Tuesday, November 29, 2005

*Addendum*

I have sent off an email to Dr Loke asking him what he believes and in particular what his theory as an alternative to Evolution was. Hopefully, once I have it, I'll finally get a chance to compare the two theories side and side and demonstrate why despite all the hoo-haa about Evolution, it remains and it exists as the cornerstone of biology and much of other fields of science, check out "The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism". In fact, curiously enough, Creationism itself has evolved as I would also expect ID to, again, click here.

Peace.

Addendum to addendum: I have decided to post him a straight rebutal to his reply anyway, once he decides what he believes in, we can start examining his claims instead.

2 Comments:

At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Dear Shaun :

My comments in * , previous comments prefixed with "Andrew:" , your comments to my previous comments in " > " .
I have re-organised your points under topics , but I believe ( and hope ) I have not missed out any point .


Introductory remarks : On religious presupposition and science :

> You're going to need to point out the unwarrented ( anti- ) creationist comments. I don't read anything objectionable in mine.

* Unwarranted anti-creationist comment in your previous post: " Prove positive that a weak faith and dogma almost always invariable leads to psuedo-science. "

> Now why are they ('talk origins' website ) not convincing?

* They use similarity in building blocks of life to prove common descent , for example. ( see below )
.
Andrew : "And it is not true that the religious presupposition of the 'Answers in Genesis' website necessarily detracts from the veracity of the arguments presented there with regards to origin of life and human evolution.

> Sure, but when this organisation states that it is "Upholding the Authority of the Bible from the Very First Verse and um "also desire to train others to develop a biblical worldview, and seek to expose the bankruptcy of evolutionary ideas, and its bedfellow, a "millions of years old" earth (and even older universe)."

* Still , their motivation and presuppostions does not necessarily detracts from the veracity of the arguments presented there with regards to origin of life and human evolution.

> Newton believed that God worked through Nature (more on the methodology of Naturalistic Materialism below).

* That is his theology and religious presupposition. It does not necessarily affect the veracity of his discovery of the laws of motion .

>But that's really besides the point is it? I am not simply doubting what they say because of their religion but their professed view of religion and the manner in which they set it at odds with Science. I'm talking more about Dr. Kenneth Miller (lead expert witness for the plaintiff in the Dover Trial) than Dr. Carl Wieland (Answers in Genesis). The science they propound is directly taken from their narrow religious beliefs rather than where science and observation takes them.

* That still doesn't necessarily take away the veracity of the arguments themselves .

* I wrote previously :" You were also perhaps unaware that my citation includes " Evolution -- A theory in crisis " which is written by Dr Michael Denton , who was an agnostic scientist and not even a Christian at all ." You conceded the point by saying " >Ah yes, should have done a tad more research." But few lines down you contradicted your concession by saying " > And even more to the point, there are no non-theistic motivated attacks on Evolution. " Now isn't Dr Michael Denton a non-theistic motivated attack on evolution ?! Your statement is therefore false ..

> In fact, it is remarkable like those religious nuts who disbelief that germs cause diseases. No, in fact diseases cause germs and what causes disease? Demons.

* The Bible never say that all diseases are caused by demons . So the views of those religious nuts you mention are baseless theologically anyway.


> Where it comes to the creationist, it is Science v Religion because they try to fit their 'science' into their 'religion'.

* Rather than saying that the creationist position " fit their science into their religion " , it should be more precisely stated as " science shows that it is more reasonable to believe in the existence of an intelligent designer for life ".

Andrew :No doubt the explanation that the causal agency for life and man is an intelligent agency will have religious connotations, but this connotation does not imply that the explanation itself is not true.

> True enough.

* OK .



On definition of Evolution
>But let's get back to the issue here, you attempt to debunk evolution. So exactly which part of evolution do you disbelieve?

* Evolution consist of 3 aspects
1.New traits originate in a lineage secondary to mutation.

2.The mechanisms that cause some traits to persist while others perish ( natural selection ) .

3. The term evolution is also taken to imply the common descent of all organisms from a single ancestor . These entire process is accomplished by the above two processes ( mutations and natural selection )

I agree with 1 and 2 ( which I referred to as "microevolution " ) , but not 3( which I referred to as " macro-evolution " )

All these should have been clear from my first letter to the ST forum .
Andrew : I want to highlight again that it is not micro-evolution (the process of random mutation and natural selection ) that I am objecting to. This process is a proven fact and all scientists accept it. It is naturalistic macro-evolution that I am objecting to. The problem is that many people confound micro-evolution and macro-evolution together, and that is why they come up with assertions such as yours that "every experiment that's done simply verifies the strength of the modern theory of evolution" when ONLY micro-evolution is proven. It is wrong to confound micro-evolution and macro-evolution because it is a logical fallacy to say that micro-evolution neccesarily implies macro-evolution.

> How exactly is the extrapolation improper?

* .To say , for example , that " given enough time , apes might change " ( which is what micro-evolution imply ), this sentence does not necessarily imply " man came from apes " ( which is what macro-evolution teaches ) . Therefore , micro-evolution does not necessarily imply macro-evolution logically

Andrew : You argued that " how RNA and DNA came about is not an issue because they do not detract from evolution". But theories on how the RNA and DNA came about are often considered in literature supporting macro-evolution. In fact , molecules-to-life evolution was shown in the last part of the documentary "A Species Odyssey", and that is why I have to mention it to show that it is not a proven fact as much as ape-to-human evolution is not a proven fact. The origin of life issue is relevant to any discussion about origin of species.

> Well, firstly, it’s irrelevant to Evolution. Just because they are considered doesn't make it a substantial part of the literature supporting macro-evolution (if they even are).

* "Just because they are considered" does show that it is relevant , otherwise why is it considered ? Darwin mentioned it , Dawkins mentioned it , Ernst Mayr mentioned it , the Talkorigin archives mentioned it , even the documentary " A Species Odyssey " mentioned it. And just to keep you IN PERSPECTIVE of the discussion , my letter to ST forum was to dispute what is mentioned in the documentary " A Species Odyssey, " and that's why I have to mention the origin of life issue , since the documentary mention it ! How the DNA and RNA comes about therefore IS an issue . After all , an inquiring mind seeking for the truth will reasonably ask the evolutionist , " if you say that life comes from pre-existent simpler life , where does the first life comes from ? "


On the origin of life

* First , let me clarify something . When I used the term "naturalistic " in the context of the previous discussion to refer to macro-evolution and origin of life, I used it to refer to non-intelligent cause/process( ie random chance , natural laws , random chance plus laws ( as in evolution ) ) , in contrast to intelligent cause .
I am NOT using it ( when referring to macro-evolution , as in " naturalistic macroevolution" ) in the sense of naturalistic versus Super-naturalistic .

" Intelligent design argument " by itself does not give all the attribute of God ( that the intelligent designer is supra-naturalistic as in inmaterial, uncaused , etc). Other arguments for God existence ( eg cosmological argument ) give it ( see the cosmological argument in the appendix ) Indeed , based on " arguing from the origin of life on earth " ALONE the immediate designer for life could also logically be an alien . I therefore agree with you that based on " arguing from the origin of life on earth " alone " there are many various form of intelligence that could do it ". However , arguing from the origin of life on earth was never meant to be the only argument for the theist's case ( see appendix ).

>BTW, remember SETI? When the Nebula pulses were first monitored, they considered intelligence ALONGSIDE other hypothesis,

* So science is NOT commited to non- intelligent explanation . And not necessarily animal or human intelligence only , it could be ETI. And one cannot rule out a supernatural intelligence apart from philosophical bias ( see appendix for the argument for God's existence ) .

> And um, yes, Science operates in a forensic fashion and guess what? They never conclude that God did it.
Andrew :And that is how murders are determined apart from naturalistic accidents.
> Wha? Do we have supernatural murders I'm not aware of? It is still a naturalistic cause. How would one detect a supernatural murder? That's the real issue. Human agency is relatively easy to detect.

* Let me clarify : when I use the term "naturalistic accidents " here, I was referring to non-intelligent cause/process( ie random chance , natural laws , random chance plus laws ) , in contrast to intelligent cause ( ie murders ) . What I meant was there are reasonable principles by which one can differentiate intelligent from non-intelligent causes , and using these principles one can reasonably conclude that the origin of life has an intelligent cause. With regards to the nature of this intelligent cause , your anti-supernatural view is again due to your philosophical bias . ( see appendix )

>Again the genetic ( code ) bit is an argument from ignorance and another god of the gaps fallacy. Yes, if it can be explained by a natural phenomena, it's a better explanation than a supernatural one.

* The argument from the genetic code is not natural versus supernatural ( like I say , arguing from the origin of the code alone ,the immediate cause of the code could be an intelligent alien ) , but natural as in non-intelligent cause/process( ie random chance , natural laws , random chance plus laws ) , in contrast to intelligent cause . As I mentioned above , what I meant was there are reasonable principles by which one can differentiate intelligent from non-intelligent causes , and using these principles one can reasonably conclude that the origin of life has an intelligent cause. So it is not a " god of the gaps fallacy " , just as it is not an " intelligence of the gaps fallacy" or an " argument from ignorance fallacy" for the forensic scientist to conclude that the code he found on the wall is caused by an intelligence rather than non-intelligence .

> In our daily life, we see no evidence of supernaturalism at all, much less depend on a miracle to get you out of a traffic jam or as an excuse to an offence. Therefore naturalism is an eminently reasonable methodological position to hold.

* As I mention above , "Naturalistic " as used in context of the discussion to refer to macro-evolution is defined as non-intelligent cause/process( ie random chance , natural laws , random chance plus laws ( as in evolution ) ) , in contrast to intelligent cause . I am not using it ( when referring to macro-evolution ) as in naturalistic versus Super-naturalistic . In our daily life , we see evidence of intelligent causes : things such as codes always resulted from intelligent causes , and we distinguish these things from non-intelligent causes . Therefore to conclude that the genetic code is the work of a designer is an eminently reasonable position to hold.

Andrew : Even one of the leading atheists and naturalist in the world, Anthony Flew, while still a non -Christian because of his misconceptions about Christianity, has now repudiated his long-cherished atheism as he now believed that an intelligence must have been involved in the origin of life, because that is the only explanation that is consistent with observation . As Plato had said , " We must follow where the evidence leads " .

> He's a deist. He's one former atheist. Do we really want to start bring up past creationists and christians who are no longer so? We can start on this blog or Young Republic. Egro, it demonstrates nothing, it's fundamentally an appeal to wrong authority.

* Firstly, I don't base my belief in an intelligent cause of life on his repudiation of atheism , but on the evidence . Secondly , if an evidence is convincing , even though the majority may not believe in it , it would be STRANGE if no one else believe in it . Therefore it is not wrong for me to cite someone else who believe in it . Thirdly, my citation of him does mean something more than my citation of simply anybody else ( my church pastor , for example ), for this is one guy who was a leading naturalist in the world , one who is an expert on naturalistic philosophy to which you find eminently reasonable , one who has written some of the best works against the idea of the supernatural ( eg Theology and Falsification ), one who is deeply committed to it , one who has based his entire lifework on it , one who has deeply cherished it . Therefore he is certainly not theistically motivated , in fact , I would think that it must have been painful for him to repudiate what he has been proclaiming for the good part of his 80 years , his entire life work . What evidence could have the force to cause this change ?

You may quote past creationists and christians who are no longer so if you want , but the changing of position of a single man who is a leading expert in the world on naturalism means more than the changing of positions of 10,000 " Christians " and creationists who don't know what they believe in well enough . Ultimately we must go back to the strength of the argument and evidence itself , of course.

>Furthermore, he doesn't believe in special creation like creationist do.
* I just cite him for my case on origin of life .

> Evolution is not simply chance, to say this ignores natural selection, which is the direct opposite of chance one might say. To quote TalkOrigins' Five Major Misconception of Evolution, "Nor is abiogenesis (the origin of the first life) due purely to chance. Atoms and molecules arrange themselves not purely randomly, but according to their chemical properties. In the case of carbon atoms especially, this means complex molecules are sure to form spontaneously, and these complex molecules can influence each other to create even more complex molecules. Once a molecule forms that is approximately self-replicating, natural selection will guide the formation of ever more efficient replicators. The first self-replicating object didn't need to be as complex as a modern cell or even a strand of DNA. Some self-replicating molecules are not really all that complex (as organic molecules go)."

* The problem is not how you can get self-replicators ( soap bubbles in my bathroom also self-replicate , by the way ) , but how do you get the DNA which we see exist today . Having self-replicators such as soap bubbles doesn't help in any way at all to get the carbon to form DNA. And that's the problem with many origin-of-life theories (eg Cairns-Smith's clay crystals ). They are irrelevant. . They just talk about how you can get self -replicators ( clay crystals, proteinoid microspheres, etc ) , but such replicators are not even remotely related to the DNA chemically.

What one really need is an explanation of how DNA can form , not how any unrelated less complex self -replicators can form. After all, the question before us is that " Did the DNA which we now see arise by non-intelligent or intelligent cause ? " , not " how can self -replicator form ? " If one wants to proceed from the formation of self -replicators to DNA , one must list out the steps , otherwise one can come up with any kind of nonsensical self-replicators which are totally chemically unrelated ( eg soap bubbles ) .

To see what is MINIMALLY required for DNA to form , Graham Cairns-Smith has laid it out in the chapter : The implausibility of prevital nucleic acid , in his book Genetic Takeover And the Mineral Origins of Life, Cambridge University Press, 1982 , quoted below . Cairns-Smith is well known for a bizarre theory of the origin of life that the first living organisms were clay minerals . But not so well known is that he is driven to such outlandish ideas by the enormous chemical difficulties of mainstream theories of chemical evolution, such as the RNA World .

" There have indeed been many interesting and detailed experiments in this area. But the importance of this work lies, to my mind, not in demonstrating how nucleotides could have formed on the primitive Earth, but in precisely the opposite:

These experiments allow us to see, in much greater detail than would otherwise have been possible, just why prevital nucleic acids are highly implausible.

Let us consider some of the difficulties:

1.First, as we have seen, it is not even clear that the primitive Earth would have generated and maintained organic molecules. All that we can say is that there might have been prevital organic chemistry going on, at least in special locations.

2.Second, high-energy precursors of purines and pyrimidines had to be produced in a sufficiently concentrated form (for example at least 0.01 M HCN).

3 The conditions must now have been right for reactions to give perceptible yields of at least two bases that could pair with each other.

4.These bases must then have been separated from the confusing jumble of similar molecules that would also have been made, and the solutions must have been sufficiently concentrated.

5.In some other location a formaldehyde concentration of above 0.01 M must have built up.

6.This accumulated formaldehyde had to oligomerise to sugars.

7. Somehow the sugars must have been separated and resolved, so as to give a moderately good concentration of, for example, D-ribose.

8.Bases and sugars must now have come together.

9.They must have been induced to react to make nucleosides.

10.Whatever the mode of joining base and sugar it had to be between the correct nitrogen atom of the base and the correct carbon atom of the sugar.

11.Phosphate must have been, or must now come to have been, present at reasonable concentrations. (The conc. in the oceans would have been very low, so we must think about special situations—evaporating lagoons and such things .

12. The phosphate must be activated in some way—for example as a linear or cyclic polyphosphate—so that (energetically uphill) phosphorylation of the nucleoside is possible.

13.To make standard nucleotides only the 5hydroxyl of the ribose should be phosphorylated

14.If not already activated—eg.as the cyclic 2,3phosphate—the nucleotides must now be activated (eg. with polyphosphate) and a reasonably pure solution of these species created of reasonable concentration. Alternatively, a suitable coupling agent must now have been fed into the system.

15.The activated nucleotides must now have polymerised. Initially this must have happened without a pre-existing polynucleotide template (this has proved very difficult to simulate); but more important, it must have come to take place on pre-existing polynucleotides if the key function of transmitting info to daughter molecules was to be achieved by abiotic means. This has proved difficult too.

16. The physical and chemical environment must at ALL TIMES have been suitable—for example the pH, the temperature, the M2+ concentrations.

17All reactions must have taken place well out of the ultraviolet sunlight; that is, not only away from its direct, highly destructive effects on nucleic acid-like molecules, but away too from the radicals produced by the sunlight, and from the various longer lived reactive species produced by these radicals.

18 Unlike polypeptides, where you can easily imagine functions for imprecisely made products (for capsules, ionexchange materials, etc.), a genetic material must work rather well to be any use at all—otherwise it will quickly let slip any information that it has managed to accumulate.

19. Nineteenth, what is required here is not some wild one-off freak of an event: it is not true to say ‘it only had to happen once’. A whole set-up had to be maintained for perhaps millions of years: a reliable means of production of activated nucleotides at the least.


You might want to argue about the nineteen problems that I chose: and I agree that there is a certain arbitrariness in the sequence of operations chosen. But if in the compounding of improbabilities nineteen is wrong as a number that would be mainly because it is MUCH TOO SMALL A NUMBER. If you were to consider in more detail a process such as the purification of an intermediate you would find many subsidiary operations—washings, pH changes and so on. (Remember Merrifield's machine: for one overall reaction, making one peptide bond, there were about 90 distinct operations required.) "

Let me just highlight a few things :
- The right molecules " must then have been separated from the confusing jumble of similar molecules " . But any non-intelligent directed natural forces that cause the separation ( eg waves , wind , etc ) could well move the opposite direction and cause the re-mixing of these molecules with the jumble. And you are back with square one .

- " Bases and sugars must now have come together " . Any non-intelligent directed natural forces that cause the come-together could well cause other chemicals ( eg sulphur , nitrites , etc ) to come together too and they would cross react with your base and sugar. And you are back with square one .

- "The physical and chemical environment must AT ALL TIMES have been suitable—for example the pH, the temperature, the M2+ concentrations. "

- " what is required here is NOT SOME WILD ONE-OFF FREAK OF AN EVENT: it is not true to say ‘it only had to happen once’. A whole set-up had to be maintained for perhaps MILLIONS OF YEARS: a reliable means of production of activated nucleotides AT THE LEAST." Is it reasonable to believe that the pH , the temperature , the m2 + concentration ,etc remain AT ALL TIMES suitable for MILLIONS OF YEARS ?

If it is not reasonable , then it cannot have been an undirected process . An intelligence must have been involved to direct the process..

Andrew : The process from molecules to life to simple organisms to apes to man is so complex that scientists had postulated that millions of years is necessary for even the most basic DNA and RNA to form.

> Uhhuh! Am I correct to take it that you are a young earth creationist who doesn't believe that the Earth is more than 6000-10000 years of age? Because there has been billions of years passed since the earth was formed.

* My point was not that the earth was millions of years old , but that you need millions of years of protected environment in nature for even the most basic DNA to form .

Andrew :And the protective environment of the modern day laboratory was obviously not available for the first life to form naturalistically. Indeed, unpredictable destructive forces can happen all the time in the harsh, unprotected natural environment. A volcano eruption , for example , would have instantaneously wipe out all traces of life in the "warm little pond" which had painstakingly taken millions of years to form. And somehow all the steps along the process from molecules to man must be protected from destructive forces and many possible detrimental chemical reactions , for millions of years! Is it reasonable to believe that all these had happened naturalistically?

> Argument from increduity.

* Nope . I am arguing from the available knowledge of what is required for the DNA to form and the knowledge that an environment
which is protected from adverse chemical reactions for million of years cannot occur in nature .

> Sorry, I can't believe that people can be mean to each other either but that doesn't mean that people are not mean to one another.

* Your belief that people can't be mean to each other is not based on any evidence, but my belief that an environment
which is protected from adverse chemical reactions for million of years cannot occur in nature is based on observation that volcanoes , thunderstorms ,fires , adverse chemical reactions , etc ,etc are all too frequent occurences in nature .


> More to the point, the first forms of life as you put it would likely have been capable of living in that hostile environment.

* Oh really ? how does an amoeba survive volcanic ash of 10,000 degrees , I wonder . Such a selection pressure will only ensure one thing : nothing will be selected ! But my main point was that life couldn't even get started in an hostile environment ( see above ) .

>Or maybe they evolved outside of that hostile environment.
* My point was that such a non-hostile environment cannot exist unperturbed for millions of years in nature !


On common descent

Andrew : You argued that different organisms sharing the same building block of life is positive proof of common descent. This argument is fallacious as sharing the same building blocks of life could also be seen as positive proof that they are the works of a Common Designer , just like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Powerpoint having millions of similarities is an indication that the same guys are writing the programs. Using "the same building block" argument therefore does not prove common descent over special creation ; it is a logical fallacy which is typical of pro-macro-evolutionist arguments found in evolutionists' literature such as the talkorigin website.

> I shave my data with Occam's Razor. What do you do? Instead of postulating a supernatural agency on that basis, the more likely and naturalistic explaination is that of common descend. But it's not just common building blocks but chromosome change which indicates common descend, and also for a much more extensive treatment click here for the entire molecular evidence for Macroevolution

* As mentioned above , the argument at the first level is not natural versus supernatural cause , but intelligent versus non-intelligent cause . There is a confounding factor here , in that similarities in building blocks of life facilitates supplying the necessary requirements for their survival , and therefore for the sake of economy an intelligent designer may well decide to design based on similar building block . To use similarity in building block to exclude a designer who has a purpose for using similar building block to design each organism separately would thus be unfair . Occam's razor doesn' t work when there are such confounders .

With regards to the " molecular evidence " at your " 29 evidence for macroevolution " link , similar confounders apply. Even though cytochrome c could be made from countless arrangements of amino acids ,for the sake of design economy an intelligent designer might well choose an identical or similar series of amino acids in the cytochrome c of separately created species . Also, so many genes have multiple effects that Ernst Mayr once suggested that genes which control only a single characteristic are rare or nonexistent. Therefore genes coding for cytochrome c may also be involved in the production of numerous other proteins.If the gene for cytochrome c, for example, does more than code for that particular protein, then its other functions may influence the order of its codons and thus influence the order of amino acids in cytochrome c. Without knowing all that a gene does within an organism and how it accomplishes those functions, one cannot know the gene’s design constraints and therefore cannot know the corresponding constraints on amino acid sequences.

As for pseudogenes , Ashley Camp wrote that even if one assumes that an intelligent designer would not place the same nonfunctional sequences in different species, it is by no means certain that pseudogenes are nonfunctional. After all , even the staunchest critics of creation theory recognize that “ it is impossible to prove absence of function for any region of DNA.” The recent indication from the Human Genome Project that the way genes work is “far more complicated than the mechanism long taught” only increases the possibility that pseudogenes are functioning in some way we do not appreciate.
Moreover, the “failure to observe pseudogenes coding for a product under experimental conditions is no proof that they never do so inside an organism.” In fact, Gibson noted that there are indications that “some pseudogenes may produce small amounts of polypeptides in specific tissues” Mighell (and others) noted recently that “there are genes that have many features of pseudogenes, but which are functional, and a separate group of genes that are currently considered as pseudogenes, but with the recognition that these genes are potentially functional.”

Finally, even if one could be certain that the existence of the same pseudogene in separate species had no functional explanation, it is possible that the same gene was inactivated by the same mutation occurring independently. The evolutionists’ reply that this suggestion is too improbable to take seriously depends on the assumption that the mutation in question occurs randomly. But if there is a mechanism of mutation that favors certain locations in the gene, the odds against an independent occurrence of the mutation drop according to the strength of that bias .



As for endogenous retrovirus ( ERVS ) , not all ERVs are nonfunctional. Some are transcriptionally active, and studies have revealed ERV protein expression in humans. We simply do not know all that ERVs (or other transposons) may be doing in an organism or what roles they may have played in the past. Sverdlov writes:Sometimes the hosts exploit the capacity of TEs [transposable elements] to generate variations for their own benefit. The retroelements can come out as traveling donors of sequence motifs for nucleosome positioning, DNA methylation, transcriptional enhancers, poly(A) addition sequences, splice sites, and even amino acid codons for incorporation into open reading frames of encoded proteins.Of course, if ERV sequences have a function, then the intelligent designer may have had a functional reason for initially placing them at the same chromosomal location in separately created species. He also may have had a functional reason for designing a system to favor the insertion of certain ERV sequences at certain loci. Therefore , one cannot use Occam's razor to exclude an intelligent designer when there are such confounders .


>And yeah, fossil records anyone? Whales have hind legs etc., the existence of vestigal organs and junk DNA. Read the FAQ.

* The answers to all that can be found in the " Answers in Genesis " website .

>But if you read Dr. Kenneth Miller’s transcript, he describes the process of change between ‘ape’ and ‘man’.

*The fossil links are not convincing .

Andrew : You argued , with regards to missing links in the fossil records , that "every time science comes up with another missing link, the creationists claim that there are now two gaps" . But that is not the claim in the sources which I cited in my first letter.

> Actually I wasn't responding to you at all. It was a pre-emptive argument and an illustration of the repeated claims over the years that there are no transitional fossils.

* You gave a pre-emptive argument without answering the actual argument which the website I quoted stated ie what is argued there is that the "missing links" between apes and humans which the evolutionist comes up with are not convincing links at all. Isn't your pre-emptive argument better labelled as a "strawman " in the context of our discussion ?

Andrew : You argued: " Perhaps if he ( Andrew ) were an evolutionary biologist specialising in hominid evolution, his authority could be accepted." It is interesting that you yourself accepted the authority of the author of the TalkOrigin.org's website on Fossil Hominds which you cited , when the author does not even have any qualification related to evolutionary biology ( see http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/faqs.html#qualifications)! Your argument against my qualifications is therefore inconsistent.

> Misrepresentation. Actually my full argument was, if you don't provide any form of proof as to whether it is convincing except your own authority, I'm not going to accept it unless you were an authority on this matter.

* You did not state your " full argument " in your letter to ST forum the way you are stating it now, so it is not right to label my comment as "mis-representation " , but rather the fault lies with the incomplete expression of your argument in your letter.

* Now I certainly did not base my views on my own authority apart from any form of proof in my first letter , so your argument on this point is still false.

> But how about this, the author of the FAQ you criticise? He provides citations to proper peer review articles. You evidently decided it was unconvincing.

* The fact remains that he does not have any relevant qualifications . He cited arguments , but so did I . He cited articles , but so did I . And the articles I cited did contain the view of paleoanthropologists . As for peer review , see below.

> More to the point, if the fossils show us becoming less and less ape-like and more and more human-like, then evolution is logical conclusion to draw.
* As I pointed out, there are no such fossils which could serve as convincing links .

Andrew :Now one does not need to be an evolutionary biologist to point out the obvious logical fallacies of arguments used in support of macro-evolution, such as using common descent as a proof for macroevolution.

> What logical fallacies beyond the ones you proclaim? It is called logical extrapolation.
* It is still a logical fallacy , as shown above . Occam's razor don't work here .

Andrew : Moreover, you should note that the views and sources which I cited do contain the opinion of paleoanthropologists, people specialising in the study of fossils, a field which form the basis for evolutionary biology. And paleoanthropologists themselves have admitted that their work in their field is highly subjective .For example, paleoanthropologist Misia Landau wrote that "many classic texts in the field were determined as much by traditional narrative frameworks as by material evidence" and that the themes "far exceed what can be studied from the fossils alone." (Narratives of Human Evolution ) . With regards to forming the narratives of evolution from fossils , paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall admitted that the process is "both political and subjective " such that "paleoanthropology has the form but not the substance of science". And evolutionary biologist Clark Howell had conceded that " There is no encompassing theory of human evolution...Alas,there never really has been." (" Paleoanthropology and Preconception " Meike et.al Contemporary issues in human evolution Memoir 21.)

> Anyone has the time, energy or patience to check out the references? I'm willing to bet that this is a case of quote mining, especially Ian Tattersall who writes for TalkOrigins.

* Please check out first before you comment .

>And do you really want to play the numbers game again? I’m a law student and when we have competing authorities, we look at credentials and credibility.

* Where did I play numbers game ? I am just stating the fact that there are paleoanthropologists who have admitted that their work is subjective , which is expected considering that they are dealing with evidence that is supposedly millions of years old. Theories are bound to "far exceed what can be studied from the fossils alone".

On the citation of 100 scientist :
Andrew :You attempted to discredit my citation of the statement by 100 scientists who oppose evolution(http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/100ScientistsAd.pdf) by saying that "It simply expresses doubt about Darwinism " and not the modern understanding of evolution with its knowledge of genetics . I find your discreditation unjustified. The statement clearly states "WE ARE SKEPTICAL OF CLAIMS FOR THE ABILITY OF RANDOM MUTATION AND NATURAL SELECTION TO ACCOUNT FOR THE COMPLEXITY OF LIFE", which IS the modern understanding of evolution with its knowledge of genetics , as the terms "random mutation" implies.

> Wow. I am also skeptical as well. There’s the whole debate over punctured equilibria v. gradualism, how did sexual reproduction win out over asexual one and once again, inheritance of genes.

* So you concede your point that " the statement simply expresses doubt about evolution as Darwin understood it during his time and not the modern understanding of evolution with its knowledge of genetics" , which is what you implied in your ST forum letter?

* What debate about inheritance of genes are you talking about ?

> I still stand by the claim that scientists can sign this in good faith. I am skeptical too, which is why I think that ahem "Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged", which is what comes after the sentence above.

* The statement did not merely says "skeptical.. " and "careful examination.. ", but the context ALSO refute the PBS statement that “all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution” as does “virtually every reputable scientist in the world.”, which clearly implies that the statement is meant to refute the modern understanding of evolution which the spokesperson for the PBS evolution series claims virtually all the reputable scientists in the world now support .

Your claim that " any scientist could in good faith sign that statement" , which imply that even scientists supporting the modern understanding of macro-evolution could in good faith sign it , is therefore clearly false ; the scientists behind the PBS evolution series certainly will not sign it !

> Yes, they would not sign it because it will be misused to give credence to the Discovery Institutes claims that increasing numbers of scientist doubt 'Darwinism'.

* No, they will not sign it because the statement is meant to refute their claims ! ( alamak ! so obvious still don't get it .. )

Andrew :As for your citation of 'Project Steve', it is irrelevant as you yourself said " numbers don't matter in a scientific debate but strength of theories and evidence do." I agree with you regarding this point. The reason why I cite the 100 scientists ( which included biologists ) was not to show that there are more scientists in the world who do not believe in evolution, but rather to show the fact that it is not true that all prominent scientists in the world believe in naturalistic macro-evolution;

> Let's play a game called appeal to proper authority. Who do I 'trust' more and on what basis? It’s called credentials and credibility. Other than the fact that most of the people on the DI list are not evolutionary biologist, more scientist accept Evolution not because their religion tells them to do so but because of the evidence. It's a matter of who knows more and is more familiar with the material.

* By citing the 100 scientist I am not saying that I believe in intelligent design because of their authority . Let me repeat . My citation of the list is just to show the FACT that it is NOT true that all prominent scientists in the world believe in naturalistic macro-evolution . Your statements that "it is such a cornerstone of science and so convincing is the theory that scientists have effectively accepted it as a fact ", which seems to imply that all scientists believe in macro-evolution, and "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution", which seem to imply that someone has to believe in macro-evolution to be a biologist, are therefore clearly false.

> Hmmmm. If a small minority signs a meaningless statement based upon fallacious logic and atrocious science, I'm suppose to believe them?

*The statement is not meaningless , as shown above. Refuting the PBS series' claim certainly mean something , isn't it ? 100 reputable scientists might be a minority , but it still shows your statement "it is such a cornerstone of science and so convincing is the theory that scientists have effectively accepted it as a fact ", which seems to imply that all scientists believe in macro-evolution, is clearly false anyway .

*As for fallacious logic and atrocious science , you have yet to succeed in your demonstration here as to why it is fallacious and atrocious.

On Science :
> the issue does not lie within the branch of experimental science, because neither the macro-evolutionist explanation nor the Creationist explanation of what happened in the past can be confirmed in a lab.

> Yes it can. Wanna see peer reviewed articles of new species forming? FAQ with cites below.

* What I mean is that an event which happened in the past belongs to the past . You cannot confirm it in a lab unless your lab experiment takes you to travel back in time to witness it . The fact that we can get certain new " species" forming from prior species doesn't mean that all the species we see now all originate from common ancestor . Indeed , the discontinuity in the fossil record ( eg lack of convincing link between humans and apes ) is against it .

> 1. What is science?

* The Merriam Webster dictionary states that the word science comes from Middle French, from Latin scientia, from scient-, sciens having knowledge, from present participle of scire to know .Thus science primary means having knowledge . As Linus Pauling said , " Science is the search for the truth " .

>Science by default restricts itself to a METHODOLOGY of naturalistic materialism not as a philosophy but because it works.
After all, why bother with science if "Poof! X deity did it by a supernatural mechanism which we cannot replicate" if so, science will grind to a standstill because they is now no need to figure out how rain falls or DNA replicates itself because hey "X did it!". The way to reconcile this and whatever Deity one believes in is to say that God(essess) set the world and naturalism in motion and move on from there.

* This methodology refers to EXPERIMENTAL science , which is mainly concern with discovering how things work. It does not restrict FORENSIC science , for example , which is mainly concern about how to distinguish an intelligent cause from non- intelligent cause .
To demand replication ie predictability for an intelligent cause is to commit a categorical mistake . As Dembski explains :
" But what about the predictive power of intelligent design? To require prediction fundamentally misconstrues design. To require prediction of design is to put design in the same boat as natural laws, locating their explanatory power in an extrapolation from past experience. This is to commit a category mistake. To be sure, designers, like natural laws, can behave predictably (designers often institute policies that end up being rigidly obeyed). Yet unlike natural laws, which are universal and uniform, designers are also innovators. Innovation, the emergence to true novelty, eschews predictability.Designers are inventors. We cannot predict what an inventor would do short of becoming that inventor. "

* Elsewhere you mentioned that the intelligent design explanation is not falsifiable , not testable, the designer is not detectable.

Now , the Intelligent design is falsifiable. With regards to the origin of life , for example , if it is possible that you throw a few carbon , phosphate, etc atoms into the wild and they form up by themselves to become a genetic code ,then intelligent design would be falsified on the general grounds that one doesn't invoke intelligent causes when purely natural causes will do. In that case Occam's razor finishes off intelligent design quite nicely. As for testibility and detectability , similar constraints also apply for SETI research , and yet we are willing to accept that ETI exist if we could pick up certain messages from outer space. The point is that codes , like messages , warrants the conclusion of an intelligent source. Whether or not we are able to perceive that source with our five senses, and whether or not we know by what mechanism or at what time the intelligence generate the code does not affect the veracity of that conclusion .

> Science merely explains the How, it does not try to answer the Why. That is how, many reconcile their faith with science. Here's a good PandasThumb's post entitled What was God Thinking? Science can't tell.. It hits on the sterility of ID as well.

* Indeed , science is concern with" How " . The question we have been asking in this whole discussion is " How " did life orginate ?" Answer : more likely by intelligent cause than non -intelligent cause . As to " Why" did the intelligent cause originate life ?" , the answer to that would belong to the realm of philosophy and theology and not science .

On the definition of scientific work
> I define it ( scientific work ) the same way any scientist defines it i.e. peer review.

*This definition does not logically necessarily follow from what scientific work means ; " A scientific work must have peer review" is not necessarily true , unlike " a triangle must have three sides" , for example. Therefore your definition is arbitary.

> Peer review is necessary if I want to take it seriously as a piece of scientifically rigourous work ... do a quick search of medicial and scientific journals and see how useful creationism or ID has been to science.

* Peer review is good , but the unjust persecution of ID by the authorities committed to their unwarranted naturalistic explanation of the origin of life makes using journals and peer review an unobjective standard in this case . As documentated in Ch 3 of the book " Debating Design " , published by Cambridge University Press and edited by both IDer( Dembski) and prominent evolutionist Dr Michael Ruse , when science writer Forrest Mims admitted he questioned evolutionary theory in 1990, he was not hired to write for the journal Scientific American. When Dembski made known about his skepticism for macro-evolution , he was removed from his position as director of Michael Polanyi centre at Baylor university in 2000. ( for other documentation of persecution please refer to that chapeter in that book ) . The hostility of the establishment towards ID is one of the reason why peer reviewed ID articles , such as: Meyer, Stephen C: The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 117(2):213-239.2004, is so hard to come by. Therefore claiming that no journal articles explicitly support ID is like pointing out that published Chinee government statistics do not support allegations of human right abuse .

Andrew :You argued that the books I mentioned have been "thoroughly discredited not just by scientists but also by theologians". I would like to ask you which theologian has given biblically-justified views against those books that I mentioned. Perhaps you would like to quote their arguments.

> Mea culpa. Sloppy writing, it should be discrediting of the notion of ID and Special Creation. Anyway, who said anything about Abrahamic religions? And why do I need to refer back to the Bible at any rate?

* Are there any theologian from non-abrahamic religions who discredited those books ?

>But more to the point, here. It's mostly Religion v ID but if anyone wants the Creationist infighting, google it, off the top of my head, Literalism (as advocated by Answers in Genesis) in contrast to say Gap Creationist (who believe that the 'days' in Genesis ought to be read as gaps i.e. periods of large amounts of time).

* Non literal interpretation of the Bible is self -defeating . Therefore the discreditation on theological grounds by liberal theologians does not count .

> I like this particular post which talks about Conservative Christians disgusted with ID, here.

* Mainly ad hominem attacks on IDers claiming that they are not honest with some statements they made before . I did not find any Biblically justified arguments discrediting ID arguements. Perhaps you would like to quote it ? I did find something interesting in the comments section though : someone said : “Faith” being by definition not founded on reason ( and evidence )" . This I suspect is the reason why many people object to ID on theological grounds . Robert T Pennock in chapter 7 of Debating Design use the same reason . So did Budak in his website . This reason is false .The Bible plainly states " For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse -- Romans 1 :20 . What this verse clearly means is that the proof for God can be seen in what has been created , so that man has no reasonable excuse for not believing in Him. So true faith in the Christian context is based on objective reason .

Andrew : Though there are scientists who refused to acknowledge those books, the arguments they used in support of macroevolution over intelligent design (such as the "similarity in building blocks of life" argument, which I have refuted above) are not valid . Perhaps you would like to quote other arguments to support your view.

> You haven't refuted it. You simply claim it's a logical fallacy and then ignore it.
* See above .

>But you could always work your way down the 29+ evidence for Macroevolution in TalkOrigins.

* Went through it before .

>Or better still, how about pitting your knowledge with the real experts in the alt.talk.origins newsgroup?
* Will consider . But I shall first concentrate on my discussion with you .

>I’m just a law student who finds this whole thing interesting and has been following it since 1997.
* But since you attempted to refute my letter on ST forum , I shall handle your challenge first .


> So much for Irreducible Complexity when the flagellum is not irreducible complex (you can use 33 proteins instead of 40 that Dr. Behe claims) or even the blood clotting mechanism (dolphins lack a protein called Factor 11 I think).

* Evolutionists have tried to argued by claiming that the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly functional because it can lose some parts and still function, either as 1.a simpler flagellum (as some functional swimming flagella are known
to lack certain proteins), or 2 .a secretor system.

Now , my understanding of IRREDUCIBLE FUNCTION complexity is that an object which has a function that is dependent on the functions and relation of its parts to one another. That does not mean that all its parts must have a discernable role, nor that all its parts are indispensable , but it should have a core of indispensible parts ( "irreducible core" ) which work together to enable it to perform the function .

To answer the evolutionist claim, we must note that although a flagellum may lose some proteins
and function as a simpler propeller, there is still an irreducibly complex core
(i.e. the " basic " components such as the motor, the rotor and the
blade) from which further dismantling would prevent it from functioning like a
propeller. A secretor system has different function compared to a flagellum,
just like a motor of a propeller can still function as a motor but not as a
propeller when other parts (e.g. the blades) are taken away. By the definition
of irreducible functional complexity then, a bacterial flagellum IS irreducibly
functional complex, because if it loses a few parts and end up with a different
function (e.g. a secretor), then it has lost that particular function (i.e. the
" propeller function “) that is dependent on the functions and relation of
its parts to one another. That in fact shows that the " propeller "
function IS dependent on its parts i.e. there is a " irreducible core .

As for the blood clotting mechanism , I have not study it in detail yet. May do it another day, but actually one example ( ie the Bacterial flagellum ) is enough .

Andrew : The issue here in this discussion is not about definitions regarding theory or hypothesis, but whether intelligent design or the BLIND process of naturalistic macro-evolution is a more reasonable explanation for the origin of the complexity of life and man.

> Again. Evolution not random chance. Do we need to go back to definition of Evolution.

* Misrepresentation . Where did I say it is merely random chance . I said it is BLIND . There is no intelligence overseeing it.

I hope you will re-think about your belief in naturalistic macro-evolution in light of what is written above .

> Thank you. You have just demonstrated that whatever you believe in is not science because science constrains itself to the natural and material. And let's just put it this way, I'm about as likely to be as persuaded to the reverse as you

* I hope you will be persuaded in the light of reason .

Appendix : Proving that God exist

Here I will provide a philosophical argument for the existence of God as well as answer your question " what you believe in and what your theory is" . You might want to say that the existence of God and the origin of life is irrelevant to evolution , but one of the most prominent evolutionist in the world, Dr Richard Dawkins , mentioned quite a bit about the origin of life in his evolutionist book , Climbing Mount Improbable , and he asked this question :

[I]f we postulate him as our cosmic designer we are in exactly the same position as we started. Any designer capable of designing the dazzling array of living things would have to be intelligent and supremely complicated beyond all imagining. And complicated is just another word for improbable —and therefore demanding an explanation. (p.68)

The question about ultimate origins is therefore relevant in our search for the truth , and it is important in addressing your anti-supernatural bias , since you mention so much about it .

I will attempt to answer Dr Dawkins' question here as I prove the existence of God ..

First of all , we must ask ourselves a question : Is it true that everything must have a cause ?

To the surprise of many , the answer is no . Logically speaking , if something has no beginning , then it must be uncaused.

But how do we know such an existence exist ?

This is what we are going to prove with the cosmological argument.

The cosmological argument ( in brief ) :

PREMISE 1 :

Some things do exist.

PREMISE 2

Of things that exist, they can only belong to either one of the 3 categories

- A 'caused-by-others' existence

-A 'self-caused' existence

-An 'uncaused' existence



PREMISE 3.

A 'self-caused' existence cannot exist because it would need to exist causally prior to it coming into existence, which is absurd .

PREMISE 4

Therefore only 'caused-by-others' existence and 'uncaused' existence can possibly exist.

PREMISE 5

There cannot be an actual infinite regress of existences consisting of 'caused-by-others' existences.

PROOF ...

1. It is impossible to have an actual infinite number of things to exist in reality ( for example, as illustrated by Hilbert's Hotel )

2. The impossibility of traversing an infinite : It is impossible to reach an actual infinity of caused-by-others existences by successive addition ( 0,1,2,3..) starting from the present . Therefore , it is also impossible to have had an actual infinity of caused- by -others existence causally prior to the present . In another words , the distance " from here to actual infinity ( 0, 1,2,3.. ) " compared with " from actual infinity to here" is the same . Since it is impossible to reach actual infinity from here, it is impossible to have reached here from actual infinity .

PREMISE 6

Since there cannot be an infinite regress of 'caused-by-others' existences, there must exist a first cause.

PREMISE 7

Only an 'uncaused' existence can be the first cause since a 'caused-by-others' existence must have an existence causally prior to itself and thus cannot be the first cause.

CONCLUSION :

Therefore an uncaused existence must exist.




Characteristics of the Uncaused Existence

1. The uncaused existence is change-less sans(without) the first event.( an infinite regress of change cannot exist )

2. The uncaused existence is beginning-less and timeless(ie. outside of time)

2.1 An uncaused existence is either something that comes from nothing or something that has no beginning

2.2 But something cannot come from nothing

2.3 Therefore the uncaused existence is something that has no beginning .

2.4 Something that has no beginning is either an existence that comes from infinite past or an existence which is timeless .

2.5 But an existence that comes from an infinite past is a logical absurdity

2.6 Therefore the uncaused existence is timeless

3 .The uncaused existence is immaterial.

( Whatever is changeless and timeless cannot be material, since matter inherantly involves change ie .in the protons/electrons etc . )

4 .The uncaused existence is space-less.

-Whatever is timeless and immaterial cannot be spatial .

5, The uncaused cause is personal

5.1. Time has a beginning ( t0)

5.2. The first effect was caused at t0

5.3. Uncaused cause must be Timeless.

5.4. Uncaused cause could not have all the necessary conditions to cause the first effect otherwise the first effect will be timeless as well ( co- existing with the uncaused cause)

5.5 Therefore the uncaused cause cause the first effect by not having all the necessary conditions

5.6. Such a condition is possible only if the uncaused cause has a will to will the first effect to begin in time, while Himself exist timelessly ( a will capable of willing the first event as He pleases without necessary conditions ) Ie it is the only possible scenario in which the uncaused cause can be timeless while the first effect is not timeless.

5.7. Whatever has a will is personal.

5.8. Therefore the uncaused cause is personal.




Identity of the Uncaused Existence

An uncaused existence which must be changeless , beginning-less , timeless, immaterial , spaceless and personal certainly cannot be the universe itself , as the universe is a material existence existing in time and space .

Now since the universe is not an uncaused existence, it would need a cause for its existence .

The universe is therefore the effect of an uncaused existence, either directly or indirectly.

We can also conclude that the uncaused existence has all the power in the universe , as the uncaused existence is the one that brought the universe into existence .

An uncaused existence who is changeless, beginning-less, timeless , immaterial , spaceless , personal and all powerful is God .

Therefore God exist .



The teleological argument :

1. It is our uniform experience that caused objects with functional complexity ( eg codes , messages ) originate from intelligent designers.
2. Biological structures such as the DNA/RNA is a caused object with functional complexity
3. Therefore these structures must have originated from an intelligent Designer.

.
What we can know is that what is CAUSED and has functional complexity must be the result of a designer. This is what we can prove because this is our uniform experience with caused entities. That is why it is reasonable for a forensic scientist to conclude that the code he found on the wall is caused by an intelligence rather than non-intelligence .


But we cannot prove that an UNCAUSED entity with functional complexity needs a designer , as we do not have any experience of an uncaused entity which is designed. Indeed , we cannot experience an uncaused entity at all with our senses , because the uncaused entity by nature must be timeless , immaterial and spaceless , as shown by the cosmological argument. However, our inability to experience the uncaused existence does not prove that an uncaused existence does not exist ; in fact , it is from what we can observe and know ( ie some things do exist , there cannot be an actual infinite regress of caused-by-others existence , etc ) that we can deduce that uncaused existence must exist , as shown by the cosmological argument . And an uncaused existence neccesarily cannot be designed as design implies causation , and an uncaused existence cannot be caused .

Now the Mind of the designer behind the creation of the DNA must be highly complex and functional as well to be able to conceive such highly complex and functional structures., as Richard Dawkins suggested . If such a designer is not uncaused ( eg ETIs ) , then it must have been the work of another designer . But there cannot have been an infinite regress of such designers , as there cannot have been an actual infinite regress of existences consisting of 'caused-by-others' existences , as shown by the cosmological argument. Therefore the only solution is that ultimately there must have been an Uncaused Designer who is not designed.
And this uncaused Designer who is changeless, beginning-less, timeless , immaterial , spaceless , personal and all powerful can be called GOD .

Copyright 2005 Dr Andrew Loke

Blessings ,

Dr Andrew Loke

 
At 8:23 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Click here for 'response'.

I'm still waiting for my response to the emails btw.

 

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