Creationist paper in a medical journal

Well, there’s one doctor in the world who thinks he knows a lot about evolution, and that he knows more than evolutionary biologists. In fact, he knows that evolution is rife with problems, is pretty much defunct, and that a new paradigm is in order.  What is that paradigm? Intelligent design, of course.

The doctor is Joseph Kuhn, a surgeon at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and he’s just published an article in the Proceedings of that center, which I presume is a respectable, peer-reviewed journal.  Well, it isn’t respectable any more, for Kuhn’s article, “Dissecting Darwinism” (free at the link), is merely a cobbled-together list of canards from the Discovery Institute (DI).  It’s poorly written, dreadful, full of scientific errors, and the journal should not only be ashamed of it, but retract it.

What does the good Dr. Kuhn have to say about evolution? First he parades his qualifications to dissect Darwinism, which consist entirely of being in the lineage of one of his predecessors, the eighteenth-century surgeon John Hunter, who supposedly anticipated Darwin’s theories:

John Hunter was also a brilliant biologist and naturalist, having dissected and stored thousands of animals and plants. His considerable samples represented the entire initial display of the Royal College of Surgeons Museum. In two lengthy volumes, entitled Essays and Observations on Natural History, Anatomy, Physiology, Psychology, and Geology, he identified the remarkable similarity of muscles and organs between various species. John Hunter proposed a gradual formation of species through mutation 70 years before Charles Darwin published his observations in On the Origin of the Species. Therefore, history reveals that surgeons are uniquely capable of gathering information, making observations, and reaching conclusions about scientific discoveries.

That’s a dumb argument if I ever heard one. And, sure enough, Kuhn proceeds to embarrass both himself and the journal.

He makes three criticisms, all taken from the Discovery Institute playbook:

1.  Life is too complex to have originated naturally.  Here we see the usual arguments: life requires both proteins and DNA, and neither could have originated without the other.  The co-evolutionary scenario, and involvement of RNA in this, isn’t mentioned. And he makes the usual bogus statistical arguments for why a “specified” DNA was unlikely:

Even if there was a self-organizing pattern, the probability of even a short strand of nucleotides occurring in a precisely specifi ed linear pattern that would code for even the smallest single-celled organism with approximately 250 genes has been calculated to be 1 in10150—1 in 1070 less than the chance of finding a particular electron in the entire universe (25).

Reference 25 is to a paper by Bill Dembski. Indeed, throughout his paper Kuhn quotes DI “experts” like Dembski, Jon Wells, and David Berlinski.   His conclusion about the origin of life is absurdly funny:

Based on an awareness of the inexplicable coded information in DNA, the inconceivable self-formation of DNA, and the inability to account for the billions of specifically organized nucleotides in every single cell, it is reasonable to conclude that there are severe weaknesses in the theory of gradual improvement through natural selection (Darwinism) to explain the chemical origin of life. Furthermore, Darwinian evolution and natural selection could not have been causes of the origin of life, because they require replication to operate, and there was no replication prior to the origin of life.

He doesn’t seem to realize that one could consider replication as an essential property of life, and that the ability of replicate would have been strongly selected for among early proto-life forms.  The last sentence above is simply gibberish.

2.  Cellular systems are irreducibly complex, and could not have evolved.  Kuhn tries to dazzle the reader with examples of complexity, but shows no awareness of what “irreducible complexity” really is: complexity whose intermediate steps could not have been adaptive during evolution.  And, of course, though he quotes Behe and Wells at length, he doesn’t give any examples.  It’s simply the argument from ignorance.

Although Nilsson and Pelger, for example, showed in a cool computer model that a complex camera eye could easily evolve, and in relatively few generations, from a simple light-sensitive pigmented eyespot, Kuhn dismisses that because one also requires the evolution of a complex brain apparatus and light-sensitive pigments to interpret the images.  Ergo Jesus:

Thus, each of these enzymes and proteins must exist for the system to work properly. Many other mathematical and logistical weaknesses to the Nilsson example of eye evolution have been uncovered (28). In summary, the eye is incredibly complex. Since it is unreasonable to expect self-formation of the enzymes in perfect proportion simultaneously, eye function represents a system that could not have arisen by gradual mutations.

Reference 28 is to a DI commentary by David Berlinski.

3.  We don’t have any transitional fossils. This claim is even more extreme than those made by the Discovery Institute.  Kuhn dismisses (or rather, ignores) the transitional fossils between early hominins and modern humans, and simply asserts that the genetic differences between modern apes and modern humans preclude the existence of a common ancestor:

The ape to human species change would require an incredibly rapid rate of mutation leading to formation of new DNA, thousands of new proteins, and untold cellular, neural, digestive, and immune-related changes in DNA, which would code for the thousands of new functioning proteins.This rate of mutation has never been observed in any viral, bacterial, or other organism. The estimation for DNA random mutations that would lead to intelligence in humans is beyond calculation. Therefore, the recently discovered molecular differences between apes and humans make the prospect of simple random mutation leading to a new species of Homo sapiens largely improbable (35).

Lots of those human-ape differences involve transposons or neutral changes in “junk DNA,” whose accumulation is unproblematic. Before one can assert that human evolution is impossible, one has to have some idea of the number of relevant genetic changes separating us from our relatives (changes important in our physiological, cognitive, and phenotypic differences), and then show that such changes could not have occurred given estimates of mutation rates and time.  Kuhn does not do this, but merely asserts that it couldn’t have happened. He has no idea how many selected changes separate us from our relatives.

As for other transitions, he dismisses the “fishapod” Tiktaalik roseae as “based on a recovered bone fragment representing the wrist structure that would be necessary for moving on land,” quoting—get this—Casey Luskin as an authority.  If you know anything, you know that Tiktaalkik was represented by far more than a wrist bone: there was a head, for example, and a shoulder girdle, all of which looked transitional between fish and amphibians.  And though Kuhn makes statements like this:

However, the modern evolution data do not convincingly support a transition from a fish to an amphibian, which would require a massive amount of new enzymes, protein systems, organ systems, chromosomes, and formation of new strands of specifically coding DNA. Even with thousands of billions of generations, experience shows that new complex biological features that require multiple mutations to confer a benefit do not arise by natural selection and random mutation. New genes are difficult to evolve. The bacteria do not form into other species. A reliance on gross morphologic appearances, as with fossils, drawings, and bone reconstructions, is severely inadequate compared to an understanding of the complexity of the DNA and coding that would have been required to mutate from a fish to an amphibian or from a primitive primate to a human.,

he fails to realize that this is all moot because we know it happened: we have the fossils! We have transitional forms between fish and amphibians, amphibians and reptiles, reptiles and mammals as well as between reptiles and birds, and of course all those fossils in the hominin lineages. Kuhn mentions none of these. The man, educated surgeon though he may be, is completely ignorant about evolution. He’s simply a mouthpiece for the Discovery Institute.

At the end, Kuhn claims that all these weaknesses of neo-Darwinism require a new paradigm to explain the origin and evolution of life:

Irreducibly complex systems involving thousands of interrelated specifically coded enzymes do exist in every organ of the human body. At an absolute minimum, the inconceivable self-formation of DNA and the inability to explain the incredible information contained in DNA represent fatal defects in the concept of mutation and natural selection to account for the origin of life and the origin of DNA. As new theories emerge that explain the origin of life, the inevitable emotional accusations of heresy and ignorance are not surprising in a period of scientific revolution. It is therefore time to sharpen the minds of students, biologists, and physicians for the possibility of a new paradigm.

Although he doesn’t specify what this new paradigm is, I suspect it involves an Intelligent Designer, aka Jesus.

This paper is rife with mistakes, misguided appropriations from the creationist literature, and simple ignorance of the evidence for evolution.  It’s an embarrassment to the author, to the journal, and to the field of medicine as a whole.  I call on the journal to retract this paper, for if it doesn’t, then the Proceedings of the Baylor University Medical Center will be forever tarred as a vehicle for creationist nonsense.

h/t: Gregg

_______

Kuhn, J. A. 2012. Dissecting Darwinism.  Proceedings Baylor Univ. Medical Center 25:41-47

229 Comments

  1. Leviathan
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Since people have been posting excerpts from Baylor University’s mission statement and referring to its sports teams, and to the extent that a specific praise or criticism ought to be directed at those actually deserving of it in the instance, it may be worth pointing out that Baylor University Medical Center (in Dallas) and Baylor University (in Waco) are two completely separate institutions. Aside from a contractual arrangement whereby BU nursing students do their clinical work at BUMC, the institutions are administratively unrelated.

  2. Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Doesn’t Behe have an advanced degree? Poor critical thinking skills are not just for medical professionals, they just learn to have a higher opinion of their opinions and are therefore more likely to spew like this. There’s a lot of that going around, and education doesn’t provide certain immunity.

    • microraptor
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      I don’t think it’s a lack of critical thinking skills so much as being a deliberate fraud in Behe’s case.

      • Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        So you think he doesn’t really believe all that CSI crap? I don’t know whether I’d feel better about that or not.

        • microraptor
          Posted January 21, 2012 at 3:16 am | Permalink

          Behe’s been beaten over the head with the truth too many times- he knew he was talking garbage at Kitzmiller Vs Dover when he tried to make claims about the bacterium flagella being irreducibly complex and there being no research on the evolution of the immune system because he’d had the truth pointed out to him, to his face on multiple occasions.

          For him to then go on and try to say that the research does not exist? Has to be deliberate unless he’s got memory problems or he’s been kicked in the teeth so much that he’s acquired a taste for boot leather.

          • microraptor
            Posted January 21, 2012 at 3:16 am | Permalink

            And deliberate fraud is always worse than ignorance in my book.

  3. Vayaconcarne
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Anyone care to explain something to me?

    A while ago I was getting proselytised at by a Jehovah’s Witness, who gave the same argument as the one above, that neither proteins nor DNA could have originated without the other. (Ergo Jesus). I just replied that I wasn’t a scientist and couldn’t explain it, (and hadn’t heard of it before), but that I thought not understanding something wasn’t sufficient grounds for a god hypothesis.

    Jerry mentions the ‘co-evolutionary scenario, and involvement of RNA’ and seems to suggest it refutes the above argument. I haven’t heard of this either! Fill me in, someone?

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      The wikipedia RNA World Hypothesis page outlines a theory of self-replicating RNA that predated DNA and proteins. I know practically no O-chem, and I thought the article was accessible.

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

      A key point is that RNA can exhibit both enzymatic properties, needed for constructing complex proteins, and information storage properties, needed for replication.

    • madamX
      Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      DNA is linear and “one-dimensional” and each of the digits in its code can be easily “accessed” for copying. DNA’s form and chemistry makes it a good molecule for the conservation of information from copy to copy.

      But life also requires molecules that can function and do work like catalyze chemical reactions that build bodies. The active sites of molecules are often composed of bringing together like charges or patches of hydrophobic residues, and the way that molecules do this is by using any of the extra energy that drives their three-dimensional shape to pay for the cost of setting up their active sites. Proteins are awesome at storing functional energy to do work; their form and chemistry make proteins good molecules for building and making up bodies.

      It is hard to imagine one kind of molecule existing without the other kind. But it may not be necessary to do so because of RNA, which has qualities of both kinds. RNA can be both one-dimensional and three-dimensional, and its functions in modern life combined with its ubiquity and history suggest that it (or a molecule like it) may be the answer to the replication/function riddle.

      • Vayaconcarne
        Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the info and link. Looks like a good place to start.

        • Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:39 am | Permalink

          And RNA can and does show catalytic as well as information-carrying functions, but it is far too complex to have arisen without an interesting precursor history.

          The origin of life is an unsolved problem, just as the motion of the planets was at one time an unsolved problem. There are a number of good books discussing the various ideas floating around, e.g. Gen.e.sis by Robt Hazen (as opposed to Genesis by YHWH), and the Emergence of Life on Earth, by Iris Fry. what are other people’s favourites?

  4. articulett
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    So what’s Kuhn’s proposed mechanism for an immaterial being affecting matter– particularly DNA? How does he propose this being can think and plan and create without a material brain? How does Kuhn distinguish this proposed designer from a non-existent being given the slow, wasteful, and less than impressive aspects of it’s purported creations?

    Until Kuh can answer these questions, I fail to see how his conjecture is different than a fairy tale.

  5. Ougaseon
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Are there any creationist “papers” that don’t read like a child’s essay?

  6. Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Here is an example of the kind of information, knowledge, experiments and complexity anyone who wants to start to understand biological meatters needs to at least attempt to comprehend. Most won’t and can’t.

    The (false) promise, then, of science journalism and pop science is that this kind of information, ideas and complexity can be made accessible to everyone or even the well educated layman — it can’t.

    For exmple, how many commentators here will even tolerate this brief presentation?

    “How does complexity arise from molecular interactions?”

    “…biology is a hierarchy of organization, eg molecular machines are protein complexes.”

    Effectively, no one wants to deal with this level of detail and complexity. You would think the religious would want to be experts in macromolecules and their processes since they could then better uncover the miracles of their gods and magical events.

    That does NOT happen! lol

  7. Gary Sisco
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Well, he demonstrates very clearly that people who don’t know the science don’t know the science.

    Therefore, the only possible explanation is God did it.

    This is especially true, evidently, for surgeons.

  8. derekw
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Before one can assert that human evolution is impossible, one has to have some idea of the number of relevant genetic changes separating us from our relatives (changes important in our physiological, cognitive, and phenotypic differences), and then show that such changes could not have occurred given estimates of mutation rates and time. Kuhn does not do this, but merely asserts that it couldn’t have happened. He has no idea how many selected changes separate us from our relatives.
    If the creationists want to do some science this is where they should be focusing on. While there has been some banter about evolutionists’ attempt to shoehorn mutation rates to fit into observed time scales there is a little serious research from them to bolster the argument.

  9. Conquistador
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I have read Kuhn’s paper. After reading Coyne’s article, I don’t believe he even bothered to read the entire paper. He misrepresents what is in Kuhn’s paper and is very sloppy and lazy in challenging the content. He mocks the idea that a medical doctor, well trained in systems theory, physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology may have an informed opinion on the adequacy of Neo-Darwinian theory, or lack thereof. Yet at the same time, Coyne, a geneticist, acts as if his opinion on the Paleontological perspective is somehow more authoritative. WTF?

    As an engineer with an advanced degree in systems theory, I have always been skeptical of Neo-Darwinian theory to adequately explain the system level change in species. It is refreshing to see that M.D.’s are able to appreciate this perspective and weigh in. Biologists and Paleontologists operate in a bubble, and are not well versed at all in the systems level theory and mathematics necessary to formulate and rigorously defend this theory. Thanks to the modern Information Age, Neo-Darwinian theory is now facing the scrutiny that is afforded to the more scientific and mathematically rigorous natural sciences. What we are finding out, inch by inch, is that with Neo-Darwinian theory, the math just is not working out, the scarce lab data that is available contradicts expectations and there is no robust model for accurately predicting evolutionary change in favor of producing new functionality in terms of increasingly complex systems. It can explain some of what we see, but not the whole picture. There is room for additional theory. This is what we saw happen with Newtonian physics. It wasn’t until Relativity and Quantum Physics came along, did we get a more broader picture of what we have going on in our universe.

    I would urge the readers to read Kuhn’s paper. It is actually very well written.

    • microraptor
      Posted January 21, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      If there’s so many flaws, why didn’t you actually list them?

    • madamX
      Posted January 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Dear Engineer with Advanced Degree Who is Well Versed In System Level Changes In Biological Systems,

      Please give just *one* example of a biological system change that cannot be explained by, or is contradictory to, Neo-Darwinian theory. Cite just one of the studies that are showing “inch by inch” that the math is just not working out.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted January 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Conquistador,
      You have made a couple of points that have merit, but several that are quite lacking.

      He mocks the idea that a medical doctor, well trained in systems theory, physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology may have an informed opinion on the adequacy of Neo-Darwinian theory, or lack thereof.

      He does not do this at all. There have been medical doctors in the past who have made scientific contributions. What he mocks is the need to tell the story of John Hunter as evidence that Dr. Kuhn has something valid to contribute. This is argument by authority, and is worthy of ridicule. The story of Hunter adds absolutely nothing to Kuhn’s arguments.

      Then you add some representations of your qualifications, again an attempt to establish authority, but no real substance.

      Then you make some claims about challenges to evolutionary theory that at this moment are empty claims with no details to back them. You need to put up or…

      Then you make the one statement that I can agree with:

      There is room for additional theory. This is what we saw happen with Newtonian physics. It wasn’t until Relativity and Quantum Physics came along, did we get a more broader picture of what we have going on in our universe.

      I think any scientist can agree with this remark. This is why science is a successful means of pursuing truth: because it is always ready for new evidence and ideas that contradict, improve, or refine existing theories.

      What Kuhn’s discussion amounts to is this:
      1. There are some questions in evolutionary theory that remain unanswered.
      2. Dr. Kuhn is incapable of imagining that the answers are at all like what the most informed opinion of science currently expects them to be once they are discovered.
      3. Intelligent Design, or god, must therefore be the best answer.

      #1 is true, and natural in scientific progress. Pointing it out does not in any way refute evolution nor does it strengthen the argument for intelligent design or for god.

      #2 is understandable, since Dr. Kuhn is a human of limited intelligence, and can’t be expected to know or understand all that there is to know. Many people do not have the intelligence, knowledge, or powers of visualization needed to really grasp how evolution is possible. This is consistent with the fact that physicists can not really visualize or grasp how subatomic particles and photons can have both wave and particle properties. Yet both in the case of quantum mechanics and evolution, the body of evidence so overwhelmingly confirms the theories, that there is little reason to doubt them. Still, an alternative theory to replace or change the current theory of evolution could come along. But it would need to be scientific: it must be a hypothesis that explains current observed facts, it must make new predictions that can be tested, and if it is to gain acceptance it must pass those tests based on rigorous peer reviewed reproducible experiments. In other words, it must be more closely in agreement with reality than evolution currently is. This is how quantum theory superseded classical Newtonian Mechanics. Keep in mind that quantum theory did not disprove Newton’s laws, it merely demonstrated that there was a range of energy and time scales, not coincidently the ones that correspond to our macroscopic world of daily experience, in which Newton’s laws were a highly accurate approximation, which is why they remain in use.

      #3 is completely absurd, and anyone who can’t recognize it does not really understand science at all.

      Intelligent design would predict a fossil record different from the one we actually observe, so that is a strike against it from the start.

      But also it predicts nothing, it explains nothing. Asserting an intelligence is not a completion of anything, it is point zero of a departure from current scientific theory. You still have all the work ahead of you of determining what the intelligence is, how it works, how it designs and builds things, and finding evidence for your hypotheses. The intelligence to organize chemicals in structures as observed in life could come from some undiscovered property of quarks, or it could relate to dark energy and dark matter, or it could be some property of matter and space that will be discovered by some theory of physics that is a successor to string theory. It could be that tiny ants have assembled all this, like some kind of giant nest or hive. Anything is possible, but nothing is credible unless it explains observation, and predicts things we don’t know, and can be tested.

      Even if after a thousand more years of scientific investigation science discovers that a mysterious “intelligence” guides matter to accelerate the assembly of life forms according to some template, it will be no thanks to intelligent design “theory” because it gives us no details or explanations of the structure or principles or processes involved in the hypothesized intelligence. So all the credit for the resultant knowledge will go to the hard work of countless scientists who understand the difference between reality and the childish speculation of religion.

      This is why scientists scoff at intelligent design. It has no more explanatory power than a four year old’s story about his invisible friend Roger who builds everything. Just try to give one concrete example of a prediction or explanation that results from ID, that does not also result from the child’s story of invisible Roger.

      To dismiss such an empty and trivial idea is not the same as a conspiracy to preserve a failed theory, or a system of elite privilege trying desperately to preserve its power. No, that is a better description of the church.

      It is the paranoid imaginations of creationists and ID advocates that science is a self-reinforcing faith. ID is simply not science, and it is not useful. Scientists are open to meaningful promising ideas that actually have testable explanatory and predictive power.

      So all you need to do is come up with a theory like that and you will be a famous and respected scientist, unlike the clueless advocates of ID who endlessly annoy the world of serious and knowledgable scientists with the tiresome unfounded assertions of irreducible complexity. They are like zombies that have been killed thousands of time but never stop returning to waste the time and energy of those engaged in real scientific progress, and to confuse and misinform the unsuspecting public who does not know any better, and who ought to be able to rely on trustworthy sources of information, but who sadly fall victim to the endless array of charlatans trying to push god onto the long suffering world.

    • Posted January 22, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      “Let me ask you this, has not hittin’ a bitch been workin’?” – A Pimp Named Slickback on resolving marital conflict, The Boondocks.
      This is Conquistador’s core argument, as it is Kuhn’s and every other ID proponent’s. It is the foundation of ID after all.

  10. Posted January 21, 2012 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Kuhn said: “Furthermore, Darwinian evolution and natural selection could not have been causes of the origin of life, because they require replication to operate, and there was no replication prior to the origin of life.”

    Coyne replied: “He doesn’t seem to realize that one could consider replication as an essential property of life, and that the ability of replicate would have been strongly selected for among early proto-life forms. The last sentence above is simply gibberish.”

    I don’t understand this criticism of Dr. Kuhn’s point. How can replication be selected for when it seems to me that replication is a prerequisite for anything to be selected?

    Or, like Dr. Kuhn states, how can natural selection and Darwinian evolution act on anything when there is no replication taking place? Kuhn says “prior to the origin of life.” Isn’t he right? Once something is replicating, then natural selection and darwinian processes can work according to theory, but before that, before replication takes place, impossible, right?

    Just wanting some clarification of this criticism. I don’t quite understand it.

    Thanks.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted January 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      You need to understand something about Abiogenesis. There is a wikipedia page for starters. Or check out “The Emergence of Life on Earth” by Iris Fry.

      My simple minded summary of one possible explanation:

      Imagine a nitrogen and hydrogen rich atmosphere in which the natural bonding properties of elements form more complex molecules. You could think of this set of molecules as a food supply.

      The laws of chemistry make certain combinations more likely than others, so it’s not random at all, as assembly from indistinguishable particles would be. Certain combinations would be more prevalent naturally based on conditions in the environment and the distribution of available elements. Thus natural properties of the environment could “guide” chemical aggregation in a particular “direction” based solely on probability and the laws of physical chemistry.

      Over time many varieties of molecules form, some of which have better bonding properties. These complex molecules “compete” to bond with other molecules in their environment. You could liken this to competing for food consumption.

      Some, due to their structure, would be more successful grazers than others, and at some point a complex compound could arise that is actually able to replicate itself.

      This property would allow it to more successfully compete for chemical bonds with free molecules and elements in the atmosphere. The alternatives it competes with were assembled very slowly and randomly. But this replicating form accelerates the construction of its descendants based on the information contained in its chemical structure. Given the right “food supply”, such a molecule would spread rapidly and become dominant.

      The dominance of this replicating form would be as natural as water flowing downhill is natural. Thus Dr. Coyne’s remark about replication being an essential property of life that was selected for in a pre-life environment of many competing proto-life forms.

      This would be an example of replication and natural selection without cellular life. In this case natural selection actually selected for replication from among many competitors that could not replicate. It is completely a phenomenon of chemicals, and it could be the beginning of a gradual evolution of more and more complex chemical structures, finally resulting in metabolism, replicating polynucleotides, enzymes, and ultimately the prokaryotic cell.

      Then the evolution of life begins.

      Such a process could have happened in countless different ways. There are no known fossils (or few if any) to help us figure it out. The problem is not that we can’t imagine this, as Kuhn seems unable to do. It is that we don’t know what all the possible pathways are, and which of those are the most probable.

      • Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Jeff for responding.

        I can understand that the laws of chemistry make certain combinations more likely than others, but the problem is that forming bonds will not solve the problem. There has to be a way for the bonds to be preserved as they form because the can dissolve or disintegrate just as easily.
        Imagining a scenario that might or might not work doesn’t exactly impress me. It sounds like something like this could be tested, but if it has, I guess there is no success thus far.
        You said: “Thus natural properties of the environment could “guide” chemical aggregation in a particular “direction” based solely on probability and the laws of physical chemistry.”
        And you think that the particular direction that these chemicals happened to be led in was the one that would lead to life, I guess. OK, if so, what are the chances that of all the different directions the laws of chemistry could lead naturally forming molecules, the direction they lead them in is the one for life? That alone seems pretty incredible. Basically you are saying that life was preprogrammed to happen by the laws of chemistry and that if we could come up with a similar scenario, it would happen again because of the properties of the chemicals and the laws of chemistry. Not impossible, I guess, but hardly likely. Again, it would seem that it should happen again if the chance arises and as far as we know, it has not.
        Then in your hypothetical scenario, all of a sudden we arrive at this sentence: “Some, due to their structure, would be more successful grazers than others, and at some point a complex compound could arise that is actually able to replicate itself.”
        Whoa! Seems too big of a leap to me. What is necessary for something to begin replicating? We’re not talking about a cell here I assume. Just some chemicals that have bonded together. How can inanimate chemicals, chemicals that are not yet alive, begin to replicate? Has this ever been observed in the lab? Where would the necessary information to guide the replicating process come from?
        You lost me here.
        Then it seems that an environment of “many competing proto-life forms” is conjured up and that this replicating molecule would spread rapidly and become dominant. Is this replicating molecule thought to be living? What might this molecule look like? How would it proceed from there to where it comes to life? It makes it sound so simple, but I think we’re glossing over a whole lot of near insurmountable problems.
        “…it COULD BE the beginning of a gradual evolution of more and more complex chemical structures, finally resulting in metabolism, replicating polynucleotides, enzymes, and ultimately the prokaryotic cell. Then the evolution of life begins.”
        Wow. That is a HUGE “IF” or rather “Could Be”.
        “Such a process could have happened in countless different ways.” There are no known fossils (or few if any) to help us figure it out. The problem is not that we can’t imagine this, as Kuhn seems unable to do. It is that we don’t know what all the possible pathways are, and which of those are the most probable.”
        Really? Such as? Obviously imagination is NOT a problem here. The problem is whether the great imagination of evolutionists represents reality or not. At this point, it seems to me to be more a matter of philosophy/faith/worldview as opposed to a scientific issue.

        • Jeff Johnson
          Posted January 23, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

          I don’t pretend to know all the answers. I was suggesting an imaginary scenario that is a very skeletal outline of how we might have gone from a newly formed planet to one with fairly simple organic compounds. Given what we know about evolution, and given what we understand about the geological history of our planet, and about the formation of the solar system, it seems a helpful mental tool for envisioning what general type of lengthy recursive process might have occurred to get to complex replicating organic compounds.

          At one point in the past people imagined that four elements, earth, air, fire, and water composed everything we see. Later some intelligent Greeks hypothesized atoms, but there were many questions they couldn’t answer. Later we discovered many different chemical reactions, and eventually the periodic table, then nuclei and electrons, then quantum theory. So we can answer many more questions today than the epicureans could, but we cannot answer all questions.

          We know the planet formed, and we know that billions of years of evolution occurred, so of course this biochemical progression had a beginning between the formation of the planet and the onset of single-cellular life. In another hundred, of five hundred or a thousand years we will have a vastly improved knowledge of these things.

          There are far less plausible ideas for how it all got started. For example, some people actually believe, brace yourself because it’s shockingly absurd, that 3000 years ago a desert tribe that spilled the blood of goats and sheep to appease a sky god somehow knew more about this than we do today. Somehow these people were able to lay out the final and true explanation for everything. Evidently these simple minded desert folk were looking for one simple explanation that would be the end of questions, the end of learning, the single total explanation that would enable us to stop thinking, stop questioning, and stop learning. This sounds like a difficult task, but they managed to do it. The hypothesized that their sky god Yahweh created everything in 6 days. No more questions need be asked.

          And today many simple minded people are satisfied that this is an explanation. But if you are like me, you can see that this “explanation” explains nothing and opens up a new huge set of questions. How did Yahweh come into being? What energy or techniques did he use to create everything? Where was he located in space when all was created? How does he reach across space and assemble complex molecules from tiny elements? How many at one time can he build? How long does it take him to build one? The questions are actually endless, and the people who believe in this can actually answer none of them, nor can they even suggest a line of inquiry that might begin to yield some answers. The explanations offered by those who believe this are as simple minded and hilarious as the ones a five year old might offer while patiently describing the imaginary world of his fantasy super-heroes and their super-powers.

          So the choice is to either shut off your brain and accept the word of bronze age desert dwellers who burnt animal remains at stone alters, or you can place your confidence in the process of rational inquiry that has yielded countless answers to countless mysteries, and will continue to do so. You can place your confidence in the stories of ignorant primitive people, or you can place your confidence in the process that has enabled us to develop medicine and technology and knowledge that the bronze age desert people could never even imagine.

          It doesn’t take a genius to see which choice is intelligent and which choice is foolish.

        • Carlos
          Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

          Self replicating RNA has been observed in lab conditions.
          Here is one example:
          http://molbio.mgh.harvard.edu/szostakweb/publications/Szostak_pdfs/Adamala_Szostak_2013_Science.pdf
          So I guess it is one less objection for you (the one about self-replicating molecules). Bit by bit (revolutions only happen a few times), that is how science progresses…

  11. derwood
    Posted January 21, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    ” He has no idea how many selected changes separate us from our relatives.”

    None of them do. None of them even try – the rare ones that have been bold enough to attempt to put a number to it have shown how naive and uninformed they are. But this doesn’t stop them from making the claim. Standard arrogant stupidity, as best I can tell.

  12. Posted January 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    We not only have transitional fossils, we have transitional organisms. I just discovered that roundworms have hemoglobin but no red blood cells — it’s extracellular. We’re separated by 600 million years and we’re using the same method to carry oxygen.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:35 am | Permalink

      Humans are basically a long worm-like tube from mouth to anus with a bunch of extra equipment evolved to surround it. ;)

  13. Posted January 23, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne — I have learned much from you over the years, and agree with your comments. I have written a follow-up (counterpoint) article on natural selection, which the editors have decided to make available as a preprint before it is published in April. I look forward to your impression of the article. The preprint (with one correction) is available below.
    http://www.baylorhealth.edu/Documents/BUMC%20Proceedings/2012%20Vol%2025/No.%202/25_2_Dimijian%20(1).pdf

    Gregory G. Dimijian, M.D.
    Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
    University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      I am just curious why, if this paper is a counterpoint to the Kuhn paper, it doesn’t mention that paper? Surely if your paper was written as a corrective to the misguided ID paper, it should refer to that paper, no? Or wouldn’t the editors let you?

      jac

      • Posted January 23, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        I specifically agreed to write a follow-up paper as a stand-alone paper only, not as just a follow-up to one with so many errors and a creationist viewpoint.

        As the editors mentioned, I nevertheless addressed most of the issues in Kuhn’s paper.

        It was a learning experience for me! (I almost wrote you to suggest you write such a paper for the journal, but I decided that would be presumptuous!)

        Thanks for replying. I look forward to more exchange.

        Greg Dimijian

        • Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          I am just curious why the journal would publish a paper on evolution from a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry rather than, say… oh, I don’t know… an evolutionary biologist?

          /@

          • Posted January 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            Your point is well taken. As it turns out, even though my academic position is in the Dept. of Psychiatry, I have studied and taught evolutionary theory even since I was a resident in training in psychiatry, and have written extensively on aspects of evolutionary theory. I teach an annual course in behavioral ecology at the med school. That is probably the reason I was asked to contribute an article. Thanks for a good question!

            Greg Dimijian

        • Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          Greg, I hope that the BUMC Proceedings will entertain a paper directly rebutting Kuhn’s absurd claims.

    • Posted January 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Would be nice to know why the editors published the original paper and if they are taking submissions on the tooth fairy as well.

      Did they tell you or ask for any other conditions on your offering?

      • Posted January 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        The Baylor journal (BUMC Proceedings) is really a high-quality publication with excellent articles and papers. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that they have ever published such an unscientific article, and I doubt that they will again in the near future.

        No, I was asked to write a letter or an article to follow up on this article, and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to present natural selection and Darwin in as objective and up-to-date manner as possible. I hope I achieved that goal; I certainly learned a lot in writing it.

        Greg Dimijian 1-24-2012

        • Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          It’s probably worthwhile to do some forensic work to figure out their motives. Let’s “follow the money” and assume that there is some contributor/alum benefit to publishing these ideological beliefs.

          It seems likely that many big potential donors hold fundamental chrisitan ideologies. That makes sense.

          Institutions pander to big money donors pretty much non-stop. This should be a great fundraising piece for wealthy evangelicals in the south.

          Here’s a question — if this false/lying paper is successful in getting donations for the medical school is that “good?”

  14. Randy Ruggles
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I guess the most important thing we’ve learned from this is that Coyne – and every other atheist – can no longer say that creationists don’t publish in peer-reviewed journals.

    • microraptor
      Posted January 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Why? That article didn’t come close to passing a scientific peer review.

      • Randy Ruggles
        Posted January 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Let’s read the title of Coyne’s post:

        “Creationist paper in a medical journal”

        Then, further down we read:

        “… Joseph Kuhn, a surgeon at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and he’s just published an article in the Proceedings of that center, which I presume is a respectable, PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL.” (emphasis mine)

        If what you claim is true, then the point of Coyne’s article is moot. You can’t have it both ways. Either creationists have published in peer-reviewed journals or this is not a creationist article. Which is it?

        • Posted January 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Neither. Jerry’s presumption was wrong.

          /@

          • Posted January 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

            * Probably.

            But, Randy, that was a typical false dichotomy you presented there.

        • Jeff Johnson
          Posted January 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

          Randy,
          This part you left out or your quote is telling:

          Well, it isn’t respectable any more, for Kuhn’s article, ”Dissecting Darwinism” (free at the link), is merely a cobbled-together list of canards from the Discovery Institute (DI). It’s poorly written, dreadful, full of scientific errors, and the journal should not only be ashamed of it, but retract it.

          How dishonest of you to claim that Jerry called the journal respectable. You were trying to invoke the authority of the person you critique to justify your point. And you did that deceitfully. How hypocritical and cheap can you get trying in desperation to scrounge up a shred of respectability for creationism.

          • Randy Ruggles
            Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            That didn’t take long. (Atheists are so predictable.) I expected someone to try to claim quote-mining when I left out Coyne’s following sentence of, “Well, it isn’t respectable any more.”

            I left it out because it is irrelevant. Either the journal is peer-reviewed or it isn’t. To claim it is not respectable anymore because it publishes a creationist paper (which Kuhn’s is not, by the way) commits the “No true Scotsman” logical fallacy.

            Atheist: “Creationists don’t publish in peer-reviewed journals.”

            Creationist: “Sure they do. Joseph Kuhn just published a paper in Baylor University Medical Center’s Proceedings.”

            Atheist: “Well … uh, they don’t publish in any REPUTABLE peer-reviewed journals then.”

            You guys are so weak. Try using logic and reason rather dishonesty and obfuscation and maybe your arguments will be taken more seriously.

            • Jeff Johnson
              Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

              All you have to do is read the paper. Then you can see it has not been reviewed by scientists. It may have been reviewed by peers who are also under the sway of religious belief.

              You may have noticed by now that saying things repeatedly does not make them true. Your claim that Dr. Coyne was contradicting himself is obviously not backed up by a brief inspection of what Dr. Coyne actually wrote (as opposed to the snippet you quoted). Any english speaking human can verify that for themselves.

              Here is another hint for you: pretending that you have some basis for sneering at atheists will not bring God into existence. It just means that you are amusing yourself with empty and misguided hostility.

            • Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

              No. Well before you came hurtling in armed with snide remarks but little wit, others had already pointed out that Jerry’s presumption was wrong, quite apart from the rider that Jeff quoted. For example, Kevin: “No, it’s not a ‘prestigious’ journal. And it might not even be peer-reviewed.” And eric pointed out: “Since the purpose of [“proceedings”] is to give the reader a summary of what was presented regardless of the quality of the presentations, a lot of crap can creep in.”

              Dishonesty and obfuscation? Pshaw!

              /@

  15. Ian Atkinson
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Treating non-peer-reviewed material as scientific fact is lying! ID has little to offer as a hypothesis, but peer reviewed science it is not – and to treat it as such is lying!

  16. Posted February 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Could someone actually clarify whether the Kuhn paper was subject to peer-review?

    The paper does not appear to report on any new or novel research by the author, and the presence of palpable errors in the work does not give one any confidence that the paper was subject to the peer review process. That isn’t in itself surprising. Conference proceedings afterall, are not universally subject to peer review and sometimes papers are written at the invitation of editors, bypassing peer-review.

  17. Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I am in the process of fraking Kuhn’s article.

    Part 1, and 2 (of 5) are posted to “Stones and Bones”

    I found, “… one could consider replication as an essential property of life, and that the ability of replicate would have been strongly selected for among early proto-life forms.” an interesting idea. But, it begs the question of how replication emerged.

  18. Milton Valler
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi,
    Does anyone know of good rebuttals to Medical Doctors who still embrace creationism?
    Thanks
    Milt. (millvall@hotmail.com)

    Reason: In UK, muslim med students are refusing to even attend classes on evolution, Bcos their religion tells them otherwise. I was looking for reason why it would not be a good thing to issue Med licenses to such students.

    • Nathan
      Posted February 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Medical science does not need to believe in Darwinian (atheistic) evolution to practice medicine

      Most medical doctors are not atheists, therefore why would it be necessary for medical science to embrace methodological naturalism if its not necessary?

      Your an atheist that wants all of science to adhere to the tenets your atheistic dogma.

      • microraptor
        Posted February 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Go troll somewhere else.

      • Ian Atkinson
        Posted February 21, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        A troll with poor grammar who thinks there is such a thing as ‘atheistic evolution!’

        Just because a doctor isn’t an atheist, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t accept the fact of Darwinian Evolution. Nor does it mean he’s a frothing fundamentalist fanatic high on endorphins like you Nathan.

        When are you people going to get it into your heads that science must be peer reviewed. It doesn’t matter whether what you say is vouchsafed truth from God, or lies and propaganda from the Discovery Institute. If it’s not peer reviewed, doesn’t predict what we see in nature, isn’t falsifiable, it isn’t science. Hard luck, Nathan – get an education!

        • Nathan
          Posted February 21, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Are you the only evolutionist unaware methodological naturalism is the foundation of Darwinian evolution?

          There are only two options for the origins of life & species , intelligent design or methodological naturalism (atheistic evolution). A third hypothesis can not exist.

          By rejecting I.D. you automatically accept naturalism. And Darwinian evolution (all life coming from one cell) has been thoroughly and quietly falsified, it has yet to be made public yet.

          All the “evolution” observed is the selection of highly conserved genes (switching on & off) already on file.

          Selection of the luckiest randomness building new body plans is now clearly understood to be incorrect

          • Ian Atkinson
            Posted February 21, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

            Why are you suddenly knowledgeable about what I know? I haven’t discussed methodological naturalism with you. I have no intention of going into what are and what are not naturalistic assumptions with you – nor am I prepared to discuss whether a male bipedal primate can be constructed from dust and a female from his rib – a very ‘unnaturalistic’ assumption!

            ID has no central mechanism so even if it was a legitimate theory, why would I choose it over a theory that *does* have a working mechanism unless I had a religious reason? There are no reasons whatsoever for anyone to choose ID over Darwinian Evolution except reasons of religion.

            Science doesn’t deal with non-falsifiable concepts, so religion cannot be a factor in a scientific theory. ID is a list of complaints against Darwinian Evolution, most of them out and out lies perpetrated by people who are only ‘scientists’ because that’s what they’ve decided to call themselves. People like Behe who do no real research other than looking through other people’s research for anything that they can cherry pick that might superficially look like it supports ID. His laughable ‘irreducible complexity’ idea fell flat on its face in the Dover trial.

            You, Nathan, are being dishonest and diverting the subject away from the fact that ID is not peer reviewed (the subject of this discussion). You want to discuss things not relevant here because you have no answers to the subject issues. You’re not being slippery and you consider scoring points to be more important than the truth, so I don’t see why I should discus anything further with you.

            And yes, you are a troll! If you want to contemplate something from the Bible, consider: thou shalt not bere false witness!

            • Ian Atkinson
              Posted February 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

              Remove the word ‘not’ from before ‘being slippery!’ That’s a mistake.

            • Nathan
              Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

              1) “ID has no central mechanism so even if it was a legitimate theory”

              Of course it does, its called a cognitive mind + intelligent foresight + the ability to arrange DNA sequences. All of the molecular machines (over 300), and codes that direct them follow design engineering principles

              Craig Venter said in 2011 science will soon build a cell. So in fact the basic hypothesis of I.D. will be validated long before abiogenesis is validated

              2) “why would I choose it over a theory that *does* have a working mechanism unless I had a religious reason?”

              Because you *don’t* have a working mechanism for the origins of life or the origins of radically new body plans. Your mechanisms consist of time & the selection of the luckiest randomness that can not be observed

              Intelligent design does not posit religion, its posits a mind was source of the first life and specific sequence arrangements. Creationism believes God was the designer, I.D. not not identify the designer.

              It is true the vast majority of I.D. proponents are creationists, this however does not make the two terms synonymous. Many agnostics accept I.D. but reject the bible

              3) “ID is a list of complaints against Darwinian Evolution”

              Yes because if only 2 options exist, and option 1 can be categorically rejected, option 2 wins by default. Darwinian evolution can be categorically rejected. The vast majority of proteins can not evolve without destroying functionality. That said I.D. being verified DOES NOT equate GODDIDIT, it only equates a sentient mind using intelligent foresight did it

              4) “People like Behe who do no real research other than looking through other people’s research for anything that they can cherry pick that might superficially look like it supports ID. His laughable ‘irreducible complexity’ idea fell flat on its face in the Dover trial.”

              First I.C. did not fall on its face. I.C. exists in the entire genome not just the flagellum. The ribosomes are 100% conserved in all species and can not evolve without destroying function

              Secondly I.C. is a backwards attempt to verify or falsify evolution. Evolution is not verified by reducing proteins to functional subunits, its verified by creating new, never seen before, functional proteins.

              The UCE have already falsified the theory. Starting a theory of entire system evolutionary change with a myriad of functional proteins that can not evolve is laughable to say the least.

              Lastly quantum physics is proving a mind must exist first before any observable reality can exist. Therefor our universe could never exist unless a mind observed it to exist. An observing mind collapsing the wave function is proving to be the method of creation

              Youtube has some good videos on quantum consciousness

              Here is one “SSE Talks – Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness 1/4″

              • Ian Atkinson
                Posted February 21, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

                Nathan! You are setting up straw-men! You know that Abiogenesis is not a theory and is beyond the scope of Darwinian Evolution. You know that DE works on populations, not single cells – where would a single cell suddenly appear from? Even the biological complexes that came before cells must have been in populations. Why the lies? Quantum Mechanics? More mud to throw in the water? You read too much new age nonsence – it will be tarot cards next – Anything to avoid answering the pertinent questions!

                You’re not addressing valid points that people are putting to you. Here’s more points for you to dishonestly ignore; if this intelligent mind you’re talking about is not a deity, what is it? Why do you *want* an intelligent mind in the works when natural selection is sufficient. The layout of the CPU in your computer was designed by a Darwinian algorithm – they work! They can be used to design all sorts of things without any intelligence at all.

                ID lost in the Dover trials. If it cannot produce a coherent scientific theory that:-

                (i) predicts what is seen in nature,

                (ii) is based on empirical evidence,

                (iii) excludes non-falsifiable ideas,

                it will not pass any peer review.

                Stop lying about what ‘scientists are discovering.’ They’re not scientists if they’re on the payroll of religious organisation. They’re not scientist if they start out with the express purpose of including non-falsifiable concepts.

                Being a Creationist is the mark a poor education. Being an educated creationist is the mark of a liar! If I was you, Nathan, I would look deeper past the religion to the money and power, and you will see the old Ku Klux Klan fascism sitting in the background.

              • Nathan
                Posted February 22, 2012 at 12:59 am | Permalink

                “You know that Abiogenesis is not a theory and is beyond the scope of Darwinian Evolution”

                Of course, I also know without verifying abiogenesis, methodological naturalism can not be verified. Naturalists observe minor variations within species and extrapolate the entire system can and did evolve from the bottom up. Even though every species has specific functional UCE that can not evolve.

                —-

                “where would a single cell suddenly appear from?”

                From an intelligent designer, why is this so difficult to accept?. If we found just one pyramid on another planet that was built exactly like the ones in Egypt your mind would have no problem at all accepting I.D. Your problem is not with I.D., Your problem is with God.

                “Even the biological complexes that came before cells must have been in populations. Why the lies?”

                This is your evolutionary presupposition without evidence. Craig Venter said in Feb 2011 science will eventually design and build a cell. The key will be understanding the languages in DNA & RNA

                Its going to be quite funny to watch a cell being intelligently designed by the same scientists who claim intelligent design is not science.

                “Quantum Mechanics? More mud to throw in the water? You read too much new age nonsence – it will be tarot cards next – Anything to avoid answering the pertinent questions!”

                Woefully incorrect. I suggest you study this before you make these statements. All of your natural laws fall apart at the quantum level.

                Remember what you said

                “Quantum Mechanics?… You read too much new age nonsence – it will be tarot cards next”

                The “skeptical mind” labels anything it can’t understand as nonsense or supernatural. Trust me, science does not consider quantum mechanics as “nonsense”

                “You’re not addressing valid points that people are putting to you. Here’s more points for you to dishonestly ignore”

                What points? You have made no points to be addresses.

                “if this intelligent mind you’re talking about is not a deity, what is it? Why do you *want* an intelligent mind in the works when natural selection is sufficient”

                “What is it” is of no relevance to the inquiry of I.D. , Science is littered with philosophers that think they can, and will answer every question posed to them. The fact that the universe is incredibly fined tuned for life strongly suggest the designer would most likely be a God.

                Its been know for years selection decreases diversity in a species, it does not increase it. Selection increases variations in the population but it decreases variations. This is the opposite direction your mechanisms predict.

                “The layout of the CPU in your computer was designed by a Darwinian algorithm – they work! They can be used to design all sorts of things without any intelligence at all”

                Algorithms are highly conserved programs that do what they are programmed to do. Try evolving the source codes in the algorithms then tell me how your evolution is doing.

                Also algorithms can do nothing unless they are being run on a conserved PC. I reiterate, naturalists must start their theory (of entire system change) with a myriad of functional conserved elements already firmly established.

                It is impossible to evolve the algorithm its self and the PC it is run on. You cant “evolve” any entire system that requires functional conserved elements. And all systems must have conserved (can not evolve) functional elements or the system will never be stable enough for repetition

                —-

                “ID lost in the Dover trials. If it cannot produce a coherent scientific theory that:- (i) predicts what is seen in nature, (ii) is based on empirical evidence”

                I.D. lost in Dover for one reason, and the Judge is on record saying it. Because the evolutionist were successful in convincing the Judge I.D. equates religious creationism. Which is a lie

                Creationism identifies the designer as the God of the bible (Jews, Christians & Muslims) all others that believe in I.D. but not the bible are not creationists. True the vast majority of I.D. proponents are creationists but this is because it comprises the tree major religions in one group.

                The intelligent design camp in Dover did a terrible job

                Also Bruce Alberts president of the National Academy of Sciences from 1993 to 2005

                said in an article titled “The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines: Preparing the Next Generation of Molecular Biologists.”

                [paraphrased] “Biology must incorporate design engineering principles into the curriculum to get to the “next level” of understanding.”

                So biology is turning to intelligently designed systems to better help them understand how biological systems work

                Quite ironic

                —-

                “(iii) excludes non-falsifiable ideas”

                This one always makes me LOL

                Science rejects God on the basis he is unfalsifiable, yet are forced by intelligent designs main argument for design (teleological) to believe an equally unfalsifiable multiverse hypothesis just to explain the fine tuning problem.

                Science breaks falsification all the time, its only used by naturalists to keep God out.

                —-

                “Stop lying about what ‘scientists are discovering.’ They’re not scientists if they’re on the payroll of religious organisation. They’re not scientist if they start out with the express purpose of including non-falsifiable concepts. Being a Creationist is the mark a poor education. Being an educated creationist is the mark of a liar! If I was you, Nathan, I would look deeper past the religion to the money and power, and you will see the old Ku Klux Klan fascism sitting in the background.”

                That is nothing but rambling nonsense.

                Creationisms predictions are being verified. All human ancestry ends 6000 years ago

                “Modelling the recent common ancestry of all living humans” Douglas L. T. Rohde

                “Family tree shows our common ancestor lived just 3,500 years ago” Michael Hopkin

                No coincidence all written languages and recorded history do not exceed 4000 B.C.

                A more pertinent question is why do you have such a difficult time accepting what looks, walks & talks like a duck, might be a duck

                “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose” Dawkins

          • Posted February 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

            Nathan, I assure you I have no HbS “on file”, and I’m more susceptible to Malaria than someone who does.

            • Nathan
              Posted February 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

              “Nathan, I assure you I have no HbS “on file”, and I’m more susceptible to Malaria than someone who does”

              Of course, I never said “evolution” is false, I said Darwinian evolution (billions of new species & proteins from one cell) is false.

              The genome does contain a highly sophisticated environmentally induced adaptation mechanism. But the “evolution” observed is limited to adaptation of the organism and variations within family groups. Living fossil all though Cambrian have proven radical changes to phenotypes never take place.

              “The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution.” Koonin

              • Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

                How do you account for extinction? Mind you, if you start talking about convergence, you’re quickly back to something that looks an awful lot like “macro-evolution”, which is what you say can’t happen.

              • Nathan
                Posted February 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

                “How do you account for extinction? Mind you, if you start talking about convergence, you’re quickly back to something that looks an awful lot like “macro-evolution”, which is what you say can’t happen’

                I’M an old earth creationist that believes in several cataclysmic events

                Up to 96% of all species went extinct according to Benton.

                “Ecosystem remodelling among vertebrates at the Permian–Triassic boundary in Russia” M. J. Benton

                The fossil record clearly shows more than one cataclysmic flood/rapid death by sedimentation. Creationism has no problem explaining mass extinctions.

                I have no idea why you would think convergence is evidence of macro-evolution. Macro-evolution is large changes in the exact same species/family slowly developing over time. Not the same features existing in unrelated species.

                And it impossible for the fossil record to verify evolution. The “evidence” for evolution in the fossil record is like putting a orange between a lemon and a grapefruit and claiming evidence a lemon will become a grapefruit. This is not evidence of evolution

                It is only at the molecular level that protein evolution can be verified. And this is failing miserably

              • Posted February 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

                No, I mean if you think that the larger families (do you mean reptiles vs mammals for instance?) are fixed in their phenotypes, and ultimately in their genotypes, with some allowance for minor changes and you accept the past extinction of such groups, how do you propose new groups arose? Or did we just start with lots and we’re counting down to zero? Did members of remaining groups adapt to the point that they started to look like something different even though they really weren’t (a full accounting by that means starts to look an awful lot like evolution)? Or did the universe simply run backwards for a few moments while energy and information were added to the whole system to make these new forms by intervention of an external agent? I’ll need some experimental proof for that last point if you claim it, since physics doesn’t seem to allow that sort of thing.

      • Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Evolution is “atheistic” in the same way that plumbing is, or auto-mechanics is atheistic.

        Physicians are largely unconcerned with why a medicine works, so long as it does work. This has created a problem; the improper use of antibiotics has ignored evolutionary theory. The consequence is an impending crisis of antibiotic resistant pathogens. Typically, physicians and their patients will depend on real scientists to save them. I used to say that MD meant “masters in diseasiology,” rather than a real doctorate. Few of my medical students realized I wasn’t kidding.

        • Nathan
          Posted February 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          “Evolution is “atheistic” in the same way that plumbing is, or auto-mechanics is atheistic”

          You understand there is more than one type of evolution. Evolution that needs no intelligent designer is absolutely atheistic evolution, and this is the type of evolution science had adopted.

          Therefore evolution without an intelligent designer is atheistic

          • Posted February 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            You misunderstand. Evolution “that needs no intelligent designer is absolutely” the evolution that has happened. This is still not a compelling rejection of deism, merely literalism.

            • Nathan
              Posted February 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

              “You misunderstand. Evolution “that needs no intelligent designer is absolutely” the evolution that has happened. This is still not a compelling rejection of deism, merely literalism’

              Incorrect. The only thing that can prove no intelligent designer is needed is abiogenesis.

              Naturalists smugly jump right over the origins of life and claim no designer is needed. There is a massive gaffe in logic and reason there

              And in all honesty, anyone that knows the cell is comprised of over 300 highly conserved molecular machines and multiple overlapping codes to instruct them and still believes chemical reactions can create it, is incapable of evaluating the evidence properly

              Also anyone that believes a God/designer does exist yet believes chemical reactions and natural forces is the best explanation to create the complex cell is not thinking rationally.

              Why would I believe natural undirected forces is the best method to create a PC program or machinery if a PC programmer or engineer exists. Its an irrational position to take.

              The fact is constant evolutionary change (atheistic evolution) is incapable of creating functional conserved elements. This is why naturalists must start their theory with functional conserved (can not evolve) elements already in existence.

              Evolution has no explanation for functional conserved elements. Intelligent design on the other hand explains UCE perfectly because all intelligently designed system must have functional elements that can not be changed for system stability. The similarities between the genome and I.D. systems is blatant.

        • FrankS
          Posted February 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          “Physicians are largely unconcerned with why a medicine works, so long as it does work”.

          This disaster is repeated in different fields e.g. in engineering, leaded gasoline (to solve immediate engineering issue of engine knocking) at the expense of lead poisoning; ecological disasters due to introduced fauna to “solve” an apparent issue etc.

          Are there other kinds of quick cures in medicine that are problematic in the long-term? e.g. routine MRI for any traffic accidents; over-prescribed cancer screenings etc. How about statins for people over 50, regardless of health?

    • Posted February 20, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Docs can believe all kinds of crazy sh*t and still practice good clinical medicine, just like biochemists, microbiologists, engineers, etc. can narrowly adhere to the standards of their fields and do OK while holding bizzare beliefs. However, I can give you a good reason medical students should understand evolution. A logical, consistent model helps you understand physiology and pathophysiology. Evolution provides such a model. Otherwise you must simply recall the clotting cascade, hemoglobinopathies, and the process of septic shock as sets of disconnected facts – ID won’t help you with that. Still possible, but not ideal

      • Nathan
        Posted February 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        Your reply to me had no reply button, so I had to reply to a different post you made.

        I believe God created family groups with many variations. For example only one set of canines were created with many variations that were eventually selected out to produce all breeds of dogs.

        This seems to fit the evidence that selection is decreasing diversity.

        I also believe in two separate creation events. Neanderthals along with other species were created long before Adam & Eve. That earth age was destroyed and God by a flood and a new creation event started 6000 years ago

        This also fits the evidence

        “Modelling the recent common ancestry of all living humans” Douglas L. T. Rohde

        Solomon spoke of the ancient times before us (humans) in Ecc

      • Nathan
        Posted February 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        Correction

        “I also believe in two separate creation events. Neanderthals along with other species were created long before Adam & Eve. That earth age was destroyed by God by a flood and a new creation event started 6000 years ago”

        • microraptor
          Posted February 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

          You believe there was a creation event in the middle of the Sumerian Empire?

          • Nathan
            Posted February 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

            Find me any recorded history that predates 4000 B.C. The oldest records that I know of, including written languages are less than 6000 years old

            Molecular biology is also confirming this date of 4000B.C. for both the matrilineal and patrilineal MRCA of all humans alive today

            “Modelling the recent common ancestry of all living humans” Douglas L. T. Rohde

            “If a common ancestor of all living humans is defined as an individual who is a genealogical ancestor of all present-day people, the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for a randomly mating population would have lived in the very recent past.. ..Here we show that recent common ancestors also emerge from two models incorporating substantial population substructure. One model, designed for simplicity and theoretical insight, yields explicit mathematical results through a probabilistic analysis. A more elaborate second model, designed to capture historical population dynamics in a more realistic way, is analysed computationally through Monte Carlo simulations. These analyses suggest that the genealogies of all living humans overlap in remarkable ways in the recent past. In particular, the MRCA of all present-day humans lived just a few thousand years ago in these models. Moreover, among all individuals living more than just a few thousand years earlier than the MRCA, each present-day human has exactly the same set of genealogical ancestors.

            —-

            http://www.nature.com/news/200­­­4/040927/full/news040927-10.­h­t­ml

            “Family tree shows our common ancestor lived just 3,500 years ago” Michael Hopkin

            “The most recent common ancestor of all humanity lived just a few thousand years ago, according to a computer model of our family tree. Researchers have calculated that the mystery person, from whom everyone alive today is directly descended, probably lived around 1,500 BC in eastern Asia”

            “Besides dating our most recent common ancestor, Rohde’s team also calculates that in 5,400 BC everyone alive was either an ancestor of all of humanity, or of nobody alive today. The researchers call this the ‘identical ancestors’ point: the time before which all the family trees of people today are composed of exactly the same individuals”

            I do believe a civilization existed before 4000B.C. however I do not believe we are in any way related to them, and the fact recorded history does not predate this time is no coincidence

            • microraptor
              Posted February 22, 2012 at 12:48 am | Permalink

              Nate, you’re citing a computer simulation that’s looking at the LCA for current, 21st Century populations that have had been undergoing significant levels of gene transfer for several centuries (and, incidentally, your link is bad). It’s not accounting for how remotely related populations were prior to Europeans arriving in Australia and the Americas and beginning to interbreed with those groups.

              And you do know that actual DNA from individuals much older than 6000 years has been recovered, sequenced, and shown to be related to existing human populations, right?

              • Nathan
                Posted February 22, 2012 at 1:13 am | Permalink

                “It’s not accounting for how remotely related populations were prior to Europeans arriving in Australia and the Americas and beginning to interbreed with those groups. And you do know that actual DNA from individuals much older than 6000 years has been recovered, sequenced, and shown to be related to existing human populations, right?”

                I’M not a young earth creationist, I do not believe the earth or species are only 6000 years old. I believe Adam & Eve are only 6000 years old. Neanderthals predate them.

                The point being is all modern human ancestry ends 6-7000 years ago, meaning any “human” alive before 5000 B.C. were not related to anyone alive today.

                That is what this is saying

                “Besides dating our most recent common ancestor, Rohde’s team also calculates that in 5,400 BC everyone alive was either an ancestor of all of humanity, or of nobody alive today” Michael Hopkin

      • Nathan
        Posted February 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

        Amendment

        “This seems to fit the evidence that selection is decreasing diversity”

        Meant

        Selection is decreasing variations within species, proving selection can not, and does not increase a species variations.

        Selection DOES create greater diversity in the population giving the initial illusion of evolution, but its all comes from highly conserved pre-written latent variations that become visible by selection

        • whyevolutionistrue
          Posted February 22, 2012 at 3:40 am | Permalink

          Okay Nathan, you are now required, before I allow you to post further, to give us the evidence for the deity you believe in. (This is a customary request for religious trolls.) Why are you so sure there is a God?

          EVIDENCE, please?

    • microraptor
      Posted February 20, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Ask them what antibiotic they prescribe for treating infections.

    • Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      The “Muslim students boycott classes” was exposed as a gross exaggeration.

      And, as a former medical prof, students 30 years ago, and today skip any lectures that will not be directly relevant to their licensing examinations. I once mentioned that “the rest of the lecture won’t be on the exam,” and 75 out of 100 of the students got up and walked up. (Yes, I changed the exam).

  19. Ian Atkinson
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    Nathan still hasn’t explained why he wants there to be an intelligent designer.

  20. Ian Atkinson
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    The empirical evidence that proves Nathan wrong.

    1. Fossil record.

    2. Vestigial organs.

    3. Quirks of development.

    4. Living structures that do not follow design logic.

    5. Biogeography.

    Everything that Nathan has offered so far has been non-empirical and ephemeral. He has still not given a working mechanism for ID. He offered quantum mechanics as an explanation but gave no clue as to what aspects of quantum mechanics operate as intelligence, nor how this would impress an intelligent design on DNA. All the solid evidence is on the side of Darwinian Evolution and his statements regarding a 6000 year time scale are just ludicrous.

    There really is no point in discussing anything with him. If he cannot get the evidence he needs, he is quite prepared to lie or use discredited data. I should imagine the person he lies to the most is himself.


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