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#169252 - 07/28/19 01:50 AM Challenging Darwin
Enright Online   content
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Very amazing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noj4phMT9OE
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#169283 - 08/06/19 04:17 PM Re: Challenging Darwin [Re: Enright]
Enright Online   content
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One thing I'm curious about is the fact that chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans share about 99% of their DNA, and that humans split from the common ancestor of these three groups between 7 million and 4 million years ago. The closeness of the DNA, and the sharing of a posited common ancestor, seems right in line with Darwin's theory, and a confirmation of it. So I'm wondering what these men would say about that.
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#169285 - 08/07/19 02:19 AM Re: Challenging Darwin [Re: Enright]
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Creationism just doesn't connect all the dots logically. No matter how you come at it, no matter what tack you take or direction you come from, ultimately, to take that final step into accepting the idea as the truth, you have to take a leap of faith. You simply have to believe. That's why creationism isn't science, no matter how much science is built up around it.

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#169286 - 08/07/19 11:09 PM Re: Challenging Darwin [Re: jmill]
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 Originally Posted By: jmill

Creationism just doesn't connect all the dots logically. No matter how you come at it, no matter what tack you take or direction you come from, ultimately, to take that final step into accepting the idea as the truth, you have to take a leap of faith. You simply have to believe. That's why creationism isn't science, no matter how much science is built up around it.


They seemed to be arguing that Darwinism doesn't connect all the dots logically, not that Creationism does, and they cited the discovery of the genetic code as something that Darwin didn't know about and take into account. So they are raising questions and making criticisms, but not necessarily advocating Creationism, as I read what they said.
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#169287 - 08/08/19 08:03 PM Re: Challenging Darwin [Re: Enright]
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Look a little deeper into their histories and you'll see they are creationists. It's a clever angle to simply point out the flaws in the theory you disagree with, it hides the actual agenda. Darwin's theories may need modification, but creationism simply isn't scientifically supportable whatsoever.

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#169288 - 08/08/19 08:10 PM Re: Challenging Darwin [Re: jmill]
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Perhaps I should have used the term Intelligent Design (it's the same thing as creationism) when describing the beliefs of Steven Meyer and David Berlinski, both of whom are advocates of Intelligent Design. Gelernter apparently is not an advocate of ID, though he has decided that Darwin is wrong on the BIG questions (as he phrases it), but correct on the little questions. The Big Question is how did we come to exist in the first place.

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#169302 - 08/13/19 04:20 PM Re: Challenging Darwin [Re: jmill]
Enright Online   content
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 Originally Posted By: jmill

Perhaps I should have used the term Intelligent Design (it's the same thing as creationism) when describing the beliefs of Steven Meyer and David Berlinski, both of whom are advocates of Intelligent Design. Gelernter apparently is not an advocate of ID, though he has decided that Darwin is wrong on the BIG questions (as he phrases it), but correct on the little questions. The Big Question is how did we come to exist in the first place.

For me personally, I don't regard the ID theory as the same thing as creationism, partly because while a creationist would necessarily subscribe to ID theory, an atheist could entertain the ID theory without necessarily subscribing to creationism.

From what I understand, ID would predict in part that the so-called "junk DNA" has a function, whereas Darwinism describes junk DNA as that which is left-over or discarded in the evolutionary process. This seems testable, and so I personally would regard ID as a scientific (or nigh-scientific) theory, but of low probability. One can entertain such theories, but ideally not believe them as such, holding them in abeyance, while awaiting further developments, should they come.

Without my endorsing it, below is one person's take (someone named Kipp Lowery) on Stephen Meyer's book (which I have not read), Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design:

"An excellent summary for the case for Intelligent Design (ID). Meyer answers critics who label ID as unscientific, citing Stephen Jay Gould, who described evolutionary biology, geology, paleontology, etc. as “historical sciences.” Meyer explains how the theory of ID fits these parameters.

"Clearly, the biological information contained in DNA is code-like, so much so that people like Dawkins and Crick have to remind scientists that it only “appears” that way. In his first premise, Meyer recounts a thorough history of the search for life’s origin and how each theory has yielded no results on how the genetic code evolved. For his second premise, he demonstrates that the only known cause for the generation of information (specified complexity) is an intelligent agent. We look at cave paintings and chipped flint and scientists determine that some sort of intelligence produced this work. SETI searches the galaxies for patterns of information that designate intelligence. Every one of us creates information daily.

"The conclusion of Meyer’s argument is an inference that, as the only known cause of information, intelligence was the cause of the rise of DNA. This inference, incidentally, is the same logic used by Darwin himself (the observation of micro-evolution and the inference that chance and natural selection, stretched back over time, determined the origin of species).

"One point I found interesting was the discussion of the predictions of evolution and ID concerning “junk DNA.” ID predicts non-protein coding sequences should perform biological functions. It shouldn’t be useless or junk. The model of natural selection predicts a genome “riddled with useless information, mistakes, and broken genes.” Scientists have labeled this area between genes as junk (“gene deserts”) and proof against design, but research coming out of the ENCODE Project (http://www.genome.gov/10005107#al-1) are showing these parts of the genome are in fact highly functional. As Philip Kitcher said, “Intelligent Design has deep roots in the history of cosmology, and in the earth and life sciences.” Kitcher’s argument against ID is this supposed inability to explain “junk DNA,” yet clearly, ID can be a guiding principle and theory.

"This is a book for those that truly want to understand the theory of intelligent design. There is a hard break that scientists use (methodological naturalism) which excludes anything supernatural from being considered as scientific. This book explains, step by step (sometimes a bit too slowly, perhaps), why ID is a viable theory that only invokes intelligence as a causal agent. There are, of course, theistic implications, but there are anti-religious implications from evolutionary theory as well. Meyer’s approach, however, is completely evidence based. Meyer quotes Antony Flew, a long time atheist who now accepts ID, asserting, we must 'follow the evidence wherever it leads,' regardless of the implications."
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#169304 - 08/14/19 01:28 PM Re: Challenging Darwin [Re: Enright]
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The term "junk DNA" is no longer used, mostly because it was interpreted incorrectly by folks who don't know science. The term was used to describe DNA for which geneticists hadn't found the purpose yet by Japanese scientist Susumu Ohno in 1972. It was never intended to be used as a literal description of DNA with no use whatsoever, or "throwaway DNA", or "DNA desert" or any other pejorative term, but certain people took the description literally and used it to mean a portion of the genome that meant nothing. No scientist, including Ohno, ever thought that the DNA had no use, they just didn't know what it was used for yet.

I'm sorry, but Intelligent Design posits a guiding hand in the creation of species, and that by definition is Creationism. I don't care what anyone believes, that's their prerogative, but I do care when people try and conflate Creationism (ID) with science, between which there is no link. It's all supposition, unverifiable by any experiment. There ALWAYS comes a point in the argument for ID that requires a leap of faith.

"Junk DNA" is just a red herring, never intended to be defined as Creationists have defined it in their arguments for Creationism. It was simply a placeholder. And the idea that every bit of the genetic code in, for example, a human being, encodes for something or plays a role in the process, that nothing is wasted, so to speak, does not prove ID/Creationism. The argument there once again requires us to say something along the lines of "Look at the complexity of this code, and how none of it is wasted. There's no way this came about by chance", and there's the leap of faith of which I speak.

I would argue that, on the contrary, the efficiency of the genetic code of living creatures only argues for the ruthless efficiency of nature and natural selection, and for the immensity of the time period involved. There are no "mistakes" in nature that survive for very long. If an animal changes through mutation or interbreeding, and it survives to thrive and to reproduce, then that changed genome was not a "mistake". (Even the word "mistake" isn't up to the task in this context since it implies a guiding intelligence.) That's why each creature is so well-suited to its ecological niche and its environment - it's been honed to near-perfection by every other living creature it interacts with. The efficiency of the various genomes also demonstrates something few people, including myself, can honestly grasp: the massive spans of time that have passed in the development of living things. What's the largest number you can hold in your mind? 10? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand? Our ability to grasp the scale of time that has passed is inadequate to the task, since we are talking eras that span million and billions of years.

ID/Creationism isn't much different that believing in Gaia, the Earth as a living entity with conscious will and the ability to suffer pain and have opinions about things. It's just another way of talking about God. And what is a belief in God if not a leap of faith? Once again, I'm not arguing against anyone's beliefs except when those beliefs intrude into what is actually provable. Personally, I don't know if there is a God. I have no proof of one, certainly nothing in nature proves the existence of a supreme being, but I have no problem believing in the possibility of a supreme being of some kind.


Edited by jmill (08/14/19 03:00 PM)

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#169305 - 08/14/19 08:15 PM Re: Challenging Darwin [Re: jmill]
Enright Online   content
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 Originally Posted By: jmill

The term "junk DNA" is no longer used, mostly because it was interpreted incorrectly by folks who don't know science. The term was used to describe DNA for which geneticists hadn't found the purpose yet by Japanese scientist Susumu Ohno in 1972. It was never intended to be used as a literal description of DNA with no use whatsoever, or "throwaway DNA", or "DNA desert" or any other pejorative term, but certain people took the description literally and used it to mean a portion of the genome that meant nothing. No scientist, including Ohno, ever thought that the DNA had no use, they just didn't know what it was used for yet.

I'm sorry, but Intelligent Design posits a guiding hand in the creation of species, and that by definition is Creationism. I don't care what anyone believes, that's their prerogative, but I do care when people try and conflate Creationism (ID) with science, between which there is no link. It's all supposition, unverifiable by any experiment. There ALWAYS comes a point in the argument for ID that requires a leap of faith.

"Junk DNA" is just a red herring, never intended to be defined as Creationists have defined it in their arguments for Creationism. It was simply a placeholder. And the idea that every bit of the genetic code in, for example, a human being, encodes for something or plays a role in the process, that nothing is wasted, so to speak, does not prove ID/Creationism. The argument there once again requires us to say something along the lines of "Look at the complexity of this code, and how none of it is wasted. There's no way this came about by chance", and there's the leap of faith of which I speak.

I would argue that, on the contrary, the efficiency of the genetic code of living creatures only argues for the ruthless efficiency of nature and natural selection, and for the immensity of the time period involved. There are no "mistakes" in nature that survive for very long. If an animal changes through mutation or interbreeding, and it survives to thrive and to reproduce, then that changed genome was not a "mistake". (Even the word "mistake" isn't up to the task in this context since it implies a guiding intelligence.) That's why each creature is so well-suited to its ecological niche and its environment - it's been honed to near-perfection by every other living creature it interacts with. The efficiency of the various genomes also demonstrates something few people, including myself, can honestly grasp: the massive spans of time that have passed in the development of living things. What's the largest number you can hold in your mind? 10? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand? Our ability to grasp the scale of time that has passed is inadequate to the task, since we are talking eras that span million and billions of years.

ID/Creationism isn't much different that believing in Gaia, the Earth as a living entity with conscious will and the ability to suffer pain and have opinions about things. It's just another way of talking about God. And what is a belief in God if not a leap of faith? Once again, I'm not arguing against anyone's beliefs except when those beliefs intrude into what is actually provable. Personally, I don't know if there is a God. I have no proof of one, certainly nothing in nature proves the existence of a supreme being, but I have no problem believing in the possibility of a supreme being of some kind.


Written in the year 2000, this article appears at odds with your first paragraph above:

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2000/02/why-onions-have-more-dna-than-you-do/
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#169306 - 08/14/19 09:23 PM Re: Challenging Darwin [Re: Enright]
Dan Simmons Administrator Offline
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Dan S. comments --

I strongly agree with jmill that "intelligent design", in all its shapes and sizes, is just a sneaky way to wrap some sort of religious statement in a false cloak of pseudo-science.

The term fails with the word 'intelligent" and then fails again with the word "design".

Evolution is an incredibly complex and fascinating process, but it has no direction and contains no innate or guiding design.

Those who want to worship a First Cause or Designer or anything else are free to do so, but it's dishonest to try to conflate that religious impulse with science.

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