution. Creationists don’t understand that.

              Until you guys provide positive supporting evidence for your notions, then they are nothing. ID and creationism are both useless. They don’t actually do anything. Several weeks ago, I issued a challenge to creationists: http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2014/02/02/an-invitation-for-id-proponents/

              Can you do anything on that list to support your own notions?

            • gil

              and again: they tought the same thing with the Nephila
              genus. until they found new fossil. so if we will find a human date for 100 my we can say that human evolve earlier then we thought no problem.

            • Doc Bill

              Once again a creationist fantasy. Yes, if we find a colony of leprechauns living under a tree in Ireland the Irish will be vindicated. Yes, if we find a magical unicorn or a teapot in orbit around the Sun that will take some explaining.

              However, unlike creationists the rest of us live in what’s called “reality.” And the reality of actually understanding the earth’s history and the theory of evolution and its mechanisms precludes the finding of a “human fossil with dino fossil,” as you put it. The FACT is humans evolved about 60 million years after the reign of the dinosaurs. That’s not a guess or a hunch or speculation or a conjecture, it’s a FACT.

              What creationists fail to understand is that after 150 years of study by thousands of scientists the theory of evolution is so well understood, so well supported by evidence from EVERY discipline of science that it can be considered as true a fact as anything we know.

              There is reality, evolution; and fantasy, Santa Claus, Easter bunny, tooth fairy, demons, etc. Unfortunately for creationists, they are unable to distinguish one from the other.

      • kraut2

        And Nobel price winner Linus Pauling spouted a lot of nonsense about high doses of Vitamin C..
        Intelligent design came about to introduce religious concepts into the science curriculum. In the absence of evidence or even a non religious concept of a “designer”, postulating one is just an added layer of unnecessary complexity. This claim demands then a non supernatural explanation of this entity, his attributes, the logic of such attributes and how an actual interaction between the universe and the designer would work.
        Declaring the designer to be beyond investigation and falsification – is exactly religion all over again.

        • SmilodonsRetreat

          This is a good point about Pauling (one of my heroes, who sadly went downhill).

          You make another excellent point though. Even though the designer (if such exists) MAY (no evidence one way or another) be supernatural, the effects of a designer in the material universe could be observed. That they haven’t yet, in hundreds of years of looking is somewhat telling.

      • Doc Bill

        Once again from Zolly, mindless assertions from one authoritarian to another. He said, she said. Well, I have more credentials than Zolly’s “Dr.” and I, therefore, know something about science and what Zolly trots out is not science. It’s not religion, either. It’s dross, tripe and ignorance.

        If you want to debate the ignorance of ID, Zolly, go on over to Uncommon Descent where the inmates gather and have a blast. Of course, the irony is that the conversation there is undirected and random.

    • kraut2
      • SmilodonsRetreat

        I just saw that about 20 minutes ago, but haven’t read it since i called to work.

      • Doc Bill

        Yes, very cool and not unexpected! Old Walcott hiked around Mt. Stephen, first, on the other side of the river from the Burgess. He found shale and scads of trilobites. He thought that a protected shale might be on the other side of the valley which is why he went over there. It was not dumb luck he found the Burgess, rather sensible geology mapping. Having hiked to the Walcott Quarry myself I can say that the area is very rugged and densely forested. Fascinating and beautiful place, though. Some years later we took the cushy route and stayed at the lodge at Emerald Lake where, with binoculars, we could watch hikers make the trek to the quarry.

    • Luke Breuer

      (here’s a hint, if the designer used evolution, then it wasn’t really ‘designed’)

      Is this true of e.g. NASA’s evolved antenna? It seems you need a few more premises than just “used evolution”.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        The NASA antenna was evolved. Just as all GAs use evolution. The survival of the fittest (such as it is) still works. Except the ‘fittest’ is determined by something else. Just like in artificial selection.

        Since the resulting antenna was better than anything human (i.e. intelligent) designers ever came up with, then we can safely say that evolution is much, much more effective than design.

        Indeed, after researching this topic for many years, I know of only one case in which GAs did not beat a human design team. And that was because the GA was only run for a hundred or so generations. Everyone involved in the project thinks that, had the GA been allowed to continue, it would have beaten human engineers. I also know of one case in which a GA developed a system that works, but human engineers still (as far as I know) don’t know how the system works. Yet it does.

        Evolution is a much, much more powerful process than most people realize. And that’s why thousands of industries and businesses use GAs on a daily basis. A John Deere factory has developed a GA to do in 8 hours what it took 3 human engineers doing over 4 days… and does it considerably better.

        Design is fine. But in terms of GAs, it is my opinion that for those processes and products that can be effectively implemented in a GA, the results are far, far superior to design.

        Here’s a list that you might find interesting (nothing that it is almost a decade old) http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/genalg/genalg.html

        • Luke Breuer

          Wait a second, the humans picked out what the genes were, what possible bends to do, what the cost function was, etc. It seems a bit iffy to say that there wasn’t a significant amount of design involved?

          Note here that I’m not arguing that biological evolution was a result of intelligent design; what I am careful about is to identify when a designer actually is required. For example, the current theory of evolution probably doesn’t ‘know’ enough to, given a tremendous amount of computing power, simulate evolution from simple lifeform to complex lifeform. That isn’t to say that the theory is wrong or needs to be ditched; it is just to say that we don’t have all the answers yet, and should keep funding the best answer-generating prospects!

          Design is fine. But in terms of GAs, it is my opinion that for those processes and products that can be effectively implemented in a GA, the results are far, far superior to design.

          Who says that ideas aren’t selected and don’t evolve? (I’m thinking of Dawkins’ meme.) And yet there is intelligence at play. It seems like you’re running a bit too much of a dichotomy here, but that’s understandable, given all the ID shenanigans out there. Funny how ID and creationism don’t advance science, help us build new technology, or advance the state of medicine…

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Of course there’s a significant amount of design… to the starting conditions. Just like there’s a significant amount of design to an experiment. But that doesn’t mean, as ID proponents claim, that the RESULTS are designed.

            Think of it this way. There many engineers and statisticians involved in the design and development of gambling games for casinos. That doesn’t mean that they know the results of a particular spin of the roulette wheel or the slot machine.

            There’s a big difference between how something is setup and the results of that something.

            • Luke Breuer

              Of course there’s a significant amount of design… to the starting conditions.

              That was my point. 🙂 Hopefully, we will get more and more intelligent about picking good starting conditions.

              But that doesn’t mean, as ID proponents claim, that the RESULTS are designed.

              Well, the Christian could cite Acts 17:28, Col 1:17, and Heb 1:3 and say that God is in control of the entire process. :-p

              On a serious note, perhaps there are large-timescale patterns in nature which could be described as having a “moral” component, but which we cannot observe by only looking close-up. We already know that space-locality is not always a coherent concept (see Bernard d’Espagnat’s On Physics and Philosophy), which buggers our standard conceptions of reality on one level. I predict we’ll find that time-locality likewise isn’t always a coherent concept (if we haven’t already). I wonder if this exists in structural realism; see Massimo Pigliucci’s Surprise! Naturalistic metaphysics undermines naive determinism, part I and part II. This could easily result in law-like invariants that hold, but not in the spacetime-localized quantum fluctuation sense. Indeed, I think we need this for the black hole firewall problem. (Unless Hawking really solved it; I haven’t looked into that much and the results of his work probably haven’t been fully processed yet.)

              Remember that at the deepest level, when we talk about indeterminism in QM, we aren’t claiming knowledge, but lack of knowledge. You cannot know that something is purely random; all you can know is that you can’t yet find any patterns in it. People get awfully mixed up about this. Now, it is also key to note that current scientific theory doesn’t rely on there being any pattern. But current scientific theory is not yet complete. It’s an awesome world to discover, out there!

            • Doc Bill

              You will never get the IDiots to admit that people weren’t designed or aren’t just the Most Special Thing in creation. They weasel around a lot of stuff but that’s their point. It’s all about their precious little immortal souls. Everything else is fluff, bafflegab and hot air. That’s why they’re so hard to pin down; they don’t have any real position other than to repeat their mantra.

              Meyer’s schtick is simple. He says, “We know that information comes from a mind. Therefore, when we detect information in nature that implies that it came from a mind.”

              That’s it in a nutshell.

              So, stop him at the first sentence. That’s simply the Paley argument, the watch requires a watchmaker. Don’t take that bait and Meyer has no argument. He’s got nothing. And he knows it! You bet he knows it well. You don’t get a PhD in philosophy without knowing your main argument is crap! It doesn’t stop him, though, because he mostly puts his case in front of lay people, church groups and sheep over who’s eyes he can pull the wool. Such shameless dishonesty!

            • Luke Breuer

              I suggest asking ID folks two questions:

                   (1) What cool, awesome things has ID told us about reality?
                   (2) Has any fantastic technology or medical treatment come from ID?

              If the answers are “no” to both of these, then perhaps one’s case is made? No need to tell them they’re ‘wrong’; ‘wrong’ is a very subjective thing. But perhaps we can all agree that we want our thinking to impact the world for the better, making it continually better and better and better? We don’t like people who set up roadblocks; they don’t promote anything.

        • Luke Breuer

          Evolution is a much, much more powerful process than most people realize. And that’s why thousands of industries and businesses use GAs on a daily basis. A John Deere factory has developed a GA to do in 8 hours what it took 3 human engineers doing over 4 days… and does it considerably better.

          How much info do you have on this? It sounds like you might have an entire collection of such examples. One thing I find fascinating is what precisely it takes in order for the GA to do better. It seems to me that one needs the right sort of decomposition of the problem, the right cost function (selection pressure), etc. With enough examples, one could probably start a formalization. I fully expect GAs to take off; what’ll get tricksy is: when are the results life, life with rights? 😐

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            That link in the post right above yours is to such a list of examples, with peer-reviewed papers. GAs are are huge business. There’s at least one company that I know of (I believe it’s Holland’s company) that does nothing but GAs.

            They have taken off… years ago.

            A problem that is amenable to GAs is one in which it is difficult to develop an answer, but once an answer is developed, then it is trivial to test the efficiency of that answer. Think about lens design (to use an example from that link). You can use multiple materials, multiple curves, multiple lens to achieve certain desired results (magnification, reduced distortion, just to name two). But once you have a lens, then you can do a ray trace and find out what it does easily. So a GA that evolves lenses (not randomly picks combinations) to do a certain thing would be a good choice.

            • Luke Breuer

              The last year in that link is 2004; there have been a lot of years since then!

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Yeah. I haven’t seen a more recent meta-analysis of GAs, but I know that they are still used, a lot.