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Thursday, January 22, 2015

More evolutionary absurdity

It still amazes me that anyone can take the theory of evolution by natural selection and various other forms of selection seriously anymore. No matter how many of their hypotheses are demonstrated to be wrong, nothing falsifies it.
In 1890 Belgian palaeontologist Louis Dollo postulated that evolution could not run backwards - something widely accepted by the scientific community. But now a study has claimed that the changes induced by evolution can be reversible, meaning certain animals can return to an earlier biological trait. The remarkable discovery was made by finding birds had regrown a bone previously discarded by dinosaurs millions of years ago.

They found that 230 million years ago, two-legged dinosaurs no longer required the strong wrists of their four-legged brethren, and thus they became weak. The number of bones in wrists shrank from 11 to three, with one in particular of interest to disappear being the pisiform.

But according to research by Dr Vargas, the bone reappeared when dinosaurs evolved into birds and took flight. The new bone, called the ulnare, appears in the same place as the pisiform once did.The pisiform allowed bird wings to remain rigid on the upstroke. The study found it disappeared in bird-like dinosaurs, but modern birds later evolved to once again use this tiny bone.
So now we have parallel evolution, backwards evolution, and presumably soon circular evolution. Amazing what a RANDOM process - yes, contrary to what Richard Dawkins keeps telling everyone, beginning with a random element such as genetic mutation means that the process is random; the genetic mutations required precede the environmental pressure and are not a result of it - is supposed to be able to produce.

What this tells me is that biologists don't understand how probability works. At this point, it is becoming obvious that if life was found on every single planet in the Solar System, they would claim that we simply happened to hit a very, very unlikely biological jackpot.

At this point, given their rejection of falsification, I don't see how evolution can possibly be considered science anymore. Can you detect the flaw in the logical syllogism?

1. Evolution can't run backwards.
2. A supposedly evolutionary change is reversed.
3. Therefore, evolution can run backwards.

214 Comments:

1 – 200 of 214 Newer› Newest»
Anonymous Wyrd January 22, 2015 12:14 PM  

Can you detect the flaw in the logical syllogism?

Yes, no one is actually putting forth that logical syllogism. It's a strawman.

Blogger jimmy-jimbo January 22, 2015 12:17 PM  

Maybe birds did not evolve from dinosaurs. Or perhaps they forked before the disappearance of the fourth bone.

Nobody really know what happened 230 million years ago. I know they think evolution is a fact, but this is very much in doubt.

Anonymous Soga January 22, 2015 12:18 PM  

It also brings up serious questions regarding the plausibility of evolution: can evolution run into a state of equilibrium where there's no real, directed pressure for humans to evolve? If so, why is linear evolution assumed for human evolution? If not, why not?

It is bad logic and bad science to assert "it must have happened because we're here."

Blogger Subversive Saint January 22, 2015 12:20 PM  

I dunno... after being exposed to some of the rants of my relatives over politics and New England football, I'm willing to believe that evolution can reverse.

Anonymous Salt January 22, 2015 12:33 PM  

Evolution, an exercise in Country Music.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 12:34 PM  

Maybe birds did not evolve from dinosaurs. Or perhaps they forked before the disappearance of the fourth bone.

There isn't another credible hypothesis out there. Cladistic analysis nests birds firmly within the maniraptoran family of dinosaurs, making them "nephews" if you will of animals like Velociraptor.. For a while, a theory of birds evolving from some form of earlier "thecodont" archosaurian animal of vague vintage was out there as an alternative, but the theory has largely faded away because the evidence for bird-dinosaur linkage is so strong in comparison.

So, sure; it's all well and good to say that, "hey, maybe birds evolved from some other path that we don't have evidence for yet in the fossil record"--but I rather think that's the point, or a tangential point at least, of the original post. Speculation isn't science. If you can't propose a model that's at least got some kind of supporting evidence, then your "theory" fails to be scientific.

Nobody really know what happened 230 million years ago. I know they think evolution is a fact, but this is very much in doubt.

Not sure what you're referring to. The first bird fossils showed up around 150 million years ago. The first dinosaur fossils showed up around 230-235 million years ago. While any evolutionary paleontologist would be quick to tell you that we don't believe that the earliest fossils we have represent literally the first members of either group, thus positing a shadow lineage of at least a few million years, it's both false to say that we don't know "anything" about what was happening back then, and false to claim that it is scientific to propose completely speculative mechanisms for processes for which we have no evidence.

Anonymous Trimegistus January 22, 2015 12:37 PM  

Quoting the ideas of a biologist who worked in the 1890s as something "evolutionists believe" is about like claiming the Luminiferous Ether theory is part of what "physicists believe." Biology and paleontology have -- dare I say it -- evolved since then. Among other things, they've completely abandoned the idea that evolution is somehow unidirectional. Traits can be lost and regained (though typically when regained they aren't quite the same as they were before).

Vox, you're a great man doing a valuable service to publishing and science fiction, but I have to say that when you make pronouncements about evolution you don't know what the hell you're talking about. It's also kind of weird that you adopt an evolutionary-psychology approach to things like sex and race, while denying the existence of evolution.

Just let it go.

Blogger Corvinus January 22, 2015 12:41 PM  

So.... does this mean that Idiocracy isn't badthink anymore?

Anonymous VD January 22, 2015 12:44 PM  

Vox, you're a great man doing a valuable service to publishing and science fiction, but I have to say that when you make pronouncements about evolution you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Thank you, but you see, that's rather amusing. I've repeatedly seen evolutionists warning other evolutionists how much I know about it and not to fall for my willingness to be educated concerning it. For the Nth time, the fact that one doesn't understand what I'm going on about is not an indication that I'm the one who doesn't know what I'm talking about.

It's also kind of weird that you adopt an evolutionary-psychology approach to things like sex and race, while denying the existence of evolution.

See, you don't even understand that I don't have an evolutionary-psychology approach to sex or race. I completely reject evolutionary psychology. This is the problem with moderately intelligent people. You confuse the fact of being FAMILIAR with something with UNDERSTANDING it.

You may wish to keep in mind that my expectations of developments in evolution have been repeatedly borne out. It is a theory that is visibly and audibly creaking under the weight of its conceptual epicycles.

Anonymous Porky January 22, 2015 12:49 PM  

This isn't a new idea. We've known for years that chickens can grow teeth.

Anonymous Soga January 22, 2015 12:52 PM  

And already, we see the "because physicists get amazingly accurate results" line of argument getting trotted out.

150 mya, because geologists, because physicists, because biologists...

Blogger jimmy-jimbo January 22, 2015 12:53 PM  

"Speculation isn't science. If you can't propose a model that's at least got some kind of supporting evidence, then your "theory" fails to be scientific."

The level of evidence presented should make evolution speculation and not science.

"Not sure what you're referring to. The first bird fossils showed up around 150 million years ago. The first dinosaur fossils showed up around 230-235 million years ago."

I was referring to the timeline and then you go on and on. No one knows what 230 million years ago means, and then you pile on 150 million years ago. I don't know what these dates mean because no one has seen it. It is just speculation.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 12:56 PM  

And already, we see the "because physicists get amazingly accurate results" line of argument getting trotted out.

150 mya, because geologists, because physicists, because biologists...


As the one who brought up 150 mya; I don't think you understood my point at all. I'm saying the same thing you are. You can't suddenly say that, hey, maybe dinosaurs didn't evolve from birds, but you have absolutely no other theory to contend with the null hypothesis and say that you're still doing science. If the theory doesn't work, you can't say that there must be mysterious forces that make it still work--we just haven't discovered them yet; you either need to get to work discovering them or come up with a new theory that fits the evidence that you do have.

Which is the whole point. Because of the inertia with evolution, nobody is proposing alternative theories. But they should; there really are a lot of significant issues with it that are just being swept under the rug and ignored today.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 12:59 PM  

The level of evidence presented should make evolution speculation and not science.

Yes, thank you. That's what I said.

I was referring to the timeline and then you go on and on. No one knows what 230 million years ago means, and then you pile on 150 million years ago. I don't know what these dates mean because no one has seen it. It is just speculation.

No it's not. It may not be right, but the timeline isn't really the question here, nor is it speculative. If you've got an alternative to the timeline; i.e., you have reason to believe that Archeopteryx fossils are not 150 million years old; let's hear it. Or some alternative to using radioactive half-life times to date rocks, let's hear that too. Evolution neither stands nor falls on the timeline.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 1:01 PM  

Evolution can not run backwards. No process involving friction can run backwards either. Any problem?

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 1:04 PM  

This isn't a new idea. We've known for years that chickens can grow teeth.

We've also known for years that journalists often get ahold of stories that aren't exactly ground-breaking and then present them as if they are. You're right in that atavism is hardly a new proposal when applied to evolution.

However, like punctuated equilibrium, it comes with its associated problems; namely that it's an attempt to salvage the theory by modifying the theory so that it explains why we don't have good evidence for it. This problem is even more pronounced in punctuated equilibrium; at least with regards to atavism, a mechanism for it is kinda sorta proposed. Punctuated equilibrium is where I saw, years ago as a teenager no less, that evolution as a theory was propped up by a house of cards.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 1:05 PM  

A bone in the same place is not necessarily the same bone. In that case it is most likely another, novel bone.

Anonymous Soga January 22, 2015 1:05 PM  

I get what you were saying, Joshua. I'm talking about how the implicit assumptions are a house of cards. You're talking about a different category in TENS.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 1:06 PM  

@Soga

Branching fossil record shows otherwise.

Blogger jimmy-jimbo January 22, 2015 1:07 PM  

"Yes, thank you. That's what I said."

No, you said "There isn't another credible hypothesis out there." and challenged to find another scientific theory. You confirmed this by saying the timeline is valuable ("If you've got an alternative to the timeline").

"Evolution neither stands nor falls on the timeline."

For standing by the timeline, you have no use for it either.

Anonymous Soga January 22, 2015 1:10 PM  

You're going to have to elaborate, Mindstorm. Can't respond to you without you being specific in your objections. Shows what is otherwise? How so?

Anonymous Keck January 22, 2015 1:11 PM  

God! Surely God. Well, some God. Maybe a greater intelligence. Or magic. Scientists are dumber than blogges.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 1:11 PM  

No, you said "There isn't another credible hypothesis out there." and challenged to find another scientific theory. You confirmed this by saying the timeline is valuable ("If you've got an alternative to the timeline").

I think I know what I said. You've missed the point, it appears.

For standing by the timeline, you have no use for it either.

I don't doubt the timeline. I don't doubt that Archeopteryx fossils are 150 million years old. I don't particularly care; and could easily be convinced that it's wrong if anyone were to propose an alternative theory. But it has nothing to do with my rejection evolution.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 1:12 PM  

I should add--a credible alternative theory.

Blogger jimmy-jimbo January 22, 2015 1:14 PM  

"I think I know what I said. You've missed the point, it appears."

Nice. Do we have to talk in codes here. Why is getting a point across so difficult?

Anonymous kh123 January 22, 2015 1:16 PM  

Reversals + convergence = A wonderfully vibrant hypothesis.

Species or feature found stratigraphically much later than expected? Retention or regression to ancestral form.

Several lines exhibit similar specific trait but a myriad of differences? Well, they just happened to converge on that one point, because we haven't worked out how to plop them into the family tree just yet, if ever.

Evo papers should be required on the first page, underneath title and author(s), to formulate and recognize the difference between a working / dysfunctional syllogism and enthymeme. They can even use several default examples that have been approved by... that other guy, that isn't Bill Nye... what's his name?...

E conchis omnia - because we f*cking love science.

Anonymous VD January 22, 2015 1:17 PM  

"Evolution neither stands nor falls on the timeline."

It increasingly appears to neither stand nor fall on anything.

Anonymous Soga January 22, 2015 1:17 PM  

This subject, much like Protestantism vs Catholicism, seems to bring out the arrogance in a lot of folks.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 1:17 PM  

@Soga: I must be missing some context then. This is one of the semi-regular conversation topics in which I have a more than passing interest, so I'd love to be filled in.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 1:18 PM  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_jaw#Pharyngeal_jaws - Vox, what is your explanation for this particular bone arrangement? A discrete act of creation?

Anonymous Stilicho January 22, 2015 1:19 PM  

God! Surely God. Well, some God. Maybe a greater intelligence. Or magic.

Do you think that macro-evolution disproves the existence of God?

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 1:21 PM  

It increasingly appears to neither stand nor fall on anything.

I'd love to get my hands on a modern and thoroughly comprehensive take-down of the Theory. It shouldn't be terribly hard to do, but would take a lot of work to gather all of the problems and issues with the theory and put them all in one place.

More work than I'm willing to do, I guess I'm saying. If someone else did that, I'd love to read it. And recommend it to people too.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 1:24 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Mark January 22, 2015 1:25 PM  

Vox, as I studied up on Evolutionary Biology, I found it more convincing. My reading of Intelligent Design (from its chief proponents) showed it to be a pseudoscience even sadder than Climate Change (and reading the full testimony of Behe ended any sheen of honesty on the debate).

Without asking you to back your position up, or demand a debate, can you point me to some of your objections? I'd be interested in taking a look.

I understand the knee-jerk "oh, this happens because the organism will thrive in the environment because of " but the whole of what I've read seems to support the theory to me.

Anonymous Harsh January 22, 2015 1:26 PM  

Yes, no one is actually putting forth that logical syllogism. It's a strawman.

Vox just did. Pay attention.

Blogger Mook Vanguard January 22, 2015 1:28 PM  

Mindstorm, just pointing out that a theory is parsimonious or fits with your presuppositions is not evidence that it is true. Otherwise we wouldn't have relativity and all that other stuff that's confusing and hard to understand.

And I'm not a creationist, by the way.

Anonymous DT January 22, 2015 1:28 PM  

What this tells me is that biologists don't understand how probability works.

Understatement of the year :-)

If this universe was a simulation and you ran it 10^100 times you would never see abiogenesis. And if your simulation started with a simple, self replicating organism guided by a genetic program which could experience mutation, you would never see it gain the new information necessary to produce more complex organisms.

Biologists label any change what-so-ever in a genome as "evolution." They observe changes. Then they insist those changes prove evolution. But changes that trigger expression, suppression, or complete loss of existing genetic information are categorically different from a change that introduces new information. We've never observed the last one, and the law of entropy tells us we should never expect to in a bounded, finite universe.

As far as I'm concerned TENS was a dead theory the moment galactic redshift was observed.

Blogger The Original Hermit January 22, 2015 1:29 PM  

"Maybe birds did not evolve from dinosaurs. Or perhaps they forked before the disappearance of the fourth bone."

Abt 8 years ago, I read of a a study that from OSU that determined birds didn't evolve from dinosaurs, based on some hip-bone issue with therapods or something. It seems to have gotten swept under the rug, because I haven't heard a single person reference since. All this is assuming evolution as commonly understood happened of course.

OpenID kbswift January 22, 2015 1:32 PM  

Do you think that these "inconsistencies" in macro-evolution (parallel evolution, backwards evolution) prove the existence of God?

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 1:32 PM  

Soga:
"...why is linear evolution assumed for human evolution?"

Branching fossil record shows otherwise.

Evolution, if you zoom in enough, is powered by mutations. Mutations produce 'drunkard's walks' whose particular instances are terminated earlier of later mostly by selection. A return to the same place in the 'form space' is highly unlikely, and impossible to achieve by retracing the same steps backwards. Mutations are a random process, so there is no backwards.

Anonymous Wyrd January 22, 2015 1:36 PM  

January 22, 2015 1:26 PM
Yes, no one is actually putting forth that logical syllogism. It's a strawman.

Vox just did. Pay attention.


The "except Vox" is implicit. It's still a strawman no matter rhetorically adept Vox can be.

Anonymous Harsh January 22, 2015 1:38 PM  

The "except Vox" is implicit. It's still a strawman no matter rhetorically adept Vox can be.

You're not understanding the point.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 1:39 PM  

Do you think that these "inconsistencies" in macro-evolution (parallel evolution, backwards evolution) prove the existence of God?

My answer, not Vox's naturally: of course not. There isn't and should be no proof of God, because otherwise the divine and eternal principle of faith would be meaningless.

They do, however, prove that evolution as science is seriously flawed. For what it's worth, Darwin didn't conceive of evolution as a atheistic worldview; that's a development that evolved (no pun intended) after his time.

Anonymous kh123 January 22, 2015 1:39 PM  

"...A discrete act of creation?..."

"...they are believed to have originated as..."

Notice the similarity. Possibly a reversal back to its ancestral form. Or conversely, it's convergence between two unrelated lines of descent, though the similarity is striking.

Anonymous Wyrd January 22, 2015 1:41 PM  

The point I'm seeing is Vox thinks the theory of evolution by natural selection is one big pile of bat guano and he's constructed a strawman to burn down in order to rhetorically demonstrate his disdain. Some agree with him; others don't. Is there more to it than that?

Blogger cavalier973 January 22, 2015 1:44 PM  

I thought Joe Thornton showed that evolution couldn't go backwards

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/06/more_strong_exp087061.html

Anonymous Harsh January 22, 2015 1:45 PM  

And yet you can't articulate what you think is wrong with his argument other than saying the syllogism is a straw man, which is incorrect.

Blogger Hd Hammer January 22, 2015 1:49 PM  

"No matter how many of their hypotheses are demonstrated to be wrong, nothing falsifies it." - atheist are ideologues, no evidence will sway them.

Vox, have you read John C Lennox's "God's Undertaker, has science buried God?"?
I found it quite interesting, in one chapter he discusses DNA and information which immediately reminded of your comparison between a game designer and God in TIA.

Anonymous DT January 22, 2015 1:49 PM  

Do you think that these "inconsistencies" in macro-evolution (parallel evolution, backwards evolution) prove the existence of God?

The existence of genetic information in our finite universe, which would have been near maximum information entropy at the Big Bang, proves the existence of, and intervention from, life not of this universe.

Entropy is a bitch. And she is as forceful when it comes to information as she is when it comes to energy.

Anonymous kh123 January 22, 2015 1:50 PM  

"I suppose if Lacedaemon were to become desolate, and the temples and the foundations of the public buildings were left, there would be a strong disposition with posterity to refuse to accept her fame as a true exponent of her power. And yet they occupy two-fifths of Peloponnese and lead the whole, not to speak of their numerous allies without. Still, as the city is neither built in a compact form nor adorned with magnificent temples and public edifices but is composed of villages after the old fashion of Hellas, there would be an impression of inadequacy. Whereas, if Athens were to suffer the same misfortune, any inference from her appearance would make her power to have been twice as great as it is."

And this is within the realm of human artifacts and written records, take note. Just the other day by evolutionary standards.

Anonymous Josh the Aspie January 22, 2015 1:52 PM  

Well first of all, there are currently theories of evolution, rather than a single theory. They are based on the work of Charels Darwin, yes, but his original theory has been debunked, and most scientists studying biology, if they understand the way the theory they currently adhere to would hopefully only credit him in the same way non-Freudians credit Freud for being an early psychologist.

That said, I agree that the parts in common, that can be discussed in a body as "the theory of evolution" are problematic based on probability and time scale.

That said, the specific objection raised here is not one I find problematic. One of the more common forms of "mutation" is what one will often consider an atavistic trait, or a disabling or re-enabling of some form of genetic information.

For example, lactose intolerance is relatively rare in the post-agricultural world (compared to those that can tolerate lactose). It could be considered an atavistic trait.

There is a gene in the human genome that "activates" after infancy to make people unable to process milk well, to make it more likely that babies in a given tribe will get the milk they need to survive. Some people have a variation that never activates. Due to the advantage it provided, those with that gene were more successful following the domestication of cattle than those without, so due to out-competition and poly-gynous societies centering around the genes of the most successful men, that gene spread farther. Yet, we still have members of our society that have the gene that functions normally.

There are also children that cannot tolerate lactose from birth, and thus have developed pre-digested formula, making it more likely for those children to survive, thus removing an environmental pressure.

Similarly, the shift away from milk being necessary, and toward understanding and acomodating alergies means more and more people are going no-lactos and doing just fine (some who don't even need to, due to it being fashionable), so the inactive lactose intolerance gene is less and less of an advantage.

You can also see adaptation in the small during the civil war in the change in population between white and black moths of a species that lived on birch trees. In areas with fighting, the trees were often blackened by powder, and so the black moths temporarily became more common than the white ones, due to being better able to hide.

If an atavistic trait becomes useful again, those with it will out compete those without, and it will become the more common trait again. Unless of course we artificially control our environment to negate advantages and shore up weaknesses, in which case the lack of environmental pressure will remove the propagation of traits that would otherwise be beneficial.

Blogger Hd Hammer January 22, 2015 1:56 PM  

Joshua Dyal -"I'd love to get my hands on a modern and thoroughly comprehensive take-down of the Theory"
Maybe you can try John C Lennox's "God's Undertaker, has science buried God?
I don't claim to be especially knowledgeable in this area but I with my limited knowledge I think he dealt with the theory of evolution rather comprehensively.

Anonymous Quartermaster January 22, 2015 1:56 PM  

There are two forms of evolution. One is a fact, the other mere philosophical speculation. The true form is use to produce breeds of cattle, dogs and such. When applied in such a manner, the selection is obviously done by man, but it also causes variations in kinds adapted to certain niches in nature.

Darwinian evolution is just philosophical speculation and never was science. People like Dawkins are simply fools educated beyond their abilities.

Anonymous Wyrd January 22, 2015 1:56 PM  

1. Evolution can't run backwards.

Ok, here we have the claim made by a proponent of ToE allegedly widely accepted from the late 19th century until recently.

2. A supposedly evolutionary change is reversed.

And here we have the recent claim that challenges the allegedly popular tenet.

3. Therefore, evolution can run backwards.

Therefore, the more recent claim replaces the prior claim in ToE canon because?

That's a poor excuse for a syllogism.

OpenID kbswift January 22, 2015 1:58 PM  

@Harsh

What is Vox's argument?

Anonymous Anubis January 22, 2015 2:03 PM  

What's funny is that evolution is actually taught as leftist creationism where an invisible majik cloud man waves his hands so that evolution stops at the neck in humans.

Blogger Elmo Shangnaster January 22, 2015 2:04 PM  

Since when do syllogisms include words like "supposedly"?

Blogger Phunctor January 22, 2015 2:06 PM  

"Falsus in unum, falsus in omnes". Which is a very useful heuristic when trustworthiness is germane.

In this case, falsifying "can't go backwards" doesn't do much to invalidate the whole structure. It's not foundational.

That said, both the ribosome and the homeobox appear miraculous to me.

Anonymous Quartermaster January 22, 2015 2:10 PM  

@Mark

"Vox, as I studied up on Evolutionary Biology, I found it more convincing."

The more I see of evolutionary "theory" the more I can see it is just a collection of trash. The current hypothesis is evolution is driven by mutation. The problem with that is mutations are created by damaging genetic information. Mutations lead in one direction, downward.

For evolution to work entropy must be overcome. An organism can overcome it locally, for a short period of time, but age always catches up. If evolution is true, then we need to go back and rethink most of Physics. Genetics would also be on thin ice as well since Genetics is simply a manifestation of information theory. If the genetic info is not present in the organism it will not manifest. One thing I have as yet to see is how Biologists get the Genetic info required for an organism to evolve. At the current state of the cult, there is no plausible way to get it. Proposing mutations as the means so far has not washed.

Anonymous VD January 22, 2015 2:12 PM  

Without asking you to back your position up, or demand a debate, can you point me to some of your objections?

Click on "evolution" on the left sidebar. You will find plenty of information, including some of my objections.

I understand the knee-jerk "oh, this happens because the organism will thrive in the environment because of " but the whole of what I've read seems to support the theory to me.

My experience was precisely the opposite. It convinced me that evolution is philosophy, not science. And that some of the core logic involved was unsound.

A return to the same place in the 'form space' is highly unlikely, and impossible to achieve by retracing the same steps backwards.

Bingo.

If an atavistic trait becomes useful again, those with it will out compete those without, and it will become the more common trait again.

Spot the unscience there.

Do you think that these "inconsistencies" in macro-evolution (parallel evolution, backwards evolution) prove the existence of God?

What does that have do with anything that has been discussed here? It's no more on topic than asking "do you think that these "inconsistencies" in macro-evolution (parallel evolution, backwards evolution) prove the unsoundness of the bi-metal standard?"

Lesson for midwits who believe in evolution: the correct response to a perceived flaw in what you consider to be science does not involve asking questions concerning theology, economics, or sexual orientation, among many, many other things.

That is called "changing the subject".

Anonymous Giuseppe January 22, 2015 2:15 PM  

VD,
And yet... You have to admit, that while discarding evolution is sensible, given that most humans behave with shocking regularity like bonobos on crack, my theory of aliens messing with monkeys is far more reasonable than anything Dawkins can come up with.

Blogger wrf3 January 22, 2015 2:18 PM  

DT wrote: If this universe was a simulation and you ran it 10^100 times you would never see abiogenesis.

You can't possibly be serious. Just because the odds are against it, doesn't mean that it can't happen in one (or more!) of those trial runs.

The existence of genetic information in our finite universe...

Not this garbage, again. What's the amount of "genetic information" in any organism of your choosing? What's the amount of information in the Universe?


Blogger ajw308 January 22, 2015 2:19 PM  

Is there more to it than that?
Read the title. This post isn't a strawman, it's more evidence that shows the evolutionary guys make stuff up.

Just look at their position that fish evolved into land creatures that evolved into mammals that evolved into sea creatures. How can this be, if evolution is working to a higher order?

Blogger Bluntobj Winz January 22, 2015 2:25 PM  

Mindstorm,

One error in what you said in regard to the randomness of mutation. Mutations add to the available expressions of genes within an organism. Once the mutation occurs and appears to enhance survival of beings that have it, previous traits are likely not destroyed, but simply suppressed. (I say likely, because the expression or suppression of genes is under study without any firm rules established.) This means that if a previously suppressed gene or trait becomes useful again it can return. Evolution in this case does not go "backward" (or forward, really), it simply uses an existing tool to enhance survival. Genes or traits that are then suppressed in favor of the newly reused gene are not destroyed, but may be altered in due to mutation and not used until some future version of the organism finds an environment in which the suppressed gene can be brought back into play.

Also, making explicit black/white statements on most biological terms is really a fools game, as these terms and the systems they represent are being redefined on a sometimes daily basis. I think that's the overall point Vox is making, as I understand it. Calling a theory "settled science" when logic can easily disprove it is bad science. Making theories and ideas into dogmatic truths so that they fit more neatly into human adopted ideologies has been and will continue to be the downfall of civilizations.

Anonymous Alexander January 22, 2015 2:27 PM  

wrf3,

So you believe every outcome, no matter how improbably, has a non-zero chance of occurring within N trials?

Me jumping off a bridge and flying?

Rolling a standard pair of six-sided dice and getting 13?

Some water-living organism evolving into a dog-like mammal evolving into a whale?

It's not 'serious' to give these a zero probability?

Anonymous Giuseppe January 22, 2015 2:38 PM  

Keck,

God! Surely God. Well, some God. Maybe a greater intelligence. Or magic. Scientists are dumber than blogges.

I find your pathetic appeal to authority cowardly in the extreme.

Blogger Bogey January 22, 2015 2:39 PM  

Because someone asked, David Berlinski did a pretty thorough take down of evolution, just search his name on youtube.

Blogger Bogey January 22, 2015 2:40 PM  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6ElA0--JNg

Blogger Joshua Sinistar January 22, 2015 2:41 PM  

Evolution like much of everything else in academia and the system has been swallowed whole by The Anti-Life Equation of the Death Cult of Leftism. The idea that creatures adapt to their environment seems like a no-brainer obvious necessity for survival, but with the conformist jackboot of socialism on their throat they have added the STUPID and ASSININE statement that Evolution is a random number process governed not by WILL or POSITIVE ACTION by living creatures, but random gene functions probably spawned by environmental radiation and mistakes at the RNA level replication process in spermatoa and eggs.
This makes the entire concept of free will and action ridiculous and irrelevant to life, as all of the major functions are guided by random number generators similar to throwing dice. One can see why these morons want to remove God, because God does not throw dice to create the Grand Design.
However, this absurd aberration is understandable when you consider that the entire false dichotomy of Leftism is based on Environmentalism and therefore requires Socialist Central Planning to attune the environment for maximum value and health.
This may seem counterintuitive to thinking creatures like yourselves since the "Evolution" happens on a genetic and not environmental path, but to mindless drones and puppets on the Left any environmental factor negates any other factors such as genetics when forming their false dichotomy.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 2:43 PM  

Alexander: "It's not 'serious' to give these a zero probability?"

Improbable ≠ Impossible

Rolling a 13 on two dice is impossible mathematically. Do you have similar proof that your evolutionary example is also impossible?

Anonymous Crude January 22, 2015 2:49 PM  

Vox,

Intelligent Design doesn't seem like your thing, and you write little about evolution lately anyway. But you may be interested in an exchange between Michael Behe and Ken Miller - it mostly has to do with the two talking about probabilities of given mutations. Right here, in four parts.

Blogger Phunctor January 22, 2015 2:49 PM  

Sinistar and Einstein say God does not play dice. Bell's theorem says he does. What to do, what to do?

Blogger Karl January 22, 2015 2:50 PM  

I don't think the argument works as a syllogism because it's not a direct negation or proof by contradiction? http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/62852.html
-------
P = Evolution progresses one direction
~P = Evolution is bi-directional
therefore Evolution is bi-directional? Evolution has no direction? (which is an assumption of modern day TENS I thought.)
-------
It's the middle proposition that says "supposedly" that is the issue. What I wrote (as opposed to Vox's syllogism) assumes that all change is evolutionary . . .

So, if the overall concern is the validity of TENS, then you would need a conjunction (Evolution is True and all change is evolutionary and evolution only works in one direction) and proof through disjunction. And expand out, which would be a fun exercise but not one I can do now.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 2:51 PM  

What stands for friction in this simple model in my preceding comment? Silent mutations.

Blogger Rabbi B January 22, 2015 2:57 PM  

".... they would claim that we simply happened to hit a very, very unlikely biological jackpot.'

Perhaps we're approaching this all wrong. Maybe we should be commending Evolution's adherents for the unflappable profession of their most profound faith in one of the greatest miracles the world has ever witnessed.

My sense of awe and wonder only increases with every detractor from the truth I encounter. One of the more impressive phenomena in this world: men's willful suppression of the truth and their passionate love affair with the darkness.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 2:57 PM  

Karl, what is the meaning of 'direction' in your comment? Define your terms, please.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 3:00 PM  

If as 'changes in the genetic sequence', then how would you describe macroevolution?

Anonymous Alexander January 22, 2015 3:00 PM  

And highly improbable, assumed at zero ≠ 'you can't be serious'.

As to the math on evolution, I can't possibly know if it supports evolution or not, since when it comes to the origin of species, scientists refuse to give us:
1. The origin
2. The number of (and what exactly is a) species

Without those, it's impossible to figure out the average rate of new species evolution would require, before we even factor in the 'speed up' required to get back up to scratch after a mass-extinction events.

So yes, if we have a theory where the time from the origin is uncertain, the number of things we have ended up with since then is uncertain, how we define a unique thing is uncertain, and therefore we have no average rate to even *begin* to work off of...

Then I have no qualms assuming that the possibility of that theory giving a plausible theory as to how a proto-fish becomes a proto-dog becomes a whale, is so insignificantly small as to be reasonably assumed to be 0.

Blogger Karl January 22, 2015 3:05 PM  

direction refers to the mutational process in standard TENS, where you have mutation induced specialization and new species branch off. Like in this diagram of whale evolution, whales did not evolve back into their hippo like ancestor.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 3:06 PM  

Alexander, is any physical event strictly impossible? What is the probability of a marble statue waving her arm?

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 3:07 PM  

" mutation induced specialization" Speciation? How many mutations would that be?

Blogger Mark January 22, 2015 3:09 PM  

Click on "evolution" on the left sidebar. You will find plenty of information, including some of my objections.

Oof, that's drinking from a firehose. I've pulled it up, and will go through it, but I was hoping for something like a deep argument with narrow focus that I could understand reasonably well. For instance, with Global Warming, I can point to 1) the lack of trophospheric warming signal, 2) the temperatures diverging from the models, and 3) the hockey stick being an arbitrary conjoining of proxy with instrument data. I can point to specific details about those examples. Many of your entries are surface-level only (which is reasonable for a blog entry).

Because someone asked, David Berlinski did a pretty thorough take down of evolution, just search his name on youtube.

I pulled up the youtube link and it's got some of the same problems of generalism for me. My experience is that bad reasoning generally breaks pretty badly only if you can drill down far enough. And about halfway into that video of Berlinski he makes some pretty incorrect statements about mutation that kind of blow it for me. His affiliation with Behe is a problem for me because I put some effort into reading Behe and concluded his arguments to be bad.

Blogger wrf3 January 22, 2015 3:11 PM  

Phunctor asked: Sinistar and Einstein say God does not play dice. Bell's theorem says he does. What to do, what to do?

Einstein didn't live long enough to see the result of Bell's experiments. Hopefully that would have been enough to overcome his objections.

God plays dice.

Blogger ScuzzaMan January 22, 2015 3:14 PM  

As an explanation, "evolution did it" is as useful / useless as "God did it".

One thing atheists and theists can agree on is that the theory that explains everything explains nothing.

Anonymous Alexander January 22, 2015 3:14 PM  

Strictly impossible: No.

But unlikely enough that it can be assigned a zero probability when we are discussing an N set of trials? Yes.

But if you want to be obtuse about it, you give me the odds the Statue of Liberty doing the can-can some time in 2015, and we can set up an appropriate payout on it.

Anonymous Alexander January 22, 2015 3:17 PM  

Mark,

These are Vox's:

There are an estimated 1,263,186 animal species and 326,175 plant species in the world. Assuming the age of the Earth is 4.54 billion years, what is the average rate of speciation?

How many mutations, on average, are required per speciation?

What scientifically significant predictive model relies primarily upon evolution by natural selection?

Which of the various human sub-species is the most evolved; i.e. modified by mutation and natural selection from the most recent common human ancestor? Which is the least evolved?

Is the theory of evolution by natural selection strengthened or weakened by the claim that most DNA is devoid of purpose?

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother January 22, 2015 3:21 PM  

There is a gene in the human genome that "activates" after infancy to make people unable to process milk well, to make it more likely that babies in a given tribe will get the milk they need to survive.

This is what drives me crazy about evolution. Talking about the genes this way makes it seem like there is an evolution control center inside the human body like the starship Enterprise:

"Captain, the adults in the tribe are taking milk from the newborns! Captain, they might not survive!"
"Ensign, activate forward LCT thrusters on my mark...3.2.1 engage!"
"Captain, LCT activated successfully. The adults in the tribe are throwing up from milk ingestion! Now the babies will get all the milk!"
"Good job ensign. See me in my quarters after shift...heh heh"

Blogger Karl January 22, 2015 3:23 PM  

I couldn't say how many mutations it would take, or what order they would be in, or how many generations. I'm just trying to lay the logic as best I can. As for "macroevolution" which I had to look up, that debate (micro vs macro) doesn't interest me. If humans start re-growing tails (like the mini-people in The Littles) then I'll get interested.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 3:24 PM  

Alexander: "Then I have no qualms assuming that the possibility of that theory giving a plausible theory as to how a proto-fish becomes a proto-dog becomes a whale, is so insignificantly small as to be reasonably assumed to be 0."

Consider all the water molecules on this planet (N), and their respective physical locations therein. The probability that on any given day at any given time, molecule¹ would be at location X¹Y¹Z¹; molecule² would be at location X²Y²Z²...moleculeⁿ would be at location XⁿYⁿZⁿ, are so insignificantly small as to be reasonably assumed to be 0.

And yet, there they are.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 3:25 PM  

Alexander, a speciation being reversed also can be assigned zero probability. Especially for a two-sex species, because it would have pretty obvious additional necessary conditions.

Blogger ajw308 January 22, 2015 3:27 PM  

Devo, the Techno Rock band with the de-evolution message influences many later bands. Later, Vox is in a successful Techno Rock band, most likely influenced by Devo. Now he addresses logical fallacies, some based on evolution.

We've all seen Vox beat a dead horse, but if the horse is still alive and kicking, he'll Whip it.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 3:31 PM  

One error in what you said in regard to the randomness of mutation. Mutations add to the available expressions of genes within an organism. Once the mutation occurs and appears to enhance survival of beings that have it, previous traits are likely not destroyed, but simply suppressed. (I say likely, because the expression or suppression of genes is under study without any firm rules established.) This means that if a previously suppressed gene or trait becomes useful again it can return. Evolution in this case does not go "backward" (or forward, really), it simply uses an existing tool to enhance survival. Genes or traits that are then suppressed in favor of the newly reused gene are not destroyed, but may be altered in due to mutation and not used until some future version of the organism finds an environment in which the suppressed gene can be brought back into play.

The problem with this is similar to the problem with punctuated equilibrium. Namely; that it's essentially a just-so story which purports to explain why evidence doesn't match the theory without significantly altering the theory. It isn't quite as bad, as at least there's some handwavey attempt to explain the mechanisms of gene suppression and manifestation, but it's not at a ready-for-primetime this-is-actually-science level.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 3:35 PM  

Yoshua Dyal, consider what happens with the inactive gene (pseudogene). Over time, it collects additional mutations rendering it progressively useless for the prior purpose before inactivation.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 3:36 PM  

This is what drives me crazy about evolution. Talking about the genes this way makes it seem like there is an evolution control center inside the human body like the starship Enterprise:

Even professional biologists and paleontologists and other specialists--who claim to know better, based on the theory--can't help constantly inferring some kind of direction to evolution, or some kind of bigger cause and effect than simple random mutation interacting with environmental stimuli.

The ironic thing, since evolution has essentially evolved into the atheology of the modern secular world is that it's too messy and improbable--once you start really digging into the issues with it--to assume that it happened by random chance. If evolution were actually true, it demands some kind of guiding force to actually manage it and make it work.

Anonymous Difster January 22, 2015 3:37 PM  

Evolution: The theory is gospel so any evidence that contradicts the theory must revise the theory and not question the premise. To question the premise is not "scientific" and is not allowed. It seems so sciency!
‪#‎SCIENCE‬

Anonymous Keck January 22, 2015 3:37 PM  

"Do you think that macro-evolution disproves the existence of God?"

Nothing can disprove the claims made for gods. They only make us doubt, then move on.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother January 22, 2015 3:44 PM  

Keck,

That's not what he asked. Do you work for a goalpost moving company?

Anonymous Anti-science Christianists --- read this SCIENCE now January 22, 2015 3:45 PM  

http://news.yahoo.com/three-million-yr-old-ancestor-had-human-hands-195057726.html

"The hand structure of early human ancestors who lived 3.2 million years ago suggests they had the ability to grasp and use tools, even if they hadn't invented them yet, anthropologists said Thursday."

Anonymous Keck January 22, 2015 3:53 PM  

"That's not what he asked. Do you work for a goalpost moving company?"

That company went out of business when Al Gore invented the Internet.

In any case, I'm sure my answer will suffice to answer his question and any other question concerning what idea might disprove the existence of God (or any god for that matter.

You, however, appear to be on your own.

Anonymous Stickwick January 22, 2015 3:53 PM  

Mark: Vox, as I studied up on Evolutionary Biology, I found it more convincing. My reading of Intelligent Design (from its chief proponents) showed it to be a pseudoscience even sadder than Climate Change (and reading the full testimony of Behe ended any sheen of honesty on the debate).

This seems to be a common theme. The only two models on the table are TENS and ID, therefore if you reject TENS, you embrace ID; and since ID is a poor model, you should not reject TENS. It seems inconceivable to some that TENS is dismissible purely on the basis of lack of supporting evidence and its own internal inconsistencies.

Anonymous Stilicho January 22, 2015 4:05 PM  

Nothing can disprove the claims made for gods

I suppose we'll have to presume that means "no".

Which confirms your earlier comment
:
God! Surely God. Well, some God. Maybe a greater intelligence. Or magic.

was just an emotional attempt to relieve the mental constipation you experienced when trying to deal with the fact that someone questioned TENS on the basis of its adherents' assertions without any reference to an alternate theory. Pro tip: if your "cookie" smells like a turd, looks like a turd, and appears to have originated from the north end of a southbound mule...it doesn't mean there isn't an actual cookie somewhere, it just means that you really shouldn't take a bite.

Blogger Mark January 22, 2015 4:05 PM  

There are an estimated 1,263,186 animal species and 326,175 plant species in the world. Assuming the age of the Earth is 4.54 billion years, what is the average rate of speciation?

That's a reasonable question which leads to the likely answer, "it's complicated" -- which may be the strongest argument against evolution as a proper theory. That is, while individual processes are well understood, there isn't enough understanding about the physical sequence of speciation to qualify as a testable theory. Reading through some of Vox's past posts, it does seem to come down to, "is every aspect of this falsifiable?" However, I could throw quantum physics vs. gravity out there and say that we cannot reconcile quantum physics and gravity, and it's possible we never will. That doesn't mean that GR or QR aren't science.

How many mutations, on average, are required per speciation?

Again, very good question, and it's possible there isn't answer--largely because I don't think we can even define what a species is. It certainly isn't the schoolbook defintion I learned growing up. Is that different from having no closed-form solutions to multibody gravity solutions?

What scientifically significant predictive model relies primarily upon evolution by natural selection?

See, I could ask the same question about stellar evolution. We're never going to see our Sun ged to red giant stage. Or see any of the stages of stellar evolution. It's quite possible we'll never see fusion in a controlled environment. Yet it doesn't fail as a theory. A testable prediction human evolution made was that fossils of a certain age would include ancestors of humans -- they went and checked rocks of the right age range and found Australopithecus. Now, that's a vast simplification, but it's my understanding of what happened. That's far better than (say) String Theory (count me in the Woit camp on that one).


Those are good questions, but I'd like to see a deeper analysis by someone who really knows the details of the evolution argument, and point out where the argument breaks. Is it just at speciation that Vox (or anyone here) objects to? Does the E. coli long-term citrate project count as evidence for evolution, or not, etc.?

I'm okay with someone saying, "I just don't find the evidence convincing" -- but I'd love to read details of "Here's where scientists (not "educators" like the buffoon Bill Nye and his ilk) go wrong" by someone who goes deep into it. I'm not requesting an answer here, but a pointer to a resource would be nice. My own reading of Behe shows me he's a fraud, and the video link above is pretty weak.

Blogger Josh January 22, 2015 4:06 PM  

Shut up tad

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 4:06 PM  

This seems to be a common theme. The only two models on the table are TENS and ID, therefore if you reject TENS, you embrace ID; and since ID is a poor model, you should not reject TENS. It seems inconceivable to some that TENS is dismissible purely on the basis of lack of supporting evidence and its own internal inconsistencies.

Exactly my point. We are in desperate need of a new model. Due to political pressure and inertia, nobody is coming up with one.

Anonymous Athor Pel January 22, 2015 4:08 PM  

"wrf3January 22, 2015 2:18 PM
...
The existence of genetic information in our finite universe...

Not this garbage, again. What's the amount of "genetic information" in any organism of your choosing? What's the amount of information in the Universe?"



You want to know what the numbers look like?


I'm gonna give some context then the rest of my comment is a repeat of one I put here a couple years ago.

Fred Reed wrote an article a couple years ago. It was about evolution. Vox blogged about it. I'm going to be terse in the description of it.

Since evolution is governed by probability Fred wanted to know what the probabilities actually were. After talking to a statistician he came up with a proxy with known boundaries, something smaller than the genetic information contained in the whole of organic life on this planet, I don't remember the details but it was the probabillity of a room full of monkeys typing randomly on keyboards producing a book of a certain number of words.

Here's the link.
Fred Reed on Evolution

Here's a small quote from the article.
"The monkey thus has one chance in 1 followed by 1,200,000 zeros. "

Remember that number, 1,200,000 zeros.


Now for my comment from back then.

-

Something that Fred didn't state but it would have been nice to put a little more perspective on those large numbers. For example, simply stating the estimated number of atoms in the universe.

The following from Wikipedia. Because formatting differences I'm inserting the ^ symbol to indicate exponent or power of.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe

"Matter content - number of atoms

Assuming the mass of ordinary matter is about 1.47×10^53 kg (reference previous section) and assuming all atoms are hydrogen atoms (which in reality make up about 74% of all atoms in our galaxy by mass, see Abundance of the chemical elements), calculating the estimated total number of atoms in the universe is straight forward. Divide the mass of ordinary matter by the mass of a hydrogen atom (1.47×10^53 kg divided by 1.67×10^-27 kg). The result is approximately 10^80 hydrogen atoms."


So, 10^80 hydrogen atoms worth, that's 80 zeroes in that number. That's all we have to work with, that we know about.


Now for how much time available for the randomness to take place. Again from the same Wikipedia article above.

"The age of the universe is estimated to be 13.8 billion years. While it is commonly understood that nothing can accelerate to velocities equal to or greater than that of light, it is a common misconception that the radius of the observable universe must therefore amount to only 13.8 billion light-years. This reasoning would only make sense if the flat, static Minkowski spacetime conception under special relativity were correct. In the real universe, spacetime is curved in a way that corresponds to the expansion of space, as evidenced by Hubble's law. Distances obtained as the speed of light multiplied by a cosmological time interval have no direct physical significance."


That's 4.35x10^17 seconds. That's 17 zeros.


Now look at the numbers Fred finds by calculating simple probabilities. For example.
"The monkey thus has one chance in 1 followed by 1,200,000 zeros. "


There simply isn't enough time much less enough atoms in the universe to randomly assemble what we see in ourselves and the world around us.



Every probability for randomly evolved life must take those numbers into account.

Blogger Mark January 22, 2015 4:10 PM  

This seems to be a common theme. The only two models on the table are TENS and ID, therefore if you reject TENS, you embrace ID; and since ID is a poor model, you should not reject TENS. It seems inconceivable to some that TENS is dismissible purely on the basis of lack of supporting evidence and its own internal inconsistencies.

Actually, that's okay by me. I mentioned ID-as-fraud IMO as example, but don't require them to be the only two possibilities. I've just yet to see someone argue that coherently and at length, without also mixing in seriously bad logic of their own.

Anonymous The only rational and logical one here... January 22, 2015 4:12 PM  

1. If evolution is disproven, then I might have to believe in God

2. I don't want to believe in God

3. Thus, evolution is true

Anonymous p-dawg January 22, 2015 4:13 PM  

@Joshua Dyal: Where is your control group for dating something to 150 million years ago? What I mean is, by what method do you prove that it was 150 million years ago, and not 250 trillion years ago, or 500 years ago?

Blogger Mark January 22, 2015 4:17 PM  

I reject the evolution/God dichotomy. If anything, the enormous changes to structure that result from small changes to DNA suggest there is a lot of order encoded somewhere, possibly in the nature of chemistry itself.

Blogger JartStar January 22, 2015 4:20 PM  

Mark,

For alternative take a look at Reasons to Believe. They are attempting to work out a testable creation model.

Anonymous Alexander January 22, 2015 4:21 PM  

then how can you not reject evolution, *as it's currently assumed to work*?

There may well be elements of TENS worth keeping, but it seems to me that you want to reserve the right to replace the head and the handle as many times as you like and still claim you're working with the original ax.

Or rather: if the theory evolves enough times, it's a different species entirely.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 4:24 PM  

@p-dawg: It's not my method; however I don't see any reason to doubt that radiometric dating to estimate the age of rocks is more or less accurate. However, if evidence pops up that calls the method into question, I'm more than happy to consider something else.

I'm not going to because someone on the internet points out to me that I'm not personally conversant enough with the details of radiometric dating to explain it to him, though. If you've got a theory to replace radiometric dating with another method that yields different results, by all means: I'm interesting in knowing what it is.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 4:29 PM  

Or in other words: the one making an extraordinary claim has the burden of proof fall on him. TENS as a theory is an extraordinary claim that has failed to produce the necessary proof to be convincing vs. the previous standard of divine creation.

That does not mean that you can willy-nilly challenge any scientific assumption without a better alternative to back it up.

Anonymous DT January 22, 2015 4:30 PM  

You can't possibly be serious. Just because the odds are against it, doesn't mean that it can't happen in one (or more!) of those trial runs.

The odds are so great that you would deem it, for all practical purposes, impossible in even 10^100 runs.

See Athor Pel's post (he beat me to it).

Not this garbage, again. What's the amount of "genetic information" in any organism of your choosing?

If it's an organism we've mapped, look it up.

What's the amount of information in the Universe?

At the Big Bang it would have been a big fat zero.

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 4:44 PM  

Not this garbage, again. What's the amount of "genetic information" in any organism of your choosing? What's the amount of information in the Universe?

I'll illustrate genetic information in a human being.

Human genome size: 3.3 billion base pairs of DNA, with 4 possible values at each location, corresponding to 13.2 billion bits of information.

Variations within those bits have been observed to modify human physical development, whether cosmetic or functional. (See hair/skin color, or developmental disabilities)

Estimating what percentage of that 13.2 trillion bits of genetic information is absolutely necessary is a tough task, but the answer is most definitely non-zero. Wiki provides an estimate of 98% "noncoding" DNA. The remaining 2% coding DNA is needed to build the various proteins. Even allowing that multiple proteins can do the same job, that'll be a 1% minimum floor on the genetic information encoding a human being.

As for the amount of information in the Universe ... that doesn't seem like a meaningful question to me. Information is not a physical quantity you can distill, like matter. How many ideas are there in the Universe? Does the immeasurability of ideas indicate that ideas do not exist?

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 4:46 PM  

That does not mean that you can willy-nilly challenge any scientific assumption without a better alternative to back it up.

What scientific experiment established that a better alternative is needed before challenging any scientific assumption?

Anonymous DT January 22, 2015 4:53 PM  

Consider all the water molecules on this planet (N), and their respective physical locations therein. The probability that on any given day at any given time, molecule¹ would be at location X¹Y¹Z¹; molecule² would be at location X²Y²Z²...moleculeⁿ would be at location XⁿYⁿZⁿ, are so insignificantly small as to be reasonably assumed to be 0.

And yet, there they are.


False analogy. Entropy describes what happens when...

* You have a system with a massive number of potential configurations.
* Those configurations can be placed into one of two categories.
* Only a very, very small number of potential configurations belong to one of the two categories, the rest belonging to the other.
* Randomness is introduced into the system.

It's not a shock that the world's water molecules are in a particular random state at this moment. That's the dominant category.

It would be a shock if the water molecules were suddenly found to be in a state which encoded and represented all of Wikipedia. No one would ever accept that such a thing could be random.

I've wondered what evolutionists would do if we discovered a literal credits listing in our genetic code, encoded in such a way that we would be able to decode and understand what we were looking at. Would they accept THAT as evidence of design? Because the odds of that forming randomly would be better then the odds of any of the functional portions forming randomly.

Anonymous Anonymous January 22, 2015 5:03 PM  

The old "ontology recapitulates phylogeny" theory would seem to provide an explanation for the reappearance of traits after they have become latent.

Anonymous Harsh January 22, 2015 5:03 PM  

1. Evolution can't run backwards.

Ok, here we have the claim made by a proponent of ToE allegedly widely accepted from the late 19th century until recently.

2. A supposedly evolutionary change is reversed.

And here we have the recent claim that challenges the allegedly popular tenet.

3. Therefore, evolution can run backwards.

Therefore, the more recent claim replaces the prior claim in ToE canon because?

That's a poor excuse for a syllogism.


That's your argument?

Blogger wrf3 January 22, 2015 5:11 PM  

Athor Pel wrote: There simply isn't enough time much less enough atoms in the universe to randomly assemble what we see in ourselves and the world around us.

That's clearly not true. Wildly improbable things can happen. (And, for the record, we don't know what the first self-replicating molecule looked like, so we clearly have no idea what the real odds are, Fred Reed notwithstanding).

Blogger wrf3 January 22, 2015 5:14 PM  

SirHamster wrote: As for the amount of information in the Universe ... that doesn't seem like a meaningful question to me.

That's because you don't know what information is.

Information is not a physical quantity you can distill, like matter.

Of course it is. There is no information without matter.

Blogger wrf3 January 22, 2015 5:15 PM  

DT wrote: At the Big Bang it would have been a big fat zero.

Nope. At the Big Bang it would be at its maximal value.

Blogger wrf3 January 22, 2015 5:18 PM  

DT wrote: No one would ever accept that such a thing could be random.

At what point in a random sequence does one does teleology creep in? If I flip a fair coin and it comes up heads twice, is that really rigged? How about 10 heads in a row? How about 1,000?

Please give me a mathematical way to know when something "behind the scenes" creeps in.

Anonymous Wyrd January 22, 2015 5:20 PM  

That's your argument?

Yes, why else would VD present a piss-poor syllogism other than as a strawman? Surely VD's Khan-like superior intellect isn't capable of failing at basic logic.

Anonymous Crude January 22, 2015 5:22 PM  

Please give me a mathematical way to know when something "behind the scenes" creeps in.

So you mean you have no clue how to tell when something 'behind the scenes' ever takes place? Huh!

Anonymous Crude January 22, 2015 5:32 PM  

Of course it is. There is no information without matter.

Sure there is, especially if 'matter' is taken in the narrow, mechanistic sense. Even if you fall back to 'information does not exist without a substrate' - which itself would be damn hard to substantiate - there's more substrates in principle than matter. And if matter is defined broadly ('whatever the substrate actually is'), you've given up materialism.

Blogger Joshua Sinistar January 22, 2015 5:34 PM  

Do any of the proponents of Evolution realize that they ran the DNA of all the apes on Earth and proved we aren't related to any of them? None of the apes on Earth are related to us. Yet they still have that Century Old Illustration of Gorillas and Chimps as our ancestors in what they laughingly refer to as textbooks.
Apparently now Science is based on Faith. And Global Warming is base on Dogma. This isn't science its a strange and bizarre cult. Do any of these brainless dimwits realize that Gaia is the name of The Earth Goddess that mated with Uranus the Sky Gronus and the Titans? Probably not...

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 5:36 PM  

That's because you don't know what information is.

I agree I don't know what wrf3's private definition of "information" in this context is.

This should not be generalized to me not knowing what information is. You're just choosing not to use a common definition of the term. That's on you, not me.

Of course it is. There is no information without matter.

So... what's the mass of the information of your sentence I bolded here? Since you say it can be distilled into matter, this should be a quantity, correct? If that is too difficult to calculate, please briefly describe how one will theoretically do it. (ex: Extract electrons from "black" pixel transistors and weigh them)

Anonymous Crude January 22, 2015 5:41 PM  

Mark,

His affiliation with Behe is a problem for me because I put some effort into reading Behe and concluded his arguments to be bad.

Alright. What's bad about Behe's arguments? It's one thing to say he's wrong, but you're going on about him being a fraud, being dishonest, and more.

Blogger Mark January 22, 2015 5:46 PM  

@Crude, I'd really have to review his Dover testimony. I remember when reading it (all 700 pages) it was pretty clear he got caught in some lies or conflicting statements. Irreducible complexity is also a silly notion.

Anonymous jay c January 22, 2015 5:47 PM  

Wiki provides an estimate of 98% "noncoding" DNA

And "noncoding" hardly equates to "not important" or "not information." A 1000 line program might contain 50 lines of comments (not functional, but still information), another 50 lines of error handling (only non-functional if everything goes according to plan), and another 10 lines of calls to external programs (functional, but not obviously so if the perspective is too narrow).

Anonymous Crude January 22, 2015 5:48 PM  

Mark,

I'd really have to review his Dover testimony. I remember when reading it (all 700 pages) it was pretty clear he got caught in some lies or conflicting statements. Irreducible complexity is also a silly notion.

Well, his portion is a tiny fragment of that, so I'd love to see the lies.

Also, what's irreducible complexity? In your own terms, please.

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 5:50 PM  

Irreducible complexity is also a silly notion.

Build me a car with no parts at all, then.

Fine, one part. Just one.

Blogger frigger611 January 22, 2015 6:01 PM  

I tend to agree with those here who say that there is simply not enough time for the complex life forms on planet earth to have evolved RANDOMLY. That we are here, in fact, is a given, but the question of randomness/evolution or planning (or encoding), or some mix of all is still in question.

And it's upon that word RANDOM that it all hinges. I don't believe most people think about what randomness really means.

To illustrate - everyone has heard about the idea that a bunch of monkeys, given typewriters and eternity could bang out all the works of Shakespeare. This is nonsense and not at all possible, you can look into the math yourselves if you like, not enough space here. Suffice it to say that you need thousands of billions of lifetimes of our own universe to even eek out a half sentence, and that makes further allowances to disregard punctuation and capitalization.

Rather than go deep into the math, I'd rather remind the reader what has already been conceded by this laughable proposition: 1. We allow for a sentient being, (monkey) with physiology that makes him capable of pressing individual keys on a typewriter 2. We provide the typewriter: all the necessary symbols of language are already present, 3. we provide the paper onto which the information is to be recorded.

And this process is called "randomness." Mind you, even with these HUGE premises offered and conceded, the math is only just barely theoretically calculable.

But if you think back to the conditions of the early earth, the primordial soup, what kind of structures were in place that might have provided a platform, or controlled space, for things to "self-organize?" (Like monkeys or typewriters...)

Likely none whatsoever.

In other words, the "monkeys with typewriters and eternity" is not a good story that reflects true and utter randomness.

For that, we need to alter our conditions and concede far less: So what are the odds now that a number of monkeys, given eternity, will create all the works of Shakespeare - if given just endless reams of paper and ball point pens?

I've now conceded a bit less, but note I allow still functioning sentient beings in charge of the task. But now the math is not even theoretically possible.

There's your true randomness. Good luck with that. There is NOT. ENOUGH. TIME.

Blogger Mark January 22, 2015 6:03 PM  

@Crude, Behe's testimony was 700 pages. You're welcome to download the 6 parts here: http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/kitzmiller-trial-transcripts

Also, what's irreducible complexity? In your own terms, please.

Roughly, that an existing process or structure X composed of N parts or sequences fails if any one of the parts or sequences is removed. The implication then is that nothing could evolve into X because anything less than X is non functional and thus a competative disadvantage. Hence if we could identify an example of X, it would disprove evolution.

Anonymous Crude January 22, 2015 6:09 PM  

Mark,

Behe's testimony was 700 pages. You're welcome to download the 6 parts here: http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/kitzmiller-trial-transcripts

No need - all I need to know is where his lies are. Heck, what were his lies? You mentioned several times in talking about him, unprompted, that he was a liar and a fraud. I'd just like to know what the lies are.

Roughly, that an existing process or structure X composed of N parts or sequences fails if any one of the parts or sequences is removed.

Fails, for a specific function. Other functions are entirely possible.

The implication then is that nothing could evolve into X because anything less than X is non functional and thus a competative disadvantage. Hence if we could identify an example of X, it would disprove evolution.

No. Behe doesn't deny 'evolution' - it'd be hard for him to, since he wholeheartedly accepts common descent. Nor would it disprove evolution - it would make it unlikely, given what we know about it currently, for (Neo-)Darwinian processes to produce such things. It could still, by Behe's own view, turn out that we were missing part of the story in the future. Or alternately, things could have evolved, but it would have been guided evolution.

For the record, I don't think ID is science, and I have my own criticisms of Behe.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 6:11 PM  

Build me a car with no parts at all, then.

Fine, one part. Just one.


One-part car? As an analogy to what? To a self-replicator unable to replicate itself?

Anonymous rho January 22, 2015 6:16 PM  

Irreducible complexity is also a silly notion.

Build me a car with no parts at all, then.

Fine, one part. Just one.


I can build an entire Universe with just a big wad of hydrogen. In theory, of course.

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 6:17 PM  

One-part car? As an analogy to what? To a self-replicator unable to replicate itself?

Can you not read the quote the post is responding to?

A one part car is asked to demonstrate that "irreducible complexity" is a silly notion. Note, not a wrong notion; a silly one.

Anonymous Difster January 22, 2015 6:18 PM  

The problem with what some of you people are arguing is assuming that there is nothing beyond the 4 dimensions of our material universe. Information could most certainly exist in dimensions beyond those we could perceive, we just don't have the capability of analyzing it.

Information does not require materialism.

Anonymous p-dawg January 22, 2015 6:18 PM  

@Joshua Dyal: The answer to my question was "radiometric dating". Now, what is the control used to calibrate the machines which date things using radiometric dating?

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 6:20 PM  

DT: "It's not a shock that the world's water molecules are in a particular random state at this moment. That's the dominant category."

That's not the point. It doesn't matter whether the state they are in is random or configured to spell out "Life, The Universe, And Everything"...rather that there is only one state out of bazillion possibilities that they can be in at any particular moment in time. The probability of that state matching one particular configuration are, again, "so insignificantly small as to be reasonably assumed to be 0". Yet one-in-bazillions is still not zero.

It's curious why people keep trying to equate "improbable" with "impossible" -- to make !0 = 0.

As for the Fred Reed article, I note this line:

"Now, does the problem of accidentally getting an amoeba involve similar improbabilities? We don't know."

Even Fred doesn't claim to know what the actual probabilities are. But others are adamant in claiming that it's basically zero, yet offer no mathematical proof for it.

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 6:22 PM  

I can build an entire Universe with just a big wad of hydrogen. In theory, of course.

That's not one part or even one part type, though one type of raw material is not bad. A carbon or oxygen atom is not made up of hydrogen atoms, so you can't just say the universe is made up of hydrogen atom parts. If you went for protons/electrons/neutrons, you're up to 3 part types but on better footing.

Blogger wrf3 January 22, 2015 6:25 PM  

Crude wrote: So you mean you have no clue how to tell when something 'behind the scenes' ever takes place? Huh!

It depends on the stage. Without assuming what you're trying to prove (i.e. by anthropomorphizing nature), provide a mathematical formula that shows when a particular apparently random sequence actually isn't random. For example, given a fair coin, at what point can everyone definitely call shenanigans? After 5 heads in a row? 500? 5,000? When?

And if matter is defined broadly ('whatever the substrate actually is'), you've given up materialism.

Oh, I'm all ears. What substrate might that be?

Anonymous Keck January 22, 2015 6:25 PM  

"Which confirms your earlier comment
:
God! Surely God. Well, some God. Maybe a greater intelligence. Or magic.

was just an emotional attempt to relieve the mental constipation you experienced when trying to deal with the fact that someone questioned TENS on the basis of its adherents' assertions without any reference to an alternate theory."

Did that response come to you naturally, or did you design it?

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 6:25 PM  

Even Fred doesn't claim to know what the actual probabilities are. But others are adamant in claiming that it's basically zero, yet offer no mathematical proof for it.

Mathematical estimates are sufficient. Crunch the favorable to evolution assumptions and end up with a value so small that it's practically 0.

"!0" != "0", but <<<<<1 can be ~= 0.

Anonymous rho January 22, 2015 6:32 PM  

That's not one part or even one part type, though one type of raw material is not bad. A carbon or oxygen atom is not made up of hydrogen atoms, so you can't just say the universe is made up of hydrogen atom parts. If you went for protons/electrons/neutrons, you're up to 3 part types but on better footing.

The point was that we have, in theory, reduced everything in the Universe into a hot soup of elemental particles. The 1-part-car or mousetrap analogy explains the idea of Irreducible Complexity, but analogy does not substitute for a proper argument.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 6:34 PM  

frigger611: "But if you think back to the conditions of the early earth, the primordial soup, what kind of structures were in place that might have provided a platform, or controlled space, for things to "self-organize?" (Like monkeys or typewriters...)

Likely none whatsoever.
"


I invite you to submit evidence regarding the composition of this "primordial soup"; noting which elements were missing that could assist in the self-organization of life would be especially helpful.

Also, showing the math related to the probabilities of this composition not containing those essential elements at that time (being "likely none") would provide further support for your assertion.

Thanks much.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 6:35 PM  

Why an amoeba and not a molecule?

Blogger wrf3 January 22, 2015 6:38 PM  

SirHamster wrote: This should not be generalized to me not knowing what information is.

I call it like I see it. But, since you said, "Information is not a physical quantity you can distill, like matter. ", please provide your definition of "information".

So... what's the mass of the information of your sentence I bolded here?
It's the mass equivalent of the energy of the pixels on the screen.

A carbon or oxygen atom is not made up of hydrogen atoms

Carbon and oxygen are the product of stellar nucleosynthesis, which is based on hydrogen fusion.

Anonymous Crude January 22, 2015 6:41 PM  

wrf3,

It depends on the stage. Without assuming what you're trying to prove (i.e. by anthropomorphizing nature),

You realize that by anti-anthropomorphizing nature, you're likewise assuming what you're trying to prove, yeah?

Oh, I'm all ears. What substrate might that be?

I already pointed at the variety of metaphysical options. And that's while taking the dubious notion that information is emergent rather than fundamental - which, so far, is just another case of 'assuming what you're trying to prove'.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 6:43 PM  

SirHamster: "practically 0"

And another one....

0 means impossible, that it could never happen no matter how many tries.

~=0 means improbable, but not impossible. That it could not only conceivably happen, but could even happen on the very first try.

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 6:45 PM  

The point was that we have, in theory, reduced everything in the Universe into a hot soup of elemental particles. The 1-part-car or mousetrap analogy explains the idea of Irreducible Complexity, but analogy does not substitute for a proper argument.

That's still not a one part car. If irreducible complexity is a silly concept, then the concept of a one-part car, where the thousands of parts of a car are reduced to a single part should not be silly.

If you are incapable of producing the one-part car, then there is at least one example of irreducible complexity. Concepts with relevance to real world engineering are not silly.

This is not analogy, this is basic engineering. Biological systems are still systems; and the analysis that is useful for mechanical/electrical systems is applicable to the biological one.

Blogger frigger611 January 22, 2015 6:51 PM  

Or you could just look up the word "likely" in a dictionary and discover its meaning.

I stand by my assertion that it is unlikely that monkeys and typewriters were just lying about when the earth's surface was a "primordial soup."

That term has been around a while too - have you been asking all your life for someone to explain it to you?

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 6:57 PM  

Mindstorm: "Why an amoeba and not a molecule?"

Fred's words, not mine. It was to illustrate his point about probabilities.

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 7:04 PM  

It's the mass equivalent of the energy of the pixels on the screen.

So if I zoom in and out on the text of my screen, I can double/triple the information mass? So then bigger is more information, then? A universe-spanning banner spelling "CAT" contains more information than a pocket sized text-book on information theory?


I call it like I see it. But, since you said, "Information is not a physical quantity you can distill, like matter. ", please provide your definition of "information".

In this context, the choice and communication of one state out of a multitude of states for a purpose.

Out of nigh infinite number of possible messages, which includes complete gibberish, this post contains a relatively specific message in English. I call that "information". The same information can be communicated in more or less words, but there is a minimum number of words to capture the meaning of this message.

It is the same sort of information as the source code of software - which is a blueprint for the software logic a computer will run; and it is observably the same type of information as genetic code, which defines the parts, growth, and interoperation of the systems within a living organism.

Blogger J Curtis January 22, 2015 7:04 PM  

@ Crude,

Ole Marky Mark sure got pretty silent when asked to provide a specific example of Behe's fraud/lies. Probably a poseur

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 7:05 PM  

~=0 means improbable, but not impossible. That it could not only conceivably happen, but could even happen on the very first try.

What are you proposing happened on the very first try?

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 7:05 PM  

frigger611: "Or you could just look up the word "likely" in a dictionary and discover its meaning."

Or you could just back up your assertion that there was "likely none whatsoever" of "what kind of structures were in place that might have provided a platform, or controlled space, for things to "self-organize?".

This would require two steps:

A) Providing evidence of what essential material was not in the "primordial soup" that would have provided such a "platform, or controlled space".
B) Provide the mathematical proof that the soup contained "likely none" of this material.

Your words -- do you refuse to stand by them, now?

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 7:18 PM  

SirHamster: "What are you proposing happened on the very first try?"

I'm not proposing that something did happen on the first try -- I'm stating that it could happen. In a situation where there is at least one positive result out of N chances, that positive result could occur on the first try/iteration/attempt.

Way back when in this thread, there was this claim by DT:

"If this universe was a simulation and you ran it 10^100 times you would never see abiogenesis."

Never means that there is no condition under which it could occur. Otherwise, there is a chance -- however improbable or unlikely -- that the specified result (abiogenesis) could occur, even on the first pass through the simulation.

That is what wrf3 was reacting to -- the claim that it would never happen. Unless the conditions necessary for such a process to occur simply did not exist (evidence required), it is silly to claim that it would never happen when it could.

Unlikely? Sure. Improbable? You betcha. But impossible? Too far.

Anonymous Crude January 22, 2015 7:20 PM  

Unlikely? Sure. Improbable? You betcha. But impossible? Too far.

I recall Behe has repeatedly denied evolution, etc, is impossible because 'Impossibility is a fool's game.' The ID claim is low odds, not no odds.

J Curtis,

Maybe. The discussion's young - but I admit, I find it odd to see 'He's a liar, he's a fraud, he's a liar' claimed in pretty rapid succession, and when it's asked what the lies are, well that's going to take some time to remember.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 7:29 PM  

A ribosome has two subunits, so it's still not an one-part car, but it's close. There is a possibility of early rRNA coding its accompanying proteins and tRNAs.

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 7:36 PM  

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24781322 - is this approach doomed from the start? If so, then why?

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 7:38 PM  

"If this universe was a simulation and you ran it 10^100 times you would never see abiogenesis."

Never means that there is no condition under which it could occur. Otherwise, there is a chance -- however improbable or unlikely -- that the specified result (abiogenesis) could occur, even on the first pass through the simulation.


This is pretty pedantic.

If you ran that simulation 10^100 times, do you think you would see abiogenesis? If you did a simulation per second, that's still longer than the universe has been in existence. Estimates of 13.8 billion years is 4.35e17 seconds. Versus 1e100 seconds to run those simulations.

You just said it could conceivably happen on the "first try". What is that "first try"?

Big bang -> universe -> various solar systems -> "right sized" planet orbiting the "right type" of star -> accumulation of Carbon/Oxygen/Hydrogen on planet -> radiation and seismic activity providing special conditions to accumulate a "soup" of organic chemicals -> radiation providing energy at just the right places to form a working self-replicator machine -> which survives -> random mutation engine powering natural selection?

That "first try"? Even calling it a "try" is stretching the meaning of the word. It's like winning the lottery without buying a ticket. Hey, there is a non-zero chance of a winning lottery ticket being given to you.

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 7:45 PM  

A ribosome has two subunits, so it's still not an one-part car, but it's close. There is a possibility of early rRNA coding its accompanying proteins and tRNAs.

"Honey, I got a new car!"
"Really? Where?"
"Well, I have this ribosome here, it's not really a car, but it's close-"

A ribosome is not a car. You're not even remotely close.

If irreducible complexity is silly, a one part car should be easily procured on request. That it's a laughable notion illustrates the absurdity is in the other direction. As in, it's absurd to mock "irreducible complexity", a real world engineering concept that applies to all sorts of systems.

The next project would have been the one-part computer. But I doubt we'll get to that one.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 7:52 PM  

SirHamster: "This is pretty pedantic."

I'll be sure to let everyone know that the next time they try to tell me that A ≠ !A:

"You're just being pedantic!"

Blogger frigger611 January 22, 2015 7:53 PM  

Yes, I stand by my words, but admit I have no mathematical formulas for soups. I am apparently involved in a discussion with an idiot.

"B) Provide the mathematical proof that the soup contained "likely none" of this material," you say?

To ask someone to provide a mathematical proof for soup, (primordial or otherwise) and of the ingredients therein or NOT therein is a nonsensical request.

Are you on medication? Are you OFF medication? Can you provide me with a mathematical proof for what you ate for breakfast? A mathematical proof that you exist?

I dare say it might be as impossible as a mathematical formula that describes when monkeys will produce Hamlet using ball point pens.

You're simply being a pedantic nuisance.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 7:58 PM  

SirHamster: "If you ran that simulation 10^100 times, do you think you would see abiogenesis?"

I don't know. I don't know what the required conditions are for it to occur.

"What is that "first try"?"

The first iteration through the simulation, presumably spanning the formation of the Universe at least through the absolute presence of life on Earth (I'm assuming it's running in fast-forward mode, else we'd never see the end of even one iteration).

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 8:00 PM  

frigger611: "You're simply being a pedantic nuisance."

A = !A, DAMMIT!

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 8:06 PM  

A purpose of a car is moving at least one human (till late) from place to place. A purpose of an organism is making copies of itself. What am I missing?

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 8:09 PM  

I'll be sure to let everyone know that the next time they try to tell me that A ≠ !A:

"You're just being pedantic!"


Unless the other person genuinely doesn't understand the distinction you're raising, your entire objection is that he used "never" instead of "practically never".

In a blog comment in an informal discussion.

"Americans live in the US" is objectively more wrong than describing a "practically never" scenario as "never".

If you're willing to round .99999 to 1, refusing to round .00001 to 0 is pedantry. Note also that odds are not affected by "happened on the first try!"

Anonymous Wyrd January 22, 2015 8:11 PM  

If irreducible complexity is silly, a one part car should be easily procured on request.

A wheel is a one-part car. Add another wheel, and you have the basis for a cart. Add two more, and you get a wagon. Add a mechanical engine, and we finally arrive at a proper car.

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 8:11 PM  

A purpose of a car is moving at least one human (till late) from place to place. A purpose of an organism is making copies of itself. What am I missing?

Everything.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 8:14 PM  

SirHamster: "refusing to round .00001 to 0 is pedantry."

Not in this circumstance, where the act of rounding changes "can" to "cannot". It's a basic distinction important to the question.

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 8:20 PM  

Not in this circumstance, where the act of rounding changes "can" to "cannot". It's a basic distinction important to the question.

Why round 1e-100 to "can"?

"I can jump off this cliff and fly*!"

*where 99.999% of the time, I leave a red splotch on the ground.

99.999% is 1e-5; 95 orders of magnitude greater than 1e-100

Blogger Mindstorm January 22, 2015 8:31 PM  

Everything.

If you say so...

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 8:36 PM  

SirHamster: "Why round 1e-100 to "can"? "

No. 1e-100 is already "can". Rounding it to 0 changes it to "cannot".

Real simple:
>0 = "can happen"
0 = "cannot happen"

It's not pedantic, since rounding it to 0 changes the meaning entirely, so that A=!A.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 22, 2015 8:52 PM  

@Joshua Dyal: The answer to my question was "radiometric dating". Now, what is the control used to calibrate the machines which date things using radiometric dating?

See, now you're just playing games. If you have something to suggest that radiometric dating gives bad results that can't be trusted, then say so and quit being coy.

Blogger SirHamster January 22, 2015 8:53 PM  

It's not pedantic, since rounding it to 0 changes the meaning entirely, so that A=!A.

No, it does not change the meaning entirely. You're choosing an interpretation specifically to find an objection. That's not a problem with the speaker, that's a problem with you.

Again, informal discussion on fuzzy possibilities, where the extremely low probability event could actually have a 0 possibility of happening.

Anonymous VD January 22, 2015 9:03 PM  

It's not pedantic, since rounding it to 0 changes the meaning entirely, so that A=!A.

You are exhibiting the precise definition of pedantic: "overly concerned with minute details"

Are you seriously proud of being able to distinguish that very, very, very small fractions are not precisely zero? Who the fuck doesn't know that? Yes, you're correct, there is a difference. So what? The entire point that you keep evading is that the difference is trivial and therefore irrelevant.

Don't be that guy.

Anonymous Soga January 22, 2015 9:05 PM  

SirHamster, you're spinning your rationalization hamster here. Low probability != 0 possibility of happening.

Stop butchering the English language like some idiot SJW. The problem isn't that abiogenesis is impossible. It's that it's so ridiculously improbable that you should be ridiculing people for believing that happened rather than God creating things.

"BUT LOL, 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.... 0000001% MEANS IT'S STILL POSSIBLE, THEREFORE IT HAPPENED THAT WAY."

Is seriously a troll argument if I've ever seen one. Drop it, man. Move onto a different avenue of attack.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 9:07 PM  

SirHamster: "Again, informal discussion on fuzzy possibilities, where the extremely low probability event could actually have a 0 possibility of happening."

To make a claim of absolute 0 (rather than ≈0), one must have proof that the conditions under which there is >0 chance could not have existed at all. One can speculate that the chances are low based on theoretical conditions, but the absolute cannot be claimed as such without certain knowledge of it.

Atheism has the same problem, I note.

As always, good Sir, it has been enjoyable but I am finished with this for the nonce. I bid you good evening.

Anonymous Soga January 22, 2015 9:10 PM  

My apologies for mangling the page layout with that huge number, VD. I thought it would wrap around.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 22, 2015 9:10 PM  

VD: "The entire point that you keep evading is that the difference is trivial and therefore irrelevant."

As I noted, it is not irrelevant, since it changes the meaning from "can" to "cannot".

"Don't be that guy."

Consider it dropped.

Blogger frigger611 January 22, 2015 10:17 PM  

I once was involved in a discussion with a guy who posited that, given an infinite number of star explosions, it is possible for a fully functioning airplane to emerge from one of them.

I don't know how to do the math on that kind of crazy. But I had to concede that infinity is a pretty big number, so yeah, probability near zero, but not zero. I guess. But, still - kinda dumb. But in his mind, a victory.

How 'bout we keep the conversation realistic? If the universe is 13.8 billion years old, and life-on-earth is 3.8 billion years old, then 10 billion years had to pass since the Big Bang, ostensibly, before life appeared. That's a blink of an eye, when compared to the age the universe is expected to remain in existence.

So when probabilities turn up that say an occurrence of "X" would need power towers of time, (way way more than thousands of billions of universe life-times) then it's likely improbable that that event could have occurred in our own, very young universe.

This simple notion is beyond the grasp of evolutionists for some reason.

Blogger wrf3 January 22, 2015 10:22 PM  

Crude wrote: You realize that by anti-anthropomorphizing nature, you're likewise assuming what you're trying to prove, yeah?

I'm not the one trying to prove anything, other than basic mis-use of probability and statistics in proofs.

If you're going to claim that the occurrence of low probability events is evidence of behind-the-scenes tampering in nature, then you're going to have to show how the math for that works without assuming your conclusion. Otherwise, you're a fraud.

So, please, answer the question. Given a fair coin, at what point can we definitely call shenanigans? 5 heads in a row? 500? 50,000? Provide the math behind your answer.

Blogger wrf3 January 22, 2015 10:25 PM  

frigger611 wrote: This simple notion is beyond the grasp of evolutionists for some reason.

The equally simple notion: "improbable things sometimes happen" is likewise beyond the grasp of many.

Blogger frigger611 January 22, 2015 10:37 PM  

wrf3, you're the airplane guy?!

Anonymous Noah B. January 22, 2015 10:41 PM  

What this tells me is that biologists don't understand how probability works. At this point, it is becoming obvious that if life was found on every single planet in the Solar System, they would claim that we simply happened to hit a very, very unlikely biological jackpot.

There may be biologists who believe that life resulted solely from highly unlikely outcomes of random processes, but I've never met one, and I don't believe that is at all a mainstream belief. Perhaps it once was, or this is a belief still held by Dawkins -- I don't know. However, since at least the Miller-Urey experiment, and probably well before that, biochemists have been searching for conditions that were favorable for the spontaneous generation of biochemical precursors, simple self-replicating biochemical systems, etc.

Obviously biochemists have yet to demonstrate the existence of conditions favorable for the spontaneous formation of life, but the fact that they are actively searching certainly indicates that they don't believe that life is a highly improbable outcome of a random process.

Anonymous bendover January 22, 2015 10:54 PM  

Evolution is like global warming^H^H^H^H^H^H^H climate change. Anything possible to observe confirms it.

Anonymous Noah B. January 22, 2015 11:02 PM  

"Anything possible to observe confirms it."

The same is true of most religions.

Anonymous Noah B. January 22, 2015 11:26 PM  

"The odds are so great that you would deem it, for all practical purposes, impossible in even 10^100 runs."

You have absolutely no idea what the odds are, DT. No one does.

Anonymous Lol January 22, 2015 11:26 PM  

"the bone reappeared..."

You can easily picture a magician with a red/black cape and top hat with a little bone on a stand, first he places the kerchief in front of the bone and then pulls away suddenly. The bone disappeared!!?? The he moves the kerchief back over the same spot and with a tap of his wand pulls back the kerchief suddenly again. An WALL-LA!!, the bone is back!!???

Imbecilic atheistTard "progressives" believe in magic.

Anonymous Laughing at leftists/atheists January 22, 2015 11:39 PM  

"It's also kind of weird that you adopt an evolutionary-psychology approach to things like sex and race, while denying the existence of evolution."

What's even weirder is how leftards DON'T adopt an evolutionary-
psychology approach to race and sex. While embracing evolution.

"Just let it go."

Disqualify!! Disqualify!!

"Traits can be lost and regained (though typically when regained they aren't quite the same as they were before)."

Wonder twins powers activate: Form of what ever we say it is, shape of whatever gobbledygook we can come up with.



Blogger Crude January 22, 2015 11:57 PM  

I'm not the one trying to prove anything, other than basic mis-use of probability and statistics in proofs.

Really? You make no claims in the debate about design, matter, mind and metaphysics? If so, this would constitute quite a retreat - I recall you had a stake in this fight a while ago, and for a long time too.

If you're going to claim that the occurrence of low probability events is evidence of behind-the-scenes tampering in nature, then you're going to have to show how the math for that works without assuming your conclusion.

No, actually, I don't. You're assuming that the only way to reasonably suspect tampering in nature is by having some mathematical formula in hand - but blessedly few people subscribe to that, for good reason. You do, but you are, pardon me for pointing out the obvious, pretty effin' weird, and come across as a guy who'd come home from a night at poker saying 'Well, the other guy got 4 aces in each and every hand, but I have no reason to suspect he was cheating. There's no math which demonstrates otherwise.'

Now, you can dig in your heels here and say 'Well show me the mathematical formula that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he actually was cheating as opposed to merely having a complete run of luck'. But can you really blame anyone if they consider your reasoning, uh.. sub-par?

Anonymous Soga January 23, 2015 12:13 AM  

There is no mathematical formula indicating when N flips of a coin that all turn up heads is proof that the coin is unfair or some event is influencing the outcome of the coin flips.

However, it is also true that most humans will have a heuristic by which they will suspect foul play after a certain N. 10 flips is pushing it, but I think people can be convinced that such an occurrence should not trigger this heuristic. But 20? If a coin came up heads 20 times in a row, people will suspect that some foul play (or design) is involved.

That is, it provides grounds for investigation into potential foul play.

You may be able to develop a mathematical formula based on this heuristic by running experiments on people with rigged coin flips (with the appropriate control groups, of course) and attempting to find how the known (or supposed) probability relates to the number of flips before people start suspecting that the coin is rigged. Repeat the experiment with dice of different numbers of sides.

The formula, I suspect, is based on the expected probability and range of outcomes. The average of all the experiment's participants' point-of-suspicion should provide you with approximate values by which such a formula could be developed.

It raises a point: if something is sufficiently improbable, what is the proper initial assumption that should be made about it? That if someone claims it happened, they should be believed or questioned?

Anonymous rho January 23, 2015 12:29 AM  

If irreducible complexity is silly, a one part car should be easily procured on request. That it's a laughable notion illustrates the absurdity is in the other direction. As in, it's absurd to mock "irreducible complexity", a real world engineering concept that applies to all sorts of systems.

A tire is a one-part car. You can only go downhill in it, and you have to ride it by cramming yourself inside the tire, but there you go--a one-part car.

So a car is not irreducibly complex.

Blogger SirHamster January 23, 2015 1:34 AM  

A tire is a one-part car. You can only go downhill in it, and you have to ride it by cramming yourself inside the tire, but there you go--a one-part car.

That's not a car. It may be a type of transportation vehicle, akin to a hamsterball, but it's not a car.

A sheet of metal is not a plane, nor is a block of carbon is a human being.

Anonymous Wyrd January 23, 2015 1:43 AM  

That's not a car. It may be a type of transportation vehicle, akin to a hamsterball, but it's not a car.

And a car is not a truck, nor is a truck a dunebuggy, nor is a dunebuggy an ambulance, nor is a...

As an ancient Wendy's commercial once opined, "parts is parts."

OpenID standingagainsttheworld January 23, 2015 1:44 AM  

You guys will be interested in this article:
''A popular misconception is that all it takes for evolution to do something new is a random mutation of a gene—a mistake made as the gene is copied from one generation to the next, say. Most such mutations make things worse—the trait encoded by the gene is less effective for survival—and some are simply fatal. But once in a blue moon (the argument goes) a mutation will enhance the trait, and the greater survival prospects of the lucky recipient will spread that beneficial mutation through the population.

The trouble is that traits don’t in general map so neatly onto genes: They arise from interactions between many genes that regulate one another’s activity in complex networks, or “gene circuits.” No matter, you might think: Evolution has plenty of time, and it will find the “good” gene circuits eventually. But the math says otherwise.

Take, for example, the discovery within the field of evolutionary developmental biology that the different body plans of many complex organisms, including us, arise not from different genes but from different networks of gene interaction and expression in the same basic circuit, called the Hox gene circuit. To get from a snake to a human, you don’t need a bunch of completely different genes, but just a different pattern of wiring in essentially the same kind of Hox gene circuit. For these two vertebrates there are around 40 genes in the circuit. If you take account of the different ways that these genes might regulate one another (for example, by activation or suppression), you find that the number of possible circuits is more than 10700. That’s a lot, lot more than the number of fundamental particles in the observable universe. What, then, are the chances of evolution finding its way blindly to the viable “snake” or “human” traits (or phenotypes) for the Hox gene circuit? How on earth did evolution manage to rewire the Hox network of a Cambrian fish to create us?The galaxy of gene circuits isn’t the only mind-bogglingly immense terrain that evolution has to navigate in order to innovate. The same issues apply, for example, to metabolic networks. Organisms have had to find ways of getting their energy from whatever fuel happens to be on hand—typically the metabolisms of microorganisms run on compounds such as glucose, ethanol, or citrate. Ideally, their metabolic machinery of enzymes would run on more than just one of these, so that they’d have more options for survival. But how easy is it to adapt to other fuels? Even for a relatively small list of common metabolic fuels, the number of possible metabolisms of this sort is again astronomical.

The same explosion of combinatorial options happens for proteins, which are molecules made up of many tens to hundreds of amino acids bound together in chains and folded up into particular molecular shapes. There are 20 different amino acids found in natural proteins, and for proteins just 100 amino acids long (which are small ones) the number of permutations is 10130. Yet the 4 billion years of evolution so far have provided only enough time to create around 1050 different proteins. So how on earth has it managed to find ones that work?''

Read more:
http://nautil.us/issue/20/creativity/the-strange-inevitability-of-evolution

Since the whole article would be too long for the comment section

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