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The Octopus and Genes without any explanation

The situation with modern gene mapping is not what evolutionists expected at all.  They could accept that very rarely a gene might be found which has no precedence, no ‘forefather’ gene to explain its existence, but to their horror such genes are being discovered to not be rare after all.  They are boxed into a corner by the need to offer an evolutionary explanation but there is none, so they resort to a sort of black magic explanation which they couch in the Latin term of “de novo”, meaning totally new and from out of nowhere.  Uh….that’s not science…that’s science fiction.

It brings to mind a Latin term which describes the hundreds of such genes that have been discovered so far: “sui generis” which means ‘unique’ ‘one-of-a-kind’, singularly individual and unlike anything else.

The concluding paragraph from this exposition:
“Whenever you see “de novo” origin of a gene invoked, you know that evolutionary biologists lack any explanation for how that gene arose. Scientists haven’t had much time yet to analyze the cephalopod genome, but given early reports of many unique genes, it will be interesting to learn to what extent they are forced to invoke these mysterious processes — what amounts to evolution ex nihilo — to explain how this “alien” genome arose.”

The Octopus Genome: Not “Alien” but Still a Big Problem for Darwinism

These days, new genomes of different types of organisms are being sequenced and published on a regular basis. When some new genome is sequenced, evolutionary biologists expect that it will be highly similar to the genomes of other organisms that are assumed to be closely related.

As ENV already noted, the latest organism to have its genome sequenced has confounded that expectation: the octopus, whose genome was recently reported in Nature. It turns out to be so unlike other mollusks and other invertebrates that it’s being called “alien” by the scientists who worked on that project.

One article on the subject was titled “Don’t freak out, but scientists think octopuses ‘might be aliens’ after DNA study“:

Not to send you into a meltdown or anything but octopuses are basically ‘aliens’ — according to scientists.

Researchers have found a new map of the octopus genetic code that is so strange that it could be actually be an “alien”.

[…]

“The octopus appears to be utterly different from all other animals, even other molluscs, with its eight prehensile arms, its large brain and its clever problem-solving abilities,” said US researcher Dr Clifton Ragsdale, from the University of Chicago.

[…]

Analysis of 12 different tissues revealed hundreds of octopus-specific genes found in no other animal, many of them highly active in structures such as the brain, skin and suckers.

https://evolutionnews.org/2015/08/the_octopus_gen/?fbclid=IwAR33CNKkshv52TeRBDIjUSZUR2JHLWzJspC3GuTjfp7lc3oTKGMFkDENfZE

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Yes, Intelligent Design Is Detectable by Science

Stephen C. Meyer  January 1, 2019

The online journal Sapientia posed a good question to several participants in a forum: “Is Intelligent Design Detectable by Science?” This is one key issue on which proponents of ID and of theistic evolution differ. Stephen Meyer, philosopher of science and director of Discovery Institutes Center for Science & Culture, gave the following reply.

Biologists have long recognized that many organized structures in living organisms — the elegant form and protective covering of the coiled nautilus; the interdependent parts of the vertebrate eye; the interlocking bones, muscles, and feathers of a bird wing — “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”1

Before Darwin, biologists attributed the beauty, integrated complexity, and adaptation of organisms to their environments to a powerful designing intelligence. Consequently, they also thought the study of life rendered the activity of a designing intelligence detectable in the natural world.

Yet Darwin argued that this appearance of design could be more simply explained as the product of a purely undirected mechanism, namely, natural selection and random variation. Modern neo-Darwinists have similarly asserted that the undirected process of natural selection and random mutation produced the intricate designed-like structures in living systems. They affirm that natural selection can mimic the powers of a designing intelligence without itself being guided by an intelligent agent. Thus, living organisms may look designed, but on this view, that appearance is illusory and, consequently, the study of life does not render the activity of a designing intelligence detectable in the natural world. As Darwin himself insisted, “There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course in which the wind blows.”2 Or as the eminent evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala has argued, Darwin accounted for “design without a designer” and showed “that the directive organization of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process, natural selection, without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent.”3

But did Darwin explain away all evidence of apparent design in biology? Darwin attempted to explain the origin of new living forms starting from simpler pre-existing forms of life, but his theory of evolution by natural selection did not even attempt to explain the origin of life — the simplest living cell — in the first place. Yet there is now compelling evidence of intelligent design in the inner recesses of even the simplest living one-celled organisms. Moreover, there is a key feature of living cells — one that makes the intelligent design of life detectable — that Darwin didn’t know about and that contemporary evolutionary theorists have not explained away.

The Information Enigma

In 1953 when Watson and Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule, they made a startling discovery. The structure of DNA allows it to store information in the form of a four-character digital code. Strings of precisely sequenced chemicals called nucleotide bases store and transmit the assembly instructions — the information — for building the crucial protein molecules and machines the cell needs to survive.

Francis Crick later developed this idea with his famous “sequence hypothesis” according to which the chemical constituents in DNA function like letters in a written language or symbols in a computer code. Just as English letters may convey a particular message depending on their arrangement, so too do certain sequences of chemical bases along the spine of a DNA molecule convey precise instructions for building proteins. The arrangement of the chemical characters determines the function of the sequence as a whole. Thus, the DNA molecule has the same property of “sequence specificity” that characterizes codes and language.

Moreover, DNA sequences do not just possess “information” in the strictly mathematical sense described by pioneering information theorist Claude Shannon. Shannon related the amount of information in a sequence of symbols to the improbability of the sequence (and the reduction of uncertainty associated with it). But DNA base sequences do not just exhibit a mathematically measurable degree of improbability. Instead, DNA contains information in the richer and more ordinary dictionary sense of “alternative sequences or arrangements of characters that produce a specific effect.” DNA base sequences convey instructions. They perform functions and produce specific effects. Thus, they not only possess “Shannon information,” but also what has been called “specified” or “functional information.”

Like the precisely arranged zeros and ones in a computer program, the chemical bases in DNA convey instructions by virtue of their specific arrangement — and in accord with an independent symbol convention known as the “genetic code.” Thus, biologist Richard Dawkins notes that “the machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like.”4 Similarly, Bill Gates observes that “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.”5 Similarly, biotechnologist Leroy Hood describes the information in DNA as “digital code.”6

After the early 1960s, further discoveries revealed that the digital information in DNA and RNA is only part of a complex information processing system — an advanced form of nanotechnology that both mirrors and exceeds our own in its complexity, design logic, and information storage density.

Where did the information in the cell come from? And how did the cell’s complex information processing system arise? These questions lie at the heart of contemporary origin-of-life research. Clearly, the informational features of the cell at least appear designed. And, as I show in extensive detail in my book Signature in the Cell, no theory of undirected chemical evolution explains the origin of the information needed to build the first living cell.7

Why? There is simply too much information in the cell to be explained by chance alone. And attempts to explain the origin of information as the consequence of pre-biotic natural selection acting on random changes inevitably presuppose precisely what needs explaining, namely, reams of pre-existing genetic information. The information in DNA also defies explanation by reference to the laws of chemistry. Saying otherwise is like saying a newspaper headline might arise from the chemical attraction between ink and paper. Clearly something more is at work.

Yet, the scientists who infer intelligent design do not do so merely because natural processes — chance, laws, or their combination — have failed to explain the origin of the information and information processing systems in cells. Instead, we think intelligent design is detectable in living systems because we know from experience that systems possessing large amounts of such information invariably arise from intelligent causes. The information on a computer screen can be traced back to a user or programmer. The information in a newspaper ultimately came from a writer — from a mind. As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler observed, “Information habitually arises from conscious activity.”8

This connection between information and prior intelligence enables us to detect or infer intelligent activity even from unobservable sources in the distant past. Archeologists infer ancient scribes from hieroglyphic inscriptions. SETI’s search for extraterrestrial intelligence presupposes that information imbedded in electromagnetic signals from space would indicate an intelligent source. Radio astronomers have not found any such signal from distant star systems; but closer to home, molecular biologists have discovered information in the cell, suggesting — by the same logic that underwrites the SETI program and ordinary scientific reasoning about other informational artifacts — an intelligent source.

DNA functions like a software program and contains specified information just as software does. We know from experience that software comes from programmers. We know generally that specified information — whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book, or encoded in a radio signal — always arises from an intelligent source. So the discovery of such information in the DNA molecule provides strong grounds for inferring (or detecting) that intelligence played a role in the origin of DNA, even if we weren’t there to observe the system coming into existence.

The Logic of Design Detection

In The Design Inference, mathematician William Dembski explicates the logic of design detection. His work reinforces the conclusion that the specified information present in DNA points to a designing mind.

Dembski shows that rational agents often detect the prior activity of other designing minds by the character of the effects they leave behind. Archaeologists assume that rational agents produced the inscriptions on the Rosetta Stone. Insurance fraud investigators detect certain “cheating patterns” that suggest intentional manipulation of circumstances rather than a natural disaster. Cryptographers distinguish between random signals and those carrying encoded messages, the latter indicating an intelligent source. Recognizing the activity of intelligent agents constitutes a common and fully rational mode of inference.

More importantly, Dembski explicates criteria by which rational agents recognize or detect the effects of other rational agents, and distinguish them from the effects of natural causes. He demonstrates that systems or sequences with the joint properties of “high complexity” (or small probability) and “specification” invariably result from intelligent causes, not chance or physical-chemical laws.9 Dembski noted that complex sequences exhibit an irregular and improbable arrangement that defies expression by a simple rule or algorithm, whereas specification involves a match or correspondence between a physical system or sequence and an independently recognizable pattern or set of functional requirements.

By way of illustration, consider the following three sets of symbols:

nehya53nslbyw1`jejns7eopslanm46/J

TIME AND TIDE WAIT FOR NO MAN

ABABABABABABABABABABAB

The first two sequences are complex because both defy reduction to a simple rule. Each represents a highly irregular, aperiodic, improbable sequence. The third sequence is not complex, but is instead highly ordered and repetitive. Of the two complex sequences, only the second, however, exemplifies a set of independent functional requirements — i.e., is specified.

English has many such functional requirements. For example, to convey meaning in English one must employ existing conventions of vocabulary (associations of symbol sequences with particular objects, concepts, or ideas) and existing conventions of syntax and grammar. When symbol arrangements “match” existing vocabulary and grammatical conventions (i.e., functional requirements), communication can occur. Such arrangements exhibit “specification.” The sequence “Time and tide wait for no man” clearly exhibits such a match, and thus performs a communication function.

Thus, of the three sequences only the second manifests both necessary indicators of a designed system. The third sequence lacks complexity, though it does exhibit a simple periodic pattern, a specification of sorts. The first sequence is complex, but not specified. Only the second sequence exhibits both complexity and specification. Thus, according to Dembski’s theory of design detection, only the second sequence implicates an intelligent cause — as our uniform experience affirms.

In my book Signature in the Cell, I show that Dembski’s joint criteria of complexity and specification are equivalent to “functional” or “specified information.” I also show that the coding regions of DNA exemplify both high complexity and specification and, thus not surprisingly, also contain “specified information.” Consequently, Dembski’s scientific method of design detection reinforces the conclusion that the digital information in DNA indicates prior intelligent activity.

So, contrary to media reports, the theory of intelligent design is not based upon ignorance or “gaps” in our knowledge, but on scientific discoveries about DNA and on established scientific methods of reasoning in which our uniform experience of cause and effect guides our inferences about the kinds of causes that produce (or best explain) different types of events or sequences.

Anthropic Fine Tuning

The evidence of design in living cells is not the only such evidence in nature. Modern physics now reveals evidence of intelligent design in the very fabric of the universe. Since the 1960s physicists have recognized that the initial conditions and the laws and constants of physics are finely tuned, against all odds, to make life possible. Even extremely slight alterations in the values of many independent factors — such as the expansion rate of the universe, the speed of light, and the precise strength of gravitational or electromagnetic attraction — would render life impossible. Physicists refer to these factors as “anthropic coincidences” and to the fortunate convergence of all these coincidences as the “fine-tuning of the universe.”

Many have noted that this fine-tuning strongly suggests design by a pre-existent intelligence. Physicist Paul Davies has said that “the impression of design is overwhelming.”10 Fred Hoyle argued that, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology.”11 Many physicists now concur. They would argue that — in effect — the dials in the cosmic control room appear finely-tuned because someone carefully fine-tuned them.

To explain the vast improbabilities associated with these fine-tuning parameters, some physicists have postulated not a “fine-tuner” or intelligent designer, but the existence of a vast number of other parallel universes. This “multiverse” concept also necessarily posits various mechanisms for producing these universes. On this view, having some mechanism for generating new universes would increase the number of opportunities for a life-friendly universe such as our own to arise — making ours something like a lucky winner of a cosmic lottery.

But advocates of these multiverse proposals have overlooked an obvious problem. The speculative cosmologies (such as inflationary cosmology and string theory) they propose for generating alternative universes invariably invoke mechanisms that themselves require fine-tuning, thus begging the question as to the origin of that prior fine-tuning. Indeed, all the various materialistic explanations for the origin of the fine-tuning — i.e., the explanations that attempt to explain the fine-tuning without invoking intelligent design — invariably invoke prior unexplained fine-tuning.

Moreover, as Jay Richards has shown,12 the fine-tuning of the universe exhibits precisely those features — extreme improbability and functional specification — that invariably trigger an awareness of, and justify an inference to, intelligent design. Since the multiverse theory cannot explain fine-tuning without invoking prior fine-tuning, and since the fine-tuning of a physical system to accomplish a propitious end is exactly the kind of thing we know intelligent agents do, it follows that intelligent design stands as the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe.

And that makes intelligent design detectable in both the physical parameters of the universe and the information-bearing properties of life.

Notes:

  1. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (New York, NY: Norton, 1986), 1.
  2. Charles Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin, vol. 1 (New York: Appleton, 1887), 278–279.
  3. Francisco J. Ayala, “Darwin’s Greatest Discovery: Design without Designer,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104 (May 15, 2007): 8567–8573.
  4. Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic, 1995), 17.
  5. Bill Gates, The Road Ahead (New York: Viking, 1995), 188.
  6. Leroy Hood and David Galas, “The Digital Code of DNA.” Nature 421 (2003), 444-448.
  7. Stephen Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2009), 173-323.
  8. Henry Quastler, The Emergence of Biological Organization (New Haven: Yale UP, 1964), 16.
  9. William Dembski, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 36-66.
  10. Paul Davies, The Cosmic Blueprint (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988), 203.
  11. Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections.” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 20 (1982): 16.
  12. Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2004), 293-311.

Behe’s “Irreducible Complexity” Validated by Chemistry Nobel

Michael Egnor  October 15, 2018,

My Discovery Institute colleagues and I have observed that the recent Nobel Prize in chemistry, awarded to Drs. Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith, and Gregory P. Winter for the ingenious engineering of biomolecules, rewards research that is crucially dependent on the inference to design in biochemistry and to intelligent design as a method of science. The Nobel laureates (implicitly or explicitly) inferred design in cellular structure and function and used random genetic variation of molecules to design highly effective biomolecules. It’s beautiful bioengineering — using random variation in biomolecules to design better molecules. It’s beautiful work in intelligent design science. 

Coyne Is Aghast

Predictably, Darwinists are aghast. At Why Evolution Is True, Professor Jerry Coyne is exasperated: “I have no words,” he says. He then goes to write:

I presume that Egnor thinks that Frances Arnold [one of the Nobel laurates] is God. Either that, or he fails to understand that humans mimicking evolution in the lab isn’t the same thing as a designer being humanlike and creating plants and animals.

And the first ID prize?

“Linus Pauling’s groundbreaking work on protein structure in the early 20th century (for which he won the Nobel Prize) depended critically on his correct inference that the structure of a protein must account for the purpose the protein serves in cellular metabolism.”

That all turns on the ambiguous meaning of “purpose”, and this is a prime and a rare correct example of “begging the question”. For Egnor, “purpose” presupposes a God rather than being shorthand for “what the protein does as well as the nature of the reproductive advantage conferred by evolutionary changes in that protein.”

Coyne misunderstands design science. Intelligent design is two scientific inferences: 1) design is the most reasonable explanation for some aspects of biology, and 2) inference to design in biology is a powerful tool in scientific methodology. These Nobel laurates used the second inference — that inference to design is a powerful tool in biological science — to guide their research. 

Design in Biomolecules

They looked for purposes (design) in biomolecules, and used random genetic variation to engineer better biological processes. They did, in a very real sense, what design pioneer Michael Behe discovered in his principle of irreducible complexity: there are some biological functions that are complex in such a way that they cannot evolve simply by random variation and unintelligent natural selection. Intelligence must be added to the process to achieve high levels of biological complexity and function. The Nobel researchers showed how intelligence, coupled to variation, is essential to the evolution of biological novelty. In this sense, these researchers mimicked nature, which is replete with intelligent design. Nature, no less than ingenious biological researchers in their lab, relies on variation, chance, and intelligence in evolution. This Nobel work is a beautiful vindication of irreducible complexity. 

Coyne correctly points out that good scientific method in bioengineering of biomolecules depends critically on the inference to purpose in biology. The researchers first had to ascertain the purpose — the function — of the molecules, in order to productively evolve them using variation and design. Inference to purpose is pivotal in biological research — the most fundamental and crucial question a researcher can ask about a biological structure or process is: “What is its purpose?” Purpose, of course is always forward-looking. The purpose of DNA is to encode protein structure and facilitate replication. The purpose of ribosomes is to manufacture protein. The purpose of mitochondria is to produce energy in the form of ATP. The purpose of chloroplasts is to carry out photosynthesis. 

Purpose is the attribute of a system that defines its goal — what it’s meant to do. And purpose inherently signifies design — purpose is a signature of design.

Behe Validated

It is that signature that guided these Nobel Prize-winning researchers, and always guides the best of biological science. No Nobel Prize has ever been awarded for Darwinian research, and there’s a reason for that. Darwinism denies purpose in biology, and denial of biological purpose is a catastrophic impediment to science. The Junk DNA scandal, for example, which is the catastrophic outcome of the Darwinist inference to purposelessness in biology, set genetic research back decades.

Certain levels of biological complexity are so intricate and exquisitely purposeful that they are beyond the feeble power of random chance and mindless selection. They require the application of intelligenceto evolve. 

Once again, it’s design science, not Darwinism, that wins Nobel Prizes. So bravo to Dr. Behe, whose principle of irreducible complexity was so beautifully validated by the superb work of Drs. Arnold, Smith, and Winter and implicitly recognized in this year’s Nobel Prize for chemistry. 

 Revolutionary: Michael Behe and the Mystery of Molecular Machines.

Schism in Evolutionary Theory

Schism in Evolutionary Theory Opens Creationist Opportunity
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Evolutionary biology is experiencing its most serious division over the structure of evolutionary theory since the development of the Modern Synthesis nearly 100 years ago. Last November, Great Britain’s prestigious Royal Society (The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge) held a conference to deliberate if evolutionary theory needs to be “extended” or even renovated to accommodate fresh ideas from new discoveries. The article Schism and Synthesis at the Royal Society in the current issue of Trends in Ecology & Evolution by a conference organizer explains why “the discussion witnessed little meeting of minds.”1

The vital importance of this conference was framed in the science journal Nature in a point-counterpoint-style article, “Does evolutionary theory need a rethink?”2 They note that “researchers are divided over what processes should be considered fundamental.” A division over basic processes at the core of any theory suggests that the theory is incomplete, based on misleading research, or broken.

One researcher advocating for a major revision in evolutionary theory (modestly labeled the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, or EES) is Kevin Laland of the University of St. Andrews. He said that “the data supporting our position gets stronger every day. Yet the mere mention of the EES often evokes an emotional, even hostile, reaction among evolutionary biologists. Too often, vital discussions descend into acrimony, with accusations of muddle or misrepresentation.”2 The bitterness, per Laland, is generated since “this is no storm in an academic tearoom, it is a struggle for the very soul of the discipline.”

The Debate: What Causes Adaptive Innovations?

Another scientist supporting the EES, Gerd Muller of the University of Vienna, had previously stated that one value of the extension would overcome the “restrictions” of “externalism.”3 Externalism is principally a way to think about how organisms are formed. Externalists see an organism’s traits as imposed on it by external conditions.4 These conditions are designated as “selective pressures.” These “pressures” are essentially environmental problems “driving” the adaptation of organisms to produce some trait or traits to overcome the problem. In contrast, most researchers promoting the EES would say that traits which overcome problems are, obviously, due to an organism’s internal systems—and therefore where research should primarily focus.

For example, one Royal Society conference topic was embryonic development. The internalist EES faction contends that, for some organisms, specific traits “could be predicted with knowledge of their mechanisms of development. For these biologists, a bias in development that produces some morphologies more readily than others can shape the course of adaptive evolution. Douglas Futuyma, by contrast, presented a more traditional standpoint in attributing the adaptive characteristics of organisms solely to selection….”5

Internalists also view organisms as possessing a repertoire of traits which are “plastic” enough over multiple generations to enable them to actively explore and fill new niches, rather than be passively driven by selective outside pressures. Thus, another area of departure was over developmental plasticity “which can be viewed as a genetically specified reaction norm fashioned by past selection, and/or as being reliant on more open-ended (e.g., exploratory) developmental processes that are propagated across generations through epigenetic mechanisms.”6

This sharp division at the Royal Society also highlights the completely different approaches to identifying causality for traits. Internalists attempted to describe observable mechanisms. Externalists repeatedly invoked natural selection, prompting one science reporter in attendance to state that “the event would have benefited from someone in the wings with a hook restraining speakers who insisted on relying on the mantra of natural selection to fill in the blanks of their science. Repeated references to the term became almost comical. Sir Patrick Bateson finally came to the rescue, cautioning against overuse of the ‘metaphor,’ saying further that ‘natural selection is not an agent.’”7 Laland also writes that the anthropologist and archaeologist attendees welcomed “the plasticity-first hypothesis” as “vital to their work. For these social scientists, standard gene-centric selectionist accounts provided less satisfactory explanations.”

Different Interpretations of the Same Data

Interestingly, these deep divisions at the Royal Society illustrate an important point that Creationists have been making for years. Evolutionists often claim they have a mountain of data to support their position while creationists have virtually none. Creationists contend they possess the very same data, but interpret it quite differently. Similarly, Laland, who comes from the minority position at the Royal Society, also observed, “This tension was manifest in the discussions where different interpretations of the same findings were voiced…. The conference brought home a key point—these debates are not about data but rather about how findings are interpreted and understood.” So, it seems the debate generally isn’t over which side has data, but is about the best explanation of that data.

Even though evolutionists engage in acrimonious disputes over how evolution could happen, they still unite in the common belief that it did. In their minds, evolution is a fact. “There were points of agreement,” Laland reassures readers. “All parties emphasized that evolutionary biology is a vigorous and progressive field of science. To the chagrin of creationists and some journalists hoping for a fight, no calls for revolution were heard.”

Creationist Theory Better Explains the Data

Creationists have some points of agreement with advocates for the EES. First, we would agree that the Modern Synthesis which proposes that random genetic mutations are “acted on” by progressive iterations of a struggle to survive has some fundamental problems. Problems not only in the sufficiency of those mechanisms to account for the diversity of life, but a basic conceptual problem with the projection of volition onto nature to exercise “agency” as a causal substitute for areas where the handiwork of a real intelligent agent would normally be understood.

We could also agree with Laland that along with the basic research of biologic systems “at least as important are different notions of how the scientific process works, or ought to work. Those speakers at the meeting pushing for change tend to emphasize the role of conceptual frameworks in shaping what questions are asked, what data are collected, and what factors are viewed as causally important.”

The mechanisms discussed at the Royal Society tend to confirm design-based creationist theory that emphasizes active, problem-solving organisms capable of self-adjusting to fill dynamic environments. Creationist theory predicts that if organisms were designed with internal capabilities to continuously track environmental changes then developmental bias and plasticity, then epigenetic mechanisms and many other mechanisms would enable these organisms to fill new niches. Tracking conditions and filling new environments would happen quickly—within the lifetime of a parent—and enhance the ability of offspring to do the same.

In fact, the creationist model of Continuous Environmental Tracking would enable creationists to 1) fully describe, or 2) predict currently unidentified, system elements that a design-based model would indicate are essential to proper function. Since even EES proponents have evolutionary mindsets and are often trapped in naturalistic research programs, they overlook blatantly obvious key system elements that ought to be described or, if unidentified, ought to be investigated.

For instance, developmental bias is only the output response of a system having at least three parts. Though rarely described or even identified in evolutionary literature, an organism must first have a sensor to identify the presence of specific events or changes in its environment; then it needs a corresponding signal to an if-then logic center to direct the third part, the appropriate developmental bias as a response.

Evolutionary theory is in a “struggle for the very soul of the discipline” due to the discovery of pervasive internalmechanisms facilitating self-adjustments…that clearly don’t fit into current theory that posits passive creatures shaped by external conditions. But those mechanisms confirm a model that expects active, problem-solving creatures designed to track changing conditions to “fill the earth” showcasing the wisdom of their Creator—the Lord Jesus Christ.

Evolutionists have had over 150 years to fully develop and fine tune their theory, but they are bitterly fighting over its most fundamental processes. Time and data are on the creationists’ side.

References

  1. Laland, K. N. 2017. Schism and Synthesis at the Royal Society. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 32 (5): 316–317.
  2. Laland, K. et al. 2014. Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Nature. 514 (7521): 161–164.
  3. Muller, G. B. and M. Pigliucci. 2010. Evolution: The Extended Synthesis. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 13.
  4. Denton, M. J. 2013. The Types: A Persistent Structuralist Challenge to Darwinian Pan-Selectionism. BIO-Complexity. 2013 (3): 1–18.
  5. Laland, K. N. Schism and Synthesis at the Royal Society, 316.
  6. Laland, K. N. Schism and Synthesis at the Royal Society, 316.
  7. Mazur, S. Pterosaurs Hijack Royal Society Evo Meeting. Huffpost, The Blog. Posted on huffingtonpost.com November 21, 2016 accessed on April 25, 2017.

*Dr. Guliuzza is ICR’s National Representative. He earned his M.D. from the University of Minnesota, his Master of Public Health from Harvard University, and served in the U.S. Air Force as 28th Bomb Wing Flight Surgeon and Chief of Aerospace Medicine. Dr. Guliuzza is also a registered Professional Engineer.

Image Credit: Copyright © 2017 The Royal Society. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holder.

Article posted on May 18, 2017.

Evolutionists Sense Life’s Design and Deify Nature

The inclination of some evolutionists to project God-like powers onto nature is becoming more prominent in scientific literature. Some proudly personify nature in first-person, calling her Gaia after the Greek Earth goddess.1

Publishing in Science, evolutionary ecologist Tim Lenton from the University of Exeter and co-author, French sociologist Bruno Latour, laud nature’s innate cognitive powers in their new paper, Gaia 2.0.1 Their paper provides another chance to highlight how deeply religious evolutionists can be—not in their veneration of God, but of nature itself.

“The Gaia hypothesis—first articulated by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s—holds that Earth’s physical and biological processes are inextricably connected to form a self-regulating, essentially sentient, system.”2 Lovelock named his theory after the mythological goddess—venerated as the personification of Earth. His theory was meant to tie together several biological phenomena, particularly the tight-knit cooperation between living organisms, life’s resilience in the face of catastrophic events, and the close association between the organic and inorganic realms.

All of these observations could be seen as working together with such purposefulness that one explanation for life’s origination is the tremendous wisdom and power of God. In contrast, Lovelock hypothesized that the organic and inorganic components of Earth evolved together so tightly that everything on Earth somehow became melded into a single, self-organizing system that seems to mystically exercise an intrinsic agency. This has led some researchers to ask, “Is Earth really a sort of giant living organism as the Gaia hypothesis predicts?”2

Lenton has been passionate about the original Gaia Theory and works on contemporary developments.3However, Lenton doesn’t write about Gaia as a theoretical framework, but as an all-pervading entity—within which he believes everything is connected, functions, and through which life came into existence. He appears to have total faith in Gaia.

Lenton builds off the fact that more people today are becoming aware of the environmental effects of their choices. He offers his vision for how humans could make a conscious effort to interact with Gaia and—because he feels that we are all one with Gaia—fundamentally change Gaia as they change themselves. He suggests, “Making such conscious choices to operate within Gaia constitutes a fundamental new state of Gaia, which we call Gaia 2.0.”1

The unabashed personification of nature in the leading scientific journal of the United States is remarkable. For example, the authority for why Lenton feels justified to doubt the effectiveness of many human inventions is that “an audit made by Gaia would question the purported quality of many innovations and note that from an engineering standpoint, they perform poorly.” So, Gaia has the ability to evaluate and somehow becomes the measure by which we judge scientific innovations rather than using the scientific method as our evaluating benchmark? If Gaia can replace science, then Gaia isn’t science. And if Gaia isn’t science, then why are some scientists embracing it?

Embodying nature with volition and wisdom is particularly evident when Lenton contrasts human energy use and recycling with those of Gaia, saying,

Compared to Gaia, this is a very poorly coupled and unsustainable set of inventions. This does not mean that humans should stop inventing, but rather that engineering should shift attention to become as smart as Gaia in achieving nearly closed material cycling powered by sustainable energy.1

However, wouldn’t any theory that tries to explain the origin of biological functions that clearly look designed for a purpose—without crediting God—be prone to slip some type of alternative pseudo agency into nature out of necessity? This belief that nature can exercise agency was true of evolutionary explanations long before Lovelock’s Gaia Theory. It began with Darwin’s notion of natural selection.

Darwin’s personification of nature through natural selection was derided by non-theist observers from the outset. In 1861, only two years after Darwin’s Origin of Species was published, the Perpetual Secretary of the French Academy of Sciences described it as, “metaphysical jargon thrown amiss in the natural history,” “pretentious and empty language!,” “puerile [silly] and supernatural personifications!,” and that Darwin “imagines afterwards that this power of selecting which he gives to Nature is similar to the power of man.”4 A historian of science adds that “One source of trouble was that Darwin liked the term ‘natural selection’ because it could be ‘used as a substantive governing a verb’ (F. Darwin, 1887, vol. 3, p. 46). But such uses appeared to reify, even to deify, natural selection as an agent…”5 In fact, renowned evolutionary theorist W. Ford Doolittle of Dalhousie University in his paper Darwinizing Gaia recently made the link even stronger.6

This impulse to project power onto nature has been exceedingly difficult for evolutionists to quell. Perhaps they realize at some level the need for a far more profound explanation for life’s design than a fortuitous series of chance happenings. One evolutionary biologist notes despairingly that his colleagues habitually succumb to the projections of agency onto nature through natural selection—even when they should know otherwise. He laments, “Evolutionary biologists routinely speak of natural selection as if it were an agent” but then again “Many evolutionary biologists, in fact, assure us that the idea of a selecting agent is ‘only a metaphor’—even as they themselves succumb to the compelling force of the metaphor…And so we are to believe that natural selection, which ‘is not an agent, except metaphorically’, manages to design artifacts; and the organism…is not, after all, a creative or originating agent itself. Its [the organism’s] agency has been transferred to an abstraction [natural selection] whose causal agency or ‘force’ is, amid intellectual confusion, both denied and universally implied by biologists. Natural selection becomes rather like an occult Power of the pre-scientific age…”7

Gaia 2.0 is the latest version of nature worship for one sect of today’s practicing evolutionists. Tweet: Gaia 2.0 is the latest version of nature worship for one sect of today’s practicing evolutionists. Evolutionists Sense Life's Design and Deify Nature: http://www.icr.org/article/evolutionists-sense-design-deify-nature @ICRscience @randyguliuzza #Science #Nature

Those who read and believe the Bible will not find any of the Darwin’s, Lovelock’s, Doolittle’s, or Lenton’s mental projections of agency to nature surprising. Scripture says that when people reject giving credit to God for creating nature, that they will “worship and serve” the creation, i.e., nature, more than the Creator (Romans 1:18-25). Gaia 2.0 is the latest version of nature worship for one sect of today’s practicing evolutionists.

References
1. Lenton, T. M. and B. Latour. 2018. Gaia 2.0. Science. 361 (6407): 1066-1068. DOI: 10.1126/science.aau0427
2. Anonymous, University of Maryland. Sulfur finding may hold key to Gaia theory of Earth as living organism. ScienceDaily. Posted on sciencedaily.com on May 15, 2012 accessed September 14, 2018.
3. University of Exeter, staff profiles. Professor Tim Lenton, Director Global Systems Institute. Posted on geography.exeter.ac.uk, accessed October 1, 2018.
4. Huxley, T. H. 1894. Dawiniana. D. New York: Appleton and Company, 65.
5. Hodge, M.J.S. 1992. Natural Selection: Historical Perspectives. Keywords in Evolutionary Biology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 212-219.
6. W. F. Doolittle. 2017. Darwinizing Gaia. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 434: 11-19.
7. Talbot, S. L. Can Darwinian Evolutionary Theory Be Taken Seriously? Posted on natureinstitute.org on May 17, 2016 accessed September 14, 2018 (emphasis in original).

*Randy Guliuzza is ICR’s National Representative. He earned his M.D. from the University of Minnesota, his Master of Public Health from Harvard University, and served in the U.S. Air Force as 28th Bomb Wing Flight Surgeon and Chief of Aerospace Medicine. Dr. Guliuzza is also a registered Professional Engineer.

Ape-Human Chromosome 2 Fusion Model Debunked

[I wonder what new knowledge has been revealed since 2011.]

Research Undermines Key Argument for Human Evolution

icr.org

New research is now seriously undermining the validity of the fusion model and human evolution in general. This author and Professor Dr. Jerry Bergman of Northwest State College, Ohio, analyzed the scientific literature and available DNA sequence and made several exciting findings, summarized below.

1. The purported fusion site on human chromosome 2 is actually located in a different position on chromosome 2 than predicted by the fusion model. The hypothetical fusion site is also in an area with suppressed recombination (meaning that the fusion sequence should be very pristine) and should exhibit very little degeneracy, compared to standard telomere sequence. Telomere sequences in humans normally consist of thousands of repeats of the standard 6-base sequence “TTAGGG.”
We found that the hypothetical fusion region is completely degenerate and vaguely represents anything close to intact and fused telomeres. An earlier 2002 research report by molecular evolutionists also made note of this extreme sequence degeneracy and the obvious discrepancies it presented for the evolutionary model.3

2. At the purported fusion site, there is a very small number of intact telomere sequences and very few of them are in tandem or in the proper reading frame. The small number of randomly interspersed telomere sequences, both forward (“TTAGGG”) and reverse (“CCCTAA”), that populate both sides of the purported fusion site are not indicative of what should be found if an end-to-end chromosomal fusion actually took place.

3. The 798-base core sequence surrounding the fusion site is not unique to the purported fusion site, but found throughout the human genome with similar sequences (80 percent or greater identity) located on nearly every chromosome. This indicates that the fusion site is some type of commonly occurring fragment of DNA in the human genome.

4. No positionally corresponding regions of sequence similarity in the chimpanzee genome for the purported human fusion site were found. The 798-base core fusion-site sequence did not align (match) to any corresponding regions in the chimp genome. In fact, the sequence was considerably less common and more dissimilar in chimpanzees.

5. Queries against the chimpanzee genome with fragments of human DNA sequence (alphoid sequences) found at the purported cryptic centromere site on human chromosome 2 did not produce any significant hits using two different DNA matching algorithms (BLAT and BLASTN).

6. The purported cryptic centromere on human chromosome 2, like the fusion site, is in a very different location to that predicted by a fusion event.

7. The DNA alphoid sequences at the putative cryptic centromere site are very diverse and form three separate sub-groups. They also do not closely match known functional human centromeric alphoid elements. Alphoid sequences are commonly found throughout the human genome, and some types of alphoid sequences are not associated with centromeres. This strongly diminishes their probability of being part of an ancient de-activated (cryptic) centromere.

This human chromosome 2 research will be described in more detail in an upcoming Journal of Creation issue. Despite evolutionists’ insistence that the chromosome 2 fusion model supports a human-chimp common ancestor, the so-called supporting data are not present. All evidence points to man and ape as unique and separate creations.

References

  1. Yunis, J. J. and O. Prakash. 1982. The Origin of Man: A Chromosomal Pictorial Legacy. Science. 215 (4539): 1525-1530.
  2. Tomkins, J. 2011. New Human-Chimp Chromosome 2 Data Challenge Common Ancestry Claims. Acts & Facts. 40 (5): 6.
  3. Fan, Y. et al. 2002. Genomic Structure and Evolution of the Ancestral Chromosome Fusion Site in 2q13-2q14.1 and Paralogous Regions on Other Human Chromosomes. Genome Research. 12 (11): 1651-1662.

* Dr. Tomkins is a Research Associate and received his Ph.D. in Genetics from Clemson University.

Cite this article: Tomkins, J. 2011. New Research Undermines Key Argument for Human Evolution. Acts & Facts. 40 (6): 6.

Dating the Great Age of Old Things

“But humans weren’t there millions of years ago, so there’s no way to say what happened with any certainty.”

I sometimes wonder if creationists have actually looked over the numerous methods used by the science community to determine the age of prehistoric events, extinct species and the earth. As a collective, you realize that all of these methods come together to formulate a very accurate picture of earth’s past. This isn’t guesswork anymore folks! It’s not 1992! Its 2018 and technology has advanced a lot since then! Lol!

Heres the daunting reality for creationists. In order to prove your creationist timeline is literally true, you’d need to scientifically disprove EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THESE ITEMS! Because failure to disprove just ONE is a failure for Young Earth Creationism.
A few of the methods used by scientists to date the earth, objects and past events:

* With spectroscopy astrophysics measure the amount of hydrogen that’s been fused into helium in the sun. This gives us an accurate age for the sun.
* Measure the radioactive decay of uranium within zircon crystals found on earth, moon rocks, meteors and asteroids. Earth is 4.54 billion years old with 99.985% certainty (yes pretty close to 100% certain lol). There’s literally zero percent chance that the earth is less than a 100 million years old.
* Measuring mutations within DNA and comparing them to the genomes of modern humans who died thousands of years ago, Neanderthals and Denisovans (our genome is at least 500,000 years old)
* Comparing genomes of all animals including humans to identify common ancestors dating back millions of years
* The fossil record – always layered oldest to youngest with extinct animals from one period never mixing into another period. This fossil record dates back to 4.2 billion years.
* Limestone containing marine fossils was only formed at the bottom of shallow ocean waters. A 1000ft column of limestone would take millions of years to form. There’s no known rock type that is formed from a flood.

* Plate tectonics – measuring the precise movement of the plates tells us when Pangea broke up, direction plates are moving, speed and time taken to traverse distance. Pangea broke up hundreds of millions of years ago. The ocean floor of the Tethe sea was pushed up to form the Himalayan mountains 50 million years ago. This movement is still taking place and can be measured today. Mt Everest is still growing 1″ every year.
* History of past volcanic eruptions and calderas that date back millions of years like Yellowstone and Siberian Traps. If they erupted within the past 6000 years, earth still couldn’t support human life today.

* Dating asteroid impacts on earth and other planets i.e. meteor crater in Arizona and Chicsulub crater in Yucatan Peninsula with shocked crystal and zircons
* Orbits of planets, dwarf planets and comets around the sun.
* Measuring ice core samples containing atmospheric conditions that greatly differ from today that wouldn’t support life today as we know it.
* Ice cores containing extinct microscopic life and other extinct life, spores and life forms.
* Measure the age of the KT boundary using argon-argon dating
* Date extinct species like woolly mammoths with C14 dating. Most mammotha went extinct 10,000 years ago.
* There’s no measurable amounts of dinosaur DNA left on earth. The DNA strand can last a maximum of 6.8 million years in tundra temps. So all dinosaur DNA has degraded off the face of the earth 60 million years ago. We find plenty of woolly mammoth DNA because the animals found died 10,000-40,000 years ago.
* Measure the radioactive isotopes of igneous rock from past volcanic eruptions like the Siberian Traps. The atomic clock in rocks resets after being molten from a volcanic eruption.
* Earth’s magnetic field has flipped dozens of times over the past 4.54 billion years. Evidence is contained in igneous rocks ejected from ancient volcanoes hundreds of millions to billions of years ago that were magnetized to a different polar N and S than we see today.
* Siberian Traps: Volcanic eruption that stacked layers of hardened lava each layer averaging 10mm to a meter in thickness that formed a volcanic plateau large enough to cover the continental United States in a kilometer of lava. It would take months for each layer of lava to cool so additional layers can be stacked on top. Eruption lasted a million years and occurred 200 million years ago poisoning the atmosphere and oceans killing 90% of life on earth. Verified through radiometric dating, known lava flow speeds, fossil record, rock samples around the earth, and ice cores from the arctic.
* Astronomy
– Light from distant galaxies
– Orbital speed of our galaxy
– Observing formation of new stars and planets
– Observing colliding galaxies and their speeds
– Gravitational waves

There’s more! There’s many more! This is just what I could quickly think of. Lol! Remember, ONE of these items destroys YEC! They need to disprove them ALL or creationism fails!

Heres research proving the scope, date and length of eruption of the Siberian Traps. This event alone shatters YEC!!!

NEWS.MIT.EDU
New study finds massive eruptions likely triggered mass extinction.
Don Riddle:

And then there is the contribution of the 30K years long Deccan Traps volcanic activity to another, the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event, a.k.a. the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction, some 66+ million years ago, although current thinking supposes that the Chicxulub impact event ejecta in North America slightly less than 66M years ago actually triggered it; e.g., put the nail in the coffin… and/or contributed to a different level of vulcanism in the Deccan Traps, which led to the release of 70% of the lava ejected, AFTER the impact.

This information, coupled with the illusion that homo sapiens are so special, gives me pause, when I consider how on the razor’s edge our species lives. Meanwhile, the anger, greed, personal and international conflicts, pollution, and other planetary disasters that we continue to generate are there for anyone to see, while most act as if humans will not only always be present but will also take all the power and wealth accumulated with us to an afterlife, when our bodies die. In reality the bad behaviors that homo sapiens practice make us more tenuous. How odd we are.
Tom Godfrey Marc Segal,

Throwing out a challenge to refute a long list of items is what Jonathan Sarfati calls hurling elephants. Like a hungry mosquito on a crowded beach, I hardly know where to start.

You should know that there is also a long list of dating methods that suggest a much shorter history of the earth. I don’t want to do any elephant hurling myself, but this brings up an important point with regard to your claim that creationists must abandon their speculation about the age of the earth unless each and every one of the items you listed is successfully refuted. This cannot be the case, any more than it can be the case that evolutionists would have to give up their speculation unless each and every one of the items on the creationist list is successfully refuted.

Frankly, I don’t know of any way “to scientifically disprove” any item on either list. Science, at least what I call normal science, is all about observation, hypotheses, and experiments to test and either validate or falsify hypotheses. Scientists do not have any age-ometer to measure age directly. Age is not a physical property like mass or size. You need to find the difference between two dates or times, T0 and T1, only one of which is known for sure. The other one involves speculation, putting the whole enterprise outside the realm of science. Age is a matter of history. All of the methods for determining an age of the earth rely on assumptions that may or may not be correct, not just on observations of current conditions, processes, and measurements. As a result, people who like the idea of learning about history through the study and biased interpretation of physical clues are stuck with having to choose which set of educated guesses personally seems the most convincing.

Another reason why not every item on your list needs to be separately rejected is that some of them are interdependent. This article might be over your head, but if you have trouble following a line of reasoning, maybe I can help.
https://answersingenesis.org/…/circular-reasoning…/

You said, “Earth is 4.54 billion years old with 99.985% certainty (yes pretty close to 100% certain lol). There’s literally zero percent chance that the earth is less than a 100 million years old.” Since you put in “lol” in there, maybe I was not supposed to take this seriously, but you failed to show how this probability was calculated. I suspect that certain assumptions were presumed to be correct with a 100% chance, while in fact, their true probability cannot even be calculated and therefore must be estimated (or over-estimated). Maybe you can show that I am mistaken about this.

The whole house of cards could come crashing down, if it turns out that the sun is supposed to be much less than 4.54 billion years old, according to theories of stellar evolution. I am not sure how bright you believe the sun was 4.54 billion years ago, but you may be facing a paradox, no matter what. By the way, by posting a link in my comments, I do not imply that I necessarily agree with everything written in the article. Please use your own discretion.
https://creation.com/young-sun-paradox
http://www.icr.org/article/6742/
http://debunkingcreationism.blogspot.com/…/faint-young…
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/…/a-fix-for-the-faint…/
https://phys.org/…/2016-06-solution-faint-young-sun…

Before I close this comment, which is already getting long, I ought to ask why you included “Orbits of planets, dwarf planets and comets around the sun” on your list. This item is certainly not self-explanatory. Please explain the related argument for billions of years.
https://answersingenesis.org/…/8-short-lived-comets/

Manage

Marc Segal
Marc Segal  (Marc manages the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Evolution Science vs Creation Science.)

Tom Godfrey your article on the sun is filled with so many errors that it’s a waste of time to address. No surprise, the author doesn’t cite a single scientific reference!

The other article is a typical “distract with oversaturation”. It hopes to discourage opposing criticism by throwing up a ton of useless information! It barely lists any credible science references and what is used is misrepresented. One of the sources is “Calibration of the 14C timescale over the past 30,000 years using mass spectrometric U-Th ages from Barbados corals.” I’m guessing a YEC website didn’t report the data in that research correctly!

Credible scientific articles are concise and stick to a specific topic!

Would you happen to have any non-biased sources? AIG and ICR is horribly biased! Its like turning on MSNBC to get a report of President Trump job performance.

Adrien Nash
Adrien Nash Refuting YEC is a rather easy endeavor, but is useless when it comes to refuting Intelligent Design since it is not tied to the pedestrian interpretation of Genesis.