Posted by: Dan | November 28, 2006

Cornell IDEA vs. ACLU Debate

Via Hannah Maxsom and the Cornell IDEA club, I thought I’d pass this along:

Should intelligent design be allowed in public schools?:

That’s the question we’re going to be debating tomorrow [Wednesday, 11/29] — 6:30 PM, McGraw 165 . IDEA (represented by Sean and [Hannah]) will be arguing in favor of academic freedom, and the Cornell ACLU will present their case for why ID shouldn’t be allowed. So come out and support one side or the other! This’ll be in place of our regular Music Room discussions, and the last event of the semester.

I’ll support the academic freedom of intelligent design when they want to teach about the flying spaghetti monster and intelligent falling… seriously… the Cornell IDEA club isn’t at all interested in “academic freedom,” they just want their pet theory to be given a free pass in the meritocracy of science.

Why would anyone want to go listen to these same old creationist tactics? And when will they display the slightest hint of interest in actually studying biology?

For further reference:
Kitzmiller et al. – Judge Jones’ ruling (PDF)
The official site for Kitzmiller et al.
Wiki: Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District



  1. Why do you expect people to believe the absurd? Since when do complex, self replicating, information storage and retrieval systems that contain irreducible complexity and complex specified information arise by chance? This level of technology is found in the cell and evolutionary theory cannot account for it. Care to give any examples where they arose by chance – where the causal history is actually known? Or care to state scientifically how it can happen via an evolutionary process?

    How do you account for the origin of information within DNA?

    How do you account for functionally integrated, irreducibly complex systems within the cell?

    The Darwinian clue bag is pretty close to empty, but there is a huge bluff going on…I think you may have bought right into it.

  2. Phillip Johnson has a nice quote, and says a lot in a short space. Perhaps this explains why people let their presuppositions dictate their thinking, and require scant little in the way of evidence, yet interpret what they see to reinforce their presuppositions.

    “Suppose, however, that we were to learn that the accepted theory of biological evolution is fundamentally untrue. Suppose that the Darwinian mechanism of mutation and selection cannot really create complex organs and organisms from simple beginnings, and that the problem of biological complexity has not been solved after all. If an error of that magnitude had to be confessed, the entire part of the grand metaphysical story that deals with the history and nature of life would be called into question. The confidence scientists feel that they can eventually provide a materialistic explanation for the origin of life and for consciousness would have no basis once its essential Darwinian foundation was removed. Why devote prodigious effort to speculating about how a primitive form of RNA might be produced in a chemical soup if you have no idea how such a molecule could evolve into a cell? Why assume that mind is only matter if you have no idea of how the brain could have evolved? Instead of a generally satisfactory picture of the history of life with a few gaps, science would confront a vast mystery that would become increasingly stark with the gathering of more biological data. When we imagine the consequences that would follow from a discrediting of the Darwinian theory, it is easy to understand why scientists defend the theory so fiercely. “

  3. The Contemporary Model of Evolution
    demonstrating its logical properties as a fact of science

    1) Inspired and propagated
    2) Grounded in logic
    3) Committed to evidence
    4) Social structure and leadership
    5) It must live on
    6) Summary

    1) Inspired and propagated by leaders in society dedicated to the highest principles and equality of all men

    “The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”
    Charles Darwin, 1881, 3 July, “Life and Letters of Darwin, vol. 1, 316”

    “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.”
    Charles Darwin, The descent of Man, Chap. vi

    “The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by mans attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than the woman. Whether deep thought, reason, or imagination or merely the use of the senses and hands…..We may also infer…..The average mental power in man must be above that of woman.”
    Charles Darwin, “The descent of Man, pg. 566”

    “For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.”
    Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

    “I suppose the reason we leaped at the origin of species was because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.”
    Sir Julian Huxley, President of the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

    “Recapitulation provided a convenient focus for the persuasive racism of white scientists; they looked to the activities of their own children for comparison with normal adult behavior in lower races.”
    Dr. Stephen J Gould, “Dr. Downs Syndrome” natural history, 1980

    2) Chemical and biological evolution are conservatively grounded in statistical principles, logic, and common sense

    “The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 nought’s after it…It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of Evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.”
    Sir Fred Hoyle, British physicist and astronomer

    “The probability of a single protein molecule being arranged by chance is, 1 in 10-161 power, using all the atoms on earth and allowing all the time since the world began…for a minimum set of required 239 protein molecules for the smallest theoretical life, the probability is, 1 in 10-119,879 power. It would take, 10-119,879 power, years on average to get a set of such proteins. That is 10-119,831 times the assumed age of the earth and is a figure with 119,831 zeros.”
    Dr. James Coppege from, “The Farce of Evolution” page 71

    “The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 to 10-340,000,000. This number is 1 to 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering, since there is only supposed to be approximately 10-80 (10 to the 80th power) electrons in the whole universe!”
    Professor Harold Morowitz

    “It is emphatically the case that life could not arise spontaneously in a primeval soup from its kind.”
    Dr. A.E Wilder Smith, chemist and former evolutionist

    3) Evolutionary theory is committed to the empirical evidence observed in natural history

    “Scientists concede that their most cherished theories are based on embarrassingly few fossil fragments and that huge gaps exist in the fossil record.”
    Time Magazine, Nov. 7, 1977

    “Hypothesis [evolution] based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts….These classical evolutionary theories are a gross over-simplification of an immensely complex and intricate mass of facts, and it amazes me that they are swallowed so uncritically and readily, and for such a long time, by so many scientists without a murmur of protest.”
    Sir Ernst Chan, Nobel Prize winner for developing penicillin

    “The Darwinian theory of descent has not a single fact to confirm it in the realm of nature. It is not the result of scientific research but purely the product of the imagination.”
    Albert Fleishman, professor of zoology & comparative anatomy at Erlangen University

    “The fact is that the evidence was so patchy one hundred years ago that even Darwin himself had increasing doubts as to the validity of his views, and the only aspect of his theory which has received any support over the past century is where it applies to microevolutionary phenomena. His general theory, that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin’s time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe.”
    Dr. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1986), p. 77

    “There is the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form. This theory can be called the “general theory of evolution,” and the evidence which supports this is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider it as anything more than a working hypothesis.”
    Dr. G. A. Kerkut evolutionist

    “If they could demonstrate the power of material mechanisms to generate biological complexity and diversity, we wouldn’t be having this discussion — Darwin on Trial would never have been written and the intelligent design movement would not exist.”
    William Dembski

    “9/10 of the talk of evolution is sheer nonsense not founded on observation and wholly unsupported by fact. This Museum is full of proof of the utter falsity of their view.”
    Dr. Ethredge, British Museum of Science.

    “Evolution is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless.”
    Prof. Louis Bounoure, Director of Research, National Center of Scientific Research.

    “We have now the remarkable spectacle that just when many scientific men are agreed that there is no part of the Darwinian system that is of any great influence, and that, as a whole, the theory is not only unproved, but impossible, the ignorant, half-educated masses have acquired the idea that it is to be accepted as a fundamental fact.”
    Dr. Thomas Dwight, famed professor at Harvard University

    “Scientists who go about teaching that evolution is a fact of life are great con-men, and the story they are telling may be the greatest hoax ever! In explaining evolution we do not have one iota of fact.”
    Dr. Newton Tahmisian, Atomic Energy Commission

    “250,000 species of plants and animals recorded and deposited in museums throughout the world did not support the gradual unfolding hoped for by Darwin.”
    Dr. David Raup, curator of geology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, “Conflicts Between Darwinism and Paleontology”

    “Scientists at the forefront of inquiry have put the knife to classical Darwinism. They have not gone public with this news, but have kept it in their technical papers and inner counsels.”
    Dr. William Fix, in his book, “The Bone Peddlers.”

    “A growing number of respectable scientists are defecting from the evolutionist camp…..moreover, for the most part these “experts” have abandoned Darwinism, not on the basis of religious faith or biblical persuasions, but on strictly scientific grounds, and in some instances, regretfully.”
    Dr. Wolfgang Smith, physicist and mathematician

    “It must be significant that nearly all the evolutionary stories I learned as a student….have now been debunked.”
    Dr. Derek V. Ager, Department of Geology, Imperial College, London

    “The explanation value of the evolutionary hypothesis of common origin is nil! Evolution not only conveys no knowledge, it seems to convey anti-knowledge. How could I work on evolution ten years and learn nothing from it? Most of you in this room will have to admit that in the last ten years we have seen the basis of evolution go from fact to faith! It does seem that the level of knowledge about evolution is remarkably shallow. We know it ought not be taught in high school, and that’s all we know about it.”
    Dr. Colin Patterson, evolutionist and senior Paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, which houses 60 million fossils

    “Perhaps generations of students of human evolution, including myself, have been flailing about in the dark; that our data base is too sparse, too slippery, for it to be able to mold our theories. Rather the theories are more statements about us and ideology than about the past. Paleontology reveals more about how humans view themselves than it does about how humans came about, but that is heresy.”
    Dr. David Pilbeam, Professor of Anthropology at Yale University, American Scientist, vol 66, p.379, June 1978

    “If I knew of any Evolutionary transitional’s, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them in my book, ‘Evolution’ ”
    Dr. Colin Patterson, evolutionist and senior Paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, which houses 60 million fossils

    “For over 20 years I thought I was working on evolution….But there was not one thing I knew about it… So for the last few weeks I’ve tried putting a simple question to various people, the question is, “Can you tell me any one thing that is true?” I tried that question on the Geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, A very prestigious body of Evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, “Yes, I do know one thing, it ought not to be taught in High School”….over the past few years….you have experienced a shift from Evolution as knowledge to evolution as faith…Evolution not only conveys no knowledge, but seems somehow to convey anti-knowledge.”
    Dr. Collin Patterson evolutionist, address at the American Museum of Natural History, New York City, Nov. 1981

    “The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualist accounts of evolution.”
    Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University.

    “I shall discuss the broad patterns of hominoid evolution, an exercise made enjoyable by the need to integrate diverse kinds of information, and use that as a vehicle to speculate about hominoid origins, an event for which there is no recognized fossil record. Hence, an opportunity to exercise some imagination.”
    Dr. David Pilbeam

    “Within the period of human history we do not know of a single instance of the transformation of one species into another one. It may be claimed that the theory of descent is lacking, therefore, in the most essential feature that it needs to place the theory on a scientific basis, this must be admitted.”
    Dr. T.H Morgan

    “The theories of evolution, with which our studious youth have been deceived, constitute actually a dogma that all the world continues to teach; but each, in his specialty, the zoologist or the botanist, ascertains that none of the explanations furnished is adequate . . It results from this summary, that the theory of evolution is impossible.”
    Dr. P. Lemoine, “Introduction: De L’ Evolution?” Encyclopedie Francaise, Vol. 5 (1937

    “I have often thought how little I should like to have to prove organic evolution in a court of law.”
    Dr. Errol White, Proceedings of the Linnean Society, London (1966) [an ichthyologist (expert on fish) in a 1988 address before a meeting of the Linnean Society in London]

    “We have had enough of the Darwinian fallacy. It is time we cry, “The emperor has no clothes.”
    Dr. Hsu, geologist at the Geological Institute in Zurich.

    “I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science. When this happens, many people will pose the question, “How did this ever happen?”
    Dr. Sorren Luthrip, Swedish Embryologist

    “Scientists who utterly reject Evolution may be one of our fastest growing controversial minorities…Many of the scientists supporting this position hold impressive credentials in science.”
    Larry Hatfield, “Educators Against Darwin,” Science Digest Special, Winter, pp. 94-96.

    “In conclusion, evolution is not observable, repeatable, or refutable, and thus does not qualify as either a scientific fact or theory.”
    Dr. David N. Menton, PhD in Biology from Brown University

    “There are gaps in the fossil graveyard, places where there should be intermediate forms, but where there is nothing whatsoever instead. No paleontologist denies that this is so. It is simply a fact, Darwin’s theory and the fossil record are in conflict.”
    Dr. David Berlinsky

    “Contrary to what most scientists write, the fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of evolution because it is this theory which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so we are guilty of circular reasoning if we then say the fossil record supports this theory.”
    Dr. Ronald R. West

    “We should reject, as a matter of principle the substitution of intelligent design for the dialogue of chance and necessity; but we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”
    Biochemist, Franklin M. Harold “The Way of the Cell,” page 205

    4) Evolutionary theory building a better societal structure and strong leaders for today and tomorrow

    “The German Fuhrer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consistently sought to make the practices of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.”
    Sir Arthur Keith, a militant anti-Christian physical anthropologist

    “If nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such cases all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile”
    Adolph Hitler, “Mein Kampf” 1924

    “No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man… is simply incredible to think that…..he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites.”
    Thomas Huxley, 1871, Lay Sermons, addresses and reviews

    “The Negroid stock is even more ancient than the Caucasian and the Mongolian, as may be proved by an examination not only of the brain, of the hair, of the bodily characters, such as the teeth, the genitalia, the sense organs, but of the instincts, the intelligence. The standard intelligence of the average adult Negro is similar to that of the 11 year old youth of the species homo-sapiens.”
    Dr. H.F. Osborn, Director of the Museum of National History

    5) Ok, there are problems, but evolutionary theory must live on for obvious reasons

    “Meanwhile, their [evolutionists] unproven theories will continue to be accepted by the learned and the illiterate alike as absolute truth, and will be defended with a frantic intolerance that has a parallel only in the bigotry of the darkest Middle Ages. If one does not accept evolution as an infallible dogma, implicitly and without question, one is regarded as an unenlightened ignoramus or is merely ignored as an obscurantist or a naive, uncritical fundamentalist.”
    Dr. Alfred Rehwinkel

    “Darwinism is a creed not only with scientists committed to document the all-purpose role of natural selection. It is a creed with masses of people who have at best a vague notion of the mechanism of evolution as proposed by Darwin, let alone as further complicated by his successors. Clearly, the appeal cannot be that of a scientific truth but of a philosophical belief which is not difficult to identify. Darwinism is a belief in the meaninglessness of existence.”
    Dr. R. Kirk, “The Rediscovery of Creation,” in National Review, (May 27, 1983), p. 641.

    “It is not the duty of science to defend the theory of evolution, and stick by it to the bitter end no matter which illogical and unsupported conclusions it offers. On the contrary, it is expected that scientists recognize the patently obvious impossibility of Darwin’s pronouncements and predictions . . Let’s cut the umbilical cord that tied us down to Darwin for such a long time. It is choking us and holding us back.”
    Dr. I.L. Cohen, “Darwin Was Wrong:” A Study in Probabilities (1985

    “Evolution is faith, a religion.”
    Dr. Louist T. More, professor of paleontology at Princeton University

    “Darwin’s theory of evolution is the last of the great nineteenth-century mystery religions. And as we speak it is now following Freudians and Marxism into the Nether regions, and I’m quite sure that Freud, Marx and Darwin are commiserating one with the other in the dark dungeon where discarded gods gather.”
    Dr. David Berlinski

    “In fact, evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to “bend” their observations to fit in with it.”
    H.S. Lipson, Physicist Looks at Evolution, Physics Bulletin 31 (1980), p. 138

    “A time honored scientific tenet of faith.”
    Professor David Allbrook

    “Darwinism has become our culture’s official creation myth, protected by a priesthood as dogmatic as any religious curia.”
    Nancy Pearcey, “Creation Mythology,”pg. 23

    “It (evolution) is sustained largely by a propaganda campaign that relies on all the usual tricks of rhetorical persuasion: hidden assumptions, question-begging statements of what is at issue, terms that are vaguely defined and change their meaning in midargument, attacks of straw men, selective citation of evidence, and so on. The theory is also protected by its cultural importance. It is the officially sanctioned creation story to modern society, and publicly funded educational authorities spare no effort to persuade people to believe it.”
    Professor Phillip Johnson, “Objections Sustained: Subversive Essays on Evolution, Law and Culture,” pg. 9

    “Science…has become identified with a philosophy known as materialism or scientific naturalism. This philosophy insists that nature is all there is, or at least the only thing about which we can have any knowledge. It follows that nature had to do its own creating, and that the means of creation must not have included any role for God.”
    Professor Phillip E. Johnson, “The Church Of Darwin,” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 1999

    Most professors continue to teach evolution in the universities out of fear. This fear is that of not being tenured, of not getting research grants, of not being published, and of not being accepted by their peers. So to be accepted, to be published, to be granted research money, and to be tenured by their university, they must follow the party line, which is evolution. This is how the academic game is played.
    Dr. Phillip E. Johnson, speaking at a conference.

    For now, evolutionists are sitting pretty. They hold the reigns of power in the academy, they control federal research funds, and they have unlimited access to the media. But, like English colonialists trying to keep a colony in check, they are in a distinct minority. A feature of colonialism is that colonists are always vastly outnumbered by the people they are controlling and that maintaining control depends on keeping the requisite power structures in place. The reason intelligent design has become such a threat is that it is giving the majority of Americans, who don’t buy the atheistic picture of evolution peddled in all the textbooks, the tools with which to effectively challenge the evolutionists’ power structures.
    William Dembski

    Children who are taught to mistake assertions for experimental demonstrations are being seriously misled.
    Michael Behe

    6) summary

    In summary, hopefully this has been an enjoyable, maybe even humorous, look at the history and consequences of evolutionary thinking. How it was inspired and propagated (that fits my sexual desires, I’ll pick that ideology), how it defies logic as matter alone has been shown to not have the ability to self organize into a living cell, how it does not match up with the historical fossil record, the negative impacts its had on society and some leaders, and why, as an ideology, some people feel it must live on.

    As American tax payers, when do we say enough is enough? Give us back the truth and our research funding! Give us more scientists that are objectively committed to sound science and honest results. Put a stop to the mentality that forces one to get results (or interpret the results) so they fit the established evolutionary paradigm

    Lee Penick

  4. The Darwinian clue bag is pretty close to empty

    LOL! To the stupid bin for you! ;-)

    Would any amount of remedial tutoring help cure such science illiteracy?

  5. And, by quoting Johnson, I assume that you realize that Johnson doesn’t really care about science per se, but about religion and philosophy. The fact that you choose not to cite any science, nor present any basis for appeals to the supernatural, theistic, or immaterial, also leads me to conclude that you’re just whiny about the “Darwinist clue bag” impinging upon your beliefs and superstitions.

  6. Why do you expect people to believe the absurd? Since when do complex, self replicating, information storage and retrieval systems that contain irreducible complexity and complex specified information arise by chance?

    If you expect to be taken seriously, perhaps you could start by not referring to natural selection as “chance”.

    “Suppose, however, that…

    pigs could fly. Since the current data, and the general direction of scientific progress, are leading directly opposite to Johnson’s supposition, why should we suppose that?

    Michael Behe, the scientific darling of the ID movement, says that if the defintion of “science” and the definition of “theory” are changed to what he would like them to be, then ID is a scientific theory, ans so is astrology. Do you agree that astrology is a scientific theory? Do you think it should be taught in the public school science classes?

  7. The Contemporary Model of Evolution
    demonstrating its logical properties as a fact of science…

    Other places you can find the same or similar spam:
    tri-city forum
    Intelligent Design the Future

  8. Lee Penick doesn’t happen to be a pseudonym of the insipid troll John Davison, does he?

  9. That compendium of quotes and misquotes can also be found in two other places, ID the Future and Tri-City Forum, both under the same name, Lee Penick.

  10. Some of Lee’s quotes in the two other forums:

    One thing that is important in this debate but seldom mentioned is the motives of the Darwinists.

    Other motives? Yes, how about adherence to reason, facts, and the scientific method?!

    I struggle with Darwinists evidence, logic, and their consistent use of a little correlation to try to prove causation; but seeing them misrepresent the facts and the case for ID is troubling and learning their motives is certainly helpful.

    Is this guy practicing his Orwellian satire routine?!

    This book [Traipsing into Evolution] looks at motive and it’s a wake up call to see just how biased some Darwinists scientist are.

    I believe Carl Sagan put it best, by saying:

    “In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that’s a
    really good argument; my position is mistaken,” and then they would
    actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them
    again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should,
    because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it
    happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that
    happened in politics or religion.”

  11. Right guys, time, random variation, and differential servival rates did it all. Good work!

  12. Wouldn’t it be funny if…

    Microsoft forges ahead with “MM” and “NMS” software development technology
    Microsoft announced drastic layoffs in software architects and software engineers as they modify their software design paradigm. Stating they have been minimized, marginalized and kept in the “dark ages” by employing design methodologies in the past, Microsoft has now embraced the results of evolutionary theory having seen that unintelligent, unguided, random changes combined with natural selection have produced functionally integrated, irreducibly complex marvels of engineering and information processing. “The brilliance of nature exceeds our own efforts in this area. It’s time for change!”

    Microsoft began software development with this new natural method some time ago and products have been shipped. “All of planet earth is benefiting form this new method”

    When pressed for more detail, spokesman stated that after going on a reading retreat some years ago, senior management read “The Blind Watchmaker” and quickly felt certain they could implement a “blind software development process”. “In simplest form, we mimic Nature… with our “Mutational Magic” software development tool we randomly changed the code in a manner analogous to DNA mutation in nature. “Mutational Magic” can produce point mutations (where a “0” is substituted for a “1” in the code), random deletions of code sections, and copying errors where a section of code is copied and randomly placed in a new location.

    Bill Gates said “We are wildly enthusiast about this breakthrough. Not only does “Mutational Magic” offer new hope for software development, it is being followed up with “Natural Market Selection”. Sure, most software mutational events will lead to nonfunctional code, but that will be handled by NMS. Once people buy the version that doesn’t work, word will spread and sales will drop. That version will go extinct as sales plummet and better performing versions of the software will sell better. Those better selling version will be further altered by “mutational magic”. We envision a radical new paradigm of natural evolving software that is like nothing the public has ever seen!”

    Google refused to comment but is believed to be working on their own version of Mutational Magic that will work on-line and allow consumers to mutate their personal computer files. “Why mutate only the programs, consumers have a right to mutate their data files too!”

    Sun Microsystems responded, that “We have been concerned with Apple Computer’s resurgence lately and especially the iPod. We’ve embraced the concept behind Mutational Magic and have a new product coming out soon that mutates songs for download to the iPod. We apologize for those homes used in our market analysis, but the hearing damage caused by the mutational combining of “Kid Rock” with “God Bless America” is believe to be short lived. Surely Natural Market Selection will make this version a low seller and it will run its course.

    Not to be outdone, the IRS is implementing a $37 billion dollar program to upgrade its federal income tax software employing a similar approach to MM and NMS. “Those taxpayers filing on-line returns will benefit the most. While some may run into legal problems because of non-productive mutations, those getting beneficial mutations should benefit greatly from our efforts.”

    A London based think tank entered the excitement, voicing its concern that the vast majority of mutations are not beneficial, but indeed harmful. “We must emphasize that this will not lead to “software success”. Well designed software will be destroyed and riddled with errors as harmful mutations corrupt a designed code built for a purpose to perform a specific function”

    The lobbyist group, “Blinded by Naturalism” says this is not so. That “software success” is defined as “making progress by code mutation”. That any other method of developing software is not “software success” and could not be considered software success or even successful software. Outraged, they plan to file suit against anyone claiming their software is successful unless it meets this stringent definition.

    The ASLU, (American Software Lawyers Union) protested vehemently on CNN. This is an outrage. We don’t know why just yet, but we have a right to be outraged! Any negative comment about Mutational Magic or Natural Market Selection may be unconstitutional. We have money, we must sue!

    Shortly after appearing on CNN, the Google News reported over 500 similar articles in leading newspapers describing the silliness of doubting “Mutational Magic”. The phrase, “Mutational Magic is a fact of Software Success” was prevalent in 97% of the articles. They concluded that anyone that thought otherwise was trying to export all software functions to foreign countries for minimum wage.

    Later in the day, Microsoft was asked to comment on the sales of its new products. They had no comment as the recently installed version of Excel was not totaling properly and new sales figures were unavailable.

    Similarly, the NASDAQ was asked to comment on any change in stock price for Microsoft, but also had no comment, sighting a recently installed operating system that was not allowing them to track stock prices.

    Just before this went to press, the ASLU clarified their position, “Yes we are slightly left of anything else in your field of view”.

    All interviewees were asked what evidence exists demonstrating that MM and NMS will generate complex computer code:

    Microsoft responded, “It’s a fact of computer science, and Google has been researching it, they have the evidence.”

    Google responded, “It’s a fact of computer science, there’s a rumor Apple’s iPod used these techniques during development”.

    Sun Microsystems responded, “It’s a fact of computer science, Google is cutting edge, the water cooler talk says they have the evidence”.

    Apple said, “You can download our response for a $1.29 from our web site”

    Richard Dawkins, author of the “The Blind Watch Maker” was unavailable for comment. His publicist stated he’s in seclusion working on his next novel, “The Blind Heart Surgeon”.

  13. An example from the computer business is doubly ironic because:

    1) Evolution by natural selection should be simple to grasp for anyone who accepts free market economics. The principles are quite similar.

    2) Computer science has embraced evolutionary algorithms, which work extraordinarily well for certain applications.

  14. Right guys, time, random variation, and differential servival rates did it all. Good work!

    Time exists. Random variation happens. Differential survival rates occur and have been measured. If you are proposing something else was involved, you should provide evidence for its existence and actions.

  15. Isn’t Casey Luskin the founder of the IDEA Clubs?

  16. For Darwin and his contemporaries in the 1800’s, the function of vision was a “black box” – meaning very little was known of it’s inner workings. At that time, our ability to investigate and view the cell and sub cellular level was just not that advanced. With the hard work of many biochemists, we now have some answers to the question of sight. Here is a biochemical outline of the eye’s operation at the molecular level, from Michael Behe’s book, “Darwin’s Black Box, The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution”.

    When light first strikes the retina a photon interacts with a molecule called 11-cis-retinal, which rearranges within Pico seconds to trans-retinal. (A Pico second is about the time it takes light to travel the breadth of a single human hair.) The change in the shape of the retinal molecule forces a change in the shape of the protein, rhodopsin, to which the retinal is tightly bound. The protein’s metamorphosis alters its behavior. Now called metarhodopsin II, the protein sticks to another protein, called transducin. Before bumping into metarhodopsin II, transducin had tightly bound a small molecule called GDP. But when transducin interacts with metahodopsin II, the GDP falls off, and a molecule called GTP binds to transducin. (GTP is closely related to, but critically different from GDP.)

    GTP-transducin-metarhodopsin II now binds to a protein called phosphodiesterase, located in the inner membrane of the cell. When attached to metarhodopsin II and its entourage, the phosphodiesterase acquires the chemical ability to “cut” a molecule called cGMP (a chemical relative of both GDP and GTP). Initially there are a lot of cGMP molecules in the cell, but the phosphodiesterase lowers its concentration, just as a pulled plug lowers the water level in a bathtub.

    Another membrane protein that binds cGMP is called an ion channel. It acts as a gateway that regulates the number of sodium ions in the cell. Normally the ion channel allows sodium ions to flow into the cell, while a separate protein actively pumps them out again. The dual action of the ion channel and pump keeps the level of sodium ions in the cell within a narrow range. When the amount of cGMP is reduced because of cleavage by the phosphodiesterase, the ion channel closes, causing the cellular concentration of positively charged sodium ions to be reduced. This causes an imbalance of charge across the cell membrane that finally causes a current to be transmitted down the optic nerve to the brain. The result, when interpreted by the brain, is vision.

    If the reactions mentioned above were the only ones that operated in the cell, the supply of 11-cis-retinal, cGMP, and sodium ions would quickly be depleted. Something has to turn off the proteins that were turned on and restore the cell to its original state. Several mechanisms do this. First, in the dark the ion channel (in addition to sodium ions) also lets calcium ions into the cell. The calcium is pumped back out by a different protein so that a constant calcium concentration is maintained. When cGMP levels fall, shutting down the ion channel, calcium ion concentration decreases, too. The phosphodiesterase enzyme, which destroys cGMP, slows down at lower calcium concentration. Second, a protein called guanylate cyclase begins to resynthesize cGMP when calcium levels start to fall. Third, while all of this is going on, metarhodopsin II is chemically modified by an enzyme called rhodopsin kinase. The modified rhodopsin then binds to a protein known as arrestin, which prevents the rhodopsin from activating more transducin. So the cell contains mechanisms to limit the amplified signal started by a single photon.

    Trans-retinal eventually falls off of rhodopsin and must be reconverted to 11-cis-retinal and again bound by rhodopsin to get back to the starting point for another visual cycle. To accomplish this trans-retinal is first chemically modified by an enzyme to trans-retinol – a form containing two more hydrogen atoms. A second enzyme then converts the molecule to 11-cis-retinol. Finally, a third enzyme removes the previous added hydrogen atoms to form 11-cis-retinal, a cycle is complete.

    This was a overview of the biochemistry of vision. Ultimately, this is the level of explanation for which biological science must aim. To truly understand a function we must understand in detail every relevant step in the process. These steps in biological processes occur ultimately at the molecular level, so an explanation of a biological phenomenon, such as, sight, digestion, or immunity must include the molecular explanation.

    Just as the black box of the cell has been opened, so to has the black box of vision. Because of this greater access and knowledge, it is no longer sufficient for an evolutionary explanation of vision to consider only the anatomical structures of whole eyes as Darwin did and as Darwinists do today.

    The anatomical structures may appear simple to some, but the biochemical process of vision involves complicated biochemical processes that cannot be dismissed with stories of possible structural change in the eye due to mutation and natural selection.

    It’s also interesting to note that the fossil record, (while no friend of the Darwinist because of the lack of transitionary fossils) is largely a mute point when it comes to the question of biochemistry. The fossil record has nothing to tell us about whether the interactions of 11-cis-retinal with rhodopsin, transducin, and phosphodiesterase could have developed in a step by step fashion.

    Until recently evolutionary biologists could be unconcerned with the molecular details of life because so little was known abut them. Now that the black box of the cell has been opened, the infinitesimal world must be explained.

    So the question becomes, since a multi-step process makes vision possible from a biochemical perspective, what is the value of just one of those steps arising from a mutation? What is the functional value of one step such that natural selection would then select it for preservation in the future population? Since one step does not create vision or functional advantage of what value is it? We have no good reason to believe this biochemical process could derive from numerous mutations and eventually build the complete biochemical process.

    To further complicate the issue, the brain must also be capable of receiving the signal, processing it, and using it, both in a mental capacity for thought and also to further send out signals to various muscles to take action. This involves both anatomical structures and further biochemical processes, throwing us into a complicated systems integration problem.

    We have no reason to believe blind evolutionary forces can accomplish these wonders of nanotechnology, biochemistry, biomechanical, and systems integration!

    Case in point, I direct the reader to a PBS web site that tries to explain the eye in evolutionary terms by showing how it anatomically came about via mutations of its physical structure.

    While this is an “imaginary” story without evidence of development actually having occurred in this manner, the bigger issue is the lack of awareness and/or mention that a complicated biochemical processes is necessary before the first rudimentary structure would have any visual value to the organism. Design is necessary to provide the “biochemistry of vision” even before the “story” of structural eye evolution could begin.

  17. Several philosophers, for instance, have argued that a clear distinction exists between the “inductive sciences” and the “historical sciences”. These two broad categories ask different kinds of questions and use different kinds of methods. The inductive sciences ask questions about how the natural world generally operates. Hence, a virologist may try to discover how a particular enzyme helps a virus infect its host. Or a crystallographer may try to determine the effects of weightlessness on crystal growth. In each case, scientists seek to uncover the regularities that characterize natural phenomena.

    The historical sciences on the other hand, ask different kinds of questions. Rather than trying to understand how the natural world operates, the historical sciences seek to understand how things came to be. One example would be the historical geologist who was seeking to explain the unusual elevation of the Himalayas. Another would be an evolutionary biologist seeking to explain the origin of giraffes. Still another would be the archaeologist seeking to reconstruct an ancient culture. Note that in each case the goal is not to find new laws or regularities but to reconstruct past conditions and events.

    The importance of this distinction to our present discussion is that although postulating intelligent intervention is completely inappropriate in the inductive sciences, the same is not true in the historical sciences. In the inductive sciences, the whole point is to discover how the natural world normally operates on its own, in the absence of intelligent intervention. Postulating an intelligent agent would thus contradict the implicit goal of research in the inductive sciences.

    In the historical science, however, the goal is to reconstruct past events and conditions. Thus there is no need to impose such restrictions. Quite the reverse. As we have seen, the explanation of certain artifacts or features may require reference to intelligence. Intelligent agents may have left traces of their activity in the natural word. This historical scientist need not turn a blind eye on them.

    Hence, when investigating the origin of the living world, it may be perfectly acceptable depending on the evidence to hypothesize an intelligent designer.

  18. Design is necessary to provide the “biochemistry of vision” even before the “story” of structural eye evolution could begin.

    Are you intentionally this obtuse?

    Once again, I return to my original rhetorical question – is there any amount of remedial tutoring that could cure such science illiteracy?

  19. […] And third, it’s a joke that Hannah and Sean tried to deny ID is steeped not in science, but in theistic philosophy. That’s blatantly clear to anyone who has even a rudimentary knowledge of what Billy Dembski’s, Phillip Johnson’s, and this guy’s motivations are. Hannah continues to deny the obvious here. […]

  20. Silly is believing that non-intelligent, non living “replicators” could magically replicate and amass the volume of complex specified information necessary to enable the first life. To base one’s worldview and view of “science” on this premise is little more than hope and fantasy. It is NOT backed up with empirical science or any sort of “inference to the best explanation” that is based on uniform causes and sound reasoning.

  21. Thanks for another contribution to my growing stupid bin.

  22. Yo ChuckyD: What is “complex specified information”? How much of it is necessary for life to begin? How can you know that without knowing under what conditions that first life arose?

  23. Hi Ivy,

    If you are interested, this will assist with the question you asked. Then you can find the article on the internet and read more if you like.

    See the article: “Dna_and_the_origin_of_life”

    Quoted form Stephen Meyer:

    “If the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection acting on random variation can account for the emergence of all complex life, then a mechanism does exist that can produce large amounts of information—assuming, of course, a large amount of pre-existing biological information in a self-replicating living system. Thus, even if one assumes that the selection/variation mechanism can produce all the information required for the macroevolution of complex life from simpler life, that mechanism will not suffice to account for the origin of the information necessary to produce life from non-living chemicals. As we have seen, appeals to pre-biotic
    natural selection only beg the question of the origin of specified information. Thus, based on our experience we can affirm the following generalization: ‘for all non-biological systems, large amounts (see endnote xiii below) of specified complexity or information only originate from mental agency, conscious
    activity, or intelligent design.’ Strictly speaking, our experience may even affirm this generalization without the qualification, since the claim that natural selection can produce large amounts of novel genetic information depends upon (somewhat controversial) theoretical arguments and extrapolation from
    observations of small micro-evolutionary changes, rather than direct observation of the macro-evolutionary changes that would establish large gains in biological information. In any case, the more qualified empirical generalization (stated just above) is sufficient to support the argument presented here, since this essay seeks only to establish intelligent design as the best explanation for origin of the specified information necessary to the origin of the first life.”

    “Of course, the phrase “large amounts of specified information” again begs a quantitative question, namely, “how much specified information or complexity would the minimally complex cell have to have before it implied design?” Recall that Dembski has calculated a universal probability bound of 1/10150 corresponding to the probabilistic/specificational resources of the known universe. Recall, further, that probability is inversely related to information by a logarithmic function. Thus, the universal small probability bound of 1/10150 translates into roughly 500 bits of information. Thus, chance alone does not constitute a sufficient explanation for the de novo origin of any specified sequence or system containing more than 500 bits of (specified) information. Further, since systems characterized by complexity (a lack of redundant order) defy explanation by self-organizational laws, and since appeals to pre-biotic natural selection presuppose but do not explain the origin of the specified information necessary to a minimally complex self-replicating system, intelligent design best explains the origin of the more than 500 bits of specified information required to produce the first minimally complex living system. Thus, assuming a
    non-biological starting point (see endnote xii above), the de novo emergence of 500 or more bits of specified information will reliably indicate design.”

  24. ChuckyD,
    I suppose that Meyer’s and Dembski’s mathematical digressions are interesting, from an informations system perspective, but what is there to suggest/demonstrate that these probablistic calculations accurately reflect the self-organization of replicating biopolymers in molecular biology or organic chemistry?

    I note that the Meyer quote targets adaptive mechanisms of evolution. Yet, in the literature, there’s discussion about stochastic mechanisms in pre- and early-cellular evolution (i.e. there is evidence, both in Chris Adami’s work on evolutionary simulations with computer viruses, and on the modularity of gene structure, among others, to suggest that not every intermediate need have a positive selection bias. Not to mention the roles of duplication and divergence).

    I also note that, in the literature, experts on the OOL don’t seem to find the reduction of replicating nucleic acids to bits of information very useful. Why do you think that this is the case? (perhaps because chemistry does not work in digital, it works in analog)

    Further, you’ve doubtless heard it said, but I’ll repeat – the description of evolution as working by “chance alone” horribly misunderstands the mechanisms of evolution documented over the years. Even stochastic genetic drift can be distinguished from total “randomness.”

    Another point – in focusing on self-organization as his criticism for abiogenesis, Meyer completely ignores the fact that while self-organization is usually retained for describing biochemical phenomenon, self-ordering behaviors have been well documented as part of inorganic phenomenon in the natural world (I gloss over a paper on this topic here). Shouldn’t he make the distinction between self-ordering and self-organization, and that the former could not lead to the latter, in his argument?

    In any case, I hope you get the point, which is – this is all a load of arm-chair theorizing (word for the day). It’s one assumption built on another, with zero confirmation of the broad discussions of complexity. True, the alternative is still in doubt and biologists/chemists haven’t reproduced abiogenesis in the lab de novo, but the famed Miller and Urey studies in the 50’s, and many more papers since then (to link a handful published in the last month, and more a couple months ago) have suggested that such chemical evolutions not only are possible, but that they happen. The question is rapidly becoming not whether they could have happened, but in what order, and which reactions were successful, while others were dead-ends.

  25. From page 19…
    “Given the attitudes expressed in these emails, scientists who are known to be skeptical of Darwinian theory, whatever their qualifications or research record, cannot expect to receive equal treatment or consideration by NMNH officials. As a taxpayer-funded institution, such blatant discrimination against otherwise qualified individuals based on their outside activities raises serious free speech and civil rights concerns. Some NMNH officials apparently believe that they have the right to use their official positions to punish scientists who in their outside activities express skepticism toward Darwinian theory. The unwillingness of top Smithsonian officials to take proactive measures to correct this discriminatory environment is shameful. Imagine a parallel situation in which government officials expressed their intent to prohibit the appointment of anyone who is found to have participated (on their own time) in a gay or lesbian group, or in an abortion-rights group. Action to stop such an expression of discriminatory intent would be swift and certain. But in the present case, Smithsonian officials seem indifferent to ensuring that NMNH comply with the basic requirements of the Constitution, Title V civil service law,47 and the Smithsonian’s own anti-discrimination policy.48 “

    this is a must read for those who think science is an unbiased search for the truth, where politics, personal feelings, and biases don’t play a role.

    Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
    -George Washington, 1st US president (1732-1799)

    “Fear not, no one doubts communism in our country. All the dissenters have been shot”.
    -Advisor to Comrade Lenin

  26. Observer,
    Finally, you’ve posted your crap to a comment that remotely bears on the topic of the post. Also, your email address was bogus, so I couldn’t notify you why your comments were being marked as spam (and I did try).

    For this comment though, you’re going straight to the stupid bin:

    “Given the attitudes expressed in these emails, scientists who are known to be skeptical of Darwinian theory, whatever their qualifications or research record, cannot expect to receive equal treatment or consideration by NMNH officials.

    Yes, and there’s loads of discrimination against flat-earthers and astrologers in science too.

  27. you’ve just called a congressional investigation report stupid. One that provides evidence of discriminating against a biologist with two doctorates. Discriminating that occurred in a institution funded by federal tax dollars.

    So those that don’t agree with you are stupid and deserve to be discriminated against. Now do you see why you don’t get my email address!

  28. you’ve just called a congressional investigation report stupid.

    Yes, I did. And, as I said, I also call flat-earthers stupid, astrologers silly, and holocaust deniers maniacal.

    So those that don’t agree with you are stupid and deserve to be discriminated against.

    No. Those that make up, distort, or confuse facts are incorrect, and fail science classes in school. Those who fail to learn science are, in effect, scientifically illiterate, stupid in science, etc.

    Now do you see why you don’t get my email address!

    And “I don’t get [your] email address” because aol says it doesn’t exist.

    But anyway, thanks again for yet more dogmatic idiocy. Perhaps you’d like to get your views on biology from a biologist next time, as opposed to a politician.

    And, if you find a “Darwinist,” let me know – I’m a biologist, thank you very much.

  29. interesting information from discovery institute…

    Intelligent Design Research Lab Highlighted in New Scientist
    An article in the latest issue of New Scientist highlights the exciting work of scientists at the Biologic Institute, a new research lab conducting biological research and experiments from an intelligent design perspective. While writer Celeste Biever can’t suppress her visceral pro-Darwin bias from the story (which carries the dismissive title “Intelligent design: The God Lab”), Biever’s article is going to make it very difficult for Darwinists to continue to assert that scientists who support intelligent design aren’t conducting scientific research.

    As Biever’s article grudgingly makes clear, “researchers [at the Biologic Institute lab] work at benches lined with fume hoods, incubators and microscopes–a typical scene in this up-and-coming biotech hub.” The article also reports on some of the research projects underway, and even describes Darwinian biologist Ken Miller as conceding that the topics being explored “are of interest to science”:

    According to [Biologic Institute senior researcher Dr. Douglas] Axe, the projects currently under way at Biologic include “examining the origin of metabolic pathways in bacteria, the evolution of gene order in bacteria, and the evolution of protein folds.”
    Certainly the topics Axe mentions are of interest to science, says Kenneth Miller, a cell biologist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who testified as an expert witness for the pro-evolution side at the Dover trial. Miller adds that they might be of particular interest to people intent on undermining evolution if, like Axe’s earlier work on protein folding, they can be used to highlight structures and functions whose origins and evolution are not well understood.

    In addition to protein and cell biology, Biologic is pursuing a programme in computational biology which draws on the expertise of another of its researchers, Brendan Dixon, a former software developer at Microsoft. According to Axe, “On the computational side, we are nearing completion of a system for exploring the evolution of artificial genes that are considerably more life-like than has been the case previously.”

    Biever’s breathless, conspiratorial prose can’t hide the fact that researchers at the new Institute are serious scientists with impressive research records. For example, the article notes that the Institute’s senior scientist, protein researcher Douglas Axe, has published peer-reviewed research articles in the Journal of Molecular Biology and previously worked “as a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Protein Engineering, a research centre in Cambridge, UK, funded by the Medical Research Council, under the supervision of protein specialist Alan Fersht of the University of Cambridge.” In addition, Dr. Axe has worked “as a visiting scientist at the structural biology unit of the Babraham Institute, also in Cambridge.”

    Biologic Institute biologist Ann Gauger has a similarly sterling track record. Dr. Gauger has published peer-reviewed research “on cell adhesion in fruit flies” in Nature, one of the world’s premiere science journals, as well as publishing “papers as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.”

    It is worth noting that Biever acknowledges that Discovery Institute has been providing funding for scientific research, including start-up support for the Biologic Institute. While Biever tries to insinuate that this commitment to funding scientific research is somehow a “new” development tied to recent policy debates, the facts cited in her article undermine that claim. Indeed, Biever herself notes that Discovery Institute was providing research funding for Dr. Axe by the late 1990s, which ultimately resulted in the publication of his peer-reviewed research articles in the Journal of Molecular Biology. Yes, that’s right–Discovery Institute has been supporting scientific research and writing all along, just like it has said. But don’t hold your breath for corrections or apologies from the Darwin spinmeisters who have insisted otherwise for the past decade.

  30. Lee,
    Indeed, I’m not sure what to make of that article. I find it astounding that the DI would even take the first step, and fund actual research projects (as opposed to just Dembski’s essay writing flops). But the proof is in the details, and results, of the projects’ investigations.

    Do I think it possible that they’ll discover God, however? Not a chance.

  31. Observer,
    By the way, while I didn’t have the patience to deal with that bogus congressional report that was highly biased against science, Ed Brayton debunked the Souder report last week.

    But like I said, you’d be much better off in the first place by learning biology from biologists, and not from politicians.


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