Monday, May 25, 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
The Storyteller is in Control
Evolution has introduced into science the art of story-telling where the story tellers, rather than the rules of science, are in control. Evolution is a narrative, not an appeal to scientific principles and laws. Evolutionary events are “unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible” in the words of famous evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky. Or as Harvard’s Ernst Mayr wrote, “Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques” for explaining evolutionary events and processes.
Evolution’s rejection of law seems to have translated to, more generally, a loss of principle. Evolutionists, for example, think nothing of tarnishing the good name of all who disagree with them. After all, they are a threat to science and the truth. No matter how accomplished, skeptics can expect discrimination. Blackballing, secret lists and delegitimization are all used to deny academic and professional benefits enjoyed by evolutionists.
Given the immense influence of evolutionary thought, it may not be surprising that this rejection of law goes beyond scientific squabbles. After all, evolution is the most influential theory in areas outside of science, in the history of science. Evolutionary science, whether cosmological or biological, resists the constraints of law, and for centuries we have likewise resisted the laws and principles of the land when inconvenient.
This week presidential hopeful Rick Perry gave an excellent example of this pervasive mode of thought. Commenting favorably on the on-going unlawful surveillance associated with controversial legislation, Perry explained that the law needs to be compromised:
we’ve been a country that always balanced our civil liberties against protecting our citizens. And that’s what this debate is about. But I will always, I will always err on the side of defending our citizens’ safety, but again being very mindful that our civil liberties don’t need to be trampled on. And if there are agencies or people that are abusing that, they need to be held accountable, and use every bit of the power of this country to punish anyone who is using the Patriot Act in a way that is not appropriate. And when I talk about appropriate, we all, I think, understand what I’m talking about here.
Perry, who if elected presumably would take an oath to uphold the law, explains that lawfully protected freedoms must be “balanced” with protections and that he will always make the law subservient to his common sense concerns. For Perry citizens are not guaranteed legal protections and that is appropriate because, after all, we all understand “what I’m talking about here.” Well at least we know that unlawful surveillance isn’t what he is talking about. As with evolution, the narrative trumps the law.
The fact that a presidential candidate would promote this ends-justifies-the-means view illustrates how pervasive it is. For centuries lawfully protected rights and freedoms have been “balanced” for those whom such protections didn’t seem appropriate. With evolutionary thought there is no law.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
An Optimal CodeOne of the powerful evidences for evolution is the DNA code, at least according to evolutionists. The DNA code is essentially the same across all of life and, evolutionists explain, there is no reason for such universality. The code is ubiquitous across all life, but it is not special or unique. It is a mundane code, like any other, which just happened to evolve early in evolutionary history. But once in place it could not evolve, so it has been preserved ever since. In other words, the DNA code is the result of contingency, not law. As usual the evolutionary reasoning makes no sense. There is no credible, scientific, explanation for how a code could arise spontaneously in some primitive cell. And if it could not evolve once it was in place, then how could it evolve in the first place? Beyond all this, it certainly is not just another code. For instance, consider Morse code shown below:
The Morse code encodes letters and numbers using short and long signals called “dots” and “dashes.” It was used with telegraph systems in the nineteenth century. The letter codes are shorter for those letters that are used more frequently, such as A, E, I, N and T. This serves to minimize the length of the transmitted message and maximize the information conveyed by the telegraph.
Similarly the DNA code is an optimized code. Unlike the Morse code which is a variable word length code, the DNA code uses a constant word length. Each word consists of three chemical “letters” and the code has four different letters in all. This means there are 4^3 or 64 different words that are possible in this code. Each word codes for an amino acid, but only 20 different amino acids are coded for.
So an amino acid can have more than one code word assigned to it. One way that the DNA code is optimized is by assigning more code words to those amino acids that appear more frequently. This serves to maximize the additional information that can be overlaid on the genetic message.
For instance, if you need to code for an alanine amino acid, then you have four different code words available to you. This choice might encode for some other type of information, such as an overlapping gene. Many DNA segments code for more than one gene, for instance, by reading backwards. Not very mundane. Below is a chart of the DNA code (Lewin, Genes VII). On the right is a graph showing the number of code words for each amino acid plotted against the typical amino acid frequency. You can see that the higher frequency amino acids have more code words assigned to them.
Like the Morse code, the DNA code is optimized to maximize the information conveyed. When evolutionists say the DNA code is powerful evidence for evolution they are manipulating science to support their preconceived truth.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Getting Out of Controlcome clean as a reviewer of Thijs Ettema’s latest paper which makes the rather startling claim—with McInerney’s full approval—that complex archaea “bridge the gap” between prokaryotes and eukaryotes and share a common ancestry with eukaryotes. That is quite a claim. What Ettema and co-workers discovered was an archaeal phylum they have named “Lokiarchaeota,” after the mythological Norse deity Loki. The moniker is fitting both because the new microorganism was discovered near Loki’s Castle—an area of active hydrothermal vents in the north-Atlantic—and because Loki is, as Stefanie von Schnurbein explains, “a staggeringly complex, confusing, and ambivalent figure who has been the catalyst of countless unresolved scholarly controversies” much like the controversies surrounding the evolution of eukaryotes. And why is the evolution of eukaryotes so controversial amongst evolutionists? Because the scientific evidence is so contradictory.
With evolution we must believe that the last common eukaryote ancestor was a super ancestor because we continue to find similar genes in otherwise highly disparate, extant eukaryotes. This makes for, as one evolutionist admitted, “The Incredible Expanding Ancestor of Eukaryotes.” That early eukaryote must have had not only the vast majority of the complex DNA replication, RNA splicing and interference, and protein translation machinery, it was also capable of advanced movement and was equipped with versatile energy conversion systems.
The ancestor of today’s eukaryote’s also must have had incredibly complex DNA repair mechanisms. And it probably would have had at least some introns—the intervening regions scattered amongst eukaryotic “genes.”
And that last common eukaryote must have initiated an uncanny evolutionary history where, for example, peculiar and complex designs evolved again and again, independently—a pattern that is inconsistent with the expectations of common descent.
Before the last common ancestor of the eukaryotes evolved, the supposed evolutionary pathways that would be required are equally nonsensical. For instance, the cytoskeletons of prokaryotes and eukaryotes reveal patterns of distinctly different designs rather than an evolutionary pathway.
So it is not surprising that theories of eukaryote evolution can be controversial amongst evolutionists—the data do not support such an idea to begin with. A paper from almost thirty years ago, that admitted “One of the most important omissions in recent evolutionary theory concerns how eukaryotes could emerge and evolve,” remains just as relevant today.
Given the fact that evolutionists have failed to provide anything close to a scientific explanation of how eukaryotes could have spontaneously arisen (yes, evolutionists claim eukaryotes spontaneously arose—in fact they insist this is a fact beyond all reasonable doubt), Ettema’s and McInerney’s claims represent nothing less than a scientific breakthrough of the century.
But alas, and as usual, there was no such breakthrough. What in fact the evolutionists found was that using a highly select, prepared, refined and cleansed set of molecular sequence data, with computer algorithms whose logic assumes evolution is true to begin with, their new Lokiarchaeota species align with the eukaryotes. And so from an evolutionary perspective, there is an important evolutionary relationship with the eukaryotes. In all they found a whopping 3.3% of the Lokiarchaeota proteins to be similar to eukaryotic proteins.
That leads the evolutionists to declare that today’s Lokiarchaeota shares a common ancestry with eukaryotes. From a scientific perspective that is not merely an unsupported conclusion, it is contradictory to a mountain of empirical evidence.
And as usual the evolutionist’s cast their imagined findings in a teleological narrative with its attendant serendipity. Watch for the Aristotelian infinitive form:
This provided the host with a rich genomic “starter-kit” to support the increase in the cellular and genomic complexity that is characteristic of eukaryotes
A starter kit? So evolution created a rich genomic “starter kit” which then enabled, yes, evolution to occur.
This is beyond absurd, and the evolutionist’s non-scientific truth claims have had the usual effect of fueling yellow journalism. One need look no further than the Washington Post, whose headline declares that:
Newly discovered “missing link” shows how humans could evolve from single-celled organisms
Shows how humans could evolve? The Post goes on to explain that the finding is “a major clue on the origins of life.” This isn’t even wrong and is reminiscent of the “Life in a Test Tube” headlines following the much celebrated, and equally meaningless, Miller-Urey experiment.
But can journalists be blamed when evolutionists are feeding them these misrepresentations of science? The article quotes Eugene Koonin, for example, with this bizarre, non-scientific claim:
These findings clinch the case for the origin of eukaryotes from within the archaeal diversity and point to a specific part of the archaeal evolutionary tree where eukaryotes belong.
Clinch the case? This claim is so problematic it is difficult to know where to begin. Religion drives science and it matters.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Aristotelianism on Steroids
Every biology student learns that water has a wide range of particular properties that are crucial for life. It expands, rather than contracts, when it freezes leading to ponds merely freezing at the top rather than all the way through, in the winter; it is the universal solvent; and it absorbs heat without increasing much in temperature. Here is how a new research paper summarizes water:
Water is one of the most common substances yet it exhibits anomalous properties important for sustaining life. It has been an enduring challenge to understand how a molecule of such apparent simplicity can encode for complex and unusual behavior across a wide range of pressures and temperatures. … Water challenges our fundamental understanding of emergent materials properties from a molecular perspective. It exhibits a uniquely rich phenomenology including dramatic variations in behavior over the wide temperature range of the liquid into water’s crystalline phases and amorphous states.
The paper finds that water’s many properties can be explained with an N-body model with electrostatic forces. And as is so common, the authors use teleological language to describe the phenomena. Watch for the infinitive form:
We show that many-body responses arising from water’s electronic structure are essential mechanisms harnessed by the molecule to encode for the distinguishing features of its condensed states.
So the water molecule harnesses its electronic structure to encode its distinguishing features. Such Aristotelian language and thought are ubiquitous in the natural sciences. This suggests that it is not easy or natural for practitioners to study the natural world strictly from a materialistic perspective. The world didn’t “just happen.”
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Nobody Predicted It
But there is an entirely separate reason why our genome can construct a huge number of proteins from a relatively small number of so-called genes—each gene can code for multiple proteins. This is because once the exons are combined, the resulting transcript can be read in six different ways. For example, imagine reading a paragraph backwards and finding a different message. This is exactly what happens with some genes—they carry overlapping genetic messages which code for different proteins. Furthermore, a given protein often has different functions. Such protein multifunctionality, as one research explained, “is more the rule than the exception.”
This brief summary of how genes are used, leaving out a great many details, raises a difficulty for the theory of evolution. Namely, there is no scientific evidence that any of this could have evolved. For instance, a typical transcript may contain 1,000 nucleotides or chemical “letters.” There are four different nucleotides, so the number of possible messages is 4 raised to the power of 1,000. That is an astronomical number of possible genetic transcripts, most of which would not produce a functional protein. Today’s science tells us that evolution could not evolve a single protein.
But that is only the beginning. As the summary above indicates, somehow the genes were separated into exons, somehow the machinery for combining, and mixing and matching the exons must have arisen, somehow the machinery for translating the transcript into a protein via the DNA code must have arisen, and so forth.
There is no scientific evidence that evolution could have constructed this.
And there are many more problems with the theory of evolution. For example, consider the circularity that is required in the summary above. Recall that the exons are combined by a massive protein machine. So in other words, a massive protein machine is required to construct proteins. The protein machine must have been constructed first, in order for proteins to be constructed.
The same circularity applies to the translating of the transcript into a protein via the DNA code. In that translation process, a great many proteins are required. Proteins are required to construct proteins. There is no scientific evidence that evolution can construct a circular process such as this.
Furthermore, of all those roughly 30,000 genes, the cell needs to know which ones to express at any given time. For this, there are special DNA binding sites, nearby the genes, to which special proteins attach, in order to regulate gene expression. They help to control which genes are expressed. Here we have more circularity. Proteins are needed to regulate the process of regulating the construction of proteins.
Those not familiar with these gene regulation proteins do not appreciate how devastating they are for the theory of evolution. Somehow these proteins must have evolved by random genetic mutations. Several exons would need to be combine, leading to the construction of these regulatory proteins. The genetic sequences of nucleotides, in those exons, would have to code for a very special type of protein whose three-dimensional shape and chemistry would enable it to bind to DNA.
Then, separately, the DNA binding sites would have to arise, again from random mutations, where those gene regulation proteins would attach. Those DNA binding sites would need the correct sequence of nucleotides, and would need to be in precisely the correct location in the genome.
And of course the regulatory proteins would need to attach to the DNA binding sites at the correct time, working with yet other gene regulation proteins to control the transcription of a region of DNA. And of course that region of DNA would need to contain the correct genetic sequences, leading to the correct gene product, such as a protein.
There simply is no scientific evidence that this could have evolved.
This week new research out of SUNY Buffalo continues to make this story even more devastating for evolution. The research involves a gene, containing 24 exons, that codes for a special protein known as the nuclear Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor-1, or nFGFR1.
The nFGFR1 protein plays an important gene regulation role during embryonic development. In this role, nFGFR1 does not regulate the production of proteins that do something in the cell, such as synthesizing a chemical or metabolizing food. Instead, nFGFR1 regulates the regulatory proteins.
In other words, the nFGFR1 protein represents a higher level of gene regulation. The expression of genes is influenced by regulatory proteins, and the expression of the regulatory proteins is influenced by yet other proteins, such as nFGFR1. This is yet another unequivocal refutation of evolutionary theory.
Here is how the lead researcher explained the results:
We’ve known that the human body has almost 30,000 genes that must be controlled by thousands of transcription factors that bind to those genes, yet we didn’t understand how the activities of genes were coordinated so that they properly develop into an organism.
Now we think we have discovered what may be the most important player, which organizes this cacophony of genes into a symphony of biological development with logical pathways and circuits.
We found that this protein works as a kind of ‘orchestration factor,’ preferably targeting certain gene promoters and enhancers. The idea that a single protein could bind thousands of genes and then organize them into a hierarchy, that was unknown. Nobody predicted it.
Evolution is a nineteenth century theory that came out of seventeenth and eighteenth century concerns about divine action, the problem of evil, miracles and a host of related theological doctrines. Darwin’s book was loaded with metaphysical pronouncements about how the Creator would never have intended for this world. These beliefs were handed down to Darwin, and they have persisted in the form of evolutionary thought ever since. Evolution was not motivated by empirical science originally, and with the march of scientific progress, evolutionary thought becomes increasingly silly.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Early stem cells were set aside to create new featuresto guide motor behaviors” and that vertebrate nervous systems, in general, “have flexibly adapted to accommodate anatomical specializations for flight.” The infinitive form is the key. Evolutionary theory is supposed to have rejected teleology. Whereas Aristotle explained natural phenomena as a consequence of final causes, modern science, so the textbooks state, is free of such mysteries. After Bacon it was all about empiricism, mathematical descriptions and natural laws. There was no appeal to goals or end-directed action. Right? Wrong.
Evolutionary theory is Aristotelian. Practitioners use teleological language to describe how evolution works, ad nauseam. When evolutionists explain that the bat’s specialized airflow sensors evolved in order “to guide” motor behaviors, they are invoking an end- or goal-directed process. If nervous systems evolved “to accommodate” various capabilities such as flight, then evolution is Aristotelian.
Now the usual explanation for the teleological language, which is rampant amongst evolutionists, is that “we didn’t actually mean it, we’re just being lazy.”
In peer-reviewed papers?
No, evolutionists are not being lazy. Not this lazy. This is how they think about the evolutionary process. It performs actions in order to achieve goals.
Consider this week’s example, a study of embryonic development in vertebrates and how neural crest cells maintain their flexibility or pluripotency. The mystery is that these cells are able to give rise to various types of cells past the embryonic stages where most cells have lost that capability and instead are committed to a particular cell type such as skin, muscle or bone.
The explanation is that these cells evolved that way. Such explanations are given as though they advance the science.
But this adds nothing to the science. Explaining away an unexpected observation as “well evolution did it” is a cheap short-circuiting of the scientific method. It is a meaningless multiplying of entities which Occam warned us never to do and introduces explanations which themselves are in need of explaining.
As Descartes put it: “If you find it strange that … I do not use the [Aristotelian] qualities called ‘heat,’ ‘cold,’ ‘moistness,’ and ‘dryness,’ as do the philosophers, I shall say to you that these qualities appear to me to be themselves in need of explanation.”
This evolutionary reasoning—if it can be called reasoning—shuts off the search for how nature works—the main duty of science. Instead of figuring how embryonic development works it is simply ascribed to the contingencies of history. The underlying reasons for the design, which in its inexorable march of progress science will eventually uncover, are ignored. Evolutionists are, as they say, being lazy.
But that’s not the worst of it.
The constant teleological drumbeat in evolutionary theory not only obviates the scientific method, it replaces it with cacophony of serendipity. The evolutionary literature is chocked full of intricate, complicated, just-so stories that would put any soap opera to shame. All kinds of intricate events take place, leading to complex new creations which are then crucial to the next step in the plot.
This week’s paper on neural crest cells, for example, finds that after these fascinating and incredible cells were produced by evolution, they then became the crucial player in evolution’s construction of major new vertebrate designs. Here is how evolutionist Carole LaBonne, the study leader, explained it:
Neural crest cells never had their potential restricted at all. We believe a small population of early stem cells were set aside, so that when the time came, their immense developmental potential could be unleashed to create new features characteristic of vertebrates.
Early stem cells were set aside so that when the time came their immense developmental potential could be unleashed to create new features? This is Aristotelianism on steroids and the serendipity is deafening.
When you see a theory consisting of a long sequence of special explanatory devices you know it isn’t about science.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Live By the Sword, Die By the Sword
It happened this morning at 9:13 AM, a moment I shall never forget. The historians had always told us this day would come, but it just seemed impossible. Yes spontaneous origins seems absurd, they agreed, but the inexorable march of science will find it out. It always does. Don’t get in the way of science they warned, and now they have turned out right. And we are too loyal pupils of inductive philosophy to resist any conclusion by reason of its strangeness. Newton’s patient philosophy taught him to find in the falling apple the law which governs the silent movements of the stars in their courses. And if evolutionists can with the same correctness of reasoning demonstrate Epicureanism to be true, we shall dismiss our objections, and admit, with the characteristic humility of philosophy, our failed intuition that something does not come from nothing. All this ran through my mind as I read through Cynthia Moss’s new paper on bat evolution. It all seemed so contrived, but nonetheless, there it was:
Our observations demonstrate that the evolutionary progression that gave rise to the bat wing membrane has resulted in atypical somatosensory inputs, which have been co-opted to enhance flight control.
Evolutionists finally had hard facts to back up their claims. They now had scientific observations demonstrating the evolution of components of the bat wing. In fact, these are fantastically efficient and complex sensors detecting airflow over the wing and transmitting that information along the central nervous system as part of an incredible biological flight control system. As Moss explains in the above video, “Biology has done an exquisite job in creating these animals that can maneuver so agilely.” The paper further explained that “Bats achieve remarkable agility with modified forelimbs that serve as airfoils while retaining capacity for object manipulation.” Or as the press release put it, “Bats fly with breathtaking precision because their wings are equipped with highly sensitive touch sensors, cells that respond to even slight changes in airflow.” Such biological designs could even help engineers design air vehicles that better negotiate obstacles by sensing and adjusting to air turbulence.
It seems so amazing, yet now we know it all is nothing more than the product of blind mutations. In fact Moss’s paper had many more cogent observations. For example, the paper explains that the bat’s specialized airflow sensors evolved in order “to guide motor behaviors.” Also, the paper does not simply limit itself to bat evolution, but brilliantly concludes that vertebrate nervous systems, in general, “have flexibly adapted to accommodate anatomical specializations for flight.”
Needless to say all of this left me stunned. But I quickly began to see the truth of evolution. I simply had never conceived of the idea that things like sensors evolved in order to guide motor behaviors, or that entire nervous systems evolved in order to accommodate capabilities such as flight.
But once you shed your anti science bias, evolution provides these sorts of amazing explanations. Of course nervous systems evolved. They evolved to produce flight. How could I have ever doubted such obvious truths? It just goes to show how dangerous those science deniers are.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
A Product of the Warfare Thesis
Kopplin insists that there is no scientific evidence against evolution. While there is room for debate about particular biological evidences and exactly how they bear on the theory of evolution, there simply is no question that there is scientific evidence against evolution. Plenty of it. To deny that would be the height of anti science denialism. Yet this is precisely what evolutionists claim.
Kopplin explains that the church burned people alive for believing the Earth was round and that the Earth rotated the sun. A myth such as this is sure to move audiences, and is red meat for evolutionists, but it is, nonetheless, a myth. Historians call it the Warfare Thesis myth, but evolutionists won’t stop using it.
Not surprisingly Kopplin wants evolution to be taught in the public schools. But evolution is full of religious claims. Kopplin is pushing to have religious beliefs injected into the public schools—precisely what he claims to oppose.
This is the fruit of evolutionary thought.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Because Nature Takes Advantage of What it Evolvesannounced:
The epigenetic mark of DNA methylation, once thought to be rare if not nonexistent in worms and flies, occurs throughout the genomes of these organisms and in algae on the base adenine, not the cytosine known to be modified in mammals
and, in reference to said findings, evolutionist Chuan He explained that “If nature evolves something, it tends to take advantage of it,” both of which are non scientific claims.
First, there is no scientific evidence that nature evolved epigenetics. That is a religiously-driven, absurd claim.
Under evolution, the protein machines that attach the epigenetic markers must have fortuitously evolved from random mutations. But placing markers would not have helped if they were not in the right place, and in response to the right environmental signals. In fact, such protein machines could easily wreak havoc if they weren’t working just right.
But even given all that, such a marvel would do no good. That is because a tiny methyl group, or any other epigenetic marker, must be interpreted by other molecular machines. In other words, there must also have evolved the machines needed to recognize and perform the appropriate regulatory actions, as indicated by the given marker.
Evolution requires an enormous sequence of random mutations to occur before fitness improvements could be realized.
There is no scientific evidence that any such thing occurred. Perhaps future findings will reveal such an amazing feat, but today science gives us no such indication and in fact reveals that such an evolution would be heroic.
Second, He’s claim that nature “tends to take advantage of” what it evolves is a Darwinian personification of evolution which, as usual, is underwritten by Aristotelian teleology—none of which is scientific.
A long history of false predictions followed by absurd truth claims—this is not science.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
The Mother of All False Dichotomies
The answer involves much more than science. For these cute little birds do not tell us that single-celled bacteria somehow arose from a lifeless collection of chemicals. They don’t tell us that those bacteria gave rise to the complicated eukaryotes, and then to multicellular organisms, and then to fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The Galápagos finches don’t even tell us how they themselves could have evolved.
What they do tell us is that nature’s organisms can change. Darwin inferred this, and more recent studies have uncovered some of the specifics. With changing weather patterns and food supplies, the birds respond accordingly. They adapt—a feature that is ubiquitous in biology.
The various species have some fantastic adaptation capabilities, and it’s nothing like evolution’s story of blind mutations hitting on better designs on rare occasion. Instead, it is a rapid shifting between preexisting designs, enabled by preexisting and very complicated mechanisms.
But it is change. And that, for Darwin and later evolutionists, is all they need. You see Darwin and evolutionists in general hold to a doctrine of creationism where the Creator constructs the species to be unchanging. In the eighteenth century it was referred to as the “fixity” or “immutability” or “stability” of species.
So if the finches could, in fact, change, then for evolutionists the fixity of species—and all of creationism along with it—must be false. And if creationism is false, then evolution must be true. As Darwin wrote in his notebook, if there was the slightest foundation for this idea, it “would undermine the stability of species.” Thus the template was cast for evolutionists to come.
What is striking is the heavy reliance on metaphysics. Nothing about the science here tells us, or even hints, that the biological world arose spontaneously as evolutionists insist is true. The underlying foundation of evolutionary thought is religious. As NT Wright recently quipped, “Oh my goodness, he [Darwin] has discovered some very interesting finches, this means we can’t believe in Genesis anymore.”
One recent study highlights this gap between the metaphysics and the science. The study further demonstrates the adaptive capabilities of species such as the finches. It also further demonstrates that adaptation is not evolution. The birds are quick to adapt but they are simply tracking the environment and food supply. The hallmark is their flexibility and adaptiveness.
As one scientist put it, “there has been no long-term specialised evolution.” For many years now even evolutionists have recognized that adaptation does not add up to the large-scale change evolution requires. Some other mechanism is needed.
Nonetheless the Galápagos finches continue to be celebrated as a proof text of evolution. They are an example of change, and evolution is equated with change—any kind of change. Even a mere altering of gene frequencies in a population is, for evolutionists, nothing less than full blown evolution. Such a trivial change becomes proof that the biological world arose spontaneously. It is the mother of all false dichotomies.
As evolutionist Richard Lenski put it, “It is an incontrovertible fact that organisms have changed, or evolved, during the history of life on Earth.” Yes, it is an incontrovertible fact that organisms have changed. But it is not an incontrovertible fact that they have evolved. The equating of change with evolution rests on deeply-held religious beliefs.
As NT Wright might say, “Oh my goodness, Lenski has discovered some very interesting bacteria, this means we can’t believe in Genesis anymore.” The idea that changing gene frequencies, or an occasional genetic mutation, proves that the species spontaneously arose is truly one of the greatest leaps of logic you will ever see. You can see more such examples here and here.
Religion drives science, and it matters.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
More Junk Sciencenew study has found that Trichodesmium or “sea sawdust,” a genus of oceanic bacteria described by Captain Cook in the eighteenth century and so prolific it can be seen from space, has a unique, lineage-specific genome. Less than two-thirds of the genome of this crucial ammonium-producing bacteria codes for proteins. No other such bacteria has such a low value, and conversely such a large percentage of the genome that is non coding. This lineage-specific genome, as one report explains, “defies common evolutionary dogma.”
Indeed, but it is no mistake as different Trichodesmium species, in different corners of the world, show the same anomaly. Furthermore most of the non coding segments are expressed, suggesting they perform some function. Nonetheless, evolutionists believe that selfish or “junk” DNA is an important factor in the evolution of the Trichodesmium genome. Such explanations are gratuitous and add nothing to the science, but are commonly used in evolutionary theory which holds that the biological world spontaneously arose.
Religion drives science, and it matters.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Interbreeding and Hybridizationlatest such study, published in February of this year, describes how a particular protein affects the embryonic development of the finch’s beak. All of this makes for a good case study in adaptation. Unfortunately, it also is a good case study in the misrepresentation of science by evolutionists.
The Grant’s observations of how the Galápagos finches adjusted to shifts in the food supply led to four important findings: the adaptation was rapid, preexisting, cyclical and complicated.
First, the finch populations adjusted to food supply changes just as the temperature in a room changes with your setting of the thermometer. Adjust the thermometer upward and the temperature in a room soon rises. Adjust the thermometer downward and the room cools. The one tracks the other. The finches were not randomly searching some design space—a process which would require long periods of time.
In fact, second, the finch populations were not finding any new designs that were not already present. Just as the room temperature varies between the same old values, the G. fortis shifted between preexisting beak shapes and sizes.
So not surprisingly, third, the G. fortis beak design oscillated back and forth along a cyclical trajectory, morphing between preexisting designs, as the weather and food supply oscillated.
Finally, fourth, these beak designs are varied by extremely complex embryonic development mechanisms. The latest paper, for instance, reports on the ALX1 gene which encodes a transcription factor that influences the finch beak shape and size.
What is a transcription factor? It is a protein that binds to special places in the DNA and regulates gene expression. In other words, a transcription factor is a protein that regulates the creation of other proteins. That is a complicated affair, but the story does not end there. The latest paper finds that this gene must have been transferred between species via hybridization events.
All of these four findings are directly opposed to evolutionary theory and expectations. The process is supposed to be slow, not rapid. The process is supposed to construct new designs, not choose from preexisting ones. The process is supposed to continue off in a direction and arrive at new species, not oscillate back and forth. And the process is supposed to arise naturally, from brute, simple events. The process is not supposed to be based on complex, preexisting, mechanisms.
None of this makes any sense on evolution. In fact Darwin was persuaded that the finches were powerful evidence for evolution because they were different species, not mere variants. In other words, for Darwin they were powerful evidence because, he believed, they did not interbreed.
But interbreeding between the finches is precisely what science has been finding. In this case, the adapting beaks are influenced by the hybridization of the ALX1 gene. Precisely the opposite of the premise which led to the celebration of the Galápagos finches as compelling evidence for evolution in the first place.
Nonetheless, evolutionists have consistently misrepresented the story of the Galápagos finches as an ongoing, powerful modern day confirmation of Darwin’s findings and arguments. The Wall Street Journal calls the new finding “a vivid illustration of evolution working,” and Science Daily informs readers that changes in the finches beaks are “all driven by Darwinian selection.” The new paper, meanwhile, begins with the statement that Darwin’s finches “constitute an iconic model for studies of speciation and adaptive evolution.”
I don’t mind if evolution is true, but I do mind defending it, or any scientific theory, with gross misrepresentations of the evidence.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The problem, as the Los Angeles Times reported this week, is the scientific evidence for the capacity of the unborn to feel pain is not settled. As a 2005 paper stated, the evidence is “limited,” but it is “unlikely” that the child perceives pain prior to the third trimester.
One might think that if the scientific evidence is limited and uncertain, then debate would cease. Would we not all agree that such anesthesia should be made available?
No, evolutionists insist that such relief not even be an option. It is reminiscent of laws that deny rights to children who survive abortion attempts. As advocate Elizabeth Nash put it, “We’re seeing more unsubstantiated science. The problem is that legislators are buying into it and using it.”
It is difficult to fathom this level of cruelty. And as always, the perpetrators are certain of their righteousness.
It is equally difficult to fathom this level of absurdity. Unsubstantiated science? The premise that an unborn child is not a human being is the height of unsubstantiated science. Of course such children are human beings—from a scientific perspective that is beyond question.
William Jennings Bryan famously opposed evolution in the Scopes Monkey Trial. He was concerned that evolution was dehumanizing and was undermining morality. Unfortunately he seems to have been correct.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Intelligent Design and Science and Society
The CSC Seminar on Intelligent Design in the Natural Sciences will prepare students to make research contributions advancing the growing science of intelligent design (ID). The seminar will explore cutting-edge ID work in fields such as molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, developmental biology, paleontology, computational biology, ID-theoretic mathematics, cosmology, physics, and the history and philosophy of science. This seminar is open to students who intend to pursue graduate studies in the natural sciences or the philosophy of science. Applicants must be college juniors or seniors or already in graduate school.