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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Death of Darwinism
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
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Jamat - one of the big issues with some translations of the Bible - ask Tom Clune about the NIV if you want chapter and verse - is that they are translated to make the prophecies point to Jesus. Others disagree that those prophecies did so - there are at least two whole religions who disagree those prophecies point to Jesus as the Messiah.

Some scholars believe the Gospels were written post the destruction of Jerusalem - very easy to predict something that's already happened - or read that event into what was said with hindsight.

How much does the existence of Israel depend on people forcing that to happen to tie into their visions of scripture?

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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The Great Gumby

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# 10989

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I don't think I advocated the approach of just reading scripture and interpreting it how you want. However, we do have the Bible as a guide and as a way of comparing what other sources tell us on things. The point for me is that it exists and it is authoritative as a reliable indicator of truth. nothing else does this.

Bzzzzt! This is begging the question on a truly epic scale.
quote:
To take a few examples:

Christ was actually predicted by prophesy. Cyrus was named by Isaiah before he was born. The Babylonian captivity happened. The Jewish state exists against the odds. No one apart from conservative Bible scholars in the 19century predicted that (One Robert Anderson, founder of Scotland Yard did so.)God tells us certain things, if we indulge in them, will harm us. Christianity has gone from Jewish cult to world religion. Jesus predicted the AD70 disaster in Matt 24 (not one stone left on another.) It happened. the fact is that one ignores the Bible at one's peril.

It's hard to know what to say to this, because you clearly think it's a knock-down argument, but it's just a weak mish-mash of "what are the odds?" and special pleading. You do understand the difference between making precise, accurate predictions and identifying vague and tenuous parallels after the fact, while the "predicted" events are being documented, right? Because using your reasoning, Nostradamus should be accorded the status of Holy Writ.

[X-post - CK has made the same point in more detail]

[ 05. October 2010, 07:50: Message edited by: The Great Gumby ]

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Jesus predicted the AD70 disaster in Matt 24 (not one stone left on another.)

Have you ever heard of the Wailing Wall?

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Evolutionary theory predicts things like antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pesticide-resistant weeds, which we've seen borne out.

Did people use evolutionary theory to predict those before the fact?
Obviously, evolutionary theory explains them post facto - in a way that intelligent design can't do without selling out the pass.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Jamat
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I kind of hear the patronising tone of "Oh lets humour the poor naive conservative evo here."

I don't think anything is a knock down argument at all. God in the Bible does not give us that kind of indicator. That would make it a bit too easy. It is actually all about the heart and not the mind. If you will excuse the 'naivete,' Jesus said "he who has ears" and all that. It is certainly possible to rubbish the Bible and put it onto the level of Nostradamus. To me this is a straw man and intellectually dishonest. To do it, you have to accept all kinds of scholarly presuppositions and certainly lots of clever people do this. The question is how intellectually compelling is it to do so.

I can quite reasonably accept a late date for the Gospels for instance. If I did I'd be in good company. However, no liberal scholar meets the challenge of why a late date for say 'John', doesn't explain why he wouldn't mention or imply any knowledge of thr events of AD 70. Quite a reasonable conservative scholarly view is that this is because they hadn't yet occurred.

My point is simply that there is no smoking gun that blows bible prophecy out of the water. I actually do not think it unreasonable to look at Daniel 9 as written hundreds of years before Christ was born..and yet it predicts him. To dismiss it, you have to assume the events are written when they had already occurred. The main reason this happens is a presupposition against the supernatural.

However, this thread is about the 'death' of Darwinism. One no less than Francis Crick himself postulated 'panspermia' I believe. This is the belief that we were consciously placed here in seed form by aliens. Correct me please but Crick's reason for this is the impossible odds of the building blocks of life combining spontaneously? Sounds to me like he has a lot in common with Behe there. Even given 5 billion years, he doesn't think life could have arisen by chance.

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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The Great Gumby

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I've edited this down because it's getting off topic.
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
It is certainly possible to rubbish the Bible and put it onto the level of Nostradamus. To me this is a straw man and intellectually dishonest. To do it, you have to accept all kinds of scholarly presuppositions and certainly lots of clever people do this. The question is how intellectually compelling is it to do so.

I thought you'd already established that to your own satisfaction with your straw man comment. How kind of you to describe me as "intellectually dishonest", as well. I have no idea what "scholarly presuppositions" I'm meant to have accepted, so I have no idea what I'm meant to be defending myself against, but I feel very confident that I could find a "correct" prediction by Nostradamus for every one you pick out of the Bible.
quote:
My point is simply that there is no smoking gun that blows bible prophecy out of the water.
I suggest it's incumbent on those claiming the accuracy of Biblical prophecy to prove their case, rather than assuming it to be true unless proven otherwise.
quote:
I actually do not think it unreasonable to look at Daniel 9 as written hundreds of years before Christ was born..and yet it predicts him. To dismiss it, you have to assume the events are written when they had already occurred. The main reason this happens is a presupposition against the supernatural.
Er, no. You only have to recognise that the "predictions" in Daniel are vague, poetic and non-specific, and that they would have been well-known to all Jews, not least the evangelists, in 1st Century Palestine. If we had an objective, comprehensive account of the events of Jesus' life, rather than oral accounts circulated among people who had a particular view of his life and a common frame of reference, I might pay a little more attention. I'm not saying the fulfilments of these prophecies were fabricated necessarily, but I would be astonished if the stories didn't subtly, unconsciously take on aspects of the well-known prophecies in their telling and retelling.
quote:
However, this thread is about the 'death' of Darwinism. One no less than Francis Crick himself postulated 'panspermia' I believe. This is the belief that we were consciously placed here in seed form by aliens. Correct me please but Crick's reason for this is the impossible odds of the building blocks of life combining spontaneously? Sounds to me like he has a lot in common with Behe there. Even given 5 billion years, he doesn't think life could have arisen by chance.
Scientist expresses unorthodox view shock! There may be good arguments against evolutionary theory (I don't think there are, but the issue is often confused because one name is given to a whole range of influences and processes), but arguments from incredulity are weak.

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The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. - Richard Feynman

A letter to my son about death

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pjkirk
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I kind of hear the patronising tone of "Oh lets humour the poor naive conservative evo here."

You really ought to read this book, and see just how much of the Bible doesn't track closely with archaeology pre-700BC (i.e. most everything pre-exile). Doesn't mean there is some truth in there, but we can't take it even remotely literally.

quote:
However, no liberal scholar meets the challenge of why a late date for say 'John', doesn't explain why he wouldn't mention or imply any knowledge of thr events of AD 70.
I'd say to make it better propaganda. I'm sure others here can provide better explanation. Perhaps even it was written before the Temple burned (though only one person seems to have tried to argue this, originally as a joke, and nobody appears to have taken up the challenge in 40 years, so I'm not sure how strong the arguments actually are). Still this does not say that the Bible can be treated as raw truth (hint - not even close).

quote:
However, this thread is about the 'death' of Darwinism. One no less than Francis Crick himself postulated 'panspermia' I believe. This is the belief that we were consciously placed here in seed form by aliens. Correct me please but Crick's reason for this is the impossible odds of the building blocks of life combining spontaneously?
You miss the mark pretty wildly. Crick postulated panspermia since that would then require life to start from nothing only once in the universe, rather than separately on each individual planet. If you go through the wikipedia page on Crick, you'll also see that he has backed down from this view on evidence that RNA has more enzyme properties than we knew then, and is a likely precursor (at the time they were attempting to explain proteins as the precursor). It is **NOT** an ID argument.

quote:
Sounds to me like he has a lot in common with Behe there. Even given 5 billion years, he doesn't think life could have arisen by chance.
See above, and I suggest you read more before you prognosticate. It took me about 3 minutes to show this idea is silly. It also is nothing like what Behe is talking about, as it related to abiogenesis and *not* to evolution. They are separate. things.

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Dear God, I would like to file a bug report -- Randall Munroe (http://xkcd.com/258/)

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Jamat - one of the big issues with some translations of the Bible - ask Tom Clune about the NIV if you want chapter and verse

And he will give you one chapter and verse. Or at most two. He's got such a bee in his bonnet about it.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by pjkirk:
... as IngoB (I think) has pointed out in Purgatory, evolutionary theory does an amazingly small amount of prediction, unlike physics, for example.

Even if that was true (its not), so what? Its an attempt at a description of the world as it is. Biology is Natural History, not Natural Philosophy. We leave that up to the physicists.

And these days they are seriously weird. Theoretical physicists seem to spend their time making ever more extreme mathematical models, many of which don't even pretend to be predictive or testable. People get prizes for things like proving that an 11-dimensional model of the universe with one kind of interaction confined to the surfaces of 5-dimensional tubes is in fact mathematically similar to a 10-dimensional modelof another sort... though neither can in fact be related to any observaton whatsoever - they are doing it for fun (and so thsy should). Physics is the weirdest and wackiest and least practical of all sciences.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Alan Cresswell

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Thanks for that. Just call me weird, whacky and impractical.

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Jamat
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quote:
pj kirk: Crick, you'll also see that he has backed down from this view on evidence that RNA has more enzyme properties than we knew then, and is a likely precursor (at the time they were attempting to explain proteins as the precursor).
I actually heard of an interview he gave with Michael Drosnin in 2002 in which he confirmed the 'seeded by aliens' theory then and he also said: ' the DNA molecule was far too complex to have evolved spontaneously on earth in the short time betweed the formation of this planet 4bill yrs ago and the appearance of life 3.8 bill yrs ago.'
(paraphrase quoted from 'The Divinity Code' by Ian Wishart.)

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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mousethief

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Well, no, Drosnin's book The Bible Code II, in which he mentions speaking with Crick about transspermia, was published in 2002. The conversation between the two of them had to have been earlier than 2002.

I have not yet found online at what point in time the conversation allegedly took place. In the version of the conversation relayed in this online article, Crick doesn't exactly give a ringing endorsement of transspermia, he just admits that he believed it at one time (doesn't say if he believes it now) and relates that according to the theory it was by spaceship and not by meteor that the spermies are transmitted. It's quite possible to read the version I link to as not admitting anything at all about his beliefs regarding transspermia at the time of the interview.

And as the website points out he was already publicly backing away from transspermia in 1981.

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GodWithUs
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
And these days they are seriously weird. Theoretical physicists seem to spend their time making ever more extreme mathematical models, many of which don't even pretend to be predictive or testable. People get prizes for things like proving that an 11-dimensional model of the universe with one kind of interaction confined to the surfaces of 5-dimensional tubes is in fact mathematically similar to a 10-dimensional modelof another sort... though neither can in fact be related to any observaton whatsoever - they are doing it for fun (and so thsy should). Physics is the weirdest and wackiest and least practical of all sciences.

What you describe is only one branch of physics: theoretical high-energy particle physics. As much as many particle physicists would like to pretend they're the be-all and end-all of physics, they're merely a sandbar in the vast and diverse archipelago that is physics.

Physics in general is actually an extremely practical science, it's just that a lot of the time it's impossible to predict how a certain line of research will yield practical results. iPods and all their ilk, for instance, were made possible by the discovery of a physical effect called giant magnetoresistance, a discovery which won the discoverers the Nobel Prize in Physics a few years back. Most physics research is in areas like this with obvious applicability. Like most people, most physicists prefer to do work with practical value. High-temperature superconductors, which could revolutionize all kinds of things if mastered, is a HUGE area of research. The vast majority of the technological advances of the past 2-3 centuries owe their existence to developments in physics, and it's entirely probable the trend will continue.

It's also worth pointing out that theoretical physicists are a minority no matter which sub-field they work in. Experimentalists are way more common. I think most people would find shooting lasers at things a lot more fun than poking at equations all day long, and physicists are no exception.

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Venio in pace. Duc ad ducem tuum.

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Alan Cresswell

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Personally, zapping things with radiation is more fun. But, I've done my share of zapping with lasers too. Though, mostly it's just finding better ways of measuring things so that scientists in other fields get better data to play with.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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mousethief

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Lasers are radiation, are they not? Electromagnetic radiation in the visible portion of the spectrum known as "light".

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Mr Clingford
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Lasers are radiation, are they not? Electromagnetic radiation in the visible portion of the spectrum known as "light".

Surely you're being picky? 'Radiation', as used by a nuclear physicist, probably refers to nuclear radiation. But I think your point is right.

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Ne'er cast a clout till May be out.

If only.

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orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Mr Clingford:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Lasers are radiation, are they not? Electromagnetic radiation in the visible portion of the spectrum known as "light".

Surely you're being picky? 'Radiation', as used by a nuclear physicist, probably refers to nuclear radiation. But I think your point is right.
First few sentences of the Wikipedia article on radiation capture the double-usage rather beautifully:

quote:
In physics, radiation describes a process in which energetic particles or waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing. The word radiation is commonly used in reference to ionizing radiation only (i.e., having sufficient energy to ionize an atom), but it may also refer to non-ionizing radiation (e.g., radio waves or visible light).
Score another point for the ambiguity of the English language. The core problem of my professional existence (he says at 7pm on a Friday as he finally packs up to go home...)

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Thanks for that. Just call me weird, whacky and impractical.

I have to say you're not really trying to break the stereotype with your avater and title, nice though they are.

[ 08. October 2010, 08:29: Message edited by: mdijon ]

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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GodWithUs
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# 15919

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I wouldn't necessarily call them "distinct" types of radiation since to me that implies that they are intrinsically different when the only difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation is energy, an extrinsic property. I would divide them into electromagnetic radiation and Everything Else. I'd call it nuclear radiation, but nuclei can radiate electromagnetic waves too. [Razz]

But that's all just pointless semantic hairsplitting, so I'll let it go out of the goodness of my heart.

[Angel]

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Venio in pace. Duc ad ducem tuum.

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Alan Cresswell

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There are definitely enough pedants on the Ship that I really should have known better ...

Any classification of radiation is going to be problematic. Ionising/non-ionising simply puts an arbitrary division based on energy (and not well fixed ... ionising what, exactly?). EM/not-EM implies that one sort of wave/particle is intrinsically different from another ... EM includes radiowaves and gamma rays which have origins and properties that are far more different than, say, gamma rays and beta particles; non-EM would include electrons, neutrons, protons, alpha particles, heavy ions, muons, neutrinos. Nuclear/non-nuclear also doesn't help much; accelerated electron beams are non-nuclear but very similar to beta radiation (a difference in energy distribution), atomically sourced x-rays can be more energetic than some nuclear gamma-rays, and accelerator sourced synchrotron radiation is yet another EM source that's non-nuclear but with properties that are very similar to nuclear radiation.

So, just to be clear, I tend to zap things with visible light (from lasers and LEDs depending on focus requirements) and beta and gamma radiation. I also tend to measure gamma and beta radiation, and single photons of visible spectrum light. And, it's all good fun without the need to worry about 11-dimensional space at all.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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GodWithUs
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# 15919

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I bow before your clearly superior pedantry. [Overused]

I never got to play with beta or gamma radiation when I was in university, sadly (for me, at least; I'm sure the rest of humanity breathed a sigh of relief), but I did get to play with pretty blue argon lasers. Shiny...

Maybe I should leave it at that before people realize that the reason people study physics isn't out of love of science or desire to benefit humanity but so they can play with really big expensive toys. [Two face]

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Venio in pace. Duc ad ducem tuum.

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orfeo

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# 13878

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I used to query why people studied chemistry. Personally, I was in it for the colours. I suspected many others were in it for the explosions and/or bad smells.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Lamb Chopped
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I liked burning things to get different color flames. It was a bit hard on our poor colorblind chem teacher, though.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by GodWithUs:
What you describe is only one branch of physics: theoretical high-energy particle physics.
[...]
It's also worth pointing out that theoretical physicists are a minority no matter which sub-field they work in.

I was being a bit facetious. But then I was prompted by the silly notion that something has to be predictive to be good science, and the even sillier one that evolutionary biology isn't.

If they want predictions from evolutionary biology and palaentology, how about that there had to be a mechanism for keeping the Sun and the Earth hot for hundreds of millions of years? The biologists and geologists new the world was at least 200-400 million years old (and pronbably a lot older), because there are extant sedimentary rocks that took that long to lay down - it is, as they say, bleeding obvious when you start looking. But the physicists didn't belive them until they thought up nuclear physics.

Predictive power of Natural History, one; Lord Kelvin, nil.

Or what we used to call "continental drift"? Again, its pretty obvious from looking at fossils that parts of the continents now separated by oceans were once adjacent. And we can reconstruct not only the ancient Pangea but also the continents it split into.

For example Australia, many Pacific islands, India, South America, and Antarctica share many of the same fossils from the early Mesozoic, as do Europe, most of Asia, and also North America.

Once we get to the early Tertiary then India and Africa get more Asianised. Though some southern animals (like elephants) turn up in the north. South America stayed uniquely Gondwanan until the Pliocene. Then, hey presto! It gets fossils of camels and cats and bears - all the way from Asia originally. North America gets marsupials and armadillos in exchange. Australia remains southern (apart from bats) until humans, dogs, and rats mysterriously turn up together a few tens of thousands of years ago, and New Zealand and New Caledonia are until people arrive a few centuries ago.

There has got to have been an series of temporary interchanges of land animals and plants between continents - Wallace spotted that in the mid-19th century. Most writers invoked rather stringy vague land bridges. A few - Alfred Wegener and Arthur Holmes most famously - came to belive in what was then called "continental drift". Which turns out to be true. But its forty years before the geophysicists and their friends in the CIA discover the magnetic anomalies that allowed them to think up plate tectonics.

But there had to be something - because the actual course of the history of life on earth required it. Hows that for predictive power?

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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pjkirk
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
I was prompted by the silly notion that something has to be predictive to be good science, and the even sillier one that evolutionary biology isn't.

Sorry, I haven't been able to spend any time here for a while.

If you read my posting as saying that evolutionary biology isn't good science, you're reading something that I never intend to write. If you read it as saying that it's not predictive then you're reading something I never intend to write (though I may have overstated this...I'll need to go back to check). It's not bad science. Hopefully I wouldn't be fascinated with it if it were. I do contend however that evolutionary theory is very different than how the normal populace views science, and that these differences cause many of the problems people have with it.

College educated non-scientists won't get much beyond knowing that if you heat up a gas in a balloon, then you can say how much larger the volume (or pressure) will be. How if you drop a ball from a certain height, it will hit the ground with a certain force. How much and what product you can make from a chemical reaction. Etc. Very deterministic.

Then evolutionary theory comes along and is unable to provide detailed answers to what seems like much of anything. Nobody can answer Behe's demands for detailed step by step walkthroughs to the pathways he contends. It's not a failing of the science, but it is a limitation. It doesn't work in the same deterministic framework that people see in general science.

To this average Joe, it sounds like a whole bunch of hand-waving uselessness and very unscientific when somebody posits scaffolding as a potential mechanism to get around (purported) irreducible complexity. While those claims are false, I think the differences should be acknowledged and explored in depth when speaking of or teaching evolution.

--------------------
Dear God, I would like to file a bug report -- Randall Munroe (http://xkcd.com/258/)

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by pjkirk:

College educated non-scientists won't get much beyond knowing that if you heat up a gas in a balloon, then you can say how much larger the volume (or pressure) will be. How if you drop a ball from a certain height, it will hit the ground with a certain force. How much and what product you can make from a chemical reaction. Etc. Very deterministic.

Really? That's a heck of a lot more science than the average person round here has. Collefge-educated or not.

quote:


Then evolutionary theory comes along and is unable to provide detailed answers to what seems like much of anything.

That's not true.


quote:


Nobody can answer Behe's demands for detailed step by step walkthroughs to the pathways he contends.

So what? I mean really, if that was true - an it isn't entirely - so what? Astronomers can't tell you what colour cheese is on Epsilon Eridani either.


Why should we expect anyone to be able to reconstruct detailed historical narratives about things that happened hundreds of millions of years ago? Its only because of the unprecedente ideological attack on biological science that anyone pays any attention to such nonsensical challenges at all.

quote:


It's not a failing of the science, but it is a limitation. It doesn't work in the same deterministic framework that people see in general science.

That's not true.

quote:


To this average Joe, it sounds like a whole bunch of hand-waving uselessness and very unscientific when somebody posits scaffolding as a potential mechanism to get around (purported) irreducible complexity.

What on earth is this "irreducible complexity"? How it is defined? How do we recognise it? We don't because there is no such thing. It is the airy-fairy handwaving myth (at best - at worst its simply a lie). No-one has ever described it or defined it or given one real-world example of it.Show me one decent account of what it might be. I've never seen one yet.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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pjkirk
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Ken,

You're entirely missing the point. It's about communication. "We" have failed to communicate evolutionary theory in a fashion that seems even remotely scientific to people who are questioning it, and left it open to misrepresentation. Even if what they're saying is false, it doesn't matter if it's enough to make people fall for it.

quote:
quote:
Then evolutionary theory comes along and is unable to provide detailed answers to what seems like much of anything.
That's not true.
Seems is the operative word here. It doesn't matter if it's true...it *seems* true. Which is my point.

quote:
quote:
Nobody can answer Behe's demands for detailed step by step walkthroughs to the pathways he contends.
So what? I mean really, if that was true - an it isn't entirely - so what?
The so what is that it opens it up for additional criticism and misrepresentation.

quote:
quote:
It's not a failing of the science, but it is a limitation. It doesn't work in the same deterministic framework that people see in general science.
That's not true.
Would you accept that it 'doesn't work in the manner that people are accustomed to science working?' I do disagree with you here (though it's not a big deal since it's not my main point, and it's a matter of viewpoint), but what matters is how people view the science.

quote:
What on earth is this "irreducible complexity"? How it is defined? How do we recognise it? We don't because there is no such thing. It is the airy-fairy handwaving myth (at best - at worst its simply a lie). No-one has ever described it or defined it or given one real-world example of it.Show me one decent account of what it might be.
I don't think it exists, though you seem to think I do. It doesn't matter though, because when people expect biologists to be able to provide firm answers like they've seen from chemistry/etc, and we can't, then it looks like a weak or unsubstantiated theory.

IMO, we make it easier for people to make these ideological attacks by poorly presenting the material and not teaching well the proper expectations for what science does/can do. If we're going to teach evolution to pretty much every schoolboy and schoolgirl in the world, we need to do it in a way that works. Which I don't think we do now.

--------------------
Dear God, I would like to file a bug report -- Randall Munroe (http://xkcd.com/258/)

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by pjkirk:
You're entirely missing the point. It's about communication. "We" have failed to communicate evolutionary theory in a fashion that seems even remotely scientific to people who are questioning it, and left it open to misrepresentation. Even if what they're saying is false, it doesn't matter if it's enough to make people fall for it.

I don't think we have failed. The majority of peopel who actuallyu study these thigns don't fall for YEcism or its IDiot footmen.


quote:
quote:
Nobody can answer Behe's demands for detailed step by step walkthroughs to the pathways he contends.
So what? I mean really, if that was true - an it isn't entirely - so what?
The so what is that it opens it up for additional criticism and misrepresentation.

quote:

quote:
quote:
It's not a failing of the science, but it is a limitation. It doesn't work in the same deterministic framework that people see in general science.
That's not true.
Would you accept that it 'doesn't work in the manner that people are accustomed to science working?'

No, I don't think I would. What is this "determinsitic framework"? Physics has been weird and getting weirder for a century or more. Do people understand relativity, quantum mechanics, the statistical/stochastic nature of physical and chemical processes, the built-in indeterminacy of things, the relationship between electricity and light? (and that's only taking physics up to where it was in my grandparents time) I'd live to be wrong but I suspect that most people have very little accurate idea of all that at all. Most of them are more likely tounderstand the basics of biology.

quote:

I do disagree with you here (though it's not a big deal since it's not my main point, and it's a matter of viewpoint), but what matters is how people view the science.

And I think that on average people probably have a better understanding of biology than they do of those other sciences. Because you don't need to do maths to understand most of it, and most peopel arent; very good at maths.

quote:

quote:
What on earth is this "irreducible complexity"? How it is defined? How do we recognise it? We don't because there is no such thing. It is the airy-fairy handwaving myth (at best - at worst its simply a lie). No-one has ever described it or defined it or given one real-world example of it.Show me one decent account of what it might be.
I don't think it exists, though you seem to think I do. It doesn't matter though, because when people expect biologists to be able to provide firm answers like they've seen from chemistry/etc, and we can't, then it looks like a weak or unsubstantiated theory.

I'm still not sure what you are getting at here. Answers to what?

There is no real challenge to the usual understandings of biology from this ID mob. It woudl be a lie to pretend that there is. Making it seem far more important than it is.

What are these hard questions we ought to be able to answer, but can't in a way that physicists can?


quote:

IMO, we make it easier for people to make these ideological attacks by poorly presenting the material and not teaching well the proper expectations for what science does/can do. If we're going to teach evolution to pretty much every schoolboy and schoolgirl in the world, we need to do it in a way that works. Which I don't think we do now.

But we do. Its probably far easier for most people to understand biology than chemistry or phyisics, and I think its probably better taught than the other sciences in schools. Or maybe less badly taught would be fairer. Also - and this is important - the popular literature about biology is on the whole much, much more accessible - as well as being much larger - than that for other sciences. And even TV programmes.

People who do real science write easuily accessible books about what they actually research on in a way that doesn;t happen in the other sciences to the same extent. I don't think that's reflects anything bad about the phycicists, just that the nature of what they study is harder to get over, because its much more alien to the way people naturally thik.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Jamat
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# 11621

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Well, no, Drosnin's book The Bible Code II, in which he mentions speaking with Crick about transspermia, was published in 2002. The conversation between the two of them had to have been earlier than 2002.

I have not yet found online at what point in time the conversation allegedly took place. In the version of the conversation relayed in this online article, Crick doesn't exactly give a ringing endorsement of transspermia, he just admits that he believed it at one time (doesn't say if he believes it now) and relates that according to the theory it was by spaceship and not by meteor that the spermies are transmitted. It's quite possible to read the version I link to as not admitting anything at all about his beliefs regarding transspermia at the time of the interview.

And as the website points out he was already publicly backing away from transspermia in 1981.

The Drosnin book, published 2002 (I don't know when the interview was but understand it was a phone interview), claims, (apparently), that Crick has not backed away from his view in effect and my cursory reading of the link you posted suggests that such is a reasonable interpretation. Please point out what I may have missed.

The issue is that someone of Crick's stature does not regard as possible, any scenario in which the DNA helix could have randomly arisen. Nevertheless, it exists. Therefore, another scenario is responsible than neo-Darwinian evolutionary development.

Perhaps your post should have been prefaced with "Well, yes.."

I think that the comment above demanding definition of irreducible complexity maybe is expecting it to be seen as a theory? This may not be the case, Ken, but in Behe's book, it is simply a way to describe the abstract notion that some biological structures are so composed that they could not have occurred through gradual cumulative improvement. The complexity of the blood clotting process, for instance, is such that it beggars belief to suggest it could have occurred by chance.

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Curiosity killed ...

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# 11770

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Jamat, did you follow through the links I gave you on robot design? Those researchers were providing a random form of 'evolution' for robots, by adding another couple of units to the system every few generations. When enough capacity had built up the robots evolved in unexpected ways to solve predictable problems - the same sort of things that you're saying are inexplicable.

--------------------
Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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Curiosity killed ...

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That post is here because it's now back a page.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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Alan Cresswell

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# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

The issue is that someone of Crick's stature does not regard as possible, any scenario in which the DNA helix could have randomly arisen. Nevertheless, it exists. Therefore, another scenario is responsible than neo-Darwinian evolutionary development.

Well, it's self evident that the DNA helix could not have arisen randomly. That doesn't rule out the neo-Darwinian explanation, since that isn't random either. Evolution is a process with a random element coupled to selection pressure - the results of which are not going to be random. If you want a non-biological analogy then you could cite the example of gases - they exhibit non-random characteristics, expressed in the classic Gas Laws, but are composed of individual molecules zipping around in an essentially random way.

--------------------
Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Jamat
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# 11621

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

The issue is that someone of Crick's stature does not regard as possible, any scenario in which the DNA helix could have randomly arisen. Nevertheless, it exists. Therefore, another scenario is responsible than neo-Darwinian evolutionary development.

Well, it's self evident that the DNA helix could not have arisen randomly. That doesn't rule out the neo-Darwinian explanation, since that isn't random either. Evolution is a process with a random element coupled to selection pressure - the results of which are not going to be random. If you want a non-biological analogy then you could cite the example of gases - they exhibit non-random characteristics, expressed in the classic Gas Laws, but are composed of individual molecules zipping around in an essentially random way.
There is by your admission randomness as a necessary part of evolutionary change. That is precisely what is in question. And the whole issue concerns the fact that biological knowledge does not readily sit well with evolutionary type progress. The gas analogy is fine as an analogy. Behe's point is that no one can identify a viable possible pathway that is anything like specific. Glenn Oldham's posts earlier in this thread are plausible only if one grants the number of 'probablys' he uses.

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Alan Cresswell

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Yes, randomness is part of the evolutionary process. It is the part that provides genetic variation. But, the powerhouse of evolution is directed - natural selection of those variations that produce increased fitness to the environment the organism lives in. That powerhouse is extremely powerful, and is capable of producing very complex lifeforms and organs. It's produced eyes on several different occasions. It's produced all the examples of 'irriducible complexity' that Behe claimed. All by small changes which are each fairly probable from random mutation, cumulative through slightly more advantageous processes to the version we have today ... and possibly tommorrow another random variation will result in a very small improvement that will pass rapidly (in geological terms) through the whole population.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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HughWillRidmee
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# 15614

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I liked burning things to get different color flames. It was a bit hard on our poor colorblind chem teacher, though.

It's a well known (and therefore possibly true) fact that all chemistry teachers have no sense of smell, the experiment being that we used to spend entire double lessons producing hydrogen sulphide which, the labs being on the third floor, took ten minutes to to reach the rest of the school once the lesson ended. Chemistry "O" level result - Fail.

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The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things.. but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them...
W. K. Clifford, "The Ethics of Belief" (1877)

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HughWillRidmee
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# 15614

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Yes, randomness is part of the evolutionary process. It is the part that provides genetic variation. But, the powerhouse of evolution is directed - natural selection of those variations that produce increased fitness to the environment the organism lives in. That powerhouse is extremely powerful, and is capable of producing very complex lifeforms and organs. It's produced eyes on several different occasions. It's produced all the examples of 'irriducible complexity' that Behe claimed. All by small changes which are each fairly probable from random mutation, cumulative through slightly more advantageous processes to the version we have today ... and possibly tommorrow another random variation will result in a very small improvement that will pass rapidly (in geological terms) through the whole population.

Perhaps there is a widespread misunderstanding that evolution is linear - that one random variation occurs and is selected or rejected, then, sometime later, another occurs.

I seem to recall reading recently an argument that, despite human intervention, there has been insufficient time elapsed since the domestication of wolves to produce all the genetic variations required to explain the range of dog types, St Bernard to Yorkshire Terrier via Greyhounds for example. The answer, which seemed reasonable to me, was that that since most genetic variation is neither immediately beneficial nor harmful the wolves had a vast reservoir of modifications which were unused until man selected for them.

To my mind it takes an odd definition of "intelligent" to apply the concept to a designer which provided us with eyes which are "inside out" (though I believe it got it right with squid?) and provided an unnecessary complication which means that we can choke to death by passing food into our airway via a ridiculously unnecessary crossover.

--------------------
The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things.. but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them...
W. K. Clifford, "The Ethics of Belief" (1877)

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Jamat
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To say, Alan, that directed natural selection is powerful is certainly nothing that any creationist would dispute. They would just say that along with dog breeding etc, that it is not the issue or the point. What they dispute is the likelihood of any random genetic variation being beneficial. Behe actually comments on the e coli research that while for one mutation to select itself as beneficial for the organism is remotely possible, two or more would in fact be required and this is way longer odds. Behe, of course, says he is not a creationist.

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Liopleurodon

Mighty sea creature
# 4836

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
To say, Alan, that directed natural selection is powerful is certainly nothing that any creationist would dispute. They would just say that along with dog breeding etc, that it is not the issue or the point. What they dispute is the likelihood of any random genetic variation being beneficial. Behe actually comments on the e coli research that while for one mutation to select itself as beneficial for the organism is remotely possible, two or more would in fact be required and this is way longer odds. Behe, of course, says he is not a creationist.

Jamat, could you clarify what you mean by a mutation "selecting itself as beneficial"? I'm not quite sure what you mean.
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Ann

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quote:
Originally posted by HughWillRidmee:
... and provided an unnecessary complication which means that we can choke to death by passing food into our airway via a ridiculously unnecessary crossover.

I'd have thought that if fewer organisms choke to death on stray bits of food than suffocate with a stinking head cold, those with the ridiculously unnecessary crossover live to breed.

--------------------
Ann

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ken
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# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
... but in Behe's book, it is simply a way to describe the abstract notion that some biological structures are so composed that they could not have occurred through gradual cumulative improvement.

That becomes worth thinking about if they could give some plausible examples with reasons why hey think it impossible.

quote:


The complexity of the blood clotting process, for instance, is such that it beggars belief to suggest it could have occurred by chance.

Of course. But whoever said it occured by chance?

quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
[ And the whole issue concerns the fact that biological knowledge does not readily sit well with evolutionary type progress.

But it does. Very well.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Behe actually comments on the e coli research that while for one mutation to select itself as beneficial for the organism is remotely possible, two or more would in fact be required and this is way longer odds.

He's plain wrong then.

There are about 5 million basepairs of DNA in a typical E. coli genome (there is huge variation between them - some can be up to 20% larger than others) That means there are about 40 million possible point mutations in the genome - that is a change in a single DNA base, for example any DNA base can be deleted, or one of the four others inserted next to it, or (much the most likely) changed to one of three others.

Point mutations occur in bacterial chromosomes about once in 100,000 cell divisions per base pair. So you would expect about 50 per generation per cell. Most are of course soon lost or repaired, or are selectively neutral. Perhaps very roughly one in a million of all possible point mutations occurs per cell per generation. So a population of many more than a million cells will have every possible point mutation every generation. The chance of any given two mutations occuring simultaneously is perhaps about one in a trillion per cell per generation. So a population of a trillion cells will have every such double mutation every generation on average.

There are probably a few grams of E. coli in a typical human gut. And the same - varying for allowing for size - goes for every mammal in the world and pretty much most other large animals as well. Off the top of my head, I guess a gram of E. coli contains over 100 million cells. So the population per human is of the order of hundreds of millions. So every possible point mutation is occuring many times in every generation in every human gut. Every possible pair of mutations is occuring about once a generation, perhaps a little less, in every human gut.

The generation time is perhaps one an hour (its 20 minutes or less in culture in a lab) so there will be over a trillion trillion E. coli point mutations in your gut in your lifetime. And in mine, and in Michael Behe's and so on. Work out the mubers for yourself - I'#ve probably slipped a zero somewhere. So each of us will probably have experienced every possible pair of such mutations inside our own bodies. And a great many - millions and millions - of simultaneous triple mutations.

But there are billions of humans. And these bacteria live in other species as well. And you can find them in open water and in the sea (where it is evidence of contamination by mamallian faeces - not that there is any lack of that. Oh, and in sewage.


Whats the total population? Back of an envelope, say each human is associated with about 10 kilos of gut content or recent faeces (mostly distributed through the sewage system or the environment of course) So that's ~6*10^9 humans, so of the order of 10^11 kilos of gut content & poo. Say that 1 part in a thousand of that is E. coli or similar (likely an underestimate), 10^8 kg of them in humans. Say that humans represent 1 part in a thousand of all the E. coli hosts in the world. So perhaps 10^11 kilos of the species in the world. As there are maybe 10^11 cells per kilo that is 10^22 live E. coli in the world. Say of the order of 10^25 point mutations per day.

Total number of possible such mutations is of the order of 10^7. So somewhere in the world every possible combination of 3 simultaneous point mutations will happen in E. coli every day many, many times. Every possible combnination of 4 every day or so. There have probably been of the order of 10^11 or 10^12 days since this kind of bacteria has been around. That's a lot of mutations.

NB point mutations probably aren't the main source of genetic variation in bacteria, whole-gene mutations are common, such as reversals or the insertion or loss of an length of DNA, and there is considerable opportunity to gain genes from plasmids or horizontal gene transfers. So looking at point mutations gives us the absolute floor of the likely rate of recruitment of genetic variation.

NB also that selection is going on so unworkable mutations are thrown away and the next set of mutations starts, by definition, wth viable combinations.

NB again & very importantly that bacvteria can share genes so if a useful one turns up in one place it gets everywhere.

NB also that it is not necessary to see every possible mutation - despite their vast numbers all extant bacteria make up a tiny proportion of all possible genomes of that size

(there are about 1000 possible combinations of 5 bases of DNA (4^5 = 2^10 =~ 10^3) - so 5,000 base pairs have 10^3000 possibilities and 5 million 10^some big number I can't be bothered to write down)

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Jamat
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# 11621

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quote:
Originally posted by Liopleurodon:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
To say, Alan, that directed natural selection is powerful is certainly nothing that any creationist would dispute. They would just say that along with dog breeding etc, that it is not the issue or the point. What they dispute is the likelihood of any random genetic variation being beneficial. Behe actually comments on the e coli research that while for one mutation to select itself as beneficial for the organism is remotely possible, two or more would in fact be required and this is way longer odds. Behe, of course, says he is not a creationist.

Jamat, could you clarify what you mean by a mutation "selecting itself as beneficial"? I'm not quite sure what you mean.
I honestly don't think I know enough to explain it. Dawkins' latest, "The Greatest Show on Earth" calls such things 'hairpin' I think. What he means is points of change in the genealogical line of somthing where it begins to 'morph' into something else.

Ken, You are blinding me with Science which admittedly is not difficult. Here is the supposed comment from Behe. here

--------------------
Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

Ken, You are blinding me with Science which admittedly is not difficult.

I thought we were talking about science?

quote:


Here is the supposed comment from Behe. here

There's nothing but unsupported assertion on that blog. And people who tried to make some sensible comments about numbers just get banned.

There seems to be something about evolution that Behe and his friends just don't "get". Their arguments - as far as I can tell - miss the mark so badly its hard to see what they can be thinking.

Its almost as if somone was trying to refute the existence of Australia by saying that upside-down people would fall off the world.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I honestly don't think I know enough to explain it. Dawkins' latest, "The Greatest Show on Earth" calls such things 'hairpin' I think. What he means is points of change in the genealogical line of somthing where it begins to 'morph' into something else.

That's not what he means by "hairpin" at all.

The idea is that we are all connected through our common ancestors. But we can only know what those ancestors were like by comparing their living descendents and seeing what they have in common.

So there are no such things as "missing links". The connection between a crocodile and a duck is not a blend of the two, not a crocoduck, but the last common ancestor of the two which probably wasn't very much like either.

So if you wanted to describe how a duck is related to a crocodile you would have to follow the ancestry of each back in time until they merged. The techy term for that is "coalescent" but Dawkins calls it a "hairpin" presumably because it has two long branches that meet at one end.

Dawkins describes it in an interview here:

quote:

Lundborg: Could you explain the idea of the hairpin bend?

Dawkins: You start with any modern animal you like, such as a rabbit, and put her next to her mother and then her mother in a chain that goes back in time a very long way until you hit the common ancestor with some other animal such as a leopard. It would no longer look like a rabbit but more like a shrew.

You call that the hairpin bend and you turn round and start going forward in time. You just keep taking the fork that leads to the leopard and in time you’ll get to the modern animal.

Lundborg: This works with any pair of modern animals?

Dawkins: Yes. At every stage of going backward and forward, every animal would look like its mother, yet after millions of generations you would see a gradual change.



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Ken

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Liopleurodon

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# 4836

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
I honestly don't think I know enough to explain it. Dawkins' latest, "The Greatest Show on Earth" calls such things 'hairpin' I think. What he means is points of change in the genealogical line of somthing where it begins to 'morph' into something else.

Right, as Ken says, that's really not what Dawkins means by the hairpin. The hairpin in how many generations you have to go back before your great(however many times) grandparent is the great (however many times) grandparent of a particular someone else. For your first cousin, the hairpin bends at your grandparents. For you and me, we'd have to go further back than that, but if we went back through the generations at some point there would be someone who was the common ancestor of both of us. This is less weird than it sounds because remember that you have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents and so on.

I think a lot of the problem people have with understanding evolution is that they don't really get which bits are random and which bits aren't. So they overstate the random processes and say "You think that humans just showed up completely by chance?" or they overstate the non-random and say "So things are just getting bigger, stronger, smarter and better, forever?" Evolution doesn't actually claim either of those things but they're probably the two most common criticisms. Evolution by natural selection is actually a very simple concept (although like anything if you go into it in a lot of depth it can start to make your brain hurt): a combination of mutation, which is random, and selection, which really isn't.

This is why I picked up on your "mutation selecting itself as beneficial" because it seems like a very weird phrase to use. Mutation doesn't select itself. Mutation just happens, all the time. The environment may make a particular mutation beneficial, but that's different.

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

Ken, You are blinding me with Science which admittedly is not difficult.

I thought we were talking about science?
Do not blind me with science.

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Justinian
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# 5357

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Ken, You are blinding me with Science which admittedly is not difficult. Here is the supposed comment from Behe. here

Ken's not the one trying to blind you there. Behe is. Behe's running an argument that he tried in the Dover trial (where the conservative (Bush-appointed) judge termed the creationist side "Breathtaking inanity"). And to cut a long story short, the chance of such a mutation group happening spontaneously in any given e-coli is miniscule - Behe is right there. But e-coli is incredibly abundant. To the point that when I ran the numbers myself, I worked out that it would have happened several times in my parents' back garden per day (I live in a flat). I couldn't be bothered to run the numbers on a window-box...

Ken was just trying to give you the step by step process to get there. The absolute opposite of the blinding Behe uses.

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Louise
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# 30

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This is the correct thread for making general creationist arguments, unless you would like to start a new thread ona subtopic.
cheers,
Louise
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Jamat
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# 11621

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quote:
Ken was just trying to give you the step by step process to get there. The absolute opposite of the blinding Behe uses
Sorry to dig up this bone after all this time but what blinding exactly?

Behe's basic argument is mathematical. Do you think yo have proved him wrong?

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Justinian
Shipmate
# 5357

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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Ken was just trying to give you the step by step process to get there. The absolute opposite of the blinding Behe uses
Sorry to dig up this bone after all this time but what blinding exactly?

Behe's basic argument is mathematical. Do you think yo have proved him wrong?

Not just me. Taking Behe's supposed mathematics apart has been done to death to the point that in the his testimony at the Kitzmiller vs Dover trial he himself accepted that even using his own conditions to make things as unlikely as possible, irreducibly complex systems would evolve and be fixed in a population in 20,000 years.

Behe's argument is not mathematical in the slightest. It's an argument from incredulity dressed up in the trappings of mathematics, and when actual numbers are plugged in the whole argument is shown to be fallacious.

[ 03. September 2011, 03:15: Message edited by: Justinian ]

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My real name consists of just four letters, but in billions of combinations.

Eudaimonaic Laughter - my blog.

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