Expelled’s intelligent design theory – this IS your daddy’s creationism (Part II)

Part 2 of 2 (click here for part 1)

L.G.Modern high-speed supercomputers have now used large-scale number crunching to calculate the eons of time and probabilities that are required to develop a cell through chance and mutation. The result? The odds are essentially zero, no matter how many millions or billions of years pass. (p.6)

I flat out call bullshit on this one. I want to see references. First I doubt the claim that anyone has wasted the time on a supercomputer. Second I am unaware of anyone arguing that the first cell developed simply through “chance and mutation”. No one knows the process by which the first cell formed, therefore no probabilities can be attached its likelihood.

L.G. The famous astronomer Sir Fredrick Hoyle (Professor, and Founder of the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University) compares the probability of spontaneous life to lining up 1×1050 (one with 50 zeros after it) blind people, giving them each a scrambled Rubik’s cube, and finding that they all solve the cube at the same moment. (p.6)

The origin of life is a separate, though related, question from the evolution of life after it originated. But let’s set that aside for the moment and get to know the authority they are quoting on this a little better.

Sir Fred Hoyle was a noted astronomer who did important work in his field (he coined the term “Big Bang”, to mock the hypothesis). However later in his life he descended into crank-hood when he began writing books attacking evolution and putting forth his own beliefs on the development of life on Earth. Hoyle’s preferred alternative to evolutionary theory was directed panspermia. Basically he argued that some sort of alien intelligence somewhere in space would periodically rain illness causing viruses down upon the Earth; viruses which could also bring about rapid biological changes in certain groups of plants and animals. He even went so far as to suggest that not only viruses but perhaps larger organisms such as insects might also originate in outer space.

In at least one of his books on the subject he seriously put forward the idea that insects might be as intelligent as humans but were hiding this fact from us, playing dumb for some sort of strategic advantage.

The situation points clearly to one of two possibilities. Either we are dealing with an overt plan invented by an intelligence considerably higher than our own, an intelligence which has foreseen all our chemicals and flamethrowers, or the insects have already experienced selection Pressure against intelligences of at least our level in many other environments elsewhere in the universe.

There is a curious variant of the first possibility. Could the insects themselves be the intelligence much higher than our own? We are so conditioned to thinking that the intelligence of a species can be exemplified by an individual member that it is hard to assess a situation in which each individual might show little intelligence, but in which the combined aggregate of individuals might show much. Yet it is so in our own brains, where no individual neuron can be said to display intelligence but in which the aggregate of neurons constitutes exactly what we understand by intelligence.

The static nature of insect societies goes against this thinking. If an enormous intelligence inhabits the beehives of the world, we might expect more evidence of its presence. But this may again be to endow an opponent with our own restless characteristics. Perhaps concealment is an essential tactic. Perhaps the intelligence is static because it understands the dictum of sagacious lawyers: ‘When your case is going well, say nothing’.

The insect case is indeed going well. Along with the chemicals and the flamethrowers, there are nuclear bombs also. Insects are highly resistant to X-rays and other forms of ionizing radiation. Insects can frequent dumps of radioactive waste without harm. Nor are the plants on which insects feed harmed at all by radioactivity. This sets the scene for the future. From nuclear war only one creature will profit hugely, the insect. Insects may be close to inheriting the Earth without a struggle. It may well seem that man arrived in a brief moment, and then disappeared even more swiftly than he came.Hoyle & Wickramasinghe (1981, pp. 127- 128) [Emphasis mine]

Creationists have been fond of quoting Fred Hoyle for some time because of his fame as an astronomer (giving him a false sense of authority) and his frequent antievolutionary statements. They are somewhat less fond of letting their audience know what Hoyle’s oddball alternative to evolution was or what some of his more eccentric ideas were. For more on this see my article: Antievolutionists’ Use of Quotations from Minority Or Fringe Scientists.

L.G.Those classic textbooks depicting various breeds of dogs as “evolution in action” are misleading. Why? Because all those poodles, labs, and shepherds are still dogs! Yes, there is evidence of change within a species, but there is no evidence of one species changing into a truly different form. (p.7)

The same thing is seen in artificial selection, with all the various modern breeds of dogs being more specialized than the parent (mongrel) population, but carrying less information–and thus less potential for further selection (you can’t breed Great Danes from Chihuahuas). In all these sorts of changes, finches are still finches and dogs are dogs. The limits to change are set by the amount of information originally present from which to select.Carl Wieland (1992) [Emphasis mine]

“When weasels breed together, they produce more weasels, just like themselves.” This was one of the captions I read as I entered the display on Darwin and natural selection at the British Museum of Natural History, in London. As I continued on through the display, I discovered that dogs breed dogs and that moths breed moths. In fact, each kind of animal talked about in the display breeds its own kind, not an animal of a different kind. Certainly there was variation within a kind, but dogs always stayed dogs, and weasels always stayed weasels.Ken Ham (1991) [Emphasis mine]

Dog breeders have used mutations to change the dog for hunting man’s way. They have made many grotesque forms and are still trying to make the ‘best’ domestic dog. But all results considered, man has still not made a dog into a non-dog or a more doggish dog (every postman can verify this).L. Johannesen (1981) [Emphasis mine]

Darwin and other evolutionists have supposed that the varieties of finches now living in the Galapagos Islands, a group of islands lying 600 miles and more west of South America, have arisen from migrants from South America. The original migrants, it is believed, were more or less uniform, but mutation with natural selection has given rise over a long period of time to finches that now inhabit the various islands and which possess differences (mainly in size and shape of the bill) in response to variations in the type of food supply found on the several islands.

Creationists interpret these data in much the same way, with some important exceptions. They point out, first of all, that the variation that has apparently occurred among these finches is very limited, for these finches are not only still birds, but they are still finches. Neither the molecule-to-man idea of evolution, nor the idea that basically different kinds of birds, such as ducks, hummingbirds, and vultures, have arisen from a common ancestor is supported by such evidence.Duane Gish (1975) [Emphasis mine]

Here we have another creationist standard. When presented with evidence of small scale morphological change from either animal breeding or observed evolutionary adaptations in wild populations, creationists wave it away dismissively with comments such as: “but they’re still moths”.

However no one has ever claimed that these were examples of anything but small scale changes. On the contrary, these small scale changes are the only sort of changes we should be able to observe in the limited time scales involved (within a human lifetime or two).

Basically creationists are demanding that scientists produce examples of large scale changes (like between fish and amphibians) taking place on a human time scale as evidence for evolutionary theory. The problem is standard evolutionary theory says this should not be possible; that such change require time on a more geologic scale to occur.

So we would have to essentially falsify current evolutionary theory to in order to corroborate it to their satisfaction. Heads they win, tails we lose.

L.G.A great example is the bat. Evolutionists believe the bat evolved from a mouse-like creature whose forelimbs gradually evolved into wings. But think through this evolutionary progression: The mouse’s front limbs mutate and grow longer, and skin begins to grow between the toes. Now the animal can’t run without stumbling, yet its forelimbs are not long enough to function as wings. So during this transitional stage, the mouse-bat has limbs too long for running and too short for flying. Unable to efficiently get around, it would become extinct.

It is difficult to explain or imagine how bat wings could have been formed in unplanned gradual stages – which may be why there is no geological evidence of this “transitional” process; the first time bats appear in the fossil record, they are fully formed, with wings. (p.8)

Ah, the classic argument from personal incredulity. If a creationist cannot imagine how something might have happened then it must not have. Fortunately nature is not limited by the imaginations of creationists and all one must do is look at other living things to find a few reasonable analogues for the ancestral bat.

Indian Flying Fox

Two obvious analogues are the flying squirrel:

Flying squirrel

And the colugo (“flying lemur”):

Click on the image above and go to the web-site that is the source of the photo for a much larger version. You can clearly see the webbing between the toes. There is also a wonderful picture of a female carrying her baby in flight.

A Less obvious analog is the Wallace’s flying frog with it’s elongated limbs and oversized webbed toes.

Rhacophorus nigropalmatus

Seeing that creatures like these not only exist but get along quite nicely with their supposedly cumbersome skin flaps and toe webbing, makes it rather easy to imagine the ancestral bat looking something like a colugo with it’s wrist-to-hip skin membrane and long webbed toes. Initially gliding from tree to tree in some primeval forest and ultimately evolving the fully powered flight found in living bats.

Paleontology

L.G.Even Darwin assumed that we would eventually find a substantial record of such evolution among the millions of fossils uncovered in the 130+ years of searching. In his own words: “The number of intermediate and transitional links between all living and extinct species must have been inconceivably great.” In fact, the fossil record as a whole, contrary to conventional wisdom, actually gives persuasive evidence against Darwinian evolution, as we shall see…

Top scientists agree about the weak evidence for Darwinianism in the fossil record (p.10)

They talk about “top scientists”, which in this case should be referring to “top” paleontologists and yet all they do is quote Michael Denton, a biochemist, and Stephen C. Meyer a philosopher of science?

They couldn’t even be bothered to quote a mainstream paleontologist out of context?

Or find a crank who wasn’t a past or current member of the Discovery Institute? They’re not even trying here.

Let’s start here with the 23 year old comment from non-paleontologist Denton:

L.G.“The gaps which separate species: dog/fox, rat/mouse, etc. are utterly trivial compared with, say, that between a primitive terrestrial mammal and a whale, or a primitive terrestrial reptile and an ichthyosaur; and even these relatively major discontinuities are trivial alongside those which divide major phyla such as mollusks and arthropods.

Surely such transitions must have involved long lineages including many collateral lines of hundreds or perhaps thousands of transitional species.”

“To suggest that the hundreds, thousands, or possibly millions of “transitional” species which must have existed in the interval between vastly dissimilar types were all unsuccessful species occupying isolated areas and having very small population numbers [i.e., we just haven’t found them yet] is verging on the incredible!” (p.10)

Amusingly they are giving us a quote from antievolutionist Denton’s 1985 book Evolution: A theory in crisis (antievolutionists have been claiming that evolution is in crisis since 1859), which is not only out of date but somewhat out of context as well. The quote in context is talking about punctuated equilibria:

While Eldredge and Gould’s model [punctuated equilibria] is a perfectly reasonable explanation of the gaps between species (and, in my view, correct) it is doubtful if it can be extended to explain the larger systematic gaps. The gaps which separate species: dog/fox, rat/mouse etc are utterly trivial compared with, say, that between a primitive terrestrial mammal and a whale or a primitive terrestrial reptile and an Ichthyosaur; and even these relatively major discontinuities are trivial alongside those which divide major phyla such as molluscs and arthropods. Such major discontinuities simply could not, unless we are to believe in miracles, have been crossed in geologically short periods of time through one or two transitional species occupying restricted geographical areas. Surely, such transitions must have involved long lineages including many collateral lines of hundreds or probably thousands of transitional species (see diagram on page 175). To suggest that the hundreds, thousands or possibly even millions of transitional species which must have existed in the interval between vastly dissimilar types were all unsuccessful species occupying isolated areas and having very small population numbers is verging on the incredible! - Denton (1985, pp. 193-194)

Here Denton agrees that punctuated equilibrium is a “perfectly reasonable explanation” for species level gaps in the fossil record, but not for gaps between higher taxonomic groups. However given the fact that PE was never intended by Eldredge & Gould to apply to gaps between higher taxonomic groups, Denton is attacking a straw man of his own construction.

From Eldredge and Gould’s original paper on PE:

In this paper we shall argue

(1) The expectations of theory color perception to such a degree that new notions seldom arise from facts collected under the influence of old pictures of the world. New pictures must cast their influence before facts can be seen in different perspective.

(2) Paleontology’s view of speciation has been dominated by the picture of “phyletic gradualism.” It holds that new species arise from the slow and steady transformation of entire populations. Under its influence, we seek unbroken fossil series linking two forms by insensible gradation as the only complete mirror of Darwinian processes; we ascribe all breaks to imper¬fections in the record.

(3) The theory of allopatric (or geographic) speciation suggests a different interpretation of paleontological data. If new species arise very rapidly in small, peripherally isolated local populations, then the great expectation of insensibly graded fossil sequences is a chimera. A new species does not evolve in the area of its ancestors; it does not arise from the slow transformation of all its forbears. Many breaks in the fossil record are real.

(4) The history of life is more adequately represented by a picture of “punctuated equilibria” than by the notion of phyletic gradualism. The history of evolution is not one of stately unfolding, but a story of homeostatic equilibria, disturbed only “rarely” (i.e., rather often in the fullness of time) by rapid and episodic events of speciation. – Eldredge & Gould (1972) [Emphasis mine]

And from Gould:

Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists – whether through design or stupidity, I do not know – as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups. – Gould (1981) [Emphasis mine]

More significant than Denton’s straw man criticism of PE is that the claims he makes about the lack of transitions between land reptiles and ichthyosaurs and land mammals and whales, have been made obsolete by paleontological evidence in both these groups.

First there is a pretty good temporal and morphological series of fossil ichthyosaurs ranging from basal forms that are not terribly different from terrestrial reptiles to highly derived dolphin-like forms fully adapted to marine life:

In this graphic we can see the pattern of change in ichthyosaur pectoral fin bones from a basal to a more derived form:

image missing

The situation with the cetacean fossil record has changed even more. We now have a fairly complete series of fossils ranging from completely terrestrial mammals to the fully aquatic forms that we are all familiar with:

The case for whale evolution is further buttressed by evidence from several different fields of study including comparative anatomy, embryology and genetics.

As for the gaps between different phyla such as “molluscs and arthropods“, the common ancestor of these groups (and other Protostomes, nematodes & annelids etc.) would have lived long before the Cambrian and probably was a tiny soft-bodied worm-like creature. It is possible, though uncommon, for such organisms to fossilize, and perhaps one day we will find something linking these groups.

This will not satisfy antievolutionists (nothing will) but anyone who reflects on the history of paleontology will see that there have been many cases where the fossil record of various groups consisted of one or a very few fossils for decade after decade only later to have new finds dramatically enrich our understanding in a relatively short period of time.

For example, for over a century the fossil record documenting the origin of birds was limited almost exclusively to Archaeopteryx but in the last 20 years or so this has changed almost miraculously with the addition of abundant new material from China and elsewhere (Chiappe, 2007). Likewise the fossil record of whales, discussed above, was fairly limited for many years and has only recently exploded into a far, far, more detailed sampling.

Antievolutionists had crowed for years about the lack of fossil intermediates in both these groups:

What is the true status of Archaeopteryx? Was it a transitional form between reptiles and birds? First, the general nature of the evidence: The sudden appearance, fully formed, of all the complex invertebrates (snails, clams, jellyfish, sponges, worms, sea urchins, brachiopods, trilobites, etc.) without a trace of ancestors, and the sudden appearance, fully formed, of every major kind of fish (supposedly the first vertebrates) without a trace of ancestors, proves beyond reasonable doubt that evolution has not occurred. Quarrels about disputable cases such as Archaeopteryx are really pointless. Furthermore, there are three other basically different types of flying creatures—flying insects, flying reptiles (now extinct), and flying mammals (bats). It would be strange, indeed, even incomprehensible, that millions of years of evolution of these three basically different types of flying creatures, each involving the remarkable transition of a land animal into a flying animal, would have failed to produce large numbers of transitional forms. If all of that evolution has occurred, our museums should contain scores, if not hundreds or thousands, of fossils of intermediate forms in each case. However, not a trace of an ancestor or transitional form has ever been found for any of these creatures!Duane Gish (1989) [Emphasis mine]

The marine mammals thus abruptly appear in the fossil record as whales, dolphins, sea-cows, etc. For example, in one of Romer’s concluding statements in his discussion of the subungulates (conies, elephants, sea-cows), he says “…conies, proboscideans, and sirenians were already distinct groups at the time when they first appear in the fossil record.” Olson states that if we seek the ancestries of the marine mammals we run into a blank wall as far as intermediate stages between land and sea are concerned. His remark included the seals, dolphins and whales. There simply are no transitional forms in the fossil record between the marine mammals and their supposed land mammal ancestors.Duane Gish (1980) [Emphasis mine]

If paleontologists had accepted their argument –that since intermediates had not yet been found in these groups, they probably never existed (and therefore not looked for them) – our knowledge of past life on Earth would be a lot poorer for it.

L.G.Paleontology confirms the abrupt appearance of the major groups of animals—dozens of genetic types—in the fossil record during a geologically sudden explosion of life in the Cambrian period, the so-called “big bang” of biology. How were all those major animal groups produced in such a relatively short span of time (a few million years according to conventional geologic dating)? (p.10-11)

Even though the gaps in the fossil record are found between each basic animal type, there are two huge gaps, which should be emphasized. The evolutionary distance between single celled organisms and the vast array of multicellular, highly complex marine invertebrates precludes even rapid evolution. In the supposedly 600-million-year-old layers of rock designated as Cambrian (the first appearance of multicelled life), sponges, clams, trilobites, sea urchins, starfish, etc., etc., are found with no evolutionary ancestors. Evolutionists don’t even have any possible ancestors to propose. And then the gap from marine invertebrates to the vertebrate fish is likewise immense. To make matters worse for the evolutionists, fish fossils are also found in Cambrian strata. If evolution is true, fish must have evolved from something, and invertebrates must also have evolved from something. Evolution has no ancestor to propose, but the evidence exactly fits the creation model, for creation insists that each animal type was created fully formed, with no evolutionary transition. - John Morris (1989) [Emphasis mine]

In the Cambrian geological strata there occurs a sudden, great outburst of fossils of animals on a highly developed level of complexity. In the Cambrian rocks are found billions of fossils of animals so complex that the evolutionists estimate they would have required one and a half billion years to evolve. Trilobites, brachiopods, sponges, corals, jellyfish, in fact every one of the major invertebrate forms of life are found in the Cambrian. What is found in rocks supposedly older than the Cambrian, that is in the so-called pre-Cambrian rocks? Not a single indisputable fossil! Certainly it can be said without fear of contradiction, the evolutionary predecessors of the Cambrian fauna have never been found.Duane Gish (1973) [Emphasis mine]

The “few million years” of the Cambrian explosion is actually more like five to ten million years and rocks of Cambrian age are not the oldest containing fossils of multicellular life forms, for example, there are the Vendian/Ediacaran biota. Nor do all important groups of living things appear in the Cambrian, for instance, plants (save for some forms of algae) do not appear until much later. The same is true for some animal phyla such as Bryozoans.

But let’s have some more historical perspective. When Darwin originally published the Origin of Species in 1859 it wasn’t the “Cambrian explosion”, since fossil of complex organisms had not yet been found in Cambrian rock at that time. Instead it was the “Silurian explosion”:

On the sudden appearance of groups of Allied Species in the lowest known fossiliferous strata. There is another and allied difficulty, which is much graver. I allude to the manner in which numbers of species of the same group, suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks. Most of the arguments which have convinced me that all the existing species of the same group have descended from one progenitor, apply with nearly equal force to the earliest known species. For instance, I cannot doubt that all the Silurian trilobites have descended from some one crustacean, which must have lived long before the Silurian age, and which probably differed greatly from any known animal. Some of the most ancient Silurian animals, as the Nautilus, Lingula, &c., do not differ much from living species; and it cannot on my theory be supposed, that these old species were the progenitors of all the species of the orders to which they belong, for they do not present characters in any degree intermediate between them. If, moreover, they had been the progenitors of these orders, they would almost certainly have been long ago supplanted and exterminated by their numerous and improved descendants.

Consequently, if my theory be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Silurian stratum was deposited, long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Silurian age to the present day; and that during these vast, yet quite unknown, periods of time, the world swarmed with living creatures.

To the question why we do not find records of these vast primordial periods, I can give no satisfactory answer. Several of the most eminent geologists, with Sir R. Murchison at their head, are convinced that we see in the organic remains of the lowest Silurian stratum the dawn of life on this planet. Other highly competent judges, as Lyell and the late E. Forbes, dispute this conclusion. We should not forget that only a small portion of the world is known with accuracy. M. Barrande has lately added another and lower stage to the Silurian system, abounding with new and peculiar species. Traces of life have been detected in the Longmynd beds beneath Barrande’s so-called primordial zone. The presence of phosphatic nodules and bituminous matter in some of the lowest azoic rocks, probably indicates the former existence of life at these periods. But the difficulty of understanding the absence of vast piles of fossiliferous strata, which on my theory no doubt were somewhere accumulated before the Silurian epoch, is very great. If these most ancient beds had been wholly worn away by denudation, or obliterated by metamorphic action, we ought to find only small remnants of the formations next succeeding them in age, and these ought to be very generally in a metamorphosed condition. But the descriptions which we now possess of the Silurian deposits over immense territories in Russia and in North America, do not support the view, that the older a formation is, the more it has suffered the extremity of denudation and metamorphism. – Darwin (1859)

As with the origin of whales and birds, the situation changed with new paleontological finds, so that in later editions Darwin changed it from the Silurian to the Cambrian. But perhaps we should just listened to the creationists and stopped looking for [more] Precambrian fossils. After all, they insist that the the ancestors of Cambrian fauna never existed and given their scientific track record how could we possibly argue?

Where does the science lead?

L.G. As we have seen, there is strong evidence from several areas of science for intelligent design—and equally strong evidence raising serious doubts about Darwinism. Why, then, isn’t the scientific establishment more open to allowing genuine discussion and debate over Darwinism? (p.12)

What we have actually seen is that intelligent design creationism is little more than the same old discredited “creation science” arguments against evolution, often almost word for word, without the more testable assertions involving a recently created Earth and Noah’s flood.

L.G. More than 700 scientists have signed this statement!

A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism

“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” (p.12)

Here we have an appeal to authority. Yes they have a list of scientists, and many of them are the usual creationist suspects. Still others are scientists whose field of study is not particularly relevant to the subject of evolutionary theory. More importantly they constitute a tiny fraction of the global scientific community.

Besides there are more than 800 scientists who signed this statement:

Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to “intelligent design,” to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation’s public schools.

All these scientists have relevant doctorates in biology, geology, paleontology and other related scientific fields and more significantly they are all named Steve!

L.G.In a 1998 survey, nearly 95% of biologists in the National Academy of Science identified themselves as atheists or agnostics. Similarly, in a 2003 survey of leading evolutionists, 87% denied the existence of God and 88% disbelieved in life after death.

[...] Given the anti-religious views of many leading Darwinists, it’s certainly possible that some of the current close-mindedness in the scientific community about intelligent design and evolution stems from personal prejudice rather than the facts of science. (p.12)

Then of course there is the Clergy Letter Project which has collected signatures of over 11,000 clergy who “believe that”:

…The timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children.

What a bunch of materialist atheistic “Darwinists” they must be…

Why Does It Matter?

This section is a combination of two fallacious arguments both of which descend with little modification from “creation science” sources. First an Argumentum ad Consequentiam where they claim that accepting evolution leads to bad consequences like an increase in abortions and euthanasia (and whatever else conservative Christians don’t like).

When we look at the United States and other countries today, we see increases in homosexuality, support for abortion on demand, disobedience to those in authority, people who do not want to work, pornography, the abandonment of marriage and modest clothing, to name but a few examples. …It used to be that creationism was taught through the school system. People who weren’t Christians by and large respected and obeyed the laws based upon the Bible. A homosexual lifestyle was against the law; abortion in most instances was considered murder.

But what happened? A man called Charles Darwin repopularized an ancient pagan belief now called “evolution.”Ken Ham (1987)

Secondly they present a Reductio ad Hitlerum argument, which is basically a charge of guilt by association. Nazis and other bad guys used evolution in their rationalization for persecuting and killing others and therefore evolution must be suspect or wrong. And again this is not new to ID creationism:

The evolutionary philosophy is the intellectual basis of all anti-theistic systems. It served Hitler as the rationale for Nazism and Marx as the supposed, scientific basis for communism. It is the basis of the various modern methods of psychology and sociology that treat man merely as a higher animal and which have led to the misnamed “new morality” and ethical relativism. It has provided the pseudo-scientific rationale for racism and military aggression. Its whole effect on the world and mankind has been harmful and degrading. Jesus said: “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit” (Matthew 7:18). The evil fruit of the evolutionary philosophy is evidence enough of its evil roots.

Thus, evolution is Biblically unsound, theologically contradictory, and sociologically harmful. Henry Morris (1973)

Here is a creationist graphic that pretty much says it all:

All this is a red herring because even if (and it is a ginourmous IF) we accepted these arguments as true they would say absolutely nothing about the scientific validity of evolutionary theory.

It would be like arguing that since the formulation of relativity theory led to our ability to construct nuclear weapons (no IF about that) then relativity must be wrong or questionable, which of course would be absolute lunacy.

Of course the use of the Reductio ad Hitlerum argument also opens up other possible contributing factors to the Holocaust to criticism. One could make a much more compelling case that nearly two thousand years of traditional Christian antisemitism played a far more central role in the lead up to the Holocaust than evolutionary theory.

The fact that Christians have been persecuting and killing Jews for millennia doesn’t disprove Christianity any more than the fact that the Nazis used a bastardization of evolutionary theory to justify their barbarity disproves evolution.

Conclusion (finally!)

It has been said that intelligent design is creationism in a cheap tuxedo. I’d say, judging by the Expelled Leader’s Guide, it’s more like creationism in one of those t-shirts printed to look like a tuxedo with a couple beer stains on the front.

References

Chiappe, Luis M. (2007) Glorified Dinosaurs: The origin and early evolution of birds, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Darwin, Charles (1859) On the Origin of Species, First Edition

Denton, Michael (1986) Evolution a Theory in Crisis, Adler & Adler Publishers Inc. Bethesda, MD

Eldredge, Niles & Gould, Stephen Jay (1972)”Punctuated equilibria: an alternative to phyletic gradualism” In T.J.M. Schopf, ed., Models in Paleobiology, Freeman Cooper, San Francisco, CA, pp. 82-115. Reprinted in Eldredge, Niles (1985) Time frames, Princeton Univ. Press, pp.193-223

Gould, Stephen Jay (1981) “Evolution as Fact and Theory”, Discover 2 (May): 34-37

Hoyle, Fred & Wickramasinghe, Chandra (1981) Evolution From Space, A Theory of Cosmic Creationism, Simon & Schuster

60 thoughts on “Expelled’s intelligent design theory – this IS your daddy’s creationism (Part II)

  1. EVOLUTION OF THE EYE?

    The following text is taken from The Quest for Right, Volume 2:

    Be it known that the marvelous workings of the eye are far more complicated than man has heretofore realized. Although the following attempt to qualify Darwin’s assertion may seem a parody to those who refuse to take into account the adverse fossil record and are resigned to the concept of protracted graduation, the effort is not without scientific purpose. The investigation seeks only to separate the abstract from reality, whatever that reality may be.
    It is expedient also to give some latitude to the concept of protracted graduation in order that the investigation may proceed in an orderly fashion. For example, the following concerns are waived: the right to question how maldeveloped species purposed within themselves to (1) extend the forebrain, (2) create the sensorial organ, (3) encase it with the fibrous outer region, and (4) open up the bones of the skull to form a cone-shaped protective nest for the encasement. The waiver is extended full gratis (as a favor) in spite of opposing evidence to the concept; that is, the obvious deletion in the all inclusive fossil record of intermediate specimens showing said development.

    The first question on the agenda presents a slight dilemma: how did developing species admit light into the interior of the encasement so as to access the sensorial organ, when the outer region (the white of the eye) was formed from opaque (nontransparent) collagen fibers. This is the unfounded supposition that the entire encasement was completely covered by the outer region and subsequently changed to create a light-admitting aperture, also aperture, “an opening through which light may enter the eye.” The terms will be substituted for the familiar but incongruous cornea, meaning “horny,” feminine singular of the Latin corneus; from cornu—”a horn.”
    The design problem must have seemed insurmountable to the first maldeveloped species emerging from the mire; these were mundane creatures forging about by so-called “instinct.” At best, they would have been considered imbecilic as they were devoid of any intelligence and, therefore, incapable of conscious reasoning. Therein lies a problem: if the concept of graduation is viable, these first creatures must have systematically entertained the prospect of color vision, arrived at a design solution, entered the format and relative data into their genetic coding, and passed along said data and mechanisms to their descendants by breeding. If the assertion is ruled unreasonable; that is, if the engineering and development of the eye is considered too great a feat for developing species, then that which Darwin feared will have come to pass.

    The design problem, a highly understated fact, was not overcome by a single maldeveloped species and passed on to others by crossbreeding; the development of the eye had to have been mastered by each division of the fleshly kingdom—fish, reptiles, birds, beasts of the field (animals with hair), preternatural creatures (i.e., differing from the norm, especially in size or appearance, as whales and dinosaurs), and man. Without contradiction, all flesh is not the same flesh. There is one kind of flesh for fish, another kind of flesh for reptiles, another flesh for birds, another for beasts of the field, and yet another for preternatural creatures. Man, incorrectly classified as a mammal (“beast of the field”), is mandated with a unique type of flesh which differs from all other species. This includes the family of apes which obstructionists theorize to be man’s closest ancestors.

    It is an indisputable, biological fact that flesh of different types cannot mate and produce a hybrid or intermediate species. A fish cannot mate with a chicken, a cow with a serpent, or a monkey with a whale. More on scale, but equally ridiculous, a bull cannot mate with a mare, a deer with a buffalo, a goat with a pig, or man with any of the preceding; besides which, there are intermediate categories or variances between species of any one order (except man) which precludes crossbreeding between species closely related. For instance, a chicken may only mate with another of the same flesh; it cannot mate with a duck, turkey, or any other bird. Hence, each division of the fleshly kingdom, represented by thousands of individual species, would have to approach the obstacle independently; there would not be any crossbreeding to pass along the design of the eye.

    The fundamental truth that all flesh is not the same flesh and that species of varying flesh cannot crossbreed is one of the most misrepresented facts in biology. A familiar corruption of the truth is the nonsensical clatter promoted by some biologists, who should know better, that the great dinosaurs did not just die out but may have degraded to birds. Abiding by the prospect, a little wren sitting on a branch may have in its ancestral tree a dinosaur or two. The theory, hyped by the media, often with tongue-in-cheek (poking fun at the biologists), may be dismissed entirely: preternatural creatures were and are of one flesh and birds of another. Any suggested crossover, great dinosaurs mating with wrens, or down pattern; that is, hapless dinosaurs purposefully altering their genetic coding to simulate the appearance and flesh of birds, borders on the bizarre and should be held with disdain.

    The realized truth, downplayed by biologists, has been recognized by most every man, woman, and child throughout the ages. The law of procreation has not been compromised even though learned men of great patience have tried for years to violate it. The rule is even recorded in the Bible for all to see, perhaps, for such a time as this:

    38. But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
    39. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
    40. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
    41. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.—I Corinthians 15

    The 2000 year old statement of truth remains unchallenged and reveals the great wisdom of the writer, surpassing that of obstructionist leagues, even in the assertion that “one star differeth from another in glory”; indeed, all stars are not the same as the investigation will bear out.

  2. “Therein lies a problem: if the concept of graduation is viable, these first creatures must have systematically entertained the prospect of color vision, arrived at a design solution, entered the format and relative data into their genetic coding, and passed along said data and mechanisms to their descendants by breeding.”

    Just wow.

    I’d like my kids to be calculus geniuses and expert gymnists. And have wings. I guess I’d better get started modifying my DNA to achieve this goal.

    “that is, hapless dinosaurs purposefully altering their genetic coding to simulate the appearance and flesh of birds, borders on the bizarre and should be held with disdain.”

    You bet. Which is why we don’t suggest intention had anything to do with it.

  3. >ID L.G. Modern high-speed supercomputers have now used
    >ID large-scale number crunching to calculate the eons of time and
    >ID probabilities that are required to develop a cell through chance
    >ID and mutation. The result? The odds are essentially zero, no
    >ID matter how many millions or billions of years pass. (p.6)

    > I flat out call bullshit on this one, I want to see references. First I
    >doubt the claim that anyone has wasted the time on a
    >supercomputer, second I am unaware of anyone arguing that the
    >first cell developed though simply “chance and mutation”. No one
    >knows the process by which the first cell formed therefore no
    >probabilities can be attached its likelihood.

    Troy, you’re much too generous (credulous) here.
    Supercomputers aren’t that hard to find, especially if you’re dealing with a group that lies a lot. For all you know, they are referring to a 3 GHz pentium that has the computing power of (some) earlier supercomputer. Even if they really do mean a modern (as in something that today is on the top 500 list) supercomputer, there are quite a few people with such access. I’m one. If you’d like me to write a program to compute 2+2, so you can claim it was done on a modern supercomputer (honestly), I’m game. If you’d like me to run a high resolution climate model for 1000 years simulation time, then we’d need to look at permission.

    Second, of course you know people who argue that (scientists belive) cells arose by “chance and mutation”. It was a common creationist line, and is now a common ID line. They set up the same sort of computation as Hoyle’s (for all we know, it is Hoyle’s) and multiply the numbers together to get however large/small a number they want. Doesn’t look like they gave a citation to the source of this computation for us to tell how they rigged the game.

    Anyhow, nice job. Just a couple nits to pick on the supercomputer world.

  4. Pingback: jclement.ca » And more on the Expelled Stuff

  5. Hey C. David Parsons,

    Sorry – but you can’t turn me. My testicles were torn off in a bizarre gardening accident, and according to Deuteronomy 23:1 of the
    New American Standard Bible (©1995) –

    “No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the LORD.”

    No testicles, no heaven.

    Why should I even try to understand ID?

  6. I’m going to hell, too, along with the rest of the entomologists.

    “Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.” (Leviticus 5:2)

  7. Wow, did that preacher guy actually try to use the design argument to disprove evolution? And using the EYE? Come on, man: Darwin blew that one away over 150 years ago. You’re not even TRYING now.

  8. “Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.” (Leviticus 5:2)

    Son of a bitch. I guess my atheist entomologist grandfather was right. He wasn’t going to heaven.

  9. . . . rocks of Cambrian age are the oldest containing fossils of multicellular life forms.

    I think you mean “. . . are not the oldest . . .”

    While I’m at it, “. . . to justify there barbarity . . .” should have “their barbarity”.

  10. Rocky, I disagree. It’s not too long to read. It is, however, both too stupid and too insufferably pompous to read, which is no mean feat.

    I wonder if David Berlinsky had anything to do with it.

  11. I think we must all agree that change is blind. Whether by blind evolution or blind faith is the question. For all of the long point by point here, one thing I think that is missing, perhaps it falls to someone else, is a refutation of “Expelled” itself.

  12. Lillie Yiyuan said:

    “For all of the long point by point here, one thing I think that is missing, perhaps it falls to someone else, is a refutation of “Expelled” itself.”

    Expelled has been refuted in numerous venues — not that there is a great deal to refute, to be honest — so you could just go and look for yourself. Here is a good place to start: Expelled Exposed.

  13. We can now better understand how humans form, before being embryonic – a Romanian biologist has discovered the process within and fecundated ovule in the first 3 – 4 weeks after fecundation, taking into application former theories regarding this matter. I would gladly provide you with more info, if i had any in English – but as mentioned above, the biologist is Romanian.

    Interesting things happen TODAY.

  14. I forgot to thank Troy for all of his effort in putting down as a matter of record yet more examples of the sheer dishonesty of the Expelled producers.

    I don’t know whether you have thought about asking people with knowledge of the other areas to take a look at those claims?

    Thanks you very much. :)

  15. The sheer magnitude of geological time is vast. The scope for achieving dramatic change is accordingly vast as well. To give an example, the Atlantic Ocean is opening at approximately 2cm a year (that’s less than an inch) and yet over 200 million years that’s enough to form an ocean. And that time is less than 5% of the age of the Earth.

    Thank you for your clear summary of allopatric speciation. Although evolution is often misinterpreted in terms of gradual and slow genetic drift involving the entire gene pool, in reality the process is characterised in the geological record as a series of geologically instantaneous jumps, described by Eldredge and Gould as punctuated equilibria.

    This is fundamentally How evolution works.

  16. You certainly spend a lot of time and energy trying to prove that the creationists are wrong. Maybe you are right.

    It is nice and great how you post the arguments of the creationists and then (try to) answer them. I must say – however – that I do not find many of your answers convincing.

    For example:

    “Here we have another creationist standard. When presented with evidence of small scale morphological change from either animal breeding or observed evolutionary adaptations in wild populations, creationists wave it away dismissively with comments such as: “but they’re still moths”.

    However no one has ever claimed that these were examples of anything but small scale changes.

    [MAYBE YOU ARE RIGHT that no one claimed that (though I doubt it) - but everybody claims that these small changes lead to very big changes that cannont (and have not been) be observed...and that just is NOT science. Is it?]

    On the contrary, these small scale changes are the only sort of changes we should be able to observe in the limited time scales involved (within a human lifetime or two).

    Basically creationists are demanding that scientists produce examples of large scale changes (like between fish and amphibians) taking place on a human time scale as evidence for evolutionary theory. The problem is standard evolutionary theory says this should not be possible; that such change require time on a more geologic scale to occur.

    [INDEED - so you cannot observe it and you cannot 'prove' it by experiment =) you have to BELIEVE it...which is fine with me if that is what you choose to believe, but it is not fair then to make it a contest between SCIENCE and non-science, is it?].

    So we would have to essentially falsify current evolutionary theory to in order to corroborate it to their satisfaction. Heads they win, tails we lose.”

    [What????]

    In any case – that is the whole POINT – that you cannot prove/observe what they would call MACROEVOLUTION. Now, since this cannot be observed and proved (experimented) – why are you so dogmatic and sure that it actually happened? I understand that it is NOT POSSIBLE because it took millions of years etc…but can you see how many understand this as a “cop out’? Well – I cannot prove/show/observe it because it took millions of years. Everybody agrees that there is microevolution/adaptation or whatever you call it. But to jump from that to what I call macroevolution (by simply throwing in some millions of years) stretches the imagination (at least for me).

  17. C. David Parsons:

    “It is an indisputable, biological fact that flesh of different types cannot mate and produce a hybrid or intermediate species.”

    What about the mule, or the Liger?

  18. You also sau:

    “Here Denton agrees that punctuated equilibrium is a “perfectly reasonable explanation” for species level gaps in the fossil record, but not for gaps between higher taxonomic groups. However given the fact that PE was never intended by Eldredge & Gould to apply to gaps between higher taxonomic groups, Denton is attacking a straw man of his own construction.”

    I agree – it is a “perfectly reasonable explanation” – BUT unprovable and untestable…which is the case with much of evolution. Hence – you must have FAITH (woops – I used the F word) and HOPE that you are right. Some do not have this kind of faith. Of course – it may be due to our ignorance (I personally have not studied evolution for a long time – and I only had one course in College), but your site does not answer the creationists adequately.

  19. This discussion goes no where. Evolutionary biology is a massive supported science full of highly complex and difficult subjects. The fundie mind is essentially a non-thinking and picks at the edges with completely useless concepts. I am still looking for these answers from the ID crowd.
    What the specific ‘Theory of ID’ is and how we can test it?
    What would it predict?
    Also HOW did ‘the designer’ do it?
    Who designed and constructed ‘the designer’?
    How did the bible writers learn the story if they were not there to see it?
    If the earth is 6,000 years old, where did the oil come from? (Its made from ancient plant life and requires millions of years of heating and pressures under the surface to form).

  20. Dear Tony,

    You are so smart! I wonder if you ever lose your keys?

    “Debating evolutionists on the topic of creation or intelligent design is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon; it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.” – your quote altered and thanks for making my point.

    True science is a matter of observation. Where almost every single problem begins, is when observations are interpreted. Oh, my the sun came up this morning and then disappeared. We’re all going to die. The world is flat, don’t go to the edge, you’ll fall off. When all sides to any issue are not allowed to debate, refute, test the waters, provide negative feedback etc., the one dominates and in essence becomes a religion. All sides of the issue are full of many holes and each seek to dominate. History shows that in order to defeat an enemy or an idea, it is accomplished by numbers, attack, give it the silent treatment or use any combination or all three. Somewhere in the middle of the bullshit of evolution, creation and intelligent design, like life staring right in our face, is the truth. Wouldn’t it be a better use of time to work together for the betterment of all? But perhaps if you have lost your keys it would explain why a thief cannot generally find a police officer.

    Dahni

  21. excellent writeup. I skipped something here and there – you are very thorough – but I’ll keep it as a reference next time someone get’s “scientific” in their pitch on intelligent design.

  22. Chris:

    Read through this: 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent

    …and then take your complaints, analysis and comments to the scientific community in peer-review. I am sure that they would love your input.

    Personal incredulity is not an argument. It isn’t our fault if you don’t understand the evidence, or how science proceeds.

    Dahni Hayden:

    We will continue in the attempt to understand the evolutionary history of disease, with all people gaining from the life saving cures that flow from that.

    ID creationists will no doubt continue with their sectarian agenda, producing no peer-reviewed research (or any research at all, for that matter), instead writing books and movies in their attempt to bypass everything that makes science so successful by taking their case to a scientifically illiterate general public, in the hope of persuading school boards to teach it to innocent children.

  23. Dahni Hayden says:

    True science is a matter of observation. Where almost every single problem begins, is when observations are interpreted.

    I agree!

    The problem is that intelligent design hasn’t even made any observations yet. Every “intelligent design” paper is basically a literature review with “AND THEREFORE INTELLIGENT DESIGNER, OBVIOUSLY!” stamped throughout it a couple of times.

    Plenty of scientists disagree with evolution. Joan Roughgarden has problems with sexual selection. Lynn Margulis believes endosymbiosis played a much more major role than current scientific thought believes. Both are welcomed at evolutionary conferences because they actually do the research to support their claims.

    Intelligent design advocates haven’t done a single experiment. They only shout louder and louder that there’s a controversy, that they want a debate, but the reason nobody’s debating them about their research is that there isn’t any.

  24. Chris writes:

    [MAYBE YOU ARE RIGHT that no one claimed that (though I doubt it) - but everybody claims that these small changes lead to very big changes that cannont (and have not been) be observed...and that just is NOT science. Is it?]

    It is not inherently illogical to suggest that small changes, when accumlated over long periods of time, can lead to big changes. That is rather self-evident.

    However, scientists do not simply claim that microevolution must have happened because microevolution has been happening for a long time. There is a mountain of totally independent evidence that macroevolution happened, from the fossil record to the extant molecular record in our genes. Common descent. unlike Intelligent Design, makes fully testable and tested empirical predictions.

    In science, to observe something does not necessarily mean observing the event itself, but the evidence left behind as a result of the event. Only occasionally do events happen a human timescale and can be observed as they happen, and even then we often have to resort to looking not at the event itself, but some proxy for the event. For instance, we don’t see chemicals react in a flask, but instead see a physical or a temperature or colour or a voltage change and infer the event from that.

    [INDEED - so you cannot observe it and you cannot 'prove' it by experiment =) you have to BELIEVE it...which is fine with me if that is what you choose to believe, but it is not fair then to make it a contest between SCIENCE and non-science, is it?].

    See my response above. There are lots of things in nature that cannot or have not been observed, and yet we continue to scientifically investigate them. No-one has ever directly observed an electron, or the core of the Earth, or Pluto orbit the Sun, and still we study these things scientifically. Observation is about evidence, evidence which may remain even when the object or event to which the evidence belongs cannot itself be directly observed.

    [What????]

    He’s saying that when a Creationist says something like ‘show me a cat coming from a dog and I’ll believe evolution’, that this is not evolution at all. If such a thing were true, then evolution wouldn’t be supported, but refuted.

    In any case – that is the whole POINT – that you cannot prove/observe what they would call MACROEVOLUTION. Now, since this cannot be observed and proved (experimented) – why are you so dogmatic and sure that it actually happened?

    But it certainly can be observed. If common descent were true, we would expect it to leave behind a very specific set of evidence that we could uncover in the physical record from both existing and past organisms. We have uncovered this evidence (not ALL of it of course) and it overwhealmingly supports common descent. There is no other non-vacuous testable biological explanation.

    I understand that it is NOT POSSIBLE because it took millions of years etc…but can you see how many understand this as a “cop out’?

    He is not saying there is no evidence. he is saying that the time scales are too vast to directly experience large scale changes in slowly reproducing species.

    Well – I cannot prove/show/observe it because it took millions of years. Everybody agrees that there is microevolution/adaptation or whatever you call it. But to jump from that to what I call macroevolution (by simply throwing in some millions of years) stretches the imagination (at least for me).

    No-one is saying that simply microevolution + time = macroevolution. End of story.

    I recommend Doug Theobald’s TalkOrigins FAQ on macroevolution. I can supply the link if you like.

  25. Fantastic pair of posts, Troy. I don’t know how you guys find the patience to keep fighting the good fight on this. Thanks.

  26. Chris – you may not be convinced by the point, but I believe you are overlooking something extremely significant.

    Do you know what those “small changes” are?

    Transitional forms.

    One day when those versions of the same animal or plant eventually cross the nebulous border of speciation, those small changes will be the hallmarks of the transition.

    T

  27. The problem is that intelligent design hasn’t even made any observations yet.

    Not only that, they haven’t even come up with an actual testable ID theory. So it is not surprising that they haven’t made any observations.

  28. “Modern high-speed supercomputers have now used large-scale number crunching to calculate the eons of time and probabilities that are required to develop a cell through chance and mutation.”

    Maybe he’s alluding to Granville Sewell FORTRAN program ?
    “So I wrote the program — in Fortran, naturally — and we tried it. It took several hours, and at the end of the simulation we dumped the final coordinates of all the particles into a rather large data file, then ran MATLAB to plot them. ”

    After running his imaginary program many times on his laptop, imaginary life failed to appear. So he asked advice rom his imaginary friend, rewrote his imaginary program. Still, no life.

    He asked more advice from his imaginary friend: “But when he finished, I still didn’t know how to incorporate natural selection — or intelligence — into my model, so I never did get the simulation to work. I decided the model was still missing a force or two — or a smarter random number generator.”

    See, that’s an experiment that toroughly disproves Evolution, well, maybe Abiogenesis. It was retroactively acknowledge as a tought experiment by Granville Sewell.

    My Failed Simulation http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=25030

  29. I flat out call bullshit on this one.

    As well you should. Without references it is impossible to be certain, but the LG statement almost certainly comes from a math kook with physics envy, Granville Sewell. Sewell initially claimed a few moths ago to have written a simulator which simulates the Universe, without finding any evolution happening.

    When challenged, he admitted to have done no such thing, it was a “supposed” experiment. But a creationist publication such as LG can’t let the facts stand in their way, so they adopt the initial fraud instead.

    @ DH:

    Wouldn’t it be a better use of time to work together for the betterment of all?

    You are the first I have seen that has claimed that science doesn’t work towards “the betterment of all”. I guess we will have to throw away vaccines and electronics now, obviously you can prove that they don’t make things better.

    Or are you equally “seriously” arguing that biology isn’t a science? Because, damn…

  30. Oh, this:

    a tought experiment

    The reason I wrote “supposed” ‘experiment’ was that a thought experiment should reasonably have some basis in what we know. Sewell never established that.

  31. Pingback: Expelled’s intelligent design theory - this IS your daddy’s creationism (Part I) « Playing Chess with Pigeons

  32. I’m still waiting for the University of Creationism to be opened. I want to join their PHD program. I already know all the answers to the test they’ll give. I have a nice place picked out on my wall to hang the diploma. I can’t wait.

  33. Damian – you say the following:

    “Read through this: 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent…”

    I will try to read through this. One of my points was that given the objections of the creationists listed here – the answers given on this site were NOT convincing. Maybe the ones from your link will be. I will check it out.

    “…and then take your complaints, analysis and comments to the scientific community in peer-review. I am sure that they would love your input.

    Personal incredulity is not an argument. It isn’t our fault if you don’t understand the evidence, or how science proceeds.”

    I will not take my complaints to the scientific community for I am not a scientist. Perhaps personal incredulity is not an argument and you are right that I do not understand the evidence (and I am not convinced by it).

    Undoubtedly – this is due in large part to the fact that I have not read much on evolution – definitely not much that was convincing. Again – I will try to look at the link you sent.

    NOW – it so happens that I have a PhD from a leading University in North America (it is not in science). Shouldn’t the leading scientists present the theory of evolution in such a way as to convince a decently intelligent human beings (even the ones who are not scientists) of the validity and plausibility of this theory?

    From what I can see – it has not convinced that many people – at least not in the USA. “Personal incredulity” is and should be an argument – if the person is reasonably intelligent and approaches the subject with an “open” mind – as much as that is possible.

    • “From what I can see – it has not convinced that many people – at least not in the USA. “Personal incredulity” is and should be an argument – if the person is reasonably intelligent and approaches the subject with an “open” mind – as much as that is possible.”
      first, I REALLY don’t mean to be offensive in any way, but not convincing many people in the USA isn’t really an argument against a scientific theory. Religious fundamentalism is as rampant there as it is in many middle eastern countries, so not convincing parts of the populace are to be expected.

      and no, personal incredulity is not an argument. For my entire educational career I have tried and tried and I have approached the subject with as open a mind as I can muster as a human being in an attempt to understand the complex intricacies of calculus and linear algebra. I don’t understand them, often times I am highly incredulous that what they have come up with these past 500 years is even real at all. If your logic were true, I would be able to take my personal incredulity to my university’s board of governors and have those two C-‘s stricken from my record. Too bad my personal (and everyone else who doesn’t understand high level math) incredulity are not valid arguments in disproving math because it’s been too well supported in it’s use and application by others, even if I don’t understand it.

      “I will not take my complaints to the scientific community for I am not a scientist. Perhaps personal incredulity is not an argument and you are right that I do not understand the evidence (and I am not convinced by it).

      Undoubtedly – this is due in large part to the fact that I have not read much on evolution – definitely not much that was convincing. Again – I will try to look at the link you sent.”

      Isn’t following an anti-science, anti-evolution statement with the admission that you neither know much about science or evolutionary theory because you’re not a scientist and haven’t done much reading on the topic of evolution a bit like discrediting every single thing you’ve just said? You can’t make an honest or valid argument about anything if you don’t know what it is that you’re actually arguing.

      “In any case – that is the whole POINT – that you cannot prove/observe what they would call MACROEVOLUTION. Now, since this cannot be observed and proved (experimented) – why are you so dogmatic and sure that it actually happened? I understand that it is NOT POSSIBLE because it took millions of years etc…but can you see how many understand this as a “cop out’? Well – I cannot prove/show/observe it because it took millions of years. Everybody agrees that there is microevolution/adaptation or whatever you call it. But to jump from that to what I call macroevolution (by simply throwing in some millions of years) stretches the imagination (at least for me).”

      Here’s an example I have used when debating this in the past – If you are walking along alone on a desolate beach, with no one around that you can see and you come across some footprints in the sand – what conclusions do you reach? assuming that you have not walked in a circle, are of reasonable intelligence, are aware of the principle of cause and effect and have at some point in your life met another human being, you will likely assume that the footprints were made by another person walking along the beach before you arrived.
      When a person who studies evolution tries to talk to an incredulous creationist, it feels a little like this:
      “Evolutionist: did you see those footprints? I wonder who made them? do you think it was a man or a woman? when do you think they walked along the beach? how tall were they? I know, I will use my powers of science – I will check to see what the weather was like today so I will know how long they might have been there before being blown away by the wind. Then I will measure the depth of the footprints and the pattern of depression to try and calculate how heavy they were. I will also measure the distance between them to see how long their stride was so I can make a reasonable assumption about their height. Then I will combine those two pieces of information, along with footprint size to try and make a guess (though it won’t be a very reliable guess I admit) about the age and sex of the person who made those footprints. then I will take all that data and present it to my peers and we can debate about the conclusions I have drawn because arriving at age and sex from a set of footprints is open to interpretation, though accepting that it was a person who made them is not. The reason we will debate is because for the sake of this hypothetical situation we are going to accept that knowing the identity of the person who made those footprints has real world importance and significance to our health, our place in this world and what it means to be a human being, therefore investigation and discussion into the nature of that person is vital to furthering our development as a society, finding cures for diseases and understanding the environment so we can better protect it.

      Creationist: What do you mean person who made those footprints? I didn’t see someone walking on the beach. Neither did you. Therefore you can’t say it was a person who made them. It might have been god, or aliens. They might have put them there to test my faith in the belief that I was walking on the beach alone that day. It was probably god. I didn’t see it, so I don’t believe it and nothing you can say or do will change my mind. furthermore, believing that it was a person who made those footprints violates my sense of morality and if you convince others that it was a person who made those footprints society will collapse and we will all go to hell

      Evolutionist: um, what? What about those important questions about health, disease, the environment and what it means to be human? if you shut down the discourse because you don’t accept that those footprints were made by a person and then teach that belief to our school children how will we ever answer those questions?

      Creationist: God did it.”

      our skeletons are the footprints. Evolution was the person walking ahead of us in the sand. The evidence is so plainly displayed in the bodies of of every living thing, in the DNA of every cell and in the fossil record of the whole planet it starts to get frustrating to have to continuously argue the fact with people who choose to not learn enough about it to draw valid conclusions of their own

  34. Dave S. You say [about evolution}:

    “But it certainly can be observed. If common descent were true, we would expect it to leave behind a very specific set of evidence that we could uncover in the physical record from both existing and past organisms.”

    It is a big difference between OBSERVATION of evolution and between uncovering and piecing together evidence that supports the theory of evolution. Don’t you think so?

    I never said that there is no “evidence” that can be pieced together and support the theory of evolution (though that does not mean PROOF and you must understand that different people can interpret evidence differently; of course some interpretations are better/more plausible than others). However – there is a huge difference between EVIDENCE that can support a theory and OBSERVATION and EXPERIMENT (which are usually found in any definition of SCIENCE – look it up in any dictionary). Don’t you think so?

  35. Man this is a huge article…(the one from talkorigins.com)…I wonder if it is worth reading…It does not start very promising, I must say:

    “However, whether microevolutionary theories are sufficient to account for macroevolutionary adaptations is a question that is left open.”

    Honestly – I am not sure if it is worth the effort to read it. Let’s suppose the article convinces me that evolution is true (and therefore that there is no need for God – as many conclude). WHO CARES how exactly I got here on earth – if I come from some primordial soup and I am going into nothingness??

    Is it really worth spending hours reading a boring article which pretends to explain how I got to be what I am – if I will be dust and ashes very soon? I’d rather go and have some fun :) :) – and so should all of you :)

    Don’t you think so?? After all – I may not have very much to live…CARPE DIEM!

  36. Hey Troy! Thank you for the detailed response to the ‘leaders guide.’ For those of us who are not scientists, yet very interested in this topic, it is an invaluable resource!

  37. Evadyahu says:

    “Personal incredulity” is and should be an argument – if the person is reasonably intelligent and approaches the subject with an “open” mind – as much as that is possible.

    Personal incredulity is a valid argument.

    It’s just not a valid scientific argument.

    If it were, you could imagine how easily just about anything could be stonewalled by someone saying “you haven’t convinced me”.

    Evolution has happened. Life has given rise to other life, different in many ways. New habitats which have been created in the past hundred years – offshoots of Lake Malawi, tailings of copper mines in California – acquire new forms of life adapted to living there. We also see incipient speciation in the form of “ring species” – subspecies of birds and rodents, each of which can only breed with one or two other subspecies. All it takes is for one link in the middle to snap – to exclusively mate with one partner, or to go extinct – and one species becomes two.

    The theory that this evolution has occurred by mutation and natural selection is borne out mostly by genetic analysis, a tool unknown to Darwin, but also by fossil homology and comparative anatomy. If you’d like something less dry to read you can pick up Neil Shubin’s “Your Inner Fish” and find out about how evolution from a marine environment explains a lot about the peculiarities of the human body, like why we hiccup.

    This isn’t to say that current evolutionary theory has been proven true. It just hasn’t been proven false yet, as it would if it made predictions which didn’t reflect the actual data that was gathered.

    You can actually do a pretty easy experiment to validate evolutionary theory. Take a look at the sequence of genes that codes for a vital attribute, then take a look at the sequence that codes for something more neutral, like eye color, or at a sequence of DNA that you don’t think does anything. Draw them from a bunch of different sample organisms in the species and look at how much they vary from one another. If current theory is correct, the “vital attribute” genes will vary much less from each other than the “neutral” DNA, because more organisms will die off through random alteration of a vital gene sequence than a neutral one.

  38. Shouldn’t the leading scientists present the theory of evolution in such a way as to convince a decently intelligent human beings (even the ones who are not scientists) of the validity and plausibility of this theory?

    Scientific evidence is what convince scientists, and the scientific process sets up a market of ideas competition for consensus.

    Can you explain how to convince “non scientists” if they don’t accept the scientific process of repeated observation and validation of theories, or the consensus of the scientific community?

    It is a big difference between OBSERVATION of evolution and between uncovering and piecing together evidence that supports the theory of evolution.

    For example fossils are (repeatable) observations of the evolutionary process. There is no more and/or different “uncovering” or “pieceing together evidence” here as opposed to other observational sciences, say chemistry or astronomy.

    Let’s suppose the article convinces me that evolution is true (and therefore that there is no need for God – as many conclude).

    I suggest that you separate fact and belief. Hard facts you must accept for simple reasons, belief – well, that is another question.

    WHO CARES how exactly I got here on earth – if I come from some primordial soup and I am going into nothingness??

    You can’t predict that a population evolved from “primordial soup” with common evolutionary theory, only that populations evolve to different populations. So why worry about this while studying the science you are concerned with?

  39. Pingback: Finally: My Own Expelled Review Extravaganza « The Bad Idea Blog

  40. However – there is a huge difference between EVIDENCE that can support a theory and OBSERVATION and EXPERIMENT (which are usually found in any definition of SCIENCE – look it up in any dictionary). Don’t you think so?

    No.

    In science what you observe is the evidence. An experiment is just the formal approach used in making the observations. Sometimes you can affect a variable at will, and that can be helpful, but its certainly not a necessity in science.

    Even for things happening in a human timescale on a lab bench we often have to piece together the event based on observing evidence left behind during and after the event. Nobody has ever observed an H+ ion reacting with an OH- ion. This is inferred based on evidence left behind.

  41. Pingback: The Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism” list examined « Playing Chess with Pigeons

  42. Pingback: comparative mammal anatomy

  43. Re: Transitional Fossils , Archaeopteryx

    Re: ‘Evolutionists and Atheist claim they have millions of fossils’ AND the response that ‘There are plenty of transitional fossils.

    As you know if scientists, evolututionists or atheist had scientific evidence such as Darwin’s promised (hopefully they will be found) transitional fossils showing gradual change from one species to another, or showing gradual improvement of a limb, organ etc IT WOULD BE EASILY AVAILABLE – with full details on the internet. But they have nothing. I believe you must be honest with yourself on this particular point and accept that the backbone of the theory of evolution is broken.

    You explicitly know that 150 years ago, or longer, Darwin knew that this was a major death blow to his theory, IF the transitional evidence was not dug up.

    You must remember that it is your theory that every different life form or species (and there are millions) evolved over millions of years from one source – a 1 cell or something similar. Evolutionists claim they have millions of fossils – but they have zero transitional fossils showing gradual change from one species to another species, or showing gradual improvement of a limb, wing or fin etc.

    Archaeopteryx

    Wikipedia states (Google http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeopteryx) “That the Archaeopteryx lived in the late Jurassic Period around 155–150 million years ago. It was similar in size and shape to a European Magpie. Archaeopteryx could grow to about 0.5 metres (1.6 ft) in length. Despite its small size, broad wings, and ability to fly.”

    Evolutionist and atheists put this forward as a transitional fossil between dinosaurs and birds. Wikipedia edited by scientists do not go that far, and state:
    “Archaeopteryx has more in common with small theropod dinosaurs than it does with modern birds. In particular, it shares the following features with the deinonychosaurs (dromaeosaurs and troodontids): jaws with sharp teeth, three fingers with claws, a long bony tail, hyperextensible second toes (“killing claw”), feathers (which also suggest homeothermy), and various skeletal features.
    The features above make Archaeopteryx the first clear candidate for a transitional fossil between dinosaurs and birds. Thus, Archaeopteryx plays an important role not only in the study of the origin of birds but in the study of dinosaurs.”

    Scientists admit that this is the ‘first clear candidate for a ‘transitional fossil’ between dinosaurs and birds. Please examine what they are actually saying, and compare it to what you previously believed. It is to be noted that scientists do not claim it is a ‘transitional fossil’ only that it is the first clear ‘candidate’.

    Please think about this. The Bible states that God created every different species. What evidence do we have to look at to show creation or evolution? “Archaeopteryx” – A fully formed creature in every manner and which can also perch and fly. No partially formed organs, limbs etc – the finished item. The evidence for the theory of evolution is zero.

    But as you know the poor people who accept evolution is correct, are shown the wonderful creature Archaeopteryx and by deception, they are told it is a ‘transitional fossil’ between a dinosaur and a bird. A complete falsehood.

    Please look at what it states further down under the heading :–
    Phylogenetic position

    [1]

    “Modern paleontology has consistently placed Archaeopteryx as the most primitive bird. It is not thought to be a true ancestor of modern birds but, rather, a close relative of that ancestor…”

    They admit it is not an ancestor of modern birds – But they falsely tell the poor people it is a ‘transitional fossil’ – part of your factual evidence that you have studied and accepted.

    [2]

    “Nonetheless, Archaeopteryx is so often used as a model of the true ancestral bird that it has seemed almost heretical to suggest otherwise. Several authors have done so.[52] Lowe (1935)[55] and Thulborn (1984)[56] questioned whether Archaeopteryx truly was the first bird. They suggested that Archaeopteryx was a dinosaur that was no more closely related to birds than were other dinosaur groups. Kurzanov (1987) suggested that Avimimus was more likely to be the ancestor of all birds than Archaeopteryx.[57] Barsbold (1983)[58] and Zweers and Van den Berge (1997)[59] noted that many maniraptoran lineages are extremely birdlike, and suggested that different groups of birds may have descended from different dinosaur ancestors.”

    The evidence from the scientists own mouths is – they know that Archaeopteryx is not a transition fossil and yet like some mad priest they hold it up as evidence – just as they did the ‘Piltdown man.’

    And you say this is factual evidence you have examined and believe. If you take away the deception ‘transitional fossil’ Archaeopteryx (the first and only one) What are you left with? ZERO

    P.S. The Notes:

    52^ a b Witmer, Lawrence M. (2002). “The debate on avian ancestry”, in Witmer, L.; Chiappe, L.: Mesozoic Birds: Above the Heads of Dinosaurs. Berkeley: University of California Press, 3–30. ISBN 0520200942.

    55^ Lowe, P. R. (1935). “On the relationship of the Struthiones to the dinosaurs and to the rest of the avian class, with special reference to the position of Archaeopteryx”. Ibis 5 (2): 398–432. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1935.tb02979.x. ISSN 0019-1019.
    56^ Thulborn, R. A. (1984). “The avian relationships of Archaeopteryx, and the origin of birds”. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 82 (1-2): 119–158. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.1984.tb00539.x.
    57^ Kurzanov, S. M. (1987). “Avimimidae and the problem of the origin of birds”. Transactions of the joint Soviet-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition 31: 31–94. ISSN 0320-2305.
    58^ Barsbold, Rhinchen (1983). “Carnivorous dinosaurs from the Cretaceous of Mongolia”. Transactions of the joint Soviet-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition 19: 5–119. ISSN 0320-2305.
    59^ Zweers, G. A.; Van den Berge, J.C. (1997). “Evolutionary patterns of avian trophic diversification”. Zoology: Analysis of Complex Systems 100: 25–57. ISSN 0944-2006.
    END

  44. Pingback: Recent Links Tagged With "annelida" - JabberTags

  45. Pingback: TopDog

  46. Troy,

    You are too generous to the creationists about Hitler. Hitler and the National Socialists never used evolution to justify their actions and beliefs. In Mein Kampf the word evolution was used once: in the context of the evolution of a political situation, not biological evolution (and I have read the book, many years ago, and refreshed my memory recently). The justification for the persecution of the Jews was couched in Christian terms that would be familiar to theologians from the early days of the Church, through Martin Luther to the present day.

  47. Pingback: Pay no attention to the creationists behind the ID curtain! « Playing Chess with Pigeons

  48. Pingback: World class projection at the Discovery Institute « Playing Chess with Pigeons

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s