Feb 182007
 

Sal’s recent OP about setting up a YC discussion blog got me thinking about the influence and role that philosophical presuppositions play in how one views science and scientific findings, or even in how one defines what science is. As I follow discussion after discussion on various blogsites regarding YEC v OEC v Naturalism, it becomes more and more clear that ones philosophical, theological or metaphysical presuppositions about the world play a very large and defining role is how one arrives at any conclusions about these matters, or even how one views evidence for or against these views. Unfortunately, it also seems to be the case that few will admit to these presuppositions, and try to make the case that they derive their position “purely” from the science itself. However, it doesn’t seem to me that a good case can be made for that position.

If one begins with philosophical naturalism, then the cosmos has to be billions of years old, because its really the only game in town. Hence, it seems, that no amount of data or observation will ever be taken as evidence for a contrary position, namely that the cosmos and everything in it are quite young. The statement so often seen that there is “no evidence” for the cosmos being young, is really not as strong as it might seem at first glance. Such statements as “no evidence” for ID or YEC or [fill in the blank] really mean that the observer doesn’t take any data or observation to be evidence for any of those things, which is a very different position from there being “no evidence” at all. Put differently, the connection between data and observation to a particular hypothesis, theory or explanation is greatly dependent on other background considerations that one holds as being true a priori. If one presupposes, for example, that Nature (here meaning the cosmos and everything in it), is a completely closed system of natural cause and effect, then there’s little hope that any connection between data and observation will ever be accepted as supportive of, say, actual intelligent design.

In his book Science and Its Limits, philosopher of science Del Ratzsch uses an example that runs like this. Suppose its a bit before 1900 and I come to you and say, I think atoms are mutable: they can be either split apart or mashed together. Supposing you to be a fellow physicist, you’d probably laugh and say, “how can you say such a thing, there is no evidence for any such nonsense!” And, prior to 1900 or so, you’d be right. At that time there was no evidence to connect data or observation with any concept of the mutability of atoms. But in another sense, says Ratzsch, there was evidence: bright shining evidence that rose every morning and set every night. If not for the mutability of atoms, there could be no sunshine! Prior to 1900, however, no one knew that, because the requisite background knowledge and discoveries had not yet been made and there wasn’t anyway to connect observaton — sunshine — with the hypothesis — that atoms are mutable. Thus the scientist who says there is “no evidence” for ‘X’, may be correct in one sense — that we lack sufficient background knowledge to connect data or observation with theory or explanation, but in another sense, it may be grossly in factual error to make that claim.

That connection between data and observation to theory or explanation can really get sticky if one’s philosophical presuppostion or worldview precludes even the possibility of certain types of cause and effect ever being possible, even in principle. A dogmatic approach to such presuppositions can stultify science and scientific findings. The entire debate/discussion between YEC and OEC or between ID and NAturalism are good cases in point in how this plays out in actual scientific practice. The question I often ask, because I think it is a good clarifying question, is “how do you know scientifically that the properties of the cosmos are such that any observed design in natural systems can not be actual design, even in principle? Of course it should be obvious that there is no scientific answer to this question, but lots of philosophcial ones…which is, of course, the point! This is why I think that any fruitful discussion on things like YEC/OEC or ID/Naturalism need first acknowledge where one’s philosophical presuppositions lie. Unwillingness to admit to ones presuppositions serves no purpose other than to cut off any meaningful discussion off at the pass. And anyone who tries to claim, as I’ve often seen on blogsites, that philosophical considerations simply play no part in science, are simply grossly misquided and outright wrong. Personally, I’d like to see a bit more intellectual honsesty on this point, especially among the anti-ID crowd, or the anti-YEC crowd.

  170 Responses to “Philosophy First Science”

  1. Personally, I’d like to see a bit more intellectual honsesty on this point, especially among the anti-ID crowd, or the anti-YEC crowd.

    I am not too clear on why you think this is especially a problem for the anti-ID crowd, or the anti-YEC crowd. Is it at all possible that your own philosophical bias is creeping in here?

  2. Pixie,

    Do you believe in abiogenesis? Abiogenesis is a bad idea that keeps getting worse, yet Darwinists keep the faith because of their metaphysical preference.

  3. Jehu, the same could be said of YEC.

  4. I admit that.

  5. Pixie:

    I am not too clear on why you think this is especially a problem for the anti-ID crowd, or the anti-YEC crowd. Is it at all possible that your own philosophical bias is creeping in here?

    That’s really not the point. My point is that what I often see is that the anti-ID crowd (and to some extent the anti-YEC crowd), won’t admit to their philosophical presuppositions. Whereas, most of the IDP’s don’t seem to have a problem with that. So, yes, I readily admit that my presupposition is to theism in general and Christianity in particular. And yes, that worldview most certainly influences how I view things…that’s what a worldview does. But many in the anti-ID camp seem to think that it is possible to have worldview free science. My contention is that that is not possible. There simply no such thing as “just science”.

  6. DonaldM

    My point is that what I often see is that the anti-ID crowd (and to some extent the anti-YEC crowd), won’t admit to their philosophical presuppositions.

    It is worth pointing out that there is no single set of philosophical presuppositions for the “anti-ID crowd”. They vary from atheists to Christians and other religions too. One thing that unites them is that they largely put that aside when they do science. Sure there are plenty of scientists out there crusading for their world view, but I would guess that in their scientific output in the peer-reviewed literature that world view is not an issue.

    There simply no such thing as “just science” .

    Read some of the primary literature and show me where the wporld view is. Pub Med is a good place to start with over 16 million citations going back to 1950. Pick a subject and have a look what you find. For the most part you can only access the abstract, but a few are available on-line. Of course, they will all be pro-evolution, but that is the theory accepted by mainstream science. In physics, the papers will be pro-relativity. Beyond that, can you tell which scientists are Muslims and which are naturalists?

  7. Pixie:

    It is worth pointing out that there is no single set of philosophical presuppositions for the “anti-ID crowd” . They vary from atheists to Christians and other religions too. One thing that unites them is that they largely put that aside when they do science. Sure there are plenty of scientists out there crusading for their world view, but I would guess that in their scientific output in the peer-reviewed literature that world view is not an issue.

    Pixie, thanks for your response. No, I don’t think I agree with you on this. While I do agree that scientists range from atheists to Christians (or perhaps theists, to be more broad), I do not agree that those worldviews are “put aside” when they are doing science. Those worldviews influence the entire process of how they do science. Please note what I said in the OP

    Put differently, the connection between data and observation to a particular hypothesis, theory or explanation is greatly dependent on other background considerations that one holds as being true a priori. If one presupposes, for example, that Nature (here meaning the cosmos and everything in it), is a completely closed system of natural cause and effect, then there’s little hope that any connection between data and observation will ever be accepted as supportive of, say, actual intelligent design.

    Thus, my contention is that scientists do not put aside their worldviews when they do science. In fact it is just the opposite: the presuppositions of their worldview has a tremendous influence on how data is viewed and what hypothesis might be generated to explain the data. If there’s any doubt of that, just consider the intensity of the debate between ID and Evolution. It is at root a discussion about worldviews first, science second, in spite of what many might say to the contrary.

    If I’m right about that (and I think I am, else I wouldn’t be arguing for it), then the output reported in the peer reviewed journals is the end product of a process that began with the influence of those worldviews. And, in the current scientific environment, especially among the vast majority of those who are in control of the scienctific arenas in both acedemia as well as the editorial boards of the peer reviewed journal, the prevailing pre-supposed worldview is decidedly in favor of philosophical naturalism. To me that seems virtually undeniable. To be sure, there’s lots of other reasons to question the entire peer review process, but the wide acceptance of and advocacy for this prevailing worldview is what lies at core of the issue. In sum, I think it just to simplistic to say “well, you certainly see no evidence of worldviews mentioned in any of the peer reviewed output of these scientists”. Such thinking overlooks the influence worldviews have on the entire process.

    Pixie:

    Read some of the primary literature and show me where the wporld view is. Pub Med is a good place to start with over 16 million citations going back to 1950. Pick a subject and have a look what you find. For the most part you can only access the abstract, but a few are available on-line. Of course, they will all be pro-evolution, but that is the theory accepted by mainstream science. In physics, the papers will be pro-relativity. Beyond that, can you tell which scientists are Muslims and which are naturalists?

    That’s really not the issue. Of course neither of us could tell what any particular scientist’s religion is merely by reading one of their papers in one of the peer reviewed journals. Rather, how the entire peer reviewed process itself works and how the naturalistic orthodoxy (or dogma) is enforced in that process is the issue. Papers that might refer to actual design in this or that natural system aren’t going to be rejected because they lack “scientific” merit. They will be rejected because they run counter to the prevailing orthodoxy. In fact, even what it means for something to be considered “scientific” is itself greatly influenced by one’s worldview. And that really is the point of my OP. What I’d like to see is greater intellectual honesty and admission of this as opposed to the dodge and weave I usually find when these issues are discussed (and, please understand, I am NOT saying this is what you’re doing, because I don’t think you are at all). Before discussions can be more fruitful for all, it seems to me that this is a must! But ruling ID out of bounds on philosophical grounds before the discussion even begins, stacks the deck and is highly disingenuous, in my view. It is also stultifying to the entire scientific process.

  8. DonaldM

    If there’s any doubt of that, just consider the intensity of the debate between ID and Evolution. It is at root a discussion about worldviews first, science second, in spite of what many might say to the contrary.

    And yet those on the evolution side range from theist to atheist, which would lead me to think that they hold that view despite their personal metaphysics.

    …the output reported in the peer reviewed journals is the end product of a process that began with the influence of those worldviews.

    That is right. Scientific research may well be done based on a world view, but the output is neutral of that world viewview. Mike Gene hints that his belief in front-loading points him to new research areas, and he can (and quite possibly does) publish that research as science as long as the content can be supported, i.e., he reports what he found, but not why he was looking their in the first place. There are many creationists who have contributed to science, such as Newton. Science accepts those claims that science can evaluate, such as Newton’s laws of motion, and reject the rest, such as Newton’s ideas on alchemy.

    In fact, even what it means for something to be considered “scientific” is itself greatly influenced by one’s worldview.

    To be scientific, a theory has to be tested and supported by independant experts. Newton’s laws of motion were tested by his contempories, and found to be good; they made definite predictions, and these were shown to be accurate. His claims about alchemy could not be repeated, so are not considered scientific. And again, among scientists, most theists and athiest alike would cnsider the same things to be scientific.

    And that really is the point of my OP. What I’d like to see is greater intellectual honesty and admission of this as opposed to the dodge and weave I usually find when these issues are discussed

    I thought the issue of methodological naturalism came up a lot in these discussions. I would agree that it is not announced anywhere, but I am not too sure wh would be responsible for doing that. There is no single body that oversees science. It is probably not mentioned in science education, but I would hope the principles are. I have kids in primary school, and they are taught the idea of “fair testing” for evaluating hypotheses.

    But ruling ID out of bounds on philosophical grounds before the discussion even begins, stacks the deck and is highly disingenuous, in my view. It is also stultifying to the entire scientific process.

    Science has achieved a huge amount in the last century or so; it has increased human knowledge by a vast amount and changed our way of living beyond recognition. Labelling something “scientific” buys into that track record, giving legitimacy. It seems to me that ID wants to be considered “scientific” so it can claim legitimacy, without the bother of having to do science.

    Kind of like ruling a team out of the basketball league because they want to play by their own set of rules. The team happen to be very good at picking the ball up and running with it, so they feel the rules of basketball should be changed to allow that. Only then it would not be basketball; basketball fans would not want to watch, basketball players would not be able to play it properly.

    The scientific process is limited; it is limited to studying what science can study. Why does that limit ID or anything else? You are free to research whatever you want. Who cares if it is science or not. Sure, scientific journals will only print it if it is science; is that stulitify ID? You will find chemistry journals only print if it is chemistry, but biologists do not find that stultifying.

    Sure research grants will be handed out to scientific research, rather than ID, but now ID has its own research centre. And I seem to remember that the Templeton Foundation asked for ID research proposals because it was keen to fund some ID research, and they were disappointed with the response. So I do not you see how you can complain ID is being stultified there either.

    Of course there is the issue of teaching ID as science. I often ask the question: What objective criteria would you use to decide if a theory can be taught as science? Perhaps I could modify that by asking you what do you think the rules of science should be? How do youi decide what is legimate science and what is not? Or do you think we should let everything in, from geocentrism to astrology to ufology?

  9. The reason EAs have difficulty being honest about their biases is they base their case on a false premise; namely, that their beliefs are grounded in what is real and empirically verified. Their metaphysics is as philosophical as the next guy’s but to admit that tarnishes an image. The trouble is there are two images and the self-image of EAs is not the real one. The rest of us can see through it.

    My real reason for this visit is to get a message to Salvador. I sent two messages to the hole at TT and warned the offender. I value Salvador’s participation.

  10. Bradford

    The reason EAs have difficulty being honest about their biases is they base their case on a false premise; namely, that their beliefs are grounded in what is real and empirically verified. Their metaphysics is as philosophical as the next guy’s but to admit that tarnishes an image.

    What is an EA?

    The metaphysics of evolutionists are as philosophical as anyone else’s, sure (afterall, some theists, some atheists, they cannot both be right). But their science is based on something else; that is based on what is empirically verified (or at least empirically supported). That is basically what science is; conjectures that can be independently supported empirically.

  11. Hey Bradford, nice of you to drop by. Please come back an join us once in a while. Hopefully, Sal will see your message.

    To answer you question, Pixie, I believe Bradford uses EA for Evolution advocate.

    I want to respond to your earlier post, but it will take way more time than I have at hand today, so hopefully tomorrow, I’ll be able to do that. There are several points that I think we need to explore in more detail. Thanks!!

  12. I believe EA was an invention of Joy’s. AFAIK it means evolutionary atheist. I grew up in the home of one. Trust me. They live under the illusion that their atheism is an empirically supported metaphysical belief.

  13. I believe EA was an invention of Joy’s. AFAIK it means evolutionary atheist. I grew up in the home of one. Trust me. They live under the illusion that their atheism is an empirically supported metaphysical belief.

    Oops, my bad. I did know that.

    Richard Dawkins is a great example of what you are saying. Too bad he can’t seem to find an actual argument to back it up!

  14. Richard Dawkins is a great example of what you are saying. Too bad he can’t seem to find an actual argument to back it up!

    It’s the illusion that counts. I had a great deal of fun blogging today. Did you see the video of the rabbit chasing the snake up a tree. I want that bunny for my Easter present.

  15. Bradford

    AFAIK it means evolutionary atheist.

    So you are not that sure what it means?

    I grew up in the home of one. Trust me. They live under the illusion that their atheism is an empirically supported metaphysical belief.

    Are you really claiming that because one “EA” believed his or her “atheism is an empirically supported metaphysical belief” it must be true of all us? I hope not. I would hope that your argument is based on more than a survey of the opinions of a sample size of one (or is it two, if you count Dawkins).

  16. First of all, apologies for not being able to respond sooner, but this has indeed been a busy week. I want to respond to some points raised by Pixie in post #

    Scientific research may well be done based on a world view, but the output is neutral of that world viewview.

    Unfortunately this is something that is widely believed to be true, but is in reality false. Consider what Philosopher of Science Del Ratzsch writes in Ars Disputandi in a review of Pennock et.al.’s Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics.

    In it [one of Philip Johnson’s essays in the book], Johnson primarily presses one of his two usual cases: that in some instances, evidential standards within science have been corrupted by an a priori allegiance to philosophical naturalism. The allegation is that naturalism is the stipulated metaphysic of contemporary mainstream science, meaning that non-naturalistic concepts — purpose, design, creation, supernatural agency — are excluded by fiat and that purely naturalistic theories are the only ones even eligible for a hearing. (That is, as Johnson sees it, particularly true with Darwinian versions of evolutionary theory.) Consequently, even if naturalism is false, and even if some implicitly supernaturalist theory is true, the (or a) competing — and ex hypothesi mistaken — naturalistic scientific theory will triumph within the scientific community, and since any force that the available evidence might have had in a non-naturalistic direction will be denied as a matter of policy, the naturalistic theory will be advanced as scientifically established by objective evidence. At that point, of course, evangelical atheists within the scientific community (e.g., Dawkins) will publicly proclaim that science has established their naturalistic worldview. In simplest terms, the idea is that if one imposes a priori human constraints on the range of legitimate theories, then if reality itself happens to fall outside those human stipulated constraints, human science is at serious risk of generating an irreparably skewed scientific picture of reality. Surely, as Johnson sees it, the rational thing to do, the objective thing to do, indeed the scientific thing to do is to let data — and not human edict — establish the relevant boundaries.

    Note the last part of what Ratzsch here, which directly contradicts that scientific output is independent of one’s worldview. As Ratzsch pointed out in his influential book Nature Design and Science, science is a human enterprise and as such humans can make whatever stipulations they desire. But what they may not due is claim that anything discovered or explained under those stipulations also represents the actual truth, reality, is self-corrective, or anything of the sort. In other words, the worldview stipulates and influences not only hows science is done, but also influences what may be considered as valid as explanation for observed data. In the current environment, as Johnson and many others have continually pointed out, the bias is heavily towards naturalism. Hence, Miller and Levine wrote in the 5th edition of their widely used high school Biology textbook that science only looks for natural explanations for natural phenonemon. There’s a price to be paid for making such a stipulation a priori. Ratzsch again:

    If there is a supernatural being whose purposes, decisions, and actions are involved in the existence, governance or structure of physical reality, then any stipulated blanket prohibitions against non-naturalistic explanatory resources runs the serious risk of producing an inescapably skewed picture of physical reality. That is not, of course, to say that if the supernatural does play a role, that if we dropped any naturalistic restrictions that we would automatically be able to construct the correct theory. But the alternative route (under the conditions postulated) would guarantee that we would not.

    If Ratzsch is right here (and I believe he is 100% correct on this point), then the situation we find ourselves in is precisely what Ratzsch described: science is stacked to yield explanations guaranteed to lead us astray if it really is the case that nature is NOT a closed system of natural cause and effect.

    Pixie

    Science has achieved a huge amount in the last century or so; it has increased human knowledge by a vast amount and changed our way of living beyond recognition. Labelling something “scientific” buys into that track record, giving legitimacy. It seems to me that ID wants to be considered “scientific” so it can claim legitimacy, without the bother of having to do science.

    Kind of like ruling a team out of the basketball league because they want to play by their own set of rules. The team happen to be very good at picking the ball up and running with it, so they feel the rules of basketball should be changed to allow that. Only then it would not be basketball; basketball fans would not want to watch, basketball players would not be able to play it properly.

    Do you not see that this comment sneaks the pre-supposition of what science is “supposed” to be back into the discussion? What it means to be “doing science” is one of the main points at issue. Here, it is just assumed that “doing science” means doing science from a naturalistic worldview. The claim of victory past (“science has acheived a huge amount”), doesn’t help much here. First the assumption is that our current theories and explanations for observations seem to have worked out fine. But is that truly the case? Sure, we understand a whole lot more about how things work and all that…no question. But do we really understand how things came to be? Just because someone has a plausible naturalistic explanation for how something came to be doesn’t mean that that is the correct explanation of what really happened. Mere plausibility is not enough. In that regard, intelligent design is just as “plausible” as evolution to explain a whole range of observations within biology.

    The upshot here is that, as far as I can tell, there is no clear cut way to both preserve science by stipulating naturalism (even so-called methodological naturalism) into the practice of science while at the same time guaranteeing that science can, at least in principle, get to the bottom of how everything works and came to be. If the truth of a matter runs in a non-naturalistic direction, then science must be forever blind to it, and whatever theory is contructed under the restrictions will, by definition, be wide of the mark.

  17. Hi DonaldM

    Note the last part of what Ratzsch here, which directly contradicts that scientific output is independent of one’s worldview.

    I do not think Ratzsch is saying that. I think that rather he is saying that whatever the worldview of the scientist, the science must be based on naturalism. So I stand by my claim that that scientific output is neutral of that world view of the scientist.

    As Ratzsch pointed out in his influential book Nature Design and Science, science is a human enterprise and as such humans can make whatever stipulations they desire. But what they may not due is claim that anything discovered or explained under those stipulations also represents the actual truth, reality, is self-corrective, or anything of the sort.

    Science models reality or actual truth. We can never know if the claims are true, or just a very good model.

    That science is self-correcting is something else altogether. Over the years science has refined many theories, discarded theories, exposed the occasional hoax. Our scientific knowledge is improving daily, so I believe there is good evidence that science is self-correcting. I would be intrigued to know why Ratzsch thinks otherwise (I have not read the book).

    In the current environment, as Johnson and many others have continually pointed out, the bias is heavily towards naturalism. Hence, Miller and Levine wrote in the 5th edition of their widely used high school Biology textbook that science only looks for natural explanations for natural phenonemon.

    Yes, whatever the worldview of the scientist, science only looks for natural explanations for natural phenonemon.

    There’s a price to be paid for making such a stipulation a priori. Ratzsch again:
    “If there is a supernatural being whose purposes, decisions, and actions are involved in the existence, governance or structure of physical reality, then any stipulated blanket prohibitions against non-naturalistic explanatory resources runs the serious risk of producing an inescapably skewed picture of physical reality. That is not, of course, to say that if the supernatural does play a role, that if we dropped any naturalistic restrictions that we would automatically be able to construct the correct theory. But the alternative route (under the conditions postulated) would guarantee that we would not.”

    Whether there is a “price to be paid” depends on whether this supposed supernatural being exists. If not, then we got away with it.

    To address the real point though, yes, I agree. Science studies that which science can study. If you give a naturalistic explanation for a observation, it can be studied by science. If you give a supernatural explanation, it cannot. So we call the first science, the second philosophy. That does not mean the second is wrong.

    The claim of victory past (” science has acheived a huge amount” ), doesn’t help much here. First the assumption is that our current theories and explanations for observations seem to have worked out fine. But is that truly the case? Sure, we understand a whole lot more about how things work and all that”no question. But do we really understand how things came to be?

    So you think unless science can answer that question, then it has not achieved much? Take a look around you and really see how much science has changed the lives of you are me. Just the science involved in letting you read this message is incredible – we just take it for granted nowadays. So yes, it really is the case that science has acheived a huge amount, even if there is still a huge amount felt to do.

    Do you want to compare how science has done to theistic output in the last century?

    Just because someone has a plausible naturalistic explanation for how something came to be doesn’t mean that that is the correct explanation of what really happened. Mere plausibility is not enough. In that regard, intelligent design is just as “plausible” as evolution to explain a whole range of observations within biology.

    Absolutely! But the thing about a naturalistic explanation is that it makes predictions about what we will find in the future, and if those predictions are risky, but correct, then the explanation will gain credibility.

    The upshot here is that, as far as I can tell, there is no clear cut way to both preserve science by stipulating naturalism (even so-called methodological naturalism) into the practice of science while at the same time guaranteeing that science can, at least in principle, get to the bottom of how everything works and came to be. If the truth of a matter runs in a non-naturalistic direction, then science must be forever blind to it, and whatever theory is contructed under the restrictions will, by definition, be wide of the mark.

    I agree. Science studies that which science can study.

  18. Pixie:

    I do not think Ratzsch is saying that. I think that rather he is saying that whatever the worldview of the scientist, the science must be based on naturalism. So I stand by my claim that that scientific output is neutral of that world view of the scientist.

    No, you have not read this correctly. This is precisely what Ratzsch is arguing against! That is why I brought this quote to your attention.

    Science models reality or actual truth. We can never know if the claims are true, or just a very good model.

    That science is self-correcting is something else altogether. Over the years science has refined many theories, discarded theories, exposed the occasional hoax. Our scientific knowledge is improving daily, so I believe there is good evidence that science is self-correcting. I would be intrigued to know why Ratzsch thinks otherwise (I have not read the book).

    Ratzsch doesn’t think otherwise…you’re misreading the reference. The point is that humans can make any stipulations they choose for any enterprise — the rules of football or how science is done. But what they can’t do is make those stipulations, erect on those stipulations a process called science, then claim that anything discovered within those stipulations represents truth, or absolute fact or is self-corrective or anything of the sort. The point is that the stipulation qua stipulation by arbitrarily restricts what may be discovered or explained.

    “Science studies what science can study” is a misguided statement. The implication is that since science can only study what can be observed, then science can only study that which exists in the empirical realm. So far so good. But the further implication is that therefore that means that science can only appeal to naturalistic explanations. But that second part sneaks the naturalism right back into the equation. Do we know in advance that an entity from outside the natural realm could not take any action or effect any change that would have empirical consequences in what we take to be the natural realm? Of course, no one could make such a statement based on science. It is mere philosophical presupposition to say otherwise. Thus, any a priori restriction that disqualifies such explanations from consideration have the effect of forcing explanations that meet the stipulation rather allowing the data to determine what explanations are allowable. In the case of biological systems, evolution or something very much like it has to be correct according to, not the data itself, but according to the stipulations. This is what, in my view, puts an arbitrary restriction on science.

  19. DonaldM

    With regards to the text by Ratzsch, firstly, I realise my point was ambiguous; what I meant was that he was observing that science is always based on naturalism, rather than making the philosophical point that that is the only way science could be done. Secondly, as I reread the passage, I realised this was not Ratzsch’s view at all, but in fact he is describing what he believes Philip Johnson’s opinion to be. Ths he says towars the start ” Johnson primarily presses one of his two usual cases”, and towards the end “Surely, as Johnson sees it…”. Ratzsch may be an authority on the philosophy of science, but Johnson is not, and I see no reason to accept Johnson’s claims, just because Ratzsch discusses them.

    Ratzsch doesn’t think otherwise”you’re misreading the reference. The point is that humans can make any stipulations they choose for any enterprise — the rules of football or how science is done. But what they can’t do is make those stipulations, erect on those stipulations a process called science, then claim that anything discovered within those stipulations represents truth, or absolute fact or is self-corrective or anything of the sort. The point is that the stipulation qua stipulation by arbitrarily restricts what may be discovered or explained.

    Why does this prevent self-correction? That is the bit I do not get.

    “Science studies what science can study” is a misguided statement. The implication is that since science can only study what can be observed, then science can only study that which exists in the empirical realm. So far so good. But the further implication is that therefore that means that science can only appeal to naturalistic explanations. But that second part sneaks the naturalism right back into the equation.

    On the contrary. It brings naturalism into the process, loudly and clearly!

    Do we know in advance that an entity from outside the natural realm could not take any action or effect any change that would have empirical consequences in what we take to be the natural realm?

    No. But we do know that science cannot study it if that is the case.

    Thus, any a priori restriction that disqualifies such explanations from consideration have the effect of forcing explanations that meet the stipulation rather allowing the data to determine what explanations are allowable. In the case of biological systems, evolution or something very much like it has to be correct according to, not the data itself, but according to the stipulations. This is what, in my view, puts an arbitrary restriction on science.

    Scientists pondering the diversity of life can either look at naturalistic explanations (which are always tentative, remember) or twiddle their thumbs. They seem to all prefer the former.

  20. I prefer a very spare definition of the science based in methodological naturalism, and I find that nearly all science is done within this methodology even when given a philosophical veneer.

    We examine the world objectively. (That means observations made through our senses are made public and shared.) Using any method we choose (e.g. thought, dreams, intuition), we form a generalization concerning these observations (theory). We make a prediction based on this generalization (hypothesis). We objectively test these predictions (validation). We adjust or discard our generalization based on our results. We publish our results so that others can confirm, refine and extend our findings. We continually repeat this process. Each successful prediction strengthens our confidence in our generalizations, but all such generalizations are considered tentative and subject to being revised or discarded in the light of new observations. We label this process “the scientific method”.

    Now, it is quite possible that the scientific method would not converge to specific generalizations. But, in many cases, it does. The universe is full of regularities. In any case, to earn the imprimatur of science, the assertion has to be subject to validation by the scientific method. Now, let’s look at your specific concerns.

    DonaldM: But what they can’t do is make those stipulations, erect on those stipulations a process called science, then claim that anything discovered within those stipulations represents truth, or absolute fact or is self-corrective or anything of the sort.

    Science is as science does. If you want to earn the imprimatur of science, your assertion has to be subject to validation by the scientific method. On the other hand, if you want to philosophize or rhapsodize, those activities use different methodologies. Science does not claim to discover the Absolute Truth(tm), or even Absolute Fact(tm). However, that science is self-corrective is apparent within its realm of activity.

    The Scientific Method: hypothesis, prediction, observation, validation, repeat.

    Eppur si muove!

  21. DonaldM: Such statements as “no evidence” for ID or YEC or [fill in the blank] really mean that the observer doesn’t take any data or observation to be evidence for any of those things, which is a very different position from there being “no evidence” at all.

    The Theory of Gravity, Germ Theory, Cell Theory, Atomic Theory, the Theory of Common Descent, are all valid scientific theories within their realms of applicability.

    The assertion of a young cosmos is not a valid scientific theory because its empirical predictions are contradicted by the vast bulk of the scientific evidence. You can believe in a young cosmos if you like, but you can’t validly claim scientific support for such a position.

  22. If by “methodological naturalism” one means something distinct from “philosophical naturalism”, then there are two necessary items:

    1) There are things that science cannot deal with. This also means that if science attempts to deal with something outside its scope, then it will likely be wrong. However, given that, is there a way to determine if a phenomena is studyable by science? If there is not a mechanism to determine whether phenomena X is within the boundaries of science, then how do you know that your inquiry and results are reasonable?

    2) If methodological naturalism is really distinct from philosophical naturalism, then there should be no problem with a hypothesis that is methodologically naturalistic but has implications against philosophical naturalism.

    An example of #2 is irreducible complexity. IC _is_ methodologically naturalistic. It implies philosophical non-naturalism, but there is nothing in IC which requires anything but methodological naturalism to deal with.

    Another similar issue is the direction of complexity. Do more complex sequences evolve from less complex sequences or the other way around? If we are not assuming philosophical naturalism, there should be no problem with the hypothesis that previous forms were more complex rather than less, and that evolution is either a “de-evolution” or a working out of previous patterns. Neither of these hypotheses are distinct from methodological naturalism, but they both imply philosophical non-naturalism.

    As a practical example, look at the origin-of-life. There is an assumption that this event can occur through physics and chemistry. Methodological naturalism would not assume this. There is absolutely no evidence that this can occur. In fact, there are numerous reasons why life should be an “assumed” of science rather than it be assumed that life can develop from non-life. Under the assumptions of methodological naturalism, there is no reason to assume that life can come from non-life. Yet many only consider origin-of-life scenarios “scientific” and the idea that life only comes from life is non-scientific. The fact that the latter hypothesis is the only one which has evidence (and thus should be preferred in a methodologically naturalistic scenario) the fact that many textbooks talk about the “origin of life” show that they are participating in philosophical naturalism rather than methodological naturalism.

  23. johnnyb_61820: However, given that, is there a way to determine if a phenomena is studyable by science? If there is not a mechanism to determine whether phenomena X is within the boundaries of science, then how do you know that your inquiry and results are reasonable?

    By whether or not the generalizations are capable of making valid empirical predictions, i.e. whether they ‘converge’ on a solution. This can be stated in terms of confidence levels.

    johnnyb_61820: If methodological naturalism is really distinct from philosophical naturalism, then there should be no problem with a hypothesis that is methodologically naturalistic but has implications against philosophical naturalism.

    Presumably not. But the precepts of philosophical naturalism would have to have empirical consequences — which has not been shown to be the case.

    johnnyb_61820: IC _is_ methodologically naturalistic. It implies philosophical non-naturalism, but there is nothing in IC which requires anything but methodological naturalism to deal with.

    If you define “irreducibly complex” as removal of any part causes the system to collapse, then evolution is more than capable of generating IC. If you define “irreducibly complex” as not being able to be created by step-wise change, then there are no biological functions that have been shown to be unambiguously IC.

    johnnyb_61820: Another similar issue is the direction of complexity. Do more complex sequences evolve from less complex sequences or the other way around?

    Evolution can move towards more complexity or towards less complexity. Parasitism is a typical case of organisms that often become less complex by co-opting functions of the host.

    johnnyb_61820: As a practical example, look at the origin-of-life. There is an assumption that this event can occur through physics and chemistry. Methodological naturalism would not assume this.

    There is strong evidence that abiogenesis was a natural process. All life is based on chemical interactions, primarily carbon and water. These elements were ubiquitous on the primordial Earth. It is known that once upon a time there was no life on Earth. It is also known that once life began modern organisms evolved from one or a few primitive cellular populations over eons of time. And there is evidence that cells find their origin in an evolutionary (though possibly non-Darwinian) process.

    Now, returning to the definition I provided. A scientific generalization can come from any source. Workable scientific hypotheses have historically come from almost any source, including deep-thought or vast experience in a field of study, but also from a hunch, a dream (Kekule), serendipity, an inspiration, from fanciful thought-experiments (Einstein), a lucky guess, or even while playing cards (Mendeleev). However any such scientific hypothesis must be reasonably consistent with known observations and make scientific predictions of future observations. Most hypotheses are naturally derived as extensions of existing theories.

    There is NO valid and complete theory of abiogenesis. No credible scientist claims to have such a theory. Under the definition of methodological naturalism I provided, you can assume abiogenesis was due to chemistry, chance, or Divine Inspiration. But you have to be able to use your hypothesis to make valid empirical predictions. Recently, self-replicating molecules have been discovered, a prediction from standard theories of natural abiogenesis. Most scientists are beginning to suspect that abiogenesis is an almost inevitable consequence of specific primoridal conditions. But even this suspicion must be subjected to validation by empirical testing.

    johnnyb_61820: the fact that many textbooks talk about the “origin of life” show that they are participating in philosophical naturalism rather than methodological naturalism.

    The current science indicates that the origin of life was the result of natural forces on the primordial Earth. Here is a typical and valid example of such a statement.

    Abiogenesis

    (Greek a-bio-genesis, “non biological origins”) is, in its most general sense, the generation of life from non-living matter. Today the term is primarily used to refer to hypotheses about the chemical origin of life, such as from a primordial sea or in the vicinity of hydrothermal vents, and most probably through a number of intermediate steps, such as non-living but self-replicating molecules (biopoiesis). Abiogenesis remains a hypothesis, meaning it is the working assumption for scientists researching how life began. If it were proven false, then another line of thought would be used to modify or replace abiogenesis as a hypothesis. If test results provide sufficient support for acceptance, then that is the point at which it would become a theory.

  24. There is strong evidence that abiogenesis was a natural process.

    What is the strong evidence?

  25. “By whether or not the generalizations are capable of making valid empirical predictions”

    You’re talking about generalizations — I’m talking about phenomena. For example, in the case of origin-of-life, we can’t generalize, because we can’t view the phenomena!

    “If you define “irreducibly complex” as removal of any part causes the system to collapse, then evolution is more than capable of generating IC. If you define “irreducibly complex” as not being able to be created by step-wise change, then there are no biological functions that have been shown to be unambiguously IC.”

    Irrelevant to the conversation. There are numerous theories for which there is not enough evidence to make an unambiguous conclusion. My point is that IC does not violate methodological naturalism. Period. Whether it is true or false, nothing in IC violates methodological naturalism.

    “Evolution can move towards more complexity or towards less complexity. Parasitism is a typical case of organisms that often become less complex by co-opting functions of the host.””

    Again, you’re missing the point. We are dealing with methodological-vs-philosophical naturalism. The point is that proposing mechanisms which require earlier life forms be more complex rather than less does not violate methodological naturalism. It appears you’re trying to change the subject.

    “There is strong evidence that abiogenesis was a natural process.”

    None of your evidences link it to a natural process. If I have a hunk of metal, and then 10 days later come back and its a computer, that does not mean that the metal can become a computer without an electrical engineer.

    “However any such scientific hypothesis must be reasonably consistent with known observations and make scientific predictions of future observations.”

    This is somewhat true, but not entirely. Einstein’s relativity was at odds with several observations when it was described. Likewise heliocentrism (in fact, Galileo was aware of the criticisms — he thought that his clenching argument was the tides — they came from the water sloshing around as it moved! He thought the idea that the tides were based on the moon was idiotic). Heliocentrism when proposed was at odds with more data and predicted less than geocentrism. In fact, one of the main opponents to it were physicists, and at that time physical theory was based on distance from the earth (close to the earth, objects obeyed a certain dynamic, and further away they obeyed a different dynamic). So, not only heliocentrism was against a lot of the data, it actually meant that all of physics to that point was wrong. So, if we were back in Galileo’s day, would you use the same arguments against heliocentrism?

    As for the definition you showed of abiogenesis, if it is only a hypothesis, why are competing hypotheses not entertained regularly in the scientific literature?

    Note, however, that the hypothesis/theory distinction listed in that paragraph is actually false. The difference between a hypothesis and theory is a difference in kind, not in degree. Hypotheses don’t become theories or vice-versa. A hypothesis is the predicted outcome of an experiment. A theory is a model of understanding. A law is a mathematical relationship between observable entities.

    The only category which switches based on evidence is a conjecture, but that is more limited to mathematics.

  26. Zachriel: There is strong evidence that abiogenesis was a natural process.

    Bradford: What is the strong evidence?

    The sentence you quoted is the first of a paragraph that outlines the basic evidence; e.g., biological processes are known to be chemical in nature. However, there is no valid and complete scientific theory of abiogenesis.

  27. Zachriel: “By whether or not the generalizations are capable of making valid empirical predictions”

    johnnyb_61820: You’re talking about generalizations — I’m talking about phenomena. For example, in the case of origin-of-life, we can’t generalize, because we can’t view the phenomena!

    Um, the sentence includes an empirical component. Try to read it again. In addition, it is more than possible to make valid inferences concerning past events. A T.Rex fossil is very strong evidence of once living dinosaurs. As far as abiogenesis, as there is no valid and complete theory of abiogenesis the point if moot.

    johnnyb_61820: There are numerous theories for which there is not enough evidence to make an unambiguous conclusion.

    There is some semantic confusion on the word theory, but there are certainly proposed theories such that there is not enough evidence to make an unambiguous conclusion. In fact, all theories are considered tentative.

    johnnyb_61820: Whether it is true or false, nothing in IC violates methodological naturalism.

    An ambiguous definition does not meet the requirements because it does not make specific predictions. However, with a suitable definition, it might, in which case it is a property that might be derivable from observations.

    johnnyb_61820: We are dealing with methodological-vs-philosophical naturalism. The point is that proposing mechanisms which require earlier life forms be more complex rather than less does not violate methodological naturalism.

    Propose away. Proposals don’t “violate methodological naturalism”, whatever that might mean. As organisms evolve in response to their particular environments, they might evolve to become more complex or less complex.

    Zachriel: “However any such scientific hypothesis must be reasonably consistent with known observations and make scientific predictions of future observations.”

    johnnyb_61820: This is somewhat true, but not entirely.

    Perhaps you missed the word “reasonable”. Try reading my sentence again. No scientific theory is completely consistent with all facts.

    johnnyb_61820: As for the definition you showed of abiogenesis, if it is only a hypothesis, why are competing hypotheses not entertained regularly in the scientific literature?

    Hypotheses are usually “entertained” in the scientific literature if they are fruitful. Did you have such a hypothesis in mind?

    johnnyb_61820: The difference between a hypothesis and theory is a difference in kind, not in degree.

    The confusion is due to the various uses of the words. A theory can be proposed, in which case it is often considered “hypothetical”. Or a hypothesis can be an explicit assumption that is subject to testing.

  28. Johnnyb

    1) There are things that science cannot deal with. This also means that if science attempts to deal with something outside its scope, then it will likely be wrong. However, given that, is there a way to determine if a phenomena is studyable by science? If there is not a mechanism to determine whether phenomena X is within the boundaries of science, then how do you know that your inquiry and results are reasonable?

    Yes, there is a possibility that the phenomena cannot be studied by science, and no there is no way to determine if that is the case. Scientists will continue to think up possible naturalistic explanations if they can, and test those against what is seen. I.e., they will continue to research it, but never find the answer.

    2) If methodological naturalism is really distinct from philosophical naturalism, then there should be no problem with a hypothesis that is methodologically naturalistic but has implications against philosophical naturalism.

    In theory no, but I cannot think of an example where that could be the case.

    An example of #2 is irreducible complexity. IC _is_ methodologically naturalistic. It implies philosophical non-naturalism, but there is nothing in IC which requires anything but methodological naturalism to deal with.

    No, even if we assume the claims of IC are reasonable (what definition do you prefer), then it is still possible that the IC structures were designed by natural, but intelligent agents, eg ETs.

    Another similar issue is the direction of complexity. Do more complex sequences evolve from less complex sequences or the other way around? If we are not assuming philosophical naturalism, there should be no problem with the hypothesis that previous forms were more complex rather than less, and that evolution is either a “de-evolution” or a working out of previous patterns. Neither of these hypotheses are distinct from methodological naturalism, but they both imply philosophical non-naturalism.

    If evidence was found that complexity was decreasing as a general trend against all life, then sure, that would be accepted as science. The implication that this was because life was created by a supernatural being would not. All science could say was that at first life, complexity was highest, and we do not know why.

    As a practical example, look at the origin-of-life. There is an assumption that this event can occur through physics and chemistry.

    Exactly, because that is what science can study. Maybe that is wrong, and it is all a wild goose chase. We do not know. Science studies what science can study.

  29. I’m glad to see a consensus that IC qualifies as methodological naturalism. And indeed it does make specific predictions — namely that there is no stepwise path to certain biological structures (and in fact many in those fields agree that there has been almost no progress in determining step-by-step pathways).

    Likewise, I’m glad that it is acknowledged that ETs qualify as designing agents. However, there is a problem with the assumption that agents qualify within methodological naturalism. This is another worldview issue. In neuropsychology there are more and more papers being published challenging this idea (in fact, in neuroscience ID actually is publishing and doing well — see the many papers by Stapp and Schwartz [and probably others]). Stapp’s proposal is called “Quantum Interactive Dualism”, and, if correct, would mean that a “natural” intelligent designer (like you or me) actually would not qualify under methodological or philosophical naturalism.

  30. johnnyb_61820: I’m glad to see a consensus that IC qualifies as methodological naturalism. And indeed it does make specific predictions — namely that there is no stepwise path to certain biological structures (and in fact many in those fields agree that there has been almost no progress in determining step-by-step pathways).

    You are confusing the definition with a prediction. You are *defining* Irreducibly Complex as no available stepwise path. The question as to whether these systems exist is an empirical question that can only be determined by an examination of the data. No such irreducibly complex system has been unambiguously identified. The only thing that has been identified are areas of scientific ignorance or uncertainty, typically at the edge of current scientific understanding.

    johnnyb_61820: However, there is a problem with the assumption that agents qualify within methodological naturalism.

    There is nothing which precludes the scientific study of humans or of the objects that they manufacture. Archaeology is a case in point. Even if people have supernatural minds, they apparently interact with the natural world with natural mechanisms.

    The Pixie: Yes, there is a possibility that the phenomena cannot be studied by science, and no there is no way to determine if that is the case. Scientists will continue to think up possible naturalistic explanations if they can, and test those against what is seen.

    Well, that’s an interesting question. We can know when the scientific method leads to valid generalizations, but what of the contrary? What of the situation where it is difficult even after considerable effort to form consistent predictions. Consider the weak determinations of much of sociology. Certainly there have been many wrong turns in that field, and many theories have been proposed and accepted on rather tenuous evidence (often just on the strength of an analogy). But we wouldn’t say we have no scientific understanding of social forces whatsoever. And if we are careful there should be at least some valid scientific statements within sociology.

    For instance, I have often argued that aesthetics has thus far been studied by philosophical reflection with far greater effectiveness than the scientific method, but that isn’t to say that science can’t study aesthetics or even one day devise a fully explanatory scientific theory of aesthetics.

    johnnyb_61820: Stapp’s proposal is called “Quantum Interactive Dualism” , and, if correct, would mean that a “natural” intelligent designer (like you or me) actually would not qualify under methodological or philosophical naturalism.

    The science of cognition is still somewhat primitive. The ideas concerning quantum theory and mind are largely without scientific merit at this point, and most such ideas seem stuck in metaphysics (philosophy). More importantly, there are many indications that the mind is a natural function of the brain. Again, there is nothing wrong with making proposals or throwing out ideas, but to be considered an accepted scientific theory, it has to make verifiable empirical predictions.

    Notice that once again, you have to point to a Gap. Even assuming human consciousness was put there by Divine Intervention, the scientific evidence for Common Descent would remain overwhelming.

  31. On this tangent, a prediction of Common Descent would be that closely related organisms would have related cognitive characteristics. And this is what we observe, e.g. complex tribal social interactions, problem-solving, compassion and deception, etc.

  32. “The question as to whether these systems exist is an empirical question that can only be determined by an examination of the data.”

    True.

    “No such irreducibly complex system has been unambiguously identified. The only thing that has been identified are areas of scientific ignorance or uncertainty, typically at the edge of current scientific understanding.”

    This is the cop-out card that we object to. For _any_ hypothesis or theory, you can _always_ say that the reason we don’t know the answer is because of ignorance or uncertainty. The same could be said for why we don’t know how to transform lead into gold. The problem is that the ongoing assumption is that if the theory doesn’t match current data, then the _only_ explanation must be our ignorance. That’s alright as a hypothesis for some, but to make that mandatory is simple dogmatism. You could take that statement to _any_ theory or hypothesis and make the same case for counter-evidence of any type. This is a cop-out, pure and simple. Behe identified the problem clearly — because every gene in the IC core is mandatory, it cannot have arisen in a step-at-a-time fashion — because we’ve tested the precursor steps and they all fail! You can always appeal to the fact that something we don’t know may be able to save the current theory somehow — that’s always true. But the fact is that the empirical evidence at the moment is on Behe’s side.

    In any case, I’m glad we are all on the same page that one of the main ideas of ID does qualify as methodological naturalism, whether it turns out to be true or false.

    “There is nothing which precludes the scientific study of humans or of the objects that they manufacture. Archaeology is a case in point. Even if people have supernatural minds, they apparently interact with the natural world with natural mechanisms.”

    Then you have completely misunderstood ID if you think that ID is about anything else. In terms of agency the question isn’t the mechanism of creation is natural — the question is whether the final arrangement could exist apart from the non-natural. There is no conflict in ID with the idea that the original organism(s) had to form using physical processes. The question is if those physical processes _alone_ are capable of producing it. You are confusing necessary and sufficient conditions.

    “The ideas concerning quantum theory and mind are largely without scientific merit at this point, and most such ideas seem stuck in metaphysics (philosophy).”

    Of course, if you define science as only dealing with naturalism.

    “More importantly, there are many indications that the mind is a natural function of the brain.”

    I think you are confusing “natural function of the brain” with “the brain functions naturally with it”. Corrolaries of consciousness and consciousness are not even nearly the same thing, as Plantinga has pointed out repeatedly.

    “Again, there is nothing wrong with making proposals or throwing out ideas, but to be considered an accepted scientific theory, it has to make verifiable empirical predictions.”

    Actually, Schwartz has. He has demonstrated that will can affect brain function as much as brain function affects behavior. He has used this to treat OCD patients.

    “Notice that once again, you have to point to a Gap.”

    That is the dumbest argument I’ve heard. Of course there’s a gap. That’s what an insufficient cause is. Do you think lead is an insufficient cause for forming gold? If so, is that not a gap?

    “the scientific evidence for Common Descent would remain overwhelming.”

    ID does not criticize common descent. In fact, in my own studies, I have found that ID in fact makes the question of common descent indeterminable either way.

  33. Johnny B

    I’m glad to see a consensus that IC qualifies as methodological naturalism.

    You miss understood me then. I said “even if we assume the claims of IC are reasonable”, which is a little different to saying we would be right to assume that they are.

    And indeed it does make specific predictions — namely that there is no stepwise path to certain biological structures (and in fact many in those fields agree that there has been almost no progress in determining step-by-step pathways).

    Negative predictions are not terribly convincing though, because they appeal to our ignorance. There are plenty of non-IC systems that we do not know the stepwise path for.

    Likewise, I’m glad that it is acknowledged that ETs qualify as designing agents. However, there is a problem with the assumption that agents qualify within methodological naturalism.

    You said of IC “It implies philosophical non-naturalism”. I disagree, because ETs fall inside philosophical naturalism, not methodological naturalism.

    In neuropsychology there are more and more papers being published challenging this idea (in fact, in neuroscience ID actually is publishing and doing well — see the many papers by Stapp and Schwartz [and probably others]). Stapp’s proposal is called “Quantum Interactive Dualism” , and, if correct, would mean that a “natural” intelligent designer (like you or me) actually would not qualify under methodological or philosophical naturalism.

    That sounds very interesting. I had a quick look on the internet, and found this statement by the Society for Neuroscience: “Recognizing that the principles of evolution are fundamental to understanding and studying the origins and diversity of living things, the Society for Neuroscience opposes the assertion that teaching intelligent design theory is a valid scientific alternative to teaching evolution in science classrooms.

    Stapp’s hypothesis can be found here (not sure why you did not link to it yourself). I had a quick look though; what makes you believe that if he is right then a “natural” intelligent designer (like you or me) actually would not qualify under methodological or philosophical naturalism? Do you think he is offering evidence for the soul, maybe? Some comments on Stapp’s hypothesis can be found here.

  34. Zachriel

    Well, that’s an interesting question. We can know when the scientific method leads to valid generalizations, but what of the contrary? What of the situation where it is difficult even after considerable effort to form consistent predictions. Consider the weak determinations of much of sociology. Certainly there have been many wrong turns in that field, and many theories have been proposed and accepted on rather tenuous evidence (often just on the strength of an analogy). But we wouldn’t say we have no scientific understanding of social forces whatsoever. And if we are careful there should be at least some valid scientific statements within sociology.

    These things are not black and white. I imagine sociologists know that any theory will have exceptions, just because of the nature of the subject. I would guess sociology theories are rather more tentative than theories in chemistry. Science does what it can, and should always give an indication of how likely a hypothesis is. Papers will say “it is possible that” or similar to indicate a very tentative hypothesis. It is not just a question of what we know, but of our confidence in what we know.

  35. “even if we assume the claims of IC are reasonable”

    Whether or not the claims of IC are reasonable has nothing to do with whether or not it qualifies as methodological naturalism. If it does not qualify as methodological naturalism, please give an argument for that position.

    “Negative predictions are not terribly convincing though, because they appeal to our ignorance. There are plenty of non-IC systems that we do not know the stepwise path for.”

    This is true, but in the case of the flagellum we have knock-out studies that demonstrate the lack of immediate precursors. Now, the flagellum _could_ have evolved by taking multiple-steps-at-a-time, which is precisely Behe’s point.

    “I disagree, because ETs fall inside philosophical naturalism, not methodological naturalism.”

    Only by assuming that consciousness is material, for which there is little evidence.

    “found this statement by the Society for Neuroscience”

    Science isn’t done by consensus, nor is it done by edicts from societies. That’s called _politics_. I’m glad you are pointing out that it is the materialists who are persuing science through politics. In addition, most scientists know little about Intelligent Design, and probably don’t realize that what Stapp and Schwartz are doing is part of it, because, despite what the society of neuroscience states, there are many reputable journals publishing Stapp and Schwartz’s work.

    “what makes you believe that if he is right then a “natural” intelligent designer (like you or me) actually would not qualify under methodological or philosophical naturalism?”

    From the abstract —

    These probing actions are called Process 1 interventions by von Neumann. They are psycho-physical events. Neither the content nor the timing of these events is determined either by any known law, or by the afore-mentioned random elements.

    Hmmm… neither law nor random elements – psycho-physical events. Sounds like _agency_ to me. If you include this in philosophical naturalism, then you should also include ID as philosophically naturalistic, because this is precisely the sort of phenomena that ID is discussing — agents whose causal properties are distinct from law and randomness. QID describes the operation of psycho-physical events, and ID describes methods of detecting the effects of such events.

  36. johnnyb_61820: For _any_ hypothesis or theory, you can _always_ say that the reason we don’t know the answer is because of ignorance or uncertainty. The same could be said for why we don’t know how to transform lead into gold.

    Good example. The contrary position to “we don’t know how to transform lead into gold” is not Intellient Design. That “gold is eternal in the mind of God” is not a scientific assertion.

    johnnyb_61820: The problem is that the ongoing assumption is that if the theory doesn’t match current data, then the _only_ explanation must be our ignorance.

    If the theory doesn’t match the data, then it’s not much of a theory. Ignorance is not a hypothesis. If scientists don’t now how life began, then it is merely an expression of their lack of knowledge. And the contrary position is still not Intelligent Design.

    johnnyb_61820: Behe identified the problem clearly — because every gene in the IC core is mandatory, it cannot have arisen in a step-at-a-time fashion — because we’ve tested the precursor steps and they all fail!

    Your previous arguments are specious. This is the only valid argument you can make. But it’s false. That would take us off-topic, though. The question concerns the philosophy of science. To be accepted as science, assertions have to be validated by the scientific method; hypothesis, prediction, observation, validation, repeat.

    johnnyb_61820: You can always appeal to the fact that something we don’t know may be able to save the current theory somehow — that’s always true. But the fact is that the empirical evidence at the moment is on Behe’s side.

    This is incorrect. To make his argument Behe has to find one and only one biological system that he can prove could not have arisen through evolutionary processes. He has failed to do so. Behe can’t merely point to gaps in knowledge. Ignorance of how the flagellum evolved does not suffice (and several plausible intermediaries have been identified).

    johnnyb_61820: The question is if those physical processes _alone_ are capable of producing it. You are confusing necessary and sufficient conditions.

    I am quite aware of the argument. It tends to consist of “it’s so very complicated. I can’t imagine how it evolved”.

    johnnyb_61820: Of course, if you define science as only dealing with naturalism.

    I provided a definition of science based in methodological naturalism. If you want to call an elephant a doorknob with no apparent sense of irony, but with ample confusion, well, then it is sufficient that I point that out.

    johnnyb_61820: I think you are confusing “natural function of the brain” with “the brain functions naturally with it” .

    I’m not confused on that point at all. If you would read what I write rather than what you think I wrote, you would know that I am more than open to arguments about a supernatural component to consciousness. However, there is no significant scientific support for such an assertion. There is only a significant Gap in scientific knowledge. If you want to fill it with “soul” or Supernatural Monkey , have at it.

    Why you would want to hide your god in the ever-shrinking gaps in human knowledge, I wouldn’t know.

    johnnyb_61820: Of course there’s a gap. That’s what an insufficient cause is.

    A Gap refers to a lack of scientific knowledge. The argument takes this form.

    If we don’t know what causes the intricate movement of planets, it must be angels an Intelligent Designer. If we don’t know what causes disease, it must be demons an Intelligent Designer. If we don’t know what causes lightning, it must be an angry sky-god Intelligent Designer. And if we unreasonably reject the central tenets of the modern biological sciences, then it must be God-of-the-Gaps an unknown and unknowable (and we certainly can’t say his name even if we know who it is {wink, wink} ) Intelligent Designer.

    So, the less we know, the more reliably we will reach the conclusion of an Intelligent Designer.

    johnnyb_61820: ID does not criticize common descent. In fact, in my own studies, I have found that ID in fact makes the question of common descent indeterminable either way.

    Talk about a cop-out. In any case, you have failed to convince the vast majority of biologists, geneticists, paleontologists and even geologists, who point to a wide variety of evidence in support of Common Descent, and who strongly disagree with your assessment of the evidence.

  37. The Pixie: These things are not black and white.

    Agreed. Modern sociology tends to be very careful in its pronouncements — as they should be. It was presented as an example where science tends to be very tentative. But just because scientists don’t know everything doesn’t mean they don’t know some things.

    The Pixie: Society for Neuroscience: “Recognizing that the principles of evolution are fundamental to understanding and studying the origins and diversity of living things…

    Thanks. Excellent post.

  38. johnnyb_61820: but in the case of the flagellum we have knock-out studies that demonstrate the lack of immediate precursors.

    Um, there is no such demonstration that immediate precursors could never have existed. In fact, the components of the flagellum are part of a family of related molecules that have other functions in the cell.

    Behe’s problem is that his argument requires knowing everything about the system in question, and then purposefully chooses examples where not everything is known.

    johnnyb_61820: Only by assuming that consciousness is material, for which there is little evidence.

    That’s not true, though there is a sufficient Gap to entertain all sorts of possibilities.

    johnnyb_61820: Science isn’t done by consensus, nor is it done by edicts from societies.

    Hold it now. You cited “more and more papers being published”. YOU brought up the authority of specialists in the field. But your assertions are contrary to the consensus of those specialists.

    johnnyb_61820: “Neither the content nor the timing of these events is determined either by any known law, or by the afore-mentioned random elements.” Hmmm” neither law nor random elements – psycho-physical events. Sounds like _agency_ to me.

    Notice the phrase “any known law” (which you left out of your restatement). In the 19th century, physics indicated that — under known laws — the Sun could only radiate for a few million years since its creation, but biologists and geologists were convinced the Earth and the life on it were far older. So the conclusion you would insist upon was the intervention of God Supernatural Agency. But it turns out the problem was in the phrase “known laws”. It turns out that the Sun’s energy comes from a heretofore unknown force, atomic energy. (Amazing how biologists could show with strongly supported empirical evidence that the physicists were wrong about the most fundamental laws of nature.)

    The contrary position to “I don’t know” is not Intelligent Design. If Stapp were to show that consciousness is not due to known laws (he has not), it doesn’t mean it can’t be some unknown law.

  39. Johnny B

    Whether or not the claims of IC are reasonable has nothing to do with whether or not it qualifies as methodological naturalism. If it does not qualify as methodological naturalism, please give an argument for that position.

    Sorry, yes, I will withdraw that comment.

    “Negative predictions are not terribly convincing though, because they appeal to our ignorance. There are plenty of non-IC systems that we do not know the stepwise path for.”
    This is true, but in the case of the flagellum we have knock-out studies that demonstrate the lack of immediate precursors. Now, the flagellum _could_ have evolved by taking multiple-steps-at-a-time, which is precisely Behe’s point.

    Or it could have evolved from something more complicated, or it could be that individual components have themselves evolved so as to depend on each other. The knock-out study only precludes very specific pathways. And this is the fundamental problem with a negative argument; you need to be absolutely sure you have eliminated all the alternatives.

    “I disagree, because ETs fall inside philosophical naturalism, not methodological naturalism.”
    Only by assuming that consciousness is material, for which there is little evidence.

    No, by assuming that consciousness could be material, noting that there is little evidence that it is not. Check back at the original claim, if in doubt.

    “found this statement by the Society for Neuroscience”
    Science isn’t done by consensus, nor is it done by edicts from societies.

    And debates are not won by making unsupported assertions. You made the claim that ID is doing great in neuroscience, but gave no evidence to support that. I found a professional society making a statement to the contrary. If you want to claim ID successes in neuroscience, go find the evidence.

    In addition, most scientists know little about Intelligent Design, and probably don’t realize that what Stapp and Schwartz are doing is part of it, because, despite what the society of neuroscience states, there are many reputable journals publishing Stapp and Schwartz’s work.

    Do Stapp and Schwartz believe their work supports ID? At this point, I am doubtful.

    “what makes you believe that if he is right then a “natural” intelligent designer (like you or me) actually would not qualify under methodological or philosophical naturalism?”
    From the abstract —
    These probing actions are called Process 1 interventions by von Neumann. They are psycho-physical events. Neither the content nor the timing of these events is determined either by any known law, or by the afore-mentioned random elements.
    Hmmm” neither law nor random elements – psycho-physical events.

    It is to be hoped that this was just a misreading on your part. There is, I hope you realise, a big difference between claiming no known law and no law at all.

    Sounds like _agency_ to me.

    Sure, some kind of natural intellugent designer, like you or me. So what? I do not get the jump from there to putting the agency into the supernatural.

    If you include this in philosophical naturalism, then you should also include ID as philosophically naturalistic, because this is precisely the sort of phenomena that ID is discussing — agents whose causal properties are distinct from law and randomness. QID describes the operation of psycho-physical events, and ID describes methods of detecting the effects of such events.

    I exclude creationism not because of the phenomena that creationism is discussing, but because of the explanation that creationism provides. Why is ID different? Principally because it does not give an explanation at all!

    ID includes the possibility that life was seeded and front-loaded by an ETI, which is consistence with philosophical naturalism.

  40. Behe’s problem is that his argument requires knowing everything about the system in question, and then purposefully chooses examples where not everything is known.

    Why is incomplete knowledge more of a problem for Behe than it is for his critics? Many unknowns encompasses cellular and molecular biology. BTW, the unknown basis for Behe’s argument is a creation of his critics. The synthesis of chlorophyll is an IC process involving 17 enzymes. Several intermediates are toxic to cells and the remedy is the evolution of next enzyme in the pathway. These are citations of positive data, not ignorance. Theoretical problems are evident and not overcome by imagined solutions substituting for experimental data.

  41. Bradford: Why is incomplete knowledge more of a problem for Behe than it is for his critics?

    Because that is the argument as stated by johnnyb_61820, “And indeed it does make specific predictions — namely that there is no stepwise path to certain biological structures“. To substantiate that claim requires knowing and eliminating every possible stepwise path for the specified biological structure. This might even require knowledge of molecules that no longer exist.

    Bradford: Many unknowns encompasses cellular and molecular biology.

    Sure there are, but johnnyb_61820’s claim is a prime example as to why negative arguments rarely succeed. We cannot often sufficiently search the entire space to eliminate all possibilities. Most hypotheses work with predictions of discrete phenomena. So we might predict that the components of flagella are members of families of related molecules, and this is what we observe.

    Bradford: BTW, the unknown basis for Behe’s argument is a creation of his critics.

    I quoted johnnyb_61820’s definition. There is more than one definition of Irreducible Complexity and many arguments are specious because of the conflations of these different definitions. Here is Behe’s definition:

    By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.

    The problem with this definition is that systems can be composed of components coopted from *other* functions, or by the refinement of a more complex system that becomes irreducible during optimization (as in a scaffolding). So, while this is something that can be tested, it doesn’t lead to the conclusions Behe claims.

  42. “The problem with this definition is that systems can be composed of components coopted from *other* functions, or by the refinement of a more complex system that becomes irreducible during optimization (as in a scaffolding).”

    I think I should point out that in scaffolding the original is _more_ complex than the result. So, rather than making your problem smaller, you’ve made it larger. No one in ID disagrees with the idea that less complex systems can evolve from more complex ones. What is at issue is the reverse.

    “We cannot often sufficiently search the entire space to eliminate all possibilities. Most hypotheses work with predictions of discrete phenomena.”

    Actually IC does do this. It hypothesizes that when complex systems come into being they do so all-at-once, at least for the core complex features. This is readily observable in the present day in lateral transfer of genetic information. We do not see evidence of complex features arising through small-step changes. In fact, I should point to Avida as an example of the failure of this. Avida should have shown how evolution can happen, but instead at the end we get Lenski wondering how the heck can a creature balance robustness and evolvability, and indicates that he has neither a theoretical nor empirical model. The solution is stunningly simple — robustness happens because organisms evolve traits all-at-once rather than at a step at a time. However, evolutionists don’t like to go there because it brings in too much teleology. They assume that lateral genetic transfer of genetic information, phase-variable genes, planned mutations, and the other examples of all-at-once evolution are not representative of evolution over the history of life, because that would imply that the information was there to begin with.

  43. johnnyb_61820: I think I should point out that in scaffolding the original is _more_ complex than the result.

    That is sometimes the case.

    johnnyb_61820: So, rather than making your problem smaller, you’ve made it larger.

    Not at all. The claim was that irreducible structures cannot evolve by step-wise evolution. It was offered as “proof”. This claim is false. (Extending the analogy, a complex jumble of rocks can become an arch through erosion.)

    johnnyb_61820: It hypothesizes that when complex systems come into being they do so all-at-once, at least for the core complex features.

    Ok.

    johnnyb_61820: This is readily observable in the present day in lateral transfer of genetic information.

    Sorry, that is not a complex system that comes into being “all-at-once”. That’s an already existing trait that is transferred between organisms. In fact, the most commonly cited example of such a transferred trait is antibiotic resistance in bacteria which can be directly observed to arise by random mutation in a clonal population.

    johnnyb_61820: We do not see evidence of complex features arising through small-step changes.

    This is incorrect. Though most evolutionary changes are posited to occur over geological time-scales, there is quite a lot of evidence to indicate that complex features arise through step-wise changes. This includes the evolution of enzymes to digest artificial polymers in bacteria to broad changes in morphology in multicellular organisms.

    In other words, we directly observe the sorts of evolutionary adaptations that would be expected from the record of common descent. We do not see complex systems being manipulated by an ineffable Intelligent Designer.

    johnnyb_61820: They assume that lateral genetic transfer of genetic information, phase-variable genes, planned mutations, and the other examples of all-at-once evolution are not representative of evolution over the history of life, because that would imply that the information was there to begin with.

    I’m not sure where you learn your science, but all those *natural* processes (other than “planned mutations” which refers to human gene manipulation) were discovered by modern geneticists who posit that those very mechanisms may be very important in the historical evolution of life.

  44. “In fact, the most commonly cited example of such a transferred trait is antibiotic resistance in bacteria which can be directly observed to arise by random mutation in a clonal population.”

    It depends on what you mean by “random”. The traditional tests of randomness do not test whether or not there is a direction behind them. See my essays here and here.

    “This includes the evolution of enzymes to digest artificial polymers in bacteria to broad changes in morphology in multicellular organisms.”

    If you are referring to flavobacterium/pseudomonas, then you are incorrect. In fact, there is a lot of evidence that the development of these genes are part of a mechanism to produce this sort of enzyme. Obviously, there is variability in the process (the organisms aren’t omniscient), but there are many indications that this was a somewhat planned process, whose basic function arose quickly, not a step-at-a-time. While some have used Ohno’s paper as a reason to doubt teleology, Yomo et al have given arguments why this should be considered more teleologically.

    In addition, both Flavobacterium and Pseudomonas evolved the same basic enzyme to digest nylon, indicating (to me, at least) that there is a mechanism at work, especially for such a large number of changes. The researcher had assumed that it was due to some sort of lateral genetic transfer. However, that was assumed, not demonstrated.

    “In other words, we directly observe the sorts of evolutionary adaptations that would be expected from the record of common descent.”

    As I’ve stated before, there is nothing in ID which argues directly against common descent.

    “We do not see complex systems being manipulated by an ineffable Intelligent Designer.”

    Many ID proponents do not think that there was a constant tinkering process, but instead that organisms were front-loaded for evolution.

    “all those *natural* processes were discovered by modern geneticists who posit that those very mechanisms may be very important in the historical evolution of life

    Important, yes. But none of these mechanisms produce new complex information. The only things we know of which does produce new complex information are agents.

    “(other than “planned mutations” which refers to human gene manipulation)”

    Actually, I was referring to stuff like this.

  45. johnnyb_61820: It depends on what you mean by “random” .

    In science, it usually means non-correlation. As you mention in your essay, “what Luria-Delbruck does say is that these mutations are produced independently of selection“. However, your stated mechanism “a set of variants which have different metabolic parameters than the parent population” is merely a restatement of evolution. And of course, these mutants will usually have a much higher proportion of plausible sequences as they were derived from and often duplicated from existing sequences that have already been filtered by selection.

    johnnyb_61820: While some have used Ohno’s paper as a reason to doubt teleology, Yomo et al have given arguments why this should be considered more teleologically.

    Well, let’s look at Yomo’s paper.

    Though the homology between P-nylB
    and F-nylB (or F-nylB’) is not high, it was confirmed to be
    significant by the method of Pearson and Lipman,
    indicating that these nyiB genes are evolutionarily related.
    This strongly suggests that the nyiB gene family has diverged
    from a common ancestral gene.

    Therefore, the presence of such rare NSFs on all
    three antisense strands of the nyiB gene family suggests that
    there is some special mechanism for protecting these NSFs from
    mutations that generate the stop codons. Such a mechanism
    may enable NSFs to evolve into new functional genes and hence
    seems to be a basic mechanism for the birth of new enzymes.

    So, Yomo et. al. have surmised that there appears to be a mechanism that protects duplicate genes from stop codons enabling them to “evolve into new funcational genes”. I can find no mention in his paper of teleology. A review of his other work indicates that he is working from within the evolutionary paradigm.

    johnnyb_61820: As I’ve stated before, there is nothing in ID which argues directly against common descent.

    There is little reason to consider the mechanisms of evolutionary divergence if you don’t accept evolutionary divergence. It’s ALL about heredity.

    Genetics: a branch of biology that deals with the heredity and variation of organisms.

    The journal Genetics, a periodical record of investigations bearing on heredity and variation, 47000+ articles on “evolution

  46. johnnyb_61820: Important, yes. But none of these mechanisms produce new complex information. The only things we know of which does produce new complex information are agents.

    You are assuming your conclusion and probably not using a clear definition of “information” or even “agent”. By any reasonable definition, evolutionary algorithms are known to produce complex information.

    Word Mutation and Evolution Experiment
    And it takes less than “zillions of years”!
    http://www.zachriel.com/mutagenation/

  47. ZAchriel:
    By any reasonable definition, evolutionary algorithms are known to produce complex information.

    And all known evolutionary algorithms have been written by intelligent agents.

    Gene dupication can only be used if and only if it is first demonstrated that living organisms arose from non-living matter via stochastic, ie blind watchmaker type, processes. Without that the ONLY mutations that a Darwinist can call on are point mutations- just as the PBS series “Evolution” discusses.

  48. ZAchriel:
    In any case, you have failed to convince the vast majority of biologists, geneticists, paleontologists and even geologists, who point to a wide variety of evidence in support of Common Descent, and who strongly disagree with your assessment of the evidence.

    Talk about a cop-out. That alleged “vast majority” canNOT scientifically substantiate the claim of Common Descent. ALL evidence for Common Descent relies heavily on the assumption of Common Descent. And there isn’t any way to objectively test the premise.

    Heck we can’t even objectively test the premise that the bacterial flagellum evolved via culled genetic accidents from a population of flagella-less bacteria. Can’t be tested and can’t be falsified.

    Zachriel:
    The claim was that irreducible structures cannot evolve by step-wise evolution.

    In reality the claim is that culled genetic accidents cannot lead to IC. IC can evolve in a step-wise fashion if it was designed to do so.

  49. JoeG: And all known evolutionary algorithms have been written by intelligent agents.

    Assuming the conclusion.

    JoeG: Gene dupication can only be used if and only if it is first demonstrated that living organisms arose from non-living matter via stochastic, ie blind watchmaker type, processes. Without that the ONLY mutations that a Darwinist can call on are point mutations- just as the PBS series “Evolution” discusses.

    Your statement has no merit. Gene duplication and divergence can be directly observed.

    JoeG: That alleged “vast majority” canNOT scientifically substantiate the claim of Common Descent.

    A specific pattern — an ordered set such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset — is observed in everything from biological morphology to biochemistry to the succession of fossils; and specific empirical predictions can be derived and verified from these observations. The Theory of Common Descent is strongly supported by these observations. There is a separate thread on that.

    JoeG: In reality the claim is that culled genetic accidents cannot lead to IC.

    Evolutionary algorithms are “culled genetic accidents” that can lead to IC. Your statement is falsified by easily verified fact.

  50. JoeG: And all known evolutionary algorithms have been written by intelligent agents.

    Zachriel:
    Assuming the conclusion.

    I can demonstrate intelligent agenciesd designing evolutionary algorithms. Can you demonstrate an evolutionary algorithm arising via sheer dumb luck?

    JoeG: Gene dupication can only be used if and only if it is first demonstrated that living organisms arose from non-living matter via stochastic, ie blind watchmaker type, processes. Without that the ONLY mutations that a Darwinist can call on are point mutations- just as the PBS series “Evolution” discusses.

    Zachriel:
    Your statement has no merit.

    There isn’t anything you say which has any merit. Also what I said just happens to be indicative of reality.

    Zachriel:
    Gene duplication and divergence can be directly observed.

    True, but that does NOT mean that either are the sole dominion of a blind watchmaker. IOW as far as we know gene duplications and divergence exist because they were designed to exist.

    JoeG: That alleged “vast majority” canNOT scientifically substantiate the claim of Common Descent.

    Zachriel:
    A specific pattern — an ordered set such that each subset is strictly contained within its superset — is observed in everything from biological morphology to biochemistry to the succession of fossils; and specific empirical predictions can be derived and verified from these observations.

    As I have already told you and substantiated- Common Descent does NOT predict a specific pattern. Any observed pattern can be accomodated into the theory.

    And there isn’t ANY genetic or biological data that can account for the observed physiological and anatomical differences we observe. What we do observe directly contradicts the Common Descent scenario.

    Fossil succesion is an illusion. The vast majority of fossils do NOT support the premise of Common Descent.

    JoeG: In reality the claim is that culled genetic accidents cannot lead to IC.

    Zachriel:
    Evolutionary algorithms are “culled genetic accidents” that can lead to IC.

    Umm all evolutionary algorithms exist outside of biology and therefore cannot consist of “culled genetic accidents”. And if you want to say that “culled genetic accidents” have sole dominion over living organisms then you have to show that living organisms can arise from non-living matter via stochastic, ie blind watchmaker type, processes.

  51. JoeG: And all known evolutionary algorithms have been written by intelligent agents.

    Zachriel: Assuming the conclusion.

    JoeG: I can demonstrate intelligent agenciesd designing evolutionary algorithms. Can you demonstrate an evolutionary algorithm arising via sheer dumb luck?

    Try rereading your statement above. You have assumed your conclusion. (What you may have meant was that for all evolutionary algorithms such that the origin is known with certainty, they were all designed by intelligent agents. As the origin of life is currently unknown, this would not presuppose the conclusion. However, it would constitute a different fallacy, argument from ignorance. The more ignorant you are, the more justified your conclusion of design appears. Planets are clockwork in their motions. All clockworks that the origin is known are intelligently designed. Hence, planetary orbits are designed — presumably angels pushing planets on celestial spheres, one epoch at a time!)

    Zachriel: Gene duplication and divergence can be directly observed.

    JoeG: True, but that does NOT mean that either are the sole dominion of a blind watchmaker. IOW as far as we know gene duplications and divergence exist because they were designed to exist.

    That wasn’t what you had argued. On this new point, though not everything is known in the rapidly advancing field of genomics, everything points to natural processes for gene duplication.

    JoeG: As I have already told you and substantiated- Common Descent does NOT predict a specific pattern. Any observed pattern can be accomodated into the theory.

    Your consistent misunderstanding of the nature of this pattern would explain why you also misunderstand why the vast majority of biologists disgree with your conclusions. There is a separate thread for that issue.

    JoeG: Fossil succesion is an illusion.

    Fossil succession is easily confirmable, even by amateur fossil collectors. But you DO have to actually LOOK.

    JoeG: Umm all evolutionary algorithms exist outside of biology and therefore cannot consist of “culled genetic accidents” .

    You are again assuming your conclusion. But if you mean evolutionary algorithms outside of biology do not consist of “culled genetic accidents”, then you are incorrect. That’s the very definition of an evolutionary algorithm.

    JoeG: And if you want to say that “culled genetic accidents” have sole dominion over living organisms then you have to show that living organisms can arise from non-living matter via stochastic, ie blind watchmaker type, processes.

    That is a misunderstanding of the scientific method. It is not necessary to have a valid theory of the origin of life to determine the validity of the Theory of Evolution which concerns how life changes over time. Any more than it takes a valid theory of the origin of life to propose a valid Germ Theory, or know the origin of matter to propose a valid Atomic Theory. All scientific theories are limited in their domain of applicability.

    Whether life was a nature consequence of carbon and water, seeded by aliens, a lucky accident, or due to Divine Intervention, once it began, it evolved and diversified.

  52. True, but that does NOT mean that either are the sole dominion of a blind watchmaker. IOW as far as we know gene duplications and divergence exist because they were designed to exist.

    Zachriel:
    That wasn’t what you had argued.

    THAT has ALWAYS been what I have argued. Always and without exception.

    Zachriel:
    On this new point, though not everything is known in the rapidly advancing field of genomics, everything points to natural processes for gene duplication.

    Both design and intelligence are natural.

    JoeG: As I have already told you and substantiated- Common Descent does NOT predict a specific pattern. Any observed pattern can be accomodated into the theory.

    Zachriel:
    Your consistent misunderstanding of the nature of this pattern would explain why you also misunderstand why the vast majority of biologists disgree with your conclusions.

    Any misunderstanding is all yours. Also there isn’t ONE of that alleged majority that can substantiate the claim of Common Descent by accounting for the physiological and anatomical DIFFERENCES observed.

    JoeG: Fossil succesion is an illusion.

    Zachriel:
    Fossil succession is easily confirmable, even by amateur fossil collectors.

    More bald assertions. I take it that is all you have.

    Zachriel:
    But if you mean evolutionary algorithms outside of biology do not consist of “culled genetic accidents” , then you are incorrect. That’s the very definition of an evolutionary algorithm.

    Umm in order for it to be classified as a GENETIC accident it HAS to occur in a living organism.

    JoeG: And if you want to say that “culled genetic accidents” have sole dominion over living organisms then you have to show that living organisms can arise from non-living matter via stochastic, ie blind watchmaker type, processes.

    Zachriel:
    That is a misunderstanding of the scientific method.

    Again any misunderstanding is all yours.

    There is no such thing as “THE Scientific Method.” :

    If you go to science fairs or read scientific journals, you may get the impression that science is nothing more than “question-hypothesis-procedure-data-conclusions.”
    But this is seldom the way scientists actually do their work. Most scientific thinking, whether done while jogging, in the shower, in a lab, or while excavating a fossil, involves continuous observations, questions, multiple hypotheses, and more observations. It seldom “concludes” and never “proves.”

    Zachriel:
    It is not necessary to have a valid theory of the origin of life to determine the validity of the Theory of Evolution which concerns how life changes over time.

    As I have already explained to you MANY TIMES if living organisms did NOT arise from non-living matter via stochastic, ie blind watchmaker type, processes, then there would be NO reason to infer they have sole dominion over the evolutionary process. Logic 101

    Zachriel:
    Whether life was a nature consequence of carbon and water, seeded by aliens, a lucky accident, or due to Divine Intervention, once it began, it evolved and diversified.

    True, but what’s your point? How it originated DIRECTLY impacts any subsequent evolution. That is a fact.

    Zachriel:
    All scientific theories are limited in their domain of applicability.

    Except when ID states that the designer and the specific prosess(es) are separate- IOW that ID is limited to the detection and understanding of the design.

  53. JoeG: THAT has ALWAYS been what I have argued. Always and without exception.

    Let’s look again at your two statements.

    JoeG: Gene dupication can only be used if and only if it is first demonstrated that living organisms arose from non-living matter via stochastic, ie blind watchmaker type, processes. Without that the ONLY mutations that a Darwinist can call on are point mutations- just as the PBS series “Evolution” discusses.

    For some reason, you reject evolutionary change due to gene duplication unless they also provide a theory of abiogenesis, even though evolution through gene duplication and divergence is directly observed.

    JoeG: … that does NOT mean that either are the sole dominion of a blind watchmaker. IOW as far as we know gene duplications and divergence exist because they were designed to exist.

    Here you avoid your original claim. Now, you are simply claiming that gene duplication could be due to design or non-design. These are different claims. That you can’t recognize this only undermines any argument you might have hoped to make.

  54. JoeG: Fossil succesion is an illusion.

    Zachriel: Fossil succession is easily confirmable, even by amateur fossil collectors.

    JoeG: More bald assertions. I take it that is all you have.

    You have an interesting definition of “bald assertion”. Rather, my claim is that most anyone can look at the actual evidence. Take a hike, examine the geologic column, verify the maps of geologists, such as those of William Smith — examine actual fossils found in those strata and in museums and universities, and so verify the findings of paleontologists.

    The Scientific Method: hypothesis, prediction, observation, validation, repeat.

  55. Zachriel,

    As always it is hopeless having a discussion with you as it appears that EVERYTIME that is attempted I have to spell out my entire position. Once should be enough. But anyway-

    Zachriel:
    For some reason, you reject evolutionary change due to gene duplication unless they also provide a theory of abiogenesis, even though evolution through gene duplication and divergence is directly observed.

    Wrong again, as usual. Again why even attempting a discussion with you is futile.

    I NEVER said nor implied that I reject evolutionary change to gene duplication. That thought never crossed my mind. So that you would infer such a thing demonstrates just how warped you are.

    JoeG: ” that does NOT mean that either are the sole dominion of a blind watchmaker. IOW as far as we know gene duplications and divergence exist because they were designed to exist.

    Zachriel:
    Here you avoid your original claim.

    My original claim can be traced at least back to with Dr Lee Spetner’s “Not By Chance”, which was published in 1997.

    Zachriel:
    Now, you are simply claiming that gene duplication could be due to design or non-design.

    Now, yesterday, last year, and a decade ago. IOW that has always been my claim. Always. You never knew I claimed otherwise or if I ever did claim otherwise.

    And the debate has ALWAYS been that point mutations caused by copying errors cannot increase biological information. That other genetic variation mechanisms have been observed is irrelevant to the debate. It should, by all rights, make your position of “culled genetic accidents” totally untenable. Yet here we are.

    And if you have an issue with the NCSE (they recommend my link for discussing evolution) about “the scientific method” take it up with them. I have already stated my position:

    What is Science

    science asks 3 questions

    1.What’s there?
    The astronaut picking up rocks on the moon, the nuclear physicist bombarding atoms, the marine biologist describing a newly discovered species, the paleontologist digging in promising strata, are all seeking to find out, “What’s there?”
    2. How does it work?
    A geologist comparing the effects of time on moon rocks to the effects of time on earth rocks, the nuclear physicist observing the behavior of particles, the marine biologist observing whales swimming, and the paleontologist studying the locomotion of an extinct dinosaur, “How does it work?”
    3. How did it come to be this way?
    Each of these scientists tries to reconstruct the histories of their objects of study. Whether these objects are rocks, elementary particles, marine organisms, or fossils, scientists are asking, “How did it come to be this way?”

    IOW HOW, via design or not, has ALWAYS been the scientific way.

    As far as the geoligic column goes- no one knows how it was formed- exactly. The fact that we have terrestrial fossils at all screams of catastrophes. But catastrophes argue against gradualism.

    I have heard some/ most geologists say there isn’t any evidence for a global flood. But when asked “how do you know?”- as in what did they use for a reference- they never say. Yet we have evidence on most, if not all, dry land that there was water there at one time. We know there are processes that can speed up apparent time. Diamonds- now they can be made much quicker than millions of years.

  56. JoeG: “And the debate has ALWAYS been that point mutations caused by copying errors cannot increase biological information.

    Sure it can. Start with a clonal population. Any mutation increases the genetic diversity, and hence the measureable information content of the population.

    JoeG: “That other genetic variation mechanisms have been observed is irrelevant to the debate. It should, by all rights, make your position of “culled genetic accidents” totally untenable. Yet here we are.

    Just because you wave your hands doesn’t make the evidence go away. Point mutations are not the only type of genetic variation. Gene duplication and divergence is an important mechanism of evolutionary change.

    JoeG: “As far as the geoligic column goes- no one knows how it was formed- exactly. The fact that we have terrestrial fossils at all screams of catastrophes. But catastrophes argue against gradualism.

    That wasn’t your claim. Your claim was that “Fossil succesion is an illusion.” Fossil succession is an empirically verifiable observation, as is the geologic column. It doesn’t go away because you refuse to look at it, but the evidence is widely available, and people can easily compare their local geology with what is provided in geological maps. And it turns out that the first humans only appear after the first mammals, which only appear after the first reptiles, which only appear after the first fish, which only appear after the first vertebrates, which only appear after the first metazoans, which only appear after the first cellular life.

  57. JoeG: “science asks 3 questions

    Some other quotes found by reading through your cited article:

    Scientific claims are based on testing explanations against observations of the natural world and rejecting the ones that fail the test.

    Scientific claims are subject to peer review and replication.

    A close look at snails, nautiloids, squids, octopi and cuttlefish reveals the basic similarity of the body form of each… One possible explanation is that these animals have independently acquired equivalent organs through a remarkable series of coincidences, but the most likely explanation is that these animals inherited similar organs through common ancestry.

    Theories are overarching explanations that make sense of some aspect of nature, are based on evidence, allow scientists to make valid predictions, and have been tested in many ways. Theories are supported, modified, or replaced as new evidence appears.

    discoveries in recent decades, such as Australopithecus afarensis, show that even very early human ancestors stood upright, had feet and legs much like ours, but had brains relatively little larger than those of chimpanzees.

  58. Scientific claims are based on testing explanations against observations of the natural world and rejecting the ones that fail the test.

    Pretty much what I have been saying for decades.

    Scientific claims are subject to peer review and replication.

    Funny there aren’t any peer-reviewed articles that can account for the physiological and anatomical differences observed between chimps and humans. Also it appears that no one can replicate any of the grand claims made by the theory of evolution and Common Descent.

    A close look at snails, nautiloids, squids, octopi and cuttlefish reveals the basic similarity of the body form of each” One possible explanation is that these animals have independently acquired equivalent organs through a remarkable series of coincidences, but the most likely explanation is that these animals inherited similar organs through common ancestry.

    Or another explanation is that they share a COMMON design. Common ancestry could only explain the similarities if and only if the same or similar genes and developmental pathways account for those similar structures. However we have known for decades that isn’t so.

    Theories are overarching explanations that make sense of some aspect of nature, are based on evidence, allow scientists to make valid predictions, and have been tested in many ways. Theories are supported, modified, or replaced as new evidence appears.

    The blind watchmaker doesn’t make any predictions because we don’t know what will selected for at any point in time.

    discoveries in recent decades, such as Australopithecus afarensis, show that even very early human ancestors stood upright, had feet and legs much like ours, but had brains relatively little larger than those of chimpanzees.

    There still isn’t any data that can account for those physiological and anatomical differences observed between chimps and humans. None, nada, zilch.

    Zachriel:
    Just because you wave your hands doesn’t make the evidence go away. Point mutations are not the only type of genetic variation. Gene duplication and divergence is an important mechanism of evolutionary change.

    Just because you can wave your hands does NOT mean that all observed genetic variations are caused by genetic accidents. Evolutionary change is NOT being debated. Only a denier like you would cling to such stupidity.

    Zachriel:
    Sure it can. Start with a clonal population. Any mutation increases the genetic diversity, and hence the measureable information content of the population.

    Umm the increase in information has to occur in the individual. It is the individual who gets the mutations. It is the individual on which natural selection acts. Saying that “populations evolve” shows a total misunderstanding of those basic facts.

    Fossil succession can only be classified as such if we knew how it, the fossil record, was formed. But we don’t. Also it would be best to let the biological data dictate a biological theory. Leaving it all up to subjective circumstantial evidence is the way pseudo-science is done.

  59. For anyone really interested in the real biological information increase argument you have to read “Not By Chance” by Dr Lee Spetner, biophysicist. It is written in response to Dr Dawkins’ “The Blind Watchmaker”. What Spetner states is that only point mutations can be considered “random” . His prediction would be that there is some code guiding most, if not all, recombinations, ie duplications/ amplifications, insertions, deletions, inversions, and transpositions. He then provides a “Non Random Evolutionary Hypothesis”.

    The motion of these genetic elements to produce the above mutations has been found to a complex process and we probably haven’t yet discovered all the complexity. But because no one knows why they occur, many geneticists have assumed they occur only by chance. I find it hard to believe that a process as precise and well controlled as the transposition of genetic elements happens only by chance. Some scientists tend to call a mechanism random before we learn what it really does. If the source of the variation for evolution were point mutations, we could say the variation is random. But if the source of the variation is the complex process of transposition, then there is no justification for saying that evolution is based on random events. pg 44 of “Not By Chance”

    And to satisfy Zachriel we have:

    Intelligent Design is based upon the Scientific Method, Not Blind Faith

    Steve Renner is President of the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center.

    “i. Observation: The ways that intelligent agents act can be observed in the natural world and described. When intelligent agents act, it is observed that they produce high levels of “complex-specified information” (CSI). CSI is basically a scenario which is unlikely to happen (making it complex), and conforms to a pattern (making it specified). Language and machines are good examples of things with much CSI. From our understanding of the world, high levels of CSI are always the product of intelligent design.

    “ii. Hypothesis: If an object in the natural world was designed, then we should be able to examine that object and find the same high levels of CSI in the natural world as we find in human-designed objects.

    “iii. Experiment: We can examine biological structures to test if high CSI exists. When we look at natural objects in biology, we find many machine-like structures which are specified, because they have a particular arrangement of parts which is necessary for them to function, and complex because they have an unlikely arrangement of many interacting parts. These biological machines are “irreducibly complex,” for any change in the nature or arrangement of these parts would destroy their function. Irreducibly complex structures cannot be built up through an alternative theory, such as Darwinian evolution, because Darwinian evolution requires that a biological structure be functional along every small-step of its evolution. “Reverse engineering” of these structures shows that they cease to function if changed even slightly.

    “iv. Conclusion: Because they exhibit high levels of CSI, a quality known to be produced only by intelligent design, and because there is no other known mechanism to explain the origin of these “irreducibly complex” biological structures, we conclude that they were intelligently designed.”

  60. It seems you reject the claims from your own cited article.

    JoeG: The blind watchmaker doesn’t make any predictions because we don’t know what will selected for at any point in time.

    That is incorrect. It is *observed* that heritable changes can lead to differential reproductive success. In other words, we can predict what will be selected for based on observations of biological differences.

    JoeG: Just because you can wave your hands does NOT mean that all observed genetic variations are caused by genetic accidents.

    That is correct. There is some evidence that there are non-random but natural (non-artificial) processes in genetic change. And one can never rule out every possible event in historical sciences. However, there is no evidence of intelligent intervention in the genetic history of life on Earth, and there is substantial evidence of natural (non-artificial) processes.

    JoeG: Umm the increase in information has to occur in the individual.

    Evolution is defined as the change of allele frequencies in populations. Evolution applies to populations, not individuals. And a diverse population represents more information than a non-diverse population. It is this diversity that is the source of selectable change. In any case, gene duplication and divergence represents an increase in information even in individuals. This process is directly observed.

    JoeG: Fossil succession can only be classified as such if we knew how it, the fossil record, was formed. But we don’t.

    WE can observe the formation of strata occurring today, and we can examine strata to see how they were formed historically. From geology, the Principle of Superposition, briefly, that a stratum (a sedimentary rock layer in a tectonically undisturbed sequence) is younger than the one beneath it and older than the one above it. This allows the relative ordering by time of fossils found in the strata. This is something that can be easily confirmed even by amateur geologists. You just have to look.

  61. Zachriel:
    It seems you reject the claims from your own cited article.

    It isn’t that I reject them. It is that they are unsubstantiated.

    JoeG: The blind watchmaker doesn’t make any predictions because we don’t know what will selected for at any point in time.

    Zachriel:
    That is incorrect.

    No, it’s quite correct. Just ask Dan Dennett, the NCSE and watch the PBS series “Evolution”. It is spelled out quite clearly.

    Zachriel:
    It is *observed* that heritable changes can lead to differential reproductive success. In other words, we can predict what will be selected for based on observations of biological differences.

    Just because heritable changes can lead to differential reproductive success does NOT mean we can predict what will be selected for.

    JoeG: Just because you can wave your hands does NOT mean that all observed genetic variations are caused by genetic accidents.

    Zachriel:
    However, there is no evidence of intelligent intervention in the genetic history of life on Earth, and there is substantial evidence of natural (non-artificial) processes.

    Intervention is NOT required. Do you have a prgrammer show up every time you use spell-check?

    JoeG: Umm the increase in information has to occur in the individual.

    Zachriel:
    Evolution is defined as the change of allele frequencies in populations.

    I know the standard nonsense. However I also understand REALITY. And reality says that natural selection is a result of differences in survival and reproduction among individuals of a population that vary in one or more heritable traits- page 11 of “Biology: Concepts and Applications” Starr 5th edition 2003.

    Again the mutation happens to the INDIVIDUAL. NS acts on the INDIVIDUAL. Populations act to reign in anything that strays from the norm- just as I have told you many times now.

    And BEFORE one talks about any information increase one must demonstrate how the origin of said information arose in the first place. You don’t get to skip steps because they are a problem for you.

    In order for superposition to be valid one has to know HOW the sediments were laid down. We know that hydraulic sorting is a reality.

    Also this from you is very incorrect:

    And it turns out that the first humans only appear after the first mammals, which only appear after the first reptiles, which only appear after the first fish, which only appear after the first vertebrates, which only appear after the first metazoans, which only appear after the first cellular life.

    Ya see the fossil record canNOT tells us when something first appeared on this planet. It can only tell us what was here, buried and preserved. Not everything that has lived and died gets fossilized. Absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence.

    And actually evolution is defined as a change in allele frequency over time. Nothing about populations. And a population can be as small as one individual.

  62. Zachriel: It seems you reject the claims from your own cited article.

    JoeG: It isn’t that I reject them. It is that they are unsubstantiated.

    Gee whiz, JoeG. It was your own cite.

    JoeG: Just ask Dan Dennett, the NCSE and watch the PBS series “Evolution” . It is spelled out quite clearly.

    That’s a rather vague way to make a citation. In any case, your original statement that “we don’t know what will selected for at any point in time” conflates evolution with selection. We can often predict the effects of selection, such as the preferential survival of resistant insects in a poisoned environment. What we can’t alway predict is the origin of novel variation through genetic mutation. I really don’t think PBS Evolution supports your claims.

    JoeG: I know the standard nonsense.

    Natural selection typically occurs over generations. This may be the source of your confusion.

    JoeG: In order for superposition to be valid one has to know HOW the sediments were laid down. We know that hydraulic sorting is a reality.

    That’s why we have to actually look at the strata and sediments. I can’t make you look, but even amateur geologists can verify the basic claims of geology. And that goes to the heart of the scientific method.

    JoeG: And actually evolution is defined as a change in allele frequency over time. Nothing about populations.

    That statement is just nonsensical. How can allele frequencies change in an individual? Allele frequencies are defined in terms in populations. Evolution is the change in these frequencies. Sometimes these changes are linked to the environment. When they are, it’s called natural selection.

  63. Zachriel:
    Gee whiz, JoeG. It was your own cite.

    Gee whiz Zachrel, you sure aren’t very bright.

    Zachriel:
    In any case, your original statement that “we don’t know what will selected for at any point in time” conflates evolution with selection.

    Umm selection is part of evolution.

    Zachriel:
    We can often predict the effects of selection, such as the preferential survival of resistant insects in a poisoned environment.

    That doesn’t explain how the insect or the resistance came about in the first place.

    Zachriel:
    Natural selection typically occurs over generations.

    Natural selection typically acts NOW. That may be the cause of your confusion- that and the fact you don’t know what you are talking about.

    And with all your smoke blowing you still can’t account for the physiological or anatomical differences observed between chimps and humans- via ANY mechanism.

    Mutations occur to individuals. Natural selection is the result of the culling of those individuals. Populations act to keep everything in check. The norm survives. IOW if we stick to observation and objective testing then we have to say that Common Descent is not a scientific concept.

    BTW when we look at the strata we see things that we don’t see occurring today. That being vast sediments being laid down such that no erosion is taking place. Hydraulic sorting and catastrophes best explain what we see when we take a good look.

  64. JoeG: Gee whiz Zachrel, you sure aren’t very bright.

    That does not represent an argument.

    Zachriel: In any case, your original statement that “we don’t know what will selected for at any point in time” conflates evolution with selection.

    JoeG: Umm selection is part of evolution.

    That is correct. Selection is one mechanism of evolution, but is not evolution. Selection often has predictable results contrary to your statement. That you refuse to admit even the most obvious points is telling.

    Zachriel: We can often predict the effects of selection, such as the preferential survival of resistant insects in a poisoned environment.

    JoeG: That doesn’t explain how the insect or the resistance came about in the first place.

    No. It doesn’t. But that wasn’t the claim being argued. “we don’t know what will selected for at any point in time” is a false claim. I would point out that the evolution of resistance in insects is known in many cases to be due to genetic mutations.

    JoeG: Natural selection typically acts NOW.

    Wiki: Natural selection is the evolutionary process by which favorable traits that are heritable become more common in successive generations of a population of reproducing organisms, and unfavorable traits that are heritable become less common.

    Britannica: In natural selection, those variations in the genotype that increase an organism’s chances of survival and procreation are preserved and multiplied from generation to generation at the expense of less advantageous ones.

    The Biology Web: It is important to keep in mind as you read below that natural selection does not act on individuals; it acts on populations. Individual organisms cannot become better-adapted to their environment because they cannot change their genes.

  65. JoeG: Gee whiz Zachrel, you sure aren’t very bright.

    Zachriel:
    That does not represent an argument.

    Actually it does. Ya see Zachriel if you had any inference skills at all you would have figured out that I used that website because they are the leaders of the anti-ID materialistic position. IOW the position you are trying to defend. Therefore what is said there takes precedent over anything you sau that contradicts that site.

    Zachriel:
    Selection is one mechanism of evolution, but is not evolution.

    Without selection you wouldn’t get Common Descent. The title of Darwin’s book is “On the Origins of Species by Means of Natural Selection”. IOW selkection is a major ingredient.

    Zachriel:
    Selection often has predictable results contrary to your statement.

    Please demonstrate these predictable results with any peer-reviewed citation.

    ZAchriel:
    “we don’t know what will selected for at any point in time” is a false claim.

    Umm THAT is the claim of Dan Dennett which is supported by the NCSE and protrayed in the PBS series “Evolution”. IOW anyone and everyone should take THEIR word over yours.

    Zachriel:
    I would point out that the evolution of resistance in insects is known in many cases to be due to genetic mutations.

    I would like to point out that is meaningless in this discussion. Just as everything you post appears to be.

    JoeG: Natural selection typically acts NOW.

    Natural selection is the evolutionary process by which favorable traits that are heritable become more common in successive generations of a population of reproducing organisms, and unfavorable traits that are heritable become less common.

    The only way that is possible is by culling in the present.

    In natural selection, those variations in the genotype that increase an organism’s chances of survival and procreation are preserved and multiplied from generation to generation at the expense of less advantageous ones.

    Notice “an organism’s”- that points to the individual. And unless NS acts NOW, ie in the present, there won’t be any multiplication in future generations.

    It is important to keep in mind as you read below that natural selection does not act on individuals

    natural selection is a result of differences in survival and reproduction among individuals of a population that vary in one or more heritable traits– page 11 of “Biology: Concepts and Applications” Starr 5th edition 2003.

    Everyone knows that NS acts on individuals. Oh, oh- everyone but Zachriel and his citation.

    Individual organisms cannot become better-adapted to their environment because they cannot change their genes.

    Umm if the individual organism cannot survive because it cannot adapt it gets culled. Once it is dead it cannot pass on its genes. Also as we all know one can become adapted to their environment without changing its genes. And then we have examples of individual organisms who can adapt because they have some internal mechanism that changes with the environment.

  66. Let’s take a closer look at what Wikipedia states about Natiral Selection:

    Natural selection acts on the phenotype, or the observable characteristics of an organism, such that individuals with favorable phenotypes are more likely to survive and reproduce than those with less favorable phenotypes.

    Natural selection acts on the phenotype. The phenotype is the overall result of an individual‘s genetic make-up, known as its genotype; the environment in which the organism lives; and the interactions between genes and between genes and the environment. Often, natural selection acts on specific traits of an individual, and the terms phenotype and genotype are sometimes used narrowly to indicate these specific traits.

    Natural selection acts on individuals, but its average effect on all individuals with a particular genotype is the fitness of that genotype.

    Natural selection occurs at every life stage of an individual. An individual organism must survive until adulthood before it can reproduce, and selection of those that reach this stage is called viability selection.

    Ya see Zachriel it is EASY to expose your deception and dishonesty. It is also very telling that you don’t even understand that which you pretend to support. And if you don’t understand your side what does that say about what you understand about any opposing PoV?

    Oh and guess who said the following:

    Although natural selection can act only through and for the good of each being, yet characters and structures, which we are apt to consider as of very trifling importance, may thus be acted on.

  67. Zachriel: Selection is one mechanism of evolution, but is not evolution.

    JoeG: Without selection you wouldn’t get Common Descent.

    That is incorrect. Common Descent (whether it involves speciation or not) can occur even in the absence of selection.

    JoeG: The title of Darwin’s book is “On the Origins of Species by Means of Natural Selection” . IOW selkection is a major ingredient.

    Again, that selection is an important component of evolution wasn’t at issue. Your statement that “we don’t know what will selected for at any point in time” was the blanket claim at issue. This is a false claim. Selection often has predictable results contrary to your statement.

    JoeG: Please demonstrate these predictable results with any peer-reviewed citation.

    You must be kidding, right? Selection is pretty apparent throughout nature. An easy experiment you can replicate yourself, and is done every day in universities around the world, is to expose bacteria to antibiotics. This leads to differential survival depending on heritable traits. The most famous of these experiments starts with clonal (identical) bacteria and demonstrates that variations in heritable traits can be due to random (uncorrelated) genetic mutations. Luria-Delbrock experiment (1943).

    JoeG: Umm THAT is the claim of Dan Dennett which is supported by the NCSE and protrayed in the PBS series “Evolution” . IOW anyone and everyone should take THEIR word over yours.

    It would be helpful if you were to provide a somewhat more precise cite or quote. In any case, your appeal to authority is rather lame as you reject their other claims, and the consensus view of the vast majority of specialists in the relevant fields of study.

    JoeG (quoting): natural selection is a result of differences in survival and reproduction among individuals of a population that vary in one or more heritable traits

    That is correct. Populations are composed of individual organisms. To have selection, you have to have heritable differences among a population. It is certainly possible to have selection of even a single individual from within a larger population. In artificial selection, breeders will often wait a lifetime for a fortuitous mutation and will then work hard to propagate the trait. However, natural selection is typically a population-level effect. More importantly, evolution is a population-level process, as embodied in your own statement that “evolution is defined as a change in allele frequency over time“.

  68. You could also try to pick up a couple of scientific journals, such as Evolution or Bioinformatics. There are a number of articles in just about any issue concerning predictions related to selection.

  69. Ok, so I found Daniel Dennett at PBS Evolution. It doesn’t indicate what you said it did.

    I think Darwin’s idea of natural selection is the best idea anybody ever had, ahead of Newton, ahead of Einstein… In fact, the process of natural selection feeds on randomness. It feeds on accident and contingency, and exploits that in ways that couldn’t be predicted. It’s still an inexorable process. It’s still always gradually improves the fit between whatever organisms there are and the environment in which they’re being selected.

    But there’s no predictability about what particular accidents are going to be exploited in this process.

    As I suspected, Dennett is talking about the relationship between natural selection and other mechanisms of evolution, including contingency of the environment, and randomness of mutational changes. In other words, he is pointing out the stochastic course of evolution. Here is the definition they provide for natural selection.

    natural selection: The differential survival and reproduction of classes of organisms that differ from one another in on or more usually heritable characteristics. Through this process, the forms of organisms in a population that are best adapted to their local environment increase in frequency relative to less well-adapted forms over a number of generations. This difference in survival and reproduction is not due to chance.

  70. JoeG: Without selection you wouldn’t get Common Descent.

    Zachriel:
    That is incorrect. Common Descent (whether it involves speciation or not) can occur even in the absence of selection.

    Umm Common Descent cannot occur without speciation, common descent can. You always confuse the two. Also selection is the major component. Without out it genomes would become so intermeshed no Common Descent would occur.

    Zachriel:
    Your statement that “we don’t know what will selected for at any point in time” was the blanket claim at issue. This is a false claim.

    You have serious problems dude. Again that was NOT MY claim. Dan Dennett made the claim and the NCSE agrrees with it.

    Zachriel:
    It would be helpful if you were to provide a somewhat more precise cite or quote.

    Why should I have to help you understand what it is you are trying to defend?

    Zachriel:
    In any case, your appeal to authority is rather lame as you reject their other claims,

    Again your comprehension issues rear their ugly head. As I made very clear I take issue with ALL unsubstantiated claims. THAT is the scientific thing to do.

    However that YOU reject what the leadership of your position state is very telling indeed.

    and the consensus view of the vast majority of specialists in the relevant fields of study.

    That is a false statement. There isn’t any specialist that can account for the physiological or anatomical differences observed between chimps and humans. There aren’t any specialists which can account for the chganges required to “evolve” a fully terrestrial mammal into a fully aquatic one.

    IOW again all you can do is to erect mirrors and blow smoke.

    YOUR cite disagrees with you Zachriel:

    Natural selection acts on the phenotype, or the observable characteristics of an organism, such that individuals with favorable phenotypes are more likely to survive and reproduce than those with less favorable phenotypes.

    Natural selection acts on the phenotype. The phenotype is the overall result of an individual’s genetic make-up, known as its genotype; the environment in which the organism lives; and the interactions between genes and between genes and the environment. Often, natural selection acts on specific traits of an individual, and the terms phenotype and genotype are sometimes used narrowly to indicate these specific traits.

    Natural selection acts on individuals, but its average effect on all individuals with a particular genotype is the fitness of that genotype.

    Natural selection occurs at every life stage of an individual. An individual organism must survive until adulthood before it can reproduce, and selection of those that reach this stage is called viability selection.

    Ya see Zachriel it is EASY to expose your deception and dishonesty. It is also very telling that you don’t even understand that which you pretend to support. And if you don’t understand your side what does that say about what you understand about any opposing PoV?

    Oh and guess who said the following:

    Although natural selection can act only through and for the good of each being, yet characters and structures, which we are apt to consider as of very trifling importance, may thus be acted on.

    (this was the alleged “missing” post)

  71. I seemed to have lost a post- oh well.

    Is Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change?

    Absolutely not. That is if one goes by the actual scientific data.

    Also on the PBS series “Evolution” Dennett is doing the talking when he states “There is no way to predict what will be selected for at any point in time”. I believe that is in his book “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”.

    As for natural selection and individuals my references make it clear that is the case. I even used one of Zachriel’s references.

    BTW there isn’t ANY data that demonstrates that Common Descent can occur at all. So far all that has been presented is speculation based on the assumption.

    Also seeing that NS is the RESULT, meaning it is on the right side of the equation, and EVERYTHING on the left is due to chance, then it is a given that the result is entirely driven by chance.

    The NCSE provides a link to the following:

    Natural Selection

    Second, it’s more accurate to think of natural selection as a process rather than as a guiding hand. Natural selection is the simple result of variation, differential reproduction, and heredity– it is mindless and mechanistic. It has no goals; it’s not striving to produce “progress” or a balanced ecosystem.

    (note the “mindless” ; “it has no goals” )

    Can something be both a process and a result? The following equation they provide shows it is a result of a process:

    variation + differential reproduction + heredity = natural selection

    And then they wonder why the public gets confused.

    You cannot take random inputs and hope to get a non-random output.

    And as the scientific data and observations demonstrate- populations reign in the variants. IOW populations guard against the type of evolution that Zachriel’s position requires. And not one of his alleged specialists can get around that fact. Not one.

  72. I don’t see any significant new content in your last post. You might want to read the entire chapter from Origin of Species that you reference, as you clearly misunderstand Darwin’s intended meaning.

    Origin of Species
    http://www.bartleby.com/11/4001.html

  73. I don’t see any content in any of your posts. That is most likely due to the fact that your posts are content free.

    I have read the entire chapter and book “On the Origins of Species…”. I have cited EVOLUTIONISTS pertaining to natural selection. Perhaps Darwin clearly misunderstood the capabilities of his proposed mechanisms. Heck here it is almost 150 years later and we still can’t answer basic questions about the origin of species.

    IOW any alleged confusion comes from the source.

    What the scientific data nd all observations and testing support is that when natural selection is applied to populations all that is produced is wobbling stability.

    If natural selection is “mindless”, “blind”, and “has no goals” (ie “purposeless”), just how can it predict anything?

  74. JoeG: If natural selection is “mindless” , “blind” , and “has no goals” (ie “purposeless” ), just how can it predict anything?

    Gravity is “mindless”, “blind” and “has no goals” (ie “purposeless”), but can lead to specific predictable consequences. You are still conflating evolution and natural selection.

    What is most important and to the topic is that scientific evidence is defined as observations that can either support or contradict a scientific hypothesis. The Theory of Evolution is a strongly supported scientific theory.

    NATIONAL ACADEMY of SCIENCES: “The theory of evolution has become the central unifying concept of biology and is a critical component of many related scientific disciplines. In contrast, the claims of creation science lack empirical support and cannot be meaningfully tested.”

  75. JoeG: variation + differential reproduction + heredity = natural selection. And then they wonder why the public gets confused. You cannot take random inputs and hope to get a non-random output.

    The environment is decidedly non-random. Heredity is non-random. Differential reproduction is often non-random (though there are contingent factors). These facts can be observed.

    JoeG: If natural selection is “mindless” , “blind” , and “has no goals” (ie “purposeless” ), just how can it predict anything?

    Gravity is “mindless” , “blind” , and “has no goals” (ie “purposeless” ), but often leads to predictable consequences.

  76. The long and winding road — of Darwinian hogwash

    For all the laboratory tales these seven model species have helped to tell, there remains a wealth of evolutionary and ecological questions still to be addressed. Understanding organisms’ responses to mutations and the environment in order to paint a more complete story of biological networks is the biggest challenge in biology today[1]. In addition to providing insight into ecology and evolutionary lineages, studies of nonmodel organisms are sure to reveal as-yet unknown biological mechanisms.

    Recently, the plot thickened when genomic data revealed the amazing degree to which genes are conserved throughout species. Surprisingly, it’s not simply the genes, but their regulation, that gives rise to the remarkable diversity of creatures. New molecular techniques take advantage of these findings to reveal gene expression and function in an expanded cast of characters. Functional genomics makes nonmodel organism studies more robust– blurring the line between model and nonmodel species and setting the stage for synergistic discoveries in evolutionary biology and ecology.

    What was that about natural selection and conserved genes?

    Zachriel: That is incorrect. Common Descent (whether it involves speciation or not) can occur even in the absence of selection.

    Zachriel: Again, that selection is an important component of evolution wasn’t at issue.

    Zachriel: Selection often has predictable results contrary to your statement.

    Dr. Baguna and Dr. Garcia-Fernandez: In addition to providing insight into ecology and evolutionary lineages, studies of nonmodel organisms are sure to reveal as-yet unknown biological mechanisms.

    According to Darwinian WorshippersTM they can predict and explain anything and everything but they just don’t know what it is that they are predicting and how to explain it yet. Thank you very much.

  77. teleologist: According to Darwinian WorshippersTM they can predict and explain anything and everything but they just don’t know what it is that they are predicting and how to explain it yet. Thank you very much.

    I did not claim that Darwinian WorshippersTM could predict and explain everything. Nor do my quoted comments indicate such. But not knowing everything doesn’t mean not knowing anything. Science is necessarily limited in its claims — to those phenomena which lead to predictable consequences.

    Genetics can be observed to form a network that is characterized by scale invariance, meaning that those nodes which evolved earliest will tend to be more conserved than those that evolved as adapatations to the basic network at a later time. Hox genes which regulate basic metazoan body plans is such an example.

  78. Zachriel: I did not claim that Darwinian WorshippersTM could predict and explain everything. Nor do my quoted comments indicate such.

    okay, maybe you didn’t but tell me — do you think that Darwinian evolution is the only explanation for the diversity of life on Earth, given the fact the you don’t know and cannot explain everything? Or do Darwinian WorshippersTM rely on their faith in ignorance?

  79. For whatever reason, several of my posts have not appeared, including my latest response to your very reasonable question.

  80. teleologist: do you think that Darwinian evolution is the only explanation for the diversity of life on Earth, given the fact the you don’t know and cannot explain everything? Or do Darwinian WorshippersTM rely on their faith in ignorance?

    The phrase “Darwinian evolution” can easily lead to confusion. However, there is substantial scientific evidence that life has descended and diverged from common ancestors, and that natural selection is an important mechanism of this process. There is no scientific evidence of intelligent intervention or purpose in evolution. This is probably what troubles many people. Of course, there is no scientific evidence of intelligent intervention or purpose in the evolution of the Solar System, and this used to trouble people too. This doesn’t mean there is no purpose, just that you can’t point to scientific evidence for justification.

    There are many gaps in scientific knowledge. Indeed, it is part-and-parcel of the process. Medieval scholars didn’t have to ponder the problem of “missing Solar neutrinos”, while not knowing the origin of the Solar System didn’t stop people from proposing valid scientific theories of planetary motion.

    The deeper in time we peer, the less certain we tend to be. There are significant (albeit shrinking) gaps in human knowledge of the origin of life and the origin of cellular mechanisms. As these primordial events didn’t leave fossils, it’s incredible that we can know anything at all. But we do have significant knowledge of these events, though certainly not a complete theory. But ignorance is not scientific evidence.

  81. Zachriel:
    The environment is decidedly non-random.

    We know that is false. Environments change.

    Zachriel:
    Heredity is non-random.

    We know that is also false. There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    Zachriel:
    Differential reproduction is often non-random (though there are contingent factors).

    That is also false. Finding a mate is most often random. Surviving long enough to do so is also most often random. That is what reality tells us.

    Zachriel:
    Gravity is “mindless” , “blind” , and “has no goals” (ie “purposeless” ), but often leads to predictable consequences.

    That is nothing but an assertion. As far as we know gravity exists only from the mind of the designer. And that means it carries the designer’s intention. Also gravity isn’t random. Allegedly variations are.

    But anyway:

    From the “Contemporary Discourse in the Field Of Biology” series I am reading Biological Evolution: An Anthology of Current Thought, edited by Katy Human (perhaps related to Mike Gene 😉 ).

    The following are just from the introduction:

    Evolution can be described with a seven-word phrase: genetic change, over time, within a population. page 6 (bold added)

    Did you get that Zachriel?

    Science can be hopelessly compromised by the prejudices and preconceived notions of the researchers, who, after all, are only flawed humans like the rest of us.-page 8

    Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.- page10

    Did you read that Zachriel? Your “pattern” defense just got tossed out the window.

    The old, discredited equation of evolution with progress has been largely superseded by the almost whimsical notion that evolution requires mistakes to bring about specieswide adaptation. Natural selection requires variation, and variation requires mutations- those accidental deletions or additions of material deep within the DNA of our cells. In an increasingly slick, fast-paced, automated, impersonal world, one in which we are constantly being reminded of the narrow margin for error, it is refreshing to be reminded that mistakes are a powerful and necessary creative force. A few important but subtle “mistakes,” in evolutionary terms, may save the human race. -page 10 ending the intro

    Zachriel:
    But ignorance is not scientific evidence.

    Funny because ignorance is all you have. That is exposed by the fact that no one can account for the physiological or anatomical differences observed between chimps and humans. We don’t even know, ie ignornace, whether or not any mechanism can account for them. We don’t know, more ignornace, what makes an organism what it is.

    Zachriel:
    Hox genes which regulate basic metazoan body plans is such an example.

    Hox genes should be evidence against “culled genetic accidents”. That they are not just demonstrates how contorted anti-IDists are willing to become to save their failed theory.

    Zachriel:
    There is no scientific evidence of intelligent intervention or purpose in evolution.

    There isn’t any evidence that our existence is due to sheer dumb luck so I guess we don’t exist. ID does NOT require intervention, however the more we study living organisms more evidence for intentional design is exposed.

    Zachriel:
    Of course, there is no scientific evidence of intelligent intervention or purpose in the evolution of the Solar System, and this used to trouble people too.

    A simple reading of “The Privileged Planet” refutes you.

    Zachriel:
    This doesn’t mean there is no purpose, just that you can’t point to scientific evidence for justification.

    Umm it has been done. Go figure.

    And it is too bad that the NAS cannot substantiate their claim. And as a matter of fact their is at least one of their members who disagrees with what you cited. That should NOT be possible if what they said actually had any merit.

  82. This exchange is worth remembering.


    Zachriel: The environment is decidedly non-random.

    JoeG: We know that is false. Environments change.

    Heartbeats change. Are heartbeats random? Does gravity have a direction? Does Sunlight? Is the diurnal cycle random? You clearly have no idea what randomness implies.


    Zachriel: Heredity is non-random.

    JoeG: We know that is also false. There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    My Goodness! Humans beget humans. Sharks beget sharks. If the ancestors have four limbs and two eyes, their descendents will tend to have four limbs and two eyes. Children are not a random assortment of characteristics, but closely resemble their parents. It’s a fundamental observation!

    This goes to the very heart of what it means to make a scientific assertion. When I claim that “Heredity is non-random”, it means that there are predictable correlations between the characteristics of parents and children that can be confirmed by independent observers.

    Is there anyone on Teleological Blog willing to explain this to Joseph?

  83. ZAchriel:
    Humans beget humans. Sharks beget sharks.

    Remember that. We have NEVER observed anything different. Therefore by that observation we would have to say that humans and chimps do NOT share a common ancestor. Thanks.

    Zachriel:
    Children are not a random assortment of characteristics, but closely resemble their parents.

    So if I can find one child that does not resemble either parent your argument fails.
    But that misses my point. And that always occurs around you.

    I NEVER said nor implied that children will not resemble their parents. We KNOW about gametes and recombinations. We know that 1/2 of the parent’s chromosomes get tossed out. And we know that any given child will NOT get all of one parent’s genes.

    And guess what? That is right in line with what I said:

    There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    IOW once again you display you total lack of understanding of what was posted. But somehow I doubt you will post that on your cry-baby link.

    BTW environments can and do change randomly.

    And I noticed that you STILL cannot substantiate any claims of Common Descent with actual scientific data.

    PS- we know there isn’t anyone who can explain anything to you.

    This is worth remembering also:

    Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.- page10 But somehow I doubt it can even get through to you.

  84. And why is it that EVERY time Zachriel gets proven wrong he has to run to that website and set-up his nonsensical misrepresentation of what is being discussed?

  85. There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    For those who cannot think (Zachriel) I offer the following:

    If my sister, brothers and I were in some crowded room, the ONLY people who could place us as a family would be the people who already knew us. If someone knew my sister but not me they would not even think we were related. Even people who knew us both did not know we were related and when they found out they were shocked.

    IOW what I said- There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.– is directly observed by the fact that brothers and sisters, unless they have an IDENTICAL twin, do not look exactly like each other. And in fact may look so dissimilar they may not even appear to belong to the same family.

    Perhaps someone under Zachriel’s rock will explain that to him.

  86. JoeG: I NEVER said nor implied that children will not resemble their parents.

    Zachriel: Heredity is non-random.

    JoeG: We know that is also false.

    If there are predictable correlations between the characteristics of parents and their children, if children resemble their parents, then heredity is non-random. You directly contradicted that statement. This goes to the very heart of what it means to make a scientific assertion (which is very much on-topic for this thread).

  87. Zachriel:
    If there are predictable correlations between the characteristics of parents and their children, if children resemble their parents, then heredity is non-random.

    That is false for reasons already presented. There is no way to predict what characteristics from which parent will be dominant in their children. THAT was my point. And I have explained this to you before. Genetics 101. Duh.

    Zachriel:
    You directly contradicted that statement.

    Wrong- YOU misunderstood my statement. And apparently you still don’t understand it even though it was explained.

    If you don’t understand what someone posts it is best to ask before running off half-cocked and make yourself look like a fool. Although the slime you run to wouldn’t know the difference.

    Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.– page10

    Again the citation supports me. That is if heredity is part of evolution.

    But I do want to thank Zachriel for demonstrating that Common Descent is bogus:

    Humans beget humans. Sharks beget sharks.

    Thanks again. And that is the heart of this thread. You let your personal biases take you from what is observed to what you want to believe.

    But this therapy should be good for you so please continue…

  88. Zachriel: Heredity is non-random.

    Think SNP.

  89. Zachriel: Heredity is non-random.

    JoeG: We know that is also false.

    JoeG: There is no way to predict what characteristics from which parent will be dominant in their children. And I have explained this to you before. Genetics 101. Duh.

    Heredity is not random. If the parent has a sternum, fingernails, and three ear bones, the child will probably have a sternum, fingernails, and three ear bones. If the parent is a pachyderm, the child will not have feathers. Children strongly resemble their parents across a large number of characteristics. Simply accept this obvious statement.

    Again, this is at the very heart of how we construct valid scientific assertions.

  90. Zachriel, you are still twisting this just because you refuse to concede that you are wrong. And you continue to do this in the face of a nice clear explanation. IOW you again demonstrate you are a waste of bandwidth.

    In the context of evolution any “beneficial” mutation one parent has is NOT guaranteed to get passed on to any offspring. Therefore the distribution of that beneficial mutation will be random.

    Again we KNOW that. Science has told us that. That you continue to misunderstand the point and misrepresent my claim stabs at the very heart of science.

    Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.– page10

    Zachriel:
    Humans beget humans. Sharks beget sharks.

    Creationists have been saying that for a long time. Some people are just a little slow to “get it”. In the end the scientific data is just too overwhelming.

  91. Teleologist- Pardon me but Zachriel first has to think before he can “Think SNP”…

  92. teleologist: Think SNP.

    I’m fully aware that there are non-predictable and even random aspects to heredity, including recombination and various types of mutation. Obviously so, or evolution would not occur. That does not make heredity random.

    A normal heartbeat has random perturbations, but it is still considered regular. That’s because the interval between beats is strongly and predictably correlated with time. Consequently, you would never say a normal heartbeat is random. It’s simply not. A normal heartbeat is regular.

    The accurate propagation of traits from one generation to the next is fundamental to all living organisms. There is a very strong correlation between the traits of a parent and of a child.

  93. JoeG: Zachriel, you are still twisting this just because you refuse to concede that you are wrong.

    At some point, most everyone has to decide between a comfortable belief and the truth. It’s important that you are seen here to refuse to concede even the most obvious points.

    JoeG: In the context of evolution any “beneficial” mutation one parent has is NOT guaranteed to get passed on to any offspring.

    That is correct.

    JoeG: Therefore the distribution of that beneficial mutation will be random.

    That is incorrect. Do you understand why? (It has to do with the correlation between independent variables.)

  94. Zachriel:
    It’s important that you are seen here to refuse to concede even the most obvious points.

    I will take this opportunity to point out that Zachriel is your basic #15:

    15. “If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent’s acceptance or rejection some true proposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject an obviously true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your side for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition, as in #14, or maintain that your original proposition is proved by what your opponent accepted. For this an extreme degree of impudence is required, but experience shows cases of it succeeding.”

    And that is why it is NEVER a good thing to agree with what you post because most, if not all, of the time it is IRRELEVANT to what is being discussed.

    JoeG: Therefore the distribution of that beneficial mutation will be random.

    Zachriel:
    That is incorrect.

    It’s correct. And I know why. In fact I already provided the reasons why.

    BTW heartbeats are normal because of their design and the design of the system they are in. Random effects to either can cause irrepairable damage.

    Zachriel:
    There is a very strong correlation between the traits of a parent and of a child.

    No one, in this thread, NEVER SAID NOR IMPLIED OTHERWISE.

    And AGAIn Zachriel exposes the fact that Common Descent is nonsense:

    The accurate propagation of traits from one generation to the next is fundamental to all living organisms.

    An accurate propagation kills Common Descent for obvious reasons. And “traits” is too broad to have any meaning. Surely even the weak in the population have the same traits. So NS does NOT act on “traits” rather the quality of those traits (with respect to the current environment). And sometimes even the best traits get wiped out by random effects.

    Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.– page10

    Zachriel:
    Humans beget humans. Sharks beget sharks.

    Creationists have been saying that for a long time. Some people are just a little slow to “get it” . In the end the scientific data is just too overwhelming.

    Zachriel is doing a banner job at refuting Common Descent.

  95. JoeG: Zachriel is doing a banner job at refuting Common Descent.

    The issue in this thread is not Common Descent, but the nature of scientific assertions. When I claim that “Heredity is non-random” , it means that there are predictable correlations between the characteristics of parents and children that can be confirmed by independent observers.

    Do you still hold that the claim is false?

  96. Zachriel sez do you want that #15 to go?

    15. “If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent’s acceptance or rejection some true proposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject an obviously true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your side for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition, as in #14, or maintain that your original proposition is proved by what your opponent accepted. For this an extreme degree of impudence is required, but experience shows cases of it succeeding.”

    Zachriel:
    The issue in this thread is not Common Descent, but the nature of scientific assertions.

    And you have shown us the non-scientific nature of evolutionary assertions. Thanks.

    Zachriel:
    When I claim that “Heredity is non-random” , it means that there are predictable correlations between the characteristics of parents and children that can be confirmed by independent observers.

    That claim is so broad as to be totally useless. The “predictions” are just as broad and just as useless.

    When I claim that heredity is random, it means exactly what research demonstrates-> that there is a good chance that even the most beneficial of mutations will get lost as opposed to becoming fixed. And that is because that even from generartion to generation in sexually reproducing organisms there is no telling what combination of alleles will be present.

    The nature of your assertions is to continue to make them despite what reality demonstrates.

  97. JoeG: That claim is so broad as to be totally useless. The “predictions” are just as broad and just as useless.

    Correlation of traits between parents and offspring are not only fundamental observations, but easily verified by any reasonable reader. (This was not always known historically. Nowadays, people just take it for granted, just like they accept that the Earth moves.)

    JoeG: When I claim that heredity is random, it means exactly what research demonstrates->

    What you probably mean is that alleles may become randomly shuffled during recombination within a sexually reproducing population. This is not equivalent to heredity itself being random. (Your understanding of how allele frequencies change is also faulty and contrary to evidence, but that is irrelevant to the larger point of your misunderstanding of how scientific assertions are constructed and justified.)

    You might try to explain what you mean by random.

  98. Zachriel:
    Correlation of traits between parents and offspring are not only fundamental observations, but easily verified by any reasonable reader.

    True but still irrelevant.

    Zachriel:
    What you probably mean is that alleles may become randomly shuffled during recombination within a sexually reproducing population.

    Umm that is exactly what I explained. IOW there isn’t any “probably” to it.

    Zachriel:
    This is not equivalent to heredity itself being random.

    It is equivalent to There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    BTW Zachriel- you have absolutely NO clue as to what I understand and don’t understand. What is obvious is that you don’t understand anything except for dishonesty and deception. IOW I will take my knowledge of biology/ genetics over yours every day. And it is clear as to why that is.

    As for constructing scientific assertions and then justifying them, IF YOU COULD DO THAT WITH YOUR POSITION THIS DISCUSSION WOULD CEASE.

    Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.– page10

    Are you still upset that your faulty reasoning about the premise of Common Descent and NH has been exposed? That has gotta sting….

  99. JoeG: heredity is random

    I note you completely avoided explaining what you think “random” means in science.

  100. I noticed you ALWAYS avoid providing any scientific data that can account for the physiological and anatomical differences observed between chimps and humans.

    IOW I thank you for demonstrating exactly what the the OP talks about- that being your philosophical biases drive your inferences.

  101. I note you again refused to provide a definition of a term you have repeatedly used.

    (The Theory of Evolution is a theory of heredity and adaptive response to the environment. As you have repeatedly claimed that the environment is random and that heredity is random, that makes it fruitless to discuss these more complex issues until we resolve what you think “random” means in science, whether you are applying it correctly, and how a hypothesis is constructed and validated.)

    Instead of “random”, try to use “probability distribution” or “statistical correlation”.

  102. “Random” has several meanings. Colloquially, it may mean happenstance. But in empiricism and statistics, random means the repeated selection from a set such that the outcome follows no determined pattern, but rather a probability distribution, typically a flat (or equal) probability distribution.

    The roll of a die is random. We can roll a true die all day and never discern a pattern sufficient to make an accurate prediction of the next series of rolls. A normal heartbeat is non-random, because even though its rate may change, and even though it may have random or chaotic fluctuations, each succeeding beat can be reasonably predicted by observing previous heartbeats.

    Heredity is non-random because there is a strong correlation between the characteristics of the parents and the children. The environment is non-random, because important aspects of the environment like gravity have a determined pattern.

  103. Historically, it was once believed that different types of animals could successfully mate and give birth to mythical beasts, such as Centaurs, Griffins and Sphinxes. Later, it was thought that only the male contributed to the traits of a child. Spermatozoa were homunculi, or little men. But careful scientific observations showed these naive ideas to be inaccurate.


    Heredity is the transmission of traits from one generation to the next; so, heredity is non-random by definition. Genetics is the study of heredity.

    Asexual reproduction results in nearly exact clones. Sexual reproduction does not occur through the mixing of traits from just any two organisms, but organisms that share a wide variety of morphological, genetic and often behavioral traits. The population of organisms that exchange genes in such a manner are called a species.

    In other words, there is a strong and predictable correlation of traits between potential mates. Further, the children will also exhibit a strong and predictable correlation of traits with the parents. Hereditary transmission may include some random elements, including mutation and recombination. Nevertheless, heredity is non-random.


    We can discuss some of these mechanisms if you want. For instance, you also stated that the environment is random, that mate selection is most often random, and that differential reproduction is largely irrelevant. (Frankly, the claim that mate selection is “most often random” seems bizarre. It depends very much on the organism. Consider deer bucks competing for a harem, or a highschool dance.) But these problems of population dynamics can only be discussed once we are sure we agree on the fundamental principles of observation and the meanings of basic scientific and mathematical terminology.

    Heredity is non-random.

  104. Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    Now instead of continuing to serve up #15s why don’t you instead focus on that reality?

    15. “If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent’s acceptance or rejection some true proposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject an obviously true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your side for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition, as in #14, or maintain that your original proposition is proved by what your opponent accepted. For this an extreme degree of impudence is required, but experience shows cases of it succeeding.”

    And again I note that you failed to provide any scientific evidence to support you PoV. IOW you have again refused to address the issue of the observed differences between alleged closely related species.

    Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.– page10

    IOW your position that Common Descent equates to NH is refuted by scientific reality. This phrase also supports my position of randomness in heredity, that is if heredity is part of evolution.

    BTW Zachriel, I never said that differential reproduction is largely irrelevant. IOW once again you resort to outright fabrications, ie you are dishonest.

    Thanks again for demonstrating that fact.

  105. You used that word “random” again, but after several requests, you have yet to provide a valid scientific definition of the term. There is no way to have a reasonable discussion of heredity if you refuse to define your terms and continue to mangle scientific terminology.

    Randomness has a specific empirical meaning which I provided in a previous comment. Heredity, environment, and mate selection (in many organisms) are not random (though they may have contingent elements). Sexual recombination can be random (though many traits are actually linked).


    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,’ it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’

  106. JoeG: “Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    Let’s consider humans. We know that both parents and all their children will tend to share a great number of traits, including their basic cell structure with a nucleus containing genetic material, that they will be animals ingesting food for energy, that they will have a head with an array of sensory organs, that they will have 24 vertebrae protecting a dorsal nerve cord, that they will have four limbs, two eyes, twelve ribs, three ear bones in each of two ears, skin, hair, mammary glands, sexual organs, liver, kidney, intestines, lungs, and a complex brain capable of learning a vast array of cultural adaptations. Sometimes, we may not be able to reliably predict the color of their eyes, though. In other words, we can predict a vast number of salient characteristics.

    JoeG: “That says it all Zachriel. IOW that provides what is meant by “random” . And it also refutes your claim that heredity is non-random.

    Most hereditary traits are not indetermininate.

    JoeG: “Mate selection (in many organisms) is random. IOW there is no telling who will mate with who. Humans are a great example of this.

    Most anyone reading this thread knows that most humans do not choose their mates randomly. Either you are confused on the meaning of the word “random”, or you don’t know much about people.

    Random, 2 a: relating to, having, or being elements or events with definite probability of occurrence b: being or relating to a set or to an element of a set each of whose elements has equal probability of occurrence ; also : characterized by procedures designed to obtain such sets or elements

    The term randomness is often used in statistics to signify well defined statistical properties, such as lack of bias or correlation. Random is different from arbitrary, because to say that a variable is random means that the variable follows a probability distribution; arbitrary, on the other hand, implies that there is no such determinable probability distribution for the variable.

  107. For some reason, my response to JoeG #109 showed up at #107.

  108. Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    That says it all Zachriel. IOW that provides what is meant by “random”. And it also refutes your claim that heredity is non-random.

    Mate selection (in many organisms) is random. IOW there is no telling who will mate with who. Humans are a great example of this.

    Environments are stressed by random effects. And again humans have a great deal to say about that. IOW any place humans are there will be random elements.

    And please provide a citation that would show that “random” means something different in science than it does to the rest of the world.

    And this but of hubris:

    In other words, there is a strong and predictable correlation of traits between potential mates. Further, the children will also exhibit a strong and predictable correlation of traits with the parents. Hereditary transmission may include some random elements, including mutation and recombination. Nevertheless, heredity is non-random.

    is a number 15:

    15. “If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent’s acceptance or rejection some true proposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject an obviously true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your side for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition, as in #14, or maintain that your original proposition is proved by what your opponent accepted. For this an extreme degree of impudence is required, but experience shows cases of it succeeding.”

    IOW it is irrelevant to what I claimed. But then again all you ever deal with are irrelevancies. Why is that?

    As for “continue to mangle scientific terminology”, your projection is duly noted.

  109. Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.– page10

    Now if we listen to your pal blipey that means that randomness equals uncertainty, nonlinearity and lack of hierarchy, at least where evolution is concerned. Now if you have a problem with that then take it up with him. You both speak the same language.

  110. Most anyone reading this thread knows that most humans do not choose their mates randomly. Either you are confused on the meaning of the word “random” , or you don’t know much about people.

    See #107


    “Random” has several meanings. Colloquially, it may mean happenstance. But in empiricism and statistics, random means the repeated selection from a set such that the outcome follows no determined pattern, but rather a probability distribution, typically a flat (or equal) probability distribution. Try

    Chung and Aitsahlia, Elementary Probability Theory
    Pestman, Mathematical Statistics

  111. Let’s see- I met my mate in a bar-n-grill in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am from a small town in Massachusetts. Our meeting and therefore the selection, was random. She is a babe, I’m a brute. So it was very lucky that I met a babe that is also OK with this brute.

    I can name many such examples of random meetings leading to mates. In other species it is even more so- that is more random.

    Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherted follows no detrmined pattern but rather some probability distribution.

  112. As you have repeatedly refused to provide a valid definition of “random”, I will assume the use of the standard definition I proffered above.

    JoeG: Our meeting and therefore the selection, was random.

    Just because the meeting was random doesn’t make the selection random, unless of all the potential mates you have met, you chose one randomly. But you and everyone else knows otherwise.

    You might try a visit to a dance hall to study human mating rituals. Some individuals get more dances and so have a wider pool of attractive partners to choose from. And they do choose among them, often engaging in physical or cultural combat for them. (Attractiveness varies among individuals, but is typically a combination of characteristics, including physical health, sexually dimorphic traits, grace, social status, wit, as well as intangibles such as loyalty, confidence and compassion.)

    You really need to get out more.

    JoeG: Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    You completely ignored my argument. I would hazard that there is a strong correlation between a wide variety of salient characteristics between you, your wife, and your children; including, a head with an array of sensory organs, 24 vertebrae protecting a dorsal nerve cord, limbs, skin, hair, mammary glands, various organs, and a complex brain capable of learning a vast array of cultural adaptations. In other words, we can reliably predict a host of salient characteristics. (There will be exceptions, but the correlation will be very strong over a large number of similar organisms.)

    Am I close?

  113. Zachriel, How many times have you been told that the following is IRRELEVANT?

    You completely ignored my argument. I would hazard that there is a strong correlation between a wide variety of salient characteristics between you, your wife, and your children; including, a head with an array of sensory organs, 24 vertebrae protecting a dorsal nerve cord, limbs, skin, hair, mammary glands, various organs, and a complex brain capable of learning a vast array of cultural adaptations. In other words, we can reliably predict a host of salient characteristics. (There will be exceptions, but the correlation will be very strong over a large number of similar organisms.)

    IOW either you are just plain stupid or an ignoramus to some high degree. Or perhaps a healthy combination of both.

    Zachriel:
    Just because the meeting was random doesn’t make the selection random

    It absolutely does mean the selection was random. Meeting and selection go hand in hand.

    And trust me on this one- I have forgotten more about human mating rituals and meeting women than you will ever know. And I don’t forget… (ya see Zachriel, I doubt you have ever been on a date.)

    Now, what part of the following DON’T you understand?:

    Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherited follows no determined pattern but rather some probability distribution.

  114. IOW Zachriel, ALL you are doing is to serve up a continuous course of #15:

    15. “If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent’s acceptance or rejection some true proposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject an obviously true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your side for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition, as in #14, or maintain that your original proposition is proved by what your opponent accepted. For this an extreme degree of impudence is required, but experience shows cases of it succeeding.”

    And you appear to do so as if it means something.

    1) Zachriel tried to advance an argument that is difficult to “prove”.
    2) He then offered up something that is totally meaningless in the context of the discussion as if it really was meaningful.
    3) This is pointed out (several times)
    4) Zachriel doesn’t bat an eye and just continues flaunting his willingness to confuse a discussion by hanging on to irrelevancies.

    And reality demonstrates that Zachriel is completely ignoring my argument- the very argument he is trying to refute. Pathtic, even for Zach.

  115. You have yet to provide a scientific or statistical definition of “random”. You clearly don’t know what it means, or at least can’t use it consistently.

    Zachriel: Just because the meeting was random doesn’t make the selection random

    JoeG: It absolutely does mean the selection was random.

    That is incorrect. Consider a box with an equal number of red and black marbles. We repeatedly pick marbles at random. We keep only the red ones. We end up with only red marbles. The result is not random. A person meets potential mates at random. but dates only the ones they find attractive. The person may very well not even notice the ones they find unattractive. The result is not random.

    Human females wear makeup because they know that mate-selection is not random, but based at least in part on physical attractiveness.

    JoeG: Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    That is simply not true. That vast majority of characteristics will be shared by the parents and the children. In genetic terms, more than 99% of their genetic material will be exactly the same. That is not random.

  116. JoeG, I commend you for being tenacious.

  117. Zachriel:
    You have yet to provide a scientific or statistical definition of “random” .

    YOU provided one Zachriel. And I used it in context.

    Zachriel:
    Human females wear makeup because they know that mate-selection is not random, but based at least in part on physical attractiveness.

    I know many who do NOT wear make-up. And what one man finds attractive another would not. It is te classic “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. IOW “attarctiveness” is also random- or at least appears that way.

    JoeG: Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    Zachriel:
    That is simply not true.

    Reality refutes you and agrees with what I said- as usual.

    Zachriel:
    That vast majority of characteristics will be shared by the parents and the children.

    OK Zach. Heredity is the stuff of genes and DNA. Please tell us what gene, genes or sequence of DNA is responsible for my human head. Or how aboout my hauman eyes? Or what about my upright, bipedal walking?

    Zachriel:
    In genetic terms, more than 99% of their genetic material will be exactly the same.

    That could be but again it is IRRELEVANT for the MANY REASONS ALREADY PROVIDED.

    IOW you just served up another course of #15.

    BTW Zach, when babies get to pick their genes your marble example may have a point. But seeing that reality says they cannot it is just another dishonest attempt to save your a$$.

    Good luck with that. And I await the data that shows a human head is inherited.

  118. Zachriel:
    In genetic terms, more than 99% of their genetic material will be exactly the same.

    That is just stupid. How can one of my children’s DNA be 99% exactly the same as mine? How can one of my children’s DNA be 99% exactly the same as my wife’s?

    And there is no way to know what genetic material will come from my wife and what will come from me.

    Now, what part of the following DON’T you understand?:

    Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherited follows no determined pattern but rather some probability distribution.

    Notice it incorporates YOUR cited definition of “random” and uses it correctly.

    That you refuse to deal with that fact further exposes your dishonesty and deception.

  119. Zachriel: In genetic terms, more than 99% of their genetic material will be exactly the same.

    JoeG: How can one of my children’s DNA be 99% exactly the same as mine? How can one of my children’s DNA be 99% exactly the same as my wife’s?

    Think, JoeG. How can your children have 99% of the same DNA as you, 99% of the same DNA as your wife and yet each parent only contributes ~50% admixture of their DNA to the child?

  120. Zachriel:
    How can your children have 99% of the same DNA as you, 99% of the same DNA as your wife and yet each parent only contributes ~50% admixture of their DNA to the child?

    They can’t. Which means your statement “In genetic terms, more than 99% of their genetic material will be exactly the same.”, is bogus.

    IOW Zachriel you have finally come around to understanding my claim.

    Now, what part of the following DON’T you understand?:

    Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherited follows no determined pattern but rather some probability distribution.

    Notice it incorporates YOUR cited definition of “random” and uses it correctly.

    That you refuse to deal with that fact further exposes your dishonesty and deception.

  121. Zachriel: How can your children have 99% of the same DNA as you, 99% of the same DNA as your wife and yet each parent only contributes ~50% admixture of their DNA to the child?

    JoeG: They can’t. Which means your statement “In genetic terms, more than 99% of their genetic material will be exactly the same.” , is bogus.

    Sure they can (a logical possibility). And do (an empirical statement).

    ALL humans share 99% of their genomes as well as most of their salient morphological characteristics. Single nucleotide polymorphisms, most of which are unexpressed, account for about ~0.1% of the differences. Though both parents have an X-chromosome, only the male has a Y-chromosome, which accounts for about ~0.3% of the genome. Even then, a portion of the Y-chromosome is shared with the X-chromosome. Other differences include a variety of alleles which, though very similar, make each person a unique individual.

    Human Genome Project: Almost all (99.9%) nucleotide bases are exactly the same in all people.

    Human Genome Project: Each of us is a unique individual. Each of us has a genome, consisting of some 3.2 billion DNA bases inherited from our mother, plus an additional and very similar 3.2 billion inherited from our father. Each of us differs in DNA sequence by about 1 base in every thousand, for a total of between 3 and 6 million differences. While these differences underlie our uniqueness and individuality, it should be clear that we are about 99.9% the same as anyone else and this is true regardless of any distinctions based on ethnicity, race, gender, or anything else.

  122. Now, what part of the following DON’T you understand?:

    Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherited follows no determined pattern but rather some probability distribution.

    Notice it incorporates YOUR cited definition of “random” and uses it correctly.

    That you refuse to deal with that fact further exposes your dishonesty and deception.

    Any chance of you telling us which gene, genes or DNA sequence is responsible for us being a human? Because if you can’t then you just admitted your claim is not based on science. IOW “human” is not a heritable “trait”.

    It should also be noted it all depends on how that alleged 99% is measured. For example, one recombination can shift more than 1% of the genome. Therefore when compared side-by-side the genomes would be at least 1% different.

  123. Rodent’s bizarre traits deepen mystery of genetics, evolution

    Small rodents often confused for mice, except with shorter tails and beady eyes, voles live throughout the Northern Hemisphere and are often considered agricultural pests because they eat vegetation. Nevertheless, voles are an “evolutionary enigma” with many bizarre traits, DeWoody said. Understanding the basis for these traits could lead to better understanding of the same phenomena in human genetics and genetic disorders, and could have implications for gene therapy, he said.

    The study focuses on 60 species within the vole genus Microtus, which has evolved in the last 500,000 to 2 million years. This means voles are evolving 60-100 times faster than the average vertebrate in terms of creating different species. Within the genus (the level of taxonomic classification above species), the number of chromosomes in voles ranges from 17-64. DeWoody said that this is an unusual finding, since species within a single genus often have the same chromosome number.

    Among the vole’s other bizarre genetic traits:

    “¢In one species, the X chromosome, one of the two sex-determining chromosomes (the other being the Y), contains about 20 percent of the entire genome. Sex chromosomes normally contain much less genetic information.

    “¢In another species, females possess large portions of the Y (male) chromosome.

    “¢In yet another species, males and females have different chromosome numbers, which is uncommon in animals.

    A final “counterintuitive oddity” is that despite genetic variation, all voles look alike, said DeWoody’s former graduate student and study co-author Deb Triant.

    “All voles look very similar, and many species are completely indistinguishable,” DeWoody said.

    In one particular instance, DeWoody was unable to differentiate between two species even after close examination and analysis of their cranial structure; only genetic tests could reveal the difference.

    Nevertheless, voles are perfectly adept at recognizing those of their own species.

    And then we have some organisms with the exact same DNA yet which take on very different morphological designs- think termites and ants.

  124. JoeG: Any chance of you telling us which gene, genes or DNA sequence is responsible for us being a human? Because if you can’t then you just admitted your claim is not based on science. IOW “human” is not a heritable “trait” .

    That’s just silly. Being human is hereditary. Heredity is observed regardless of any particular theory of genetics.

    Zachriel: How can your children have 99% of the same DNA as you, 99% of the same DNA as your wife and yet each parent only contributes ~50% admixture of their DNA to the child?

    JoeG: They can’t. Which means your statement “In genetic terms, more than 99% of their genetic material will be exactly the same.” , is bogus.

    Sure they can (a logical possibility). And do (an empirical statement).

    You’re simply wrong, JoeG. Trying to divert the subject doesn’t help. When you admit your error, then reason and learning can begin.

  125. Zachriel:
    That’s just silly. Being human is hereditary.

    Citation please.

    Heredity

    In biology, heredity refers to the transfer of biological characteristics from a parent organism to offspring, and is practically a synonym for genetics, as genes are now recognized as the carriers of biological information. In humans, defining which characteristics of a final person are due to heredity and which are due to environmental influences is often controversial especially regarding complex traits such as intelligence and race.

    IOW it is EXACTLY as I stated earlier. Imagine that.

    Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherited follows no determined pattern but rather some probability distribution.

    Notice it incorporates YOUR cited definition of “random” and uses it correctly.

    That you refuse to deal with that fact further exposes your dishonesty and deception.

    IOW once again reality demonstrates YOU are the one diverting the subject. The subject is in bold and you most likely just ignored it AGAIN. Go figure…

  126. BTW Zachriel, if YOU are involved we can only learn how to be dishonest and deceptive. You tossed out “reasoning and learning” long ago.

  127. The scientist enjoys a privilege denied the theologian. To any question, even one central to his theories, he may reply “I’m sorry but I do not know.” This is the only honest answer to the question posed by the title of this chapter. We are fully aware of what makes a flower red rather than white, what it is that prevents a dwarf from growing taller, or what goes wrong in a paraplegic or a thalassemic. But the mystery of species eludes us, and we have made no progress beyond what we already have long known, namely, that a kitty is born because its mother was a she-cat that mated with a tom, and that a fly emerges as a fly larva from a fly egg.– geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti

    Imagine that- a geneticist who agrees with what I said.

  128. Zachriel: That’s just silly. Being human is hereditary.

    JoeG: Citation please.

    You must be kidding. You really want a cite to substantiate that being human is hereditary? I can’t imagine you could possibly do any more to undermine your credibility than to persist in this line of argument. Everyone can easily observe the basics of heredity.

    You might read your own wiki that points out that it’s been known since antiquity that “offsprings resembled their parents”. I already cited the Human Genome Project which indicates that all humans share nearly the exact same genetic sequence. Or you could check the National Center for Health Statistics. They report 14 human births per thousand humans. And it is something that you can try at home. Breed puppies or something. It seems pretty consistent. You might call this heredity-thing a non-random pattern.

    Meanwhile, you still haven’t corrected your false statement.

  129. This relates directly to the thread. How do we reach our conclusions in science? We start and end with objective observation. Observations are something we share, something about the world we can agree upon. Then, we form generalizations, testing these generalizations with new observations. If our predictions are reliable, we gain confidence in our generalizations.

    We observe a *pattern* in nature, that offspring resemble their parents.

  130. Zachriel:
    You really want a cite to substantiate that being human is hereditary?

    Seeing that a geneticist disagrees with you, yes in order to show ANY credibility at all you have to substantiate your claim.

    Show us Zachriel the gene, genes of DNA sequence that makes us human. Heredity is all about genes and DNA. And that is something you seem to not understand at all.

    Zachriel:
    You might read your own wiki that points out that it’s been known since antiquity that “offsprings resembled their parents” .

    I read that. However I also know THAT IS IRRELEVANT TO THE DISCUSSION AT HAND. But I don’t expect you to understand that basic and simple fact.

    Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherited follows no determined pattern but rather some probability distribution.

    Notice it incorporates YOUR cited definition of “random” and uses it correctly.

    That you refuse to deal with that fact further exposes your dishonesty and deception.

    IOW once again reality demonstrates YOU are the one diverting the subject. The subject is in bold and you most likely just ignored it AGAIN. Go figure”

    I see the vole post went right over your head- again. No surprise there.

    As for objective observations- that leaves Common Descent out of the picture.

  131. Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.- page10

    At least you seem to be off of your “Common Descent leads to nested hierarchy” nonsense. So at least we are making some progress.

    Oh, BTW, Zachriel, seeing that you NEVER admit to making a false statement even in the face of undeniable and overwhelming SCIENTIFIC data, you shouldn’t expect anyone to admit to making one based SOLELY on YOUR say-so.

  132. Heredity is not random. We can predict nearly all of the genetic and morphological characteristics of offspring.

    The environment is not random, e.g. gravity has very predictable consequences of some importance in biology.

    Mating is not random for many species as we can observe certain characteristics that allow differential mating success, e.g. buck deer fighting for control of a harem, physical attractiveness in humans, song in birds, etc.

    I mentioned that objective observation is the common ground of science. I have attempted to meet you on that common ground, to no avail. Any reader can make these observations themselves and determine the facts. This has nothing to do with any particular theory of biology. It has everything to do with the credibility of your claims.

  133. Zachriel:
    Heredity is not random. We can predict nearly all of the genetic and morphological characteristics of offspring.

    Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherited follows no determined pattern but rather some probability distribution.

    Notice it incorporates YOUR cited definition of “random” and uses it correctly.

    That you refuse to deal with that fact further exposes your dishonesty and deception.

    And I am sure that every reader understands the weaknesses of Zachriel’s arguments.

    Zachriel:
    I mentioned that objective observation is the common ground of science.

    And I mentioned that leaves Common Descent out of the realm of science.

    From the “Contemporary Discourse in the Field Of Biology” series I am reading Biological Evolution: An Anthology of Current Thought, edited by Katy Human:

    One suggestion- now discredited- was that selection acts not on individuals but on groups of organisms.-page 48

    The point being is that Zachriel was arguing for the “now discredited” notion that selection acts on populations, ie “groups of organisms”. IOW once again I have provided the evidence that demonstrates that Zachriel does not know what he is talking about.

    As for Zachriel’s other bald assertions about the environment and mating, I will leave that up to the readers. And seeing that everything else he has asserted has been shown to be incorrect the inference of the readers should be very clear.

    BTW Zachriel, you talking about credibility is hilarious. BTW there isn’t any common ground with you. That is because time and again you deny reality and instead rest your claims on unsupported assertions.

    The scientist enjoys a privilege denied the theologian. To any question, even one central to his theories, he may reply “I’m sorry but I do not know.” This is the only honest answer to the question posed by the title of this chapter. We are fully aware of what makes a flower red rather than white, what it is that prevents a dwarf from growing taller, or what goes wrong in a paraplegic or a thalassemic. But the mystery of species eludes us, and we have made no progress beyond what we already have long known, namely, that a kitty is born because its mother was a she-cat that mated with a tom, and that a fly emerges as a fly larva from a fly egg.— geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti

    Now who, in their right mind, would discard what a geneticist says in favor of what an anonymous internet chump asserts?

  134. JoeG: Notice it incorporates YOUR cited definition of “random” and uses it correctly.

    I do appreciate your attempt to use a valid definition of “random”, however, you are still confused. Please comment on these common applications of the concept of “randomness“.

    Consider the roll of a die. The roll of a true die is random. We can roll such a die all day and never discern a pattern sufficient to make an accurate prediction of the next series of rolls. But, if we roll a die a few hundred times and 99% of the time it comes up six, then we say the die is *biased*, not random. In other words, we can use the previous rolls to *predict* the next roll.

    A normal heartbeat is non-random, because even though its rate may change, and even though it may have random or chaotic fluctuations, each succeeding beat can be reasonably predicted by observing previous heartbeats.

    On heredity, we can predict nearly all of the genetic and morphological characteristics of offspring by examining the parents. This is non-random by definition. (I would also point out that you previously conflated the definition of heredity, the transmission of traits from one generation to the next, with the inferred mechanism. If we find that genes do not account for all aspects of heredity, we may change our theory of heredity, but the definition of heredity remains the same.)

  135. Consider a clonal population of E. coli. We can predict with great certainty the genetic and morphological characteristics of the offspring. However, not with absolute certainty. It turns out that variation occurs through a process of mutation. The mutation rate can be observed by a variety of methods to be 10^-6 and 10^-7 mutations per gene per generation. But we don’t say that heredity is random. We say that mutation is random (and even then there are some biases that may be detectable; for instance, some genes are more suseptible to mutation than others).

  136. Zachriel:
    I do appreciate your attempt to use a valid definition of “random” , however, you are still confused.

    Reality demonstrates any and all confusion is yours and yours alone. But your projection is duly noted.

    Zachriel:
    (I would also point out that you previously conflated the definition of heredity, the transmission of traits from one generation to the next, with the inferred mechanism. If we find that genes do not account for all aspects of heredity, we may change our theory of heredity, but the definition of heredity remains the same.)

    I will point out that I made no such conflation. I will also point out that today’s dicussion must use today’s definitions, today’s understandings and today’s evidence. IOW what the future may bring is irrelevant. And even though you hang your hat on irrelevancies everyone can see right through them.

    As for common applications of “random” just read a dictionary.

    Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherited follows no determined pattern but rather some probability distribution.*

    Notice it incorporates YOUR cited definition of “random” and uses it correctly. IOW Zachriel is once again shown to be FoS.

    That you refuse to deal with that fact further exposes your dishonesty and deception.

    *That is due to the fact of genetic recombinations. My claim is evidenced by the fact that with sexually reproducing organisms their offspring will not be an exact match of each other (with the exception of identical twins but even that is random).

    And again heartbeats are not random because they were designed with specifications.

    BTW I know kids who have blue, green and hazel eyes but both parents and all other siblings have brown eyes. IOW once again reality refutes you as eye color is a characteristic trait whereas being human is not.

  137. Zachriel:
    Consider a clonal population of E. coli.

    YOU can consider it all you want. However MY argument was and still is about sexually reproducing organisms.

    IOW once again you require some deception. Go figure. And I am sure that is not lost on anyone reading this.

  138. Careful definitions are the common ground of reason, just as objective observation is the common ground of science. It seems as if you just can’t sustain a line of discussion. You ignored my request for comment on the common application of the concept of randomness concerning the roll of a die.

    If a die consistently rolls 99 sixes out of a hundred, is that result considered random in your etymology? Or is the die considered biased?

  139. Zachriel:
    Careful definitions are the common ground of reason,

    And it is very telling that you refuse to abide by them. BTW what is a “careful definition”?

    YOU ignored ALL of my requests so far. That is also very telling. When a die can reproduce and metabolize, get back to me. Because if they cannot then your “analogy” is flawed, just like the rest of your “reasoning”.

  140. The thread concerns how science reaches its conclusions. Objective observation is the common ground of science, just as careful definitions are the common ground of reason. You refuse to try and explain how you use and apply your terminology (even on basic concepts that you have repeatedly invoked such as randomness) rendering your assertions meaningless. Thank you. That is sufficient.

  141. Zachriel:
    You refuse to try and explain how you use and apply your terminology

    I use and apply terminology the SAME way everyone else does-> by the ACCEPTED definitions. You know, the definitions you refuse to abide by.

    The following is an example:

    Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherited follows no determined pattern but rather some probability distribution.

    Notice it incorporates YOUR cited definition of “random” and uses it correctly. IOW Zachriel is once again shown to be FoS.

    And Common Descent is NOT based on objective observation.

    However you would know about meaningless assertions seeing that is all you have. That is more than sufficient.

  142. JoeG: Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    Sorry, that’s simply not true. I can reliably predict that your children will share 99.9% of your genomic sequence, as well as most salient morphological characteristics.

    Your problem is you don’t know the meanings of the words you use, you won’t agree to contingent definitions, and you don’t want to learn. I have attempted to engage you on the meaning of randomness and pattern. I have attempted to reach agreement on even the simplest of observations, because objective observation is the common ground of science, just as careful definitions are the common ground of reason. That you refuse to engage such a conversation is apparent to any fair reader. But hope springs eternal. This is an observational fact:

    We *observe* that offspring resemble their parents. This is called a “pattern”. We can make predictions concerning those offspring. That means heredity is non-random. This is the most fundamental observation about biology one can make.

  143. As you used the word “random” again, I will ask again that you comment on this discussion:

    Consider the roll of a die. The roll of a *true* die is random. We can roll such a die all day and never discern a pattern sufficient to make an accurate prediction of the next series of rolls. But, if we roll a die a few hundred times and 99% of the time it comes up six, then we say the die is *biased*, not random. In other words, we can use the previous rolls to *predict* the next roll.

  144. Zachriel, JoeG is right — can you provide a scientific source that defines heredity the way that you are using it? Remember SNP, genetic drift and Mendel’s recessive genes? Your definition of heredity is nonsensical.

  145. teleologist: Your definition of heredity is nonsensical.

    Zachriel: Heredity is the transmission of traits from one generation to the next.

    Human Genome Project: heredity: The handing down of certain traits from parents to their offspring. The process of heredity occurs through the genes.

    Stanford Encyclopedia: A heritable trait is most simply an offspring’s trait that resembles the parents’ corresponding trait. Inheritance or heredity was a focus of systematic research before its inclusion as a key concept within evolutionary theory.

    Northwestern University: heredity, The biological similarity of offspring and parents.

    There are two possible issues you might be having.

    Definitional: Heredity is the transmission of traits to the next generation. As this process is largely predictable, it is not random (any more than a radio signal with a bit of static is random). Modern science indicates that molecular genes are the primary mechanism of heredity (though possibly not the only mechanism), and the division between phenotype and genotype is so intrinsic to modern biology that the study of heredity is primarily the study of these molecular genes and how they are expressed.

    Randomness: A small measure of static (random noise) does not make the signal from a radio station random. Rather the signal is highly patterned. We say the static is random. But the signal itself is not random, or it wouldn’t be a signal. We say mutations are random, but heredity itself is not random, or it wouldn’t be heredity. Reproduction is the process of making accurate facsimiles, and is an essential quality of all living things. None of this is in the least controversial.

    In humans ~99.9% of heredity can be reliably predicted, and even the alleles that vary are usually very similar. That does not mean this variation isn’t important, because even a small advantage can translate into reproductive success.

    Niels Bohr and Albert Einsten were taking a walk in the woods, vigorously debating the philosophical underpinnings of quantum theory, when a gigantic bear suddenly burst out of the underbrush and raced toward them. Niels immediately whipped out his fine running shoes and began lacing them up.

    Einstein, furrowing his brow at Bohr, said: “Niels, there’s no way you can outrun that bear.”

    “That’s true,” Bohr calmly replied, “but I don’t need to outrun the bear. I only need to outrun you.”

    Thank you for asking, Teleologist. A well-framed question can often help put a discussion back on track.

  146. I think we can agree that there are aspects of heredity that include some arguably random components, such as mutation or sexual recombination. Variation in populations is the norm, not the exception. Again none of this is controversial, but directly observable.

    Britannica: The essence of heredity is the reproduction of the carriers of genetic information, the genes. As a result, biological organisms, including human beings, reproduce organisms resembling themselves; human children are always recognizably human and have phenotypes similar to those of their parents. On the other hand, since the offspring of sexually reproducing organisms receive varying combinations of genetic material from both parents, no two offspring (except for identical twins) have exactly the same genotype. This genetic diversity is always modified by an equally diverse environment, so the resulting phenotype is never exactly the same, even among identical twins.

    This became an issue because of JoeG’s insistence that heredity, the environment, and environmental and sexual selection were random. As these are directly observable to exhibit specific patterns, that means either JoeG doesn’t understand what constitutes randomness, or he has abandoned observation. Such an abandonment would be directly relevant to the thread topic.

    We may change our theory of gravity, but our observation of falling objects remains regardless. We may change our theory of genetics, but heredity remains.

  147. Zachriel: There are two possible issues you might be having.

    Definitional: Heredity is the transmission of traits to the next generation. ”

    Randomness: A small measure of static (random noise) does not make the signal from a radio station random. Rather the signal is highly patterned.

    Now you are just playing word games, of course we are talking about the randomness of heredity; which is at the heart of the debate between ID and Darwinism. The basis for Darwinian common descent is this “random” variation between successive generations. This is not predictable and is the root source for Darwinian speciation.

    BTW, your radio signal is a atrocious analogy of evolution and electronics.

  148. teleologist: BTW, your radio signal is a atrocious analogy of evolution and electronics.

    Um, my discussion of radio signals didn’t concern evolution, but the nature of randomness. Nor was it analogy, but a specific and well-known example of randomness.

    And again, this goes to the heart of the thread. How do we reach scientific conclusions? Objective observation is the common ground of science, just as careful definitions are the common ground of reason.

    If we can’t meet on this common ground, then no scientific or reasoned discussion is possible. Mysticism is an important and valid aspect of human existence, but don’t try to conflate mysticism with scientific investigation which has its own specific methodology for reaching its conclusions.

    It really isn’t that difficult. We start with *observation*.

  149. It really isn’t that difficult. We start with *observation*.

    It isn’t that hard but you seem to have a problem with even the simplest of definition.

    You don’t even understand what an analogy is. Your use of the radio signal example was an obvious analogy to how noise should be viewed in context of heredity, ergo evolution.

    Furthermore, you are still dodging the fact that you are unable to provide scientific sources to support your skewed understanding of heredity and randomness.

  150. teleologist: You don’t even understand what an analogy is. Your use of the radio signal example was an obvious analogy to how noise should be viewed in context of heredity, ergo evolution.

    The current subthread concerned the assertion that heredity is random. As this was a good example to discuss the main topic of the thread, I pursued this line of discussion.

    Either the commenter was confused on the nature of randomness or he had abandoned observation; and if reread my comments, you will find that that is the entire thrust of my response.

    Definitional: Radio static is not analogous to randomness; it is random. A radio station signal is not analogous to a pattern; it is a pattern (narrow-band). Noise in a radio signal does not make the radio signal itself random. Nor does random variation make heredity random.

    Observational: Organisms mate with organisms that resemble each other to produce offspring that resemble the parents. That is called a pattern. Heredity is non-random and that means it has predictable consequences. (You may have heard about those consequences in health class.)

    If we can’t agree on this common ground of observation, then there is no chance of a scientific discussion. Because to answer the question raised by this thread, observation is what makes science scientific. We should be able to share what we can observe. This should not even be an issue.

    So, if everone agrees that heredity is the *observed* pattern such that like organisms mate and produce like organisms, then we can begin a new thread on the long-term implication of imperfect replicators replicating imperfectly.

    teleologist: Furthermore, you are still dodging the fact that you are unable to provide scientific sources to support your skewed understanding of heredity and randomness.

    Gee whiz! I cited the Human Genome Project. heredity: The handing down of certain traits from parents to their offspring.

  151. Heredity is quite random because there is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent. IOW what will be inherited follows no determined pattern but rather some probability distribution.

    Notice it incorporates YOUR cited definition of “random” and uses it correctly. IOW Zachriel is once again shown to be FoS.

    Zachriel:
    Sorry, that’s simply not true. I can reliably predict that your children will share 99.9% of your genomic sequence, as well as most salient morphological characteristics.

    Again you respond with thge irrelevant.

    Zachriel:
    Your problem is you don’t know the meanings of the words you use,

    Reality demonstrates that is YOUR problem.

    Zachriel:
    you won’t agree to contingent definitions,

    I am using the defintion YOU provided! IOW you are a liar.

    In biology, heredity refers to the transfer of biological characteristics from a parent organism to offspring, and is practically a synonym for genetics, as genes are now recognized as the carriers of biological information. In humans, defining which characteristics of a final person are due to heredity and which are due to environmental influences is often controversial especially regarding complex traits such as intelligence and race.

    And being human is NOT a trait.

    And the ONLY way what traits can be predicted in any offspring is if every offspring from one set of parents has exactly the same genes and DNA. However science has shown us that only occurs in identical twins- and even then there can be some noticeable differences.

    Zachriel: Heredity is the transmission of traits from one generation to the next.

    Human Genome Project: heredity: The handing down of certain traits from parents to their offspring. The process of heredity occurs through the genes.

    And again “human” is NOT a trait. “Human” cannot be found in the genes. Eye color is a trait. And eye color can vary. Hair color is a trait. Hair loss is a trait.

    Zachriel’s problem is he doesn’t understand what a trait is nor does he understand the definitions HE provided. In comment 147 he provided a definition that agrees with everything I have been saying- and he doesn’t even realize that!

    BTW Zachriel my claims are all based on observation and backed up by science. YOU have provided the definitions which support what I have been saying. And apparently only you can’t understand that.

    So we start with an onbservation- say a population of chimps and humans. It pretty much ends there too- that is as far as science is concerned.

  152. JoeG: And the ONLY way what traits can be predicted in any offspring is if every offspring from one set of parents has exactly the same genes and DNA.

    This is incorrect. In humans, for instance, children share 99.9% of their genome with each of their parents. Consequently, we can reasonably predict a great number of important traits, including that they will have a eukaryote cell structure with a nucleus containing genetic material, that they will be animals ingesting food for energy, that they will have a head with an array of sensory organs, that they will have 24 vertebrae protecting a dorsal nerve cord, that they will have four limbs, two eyes, twelve-pair ribs, three ear bones in each of two ears, skin, hair, mammary glands, sexual organs, liver, kidney, intestines, lungs, and a complex brain capable of learning a vast array of cultural adaptations. Sometimes, we may not be able to reliably predict the color of their eyes, though. In other words, we can predict a vast number of salient characteristics.

    I challenge teleologist. At some point, most everyone has to decide between a comfortable belief and the truth.

  153. Zachriel:
    In humans, for instance, children share 99.9% of their genome with each of their parents.

    That has NOTHING to do with what TRAITS are going to appear.

    IOW again all you have to offer is a dose of #15:

    15. “If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent’s acceptance or rejection some true proposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject an obviously true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your side for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition, as in #14, or maintain that your original proposition is proved by what your opponent accepted. For this an extreme degree of impudence is required, but experience shows cases of it succeeding.”

    And you appear to do so as if it means something.

    1) Zachriel tried to advance an argument that is difficult to “prove” .
    2) He then offered up something that is totally meaningless in the context of the discussion as if it really was meaningful.
    3) This is pointed out (several times)

    It appears that Zachriel has decided for a comfortable belief. He has demonstrated is is not ointerested in the truth. That is sufficient.

  154. Zachriel: In humans, for instance, children share 99.9% of their genome with each of their parents.

    JoeG: That has NOTHING to do with what TRAITS are going to appear.

    One of the central facts determined by modern biology is molecular genetics, and the relationship between genotype and phenotype. In any case, we don’t have to have knowledge of modern genetics to know that many salient traits (but not all) are reliably passed on to children as noted above.

  155. Zachriel:
    One of the central facts determined by modern biology is molecular genetics, and the relationship between genotype and phenotype.

    That central “fact” has been refuted. Voles can have different genotypes and similar phenotypes. Geez ants in one colony have the same genotype but can have varying phenotypes. IOW you do NOT have the facts straight.

    trait

    A qualitative characteristic; a discrete attribute as contrasted with metrical character. A trait is amenable to segregation rather than quantitative analysis; it is an attribute of phenotype, not of genotype.

    The last 9 words demonstrate Zachriel’s lack of understanding reality.

    Biology: Concepts and Applications Starr 5th edition 2003:

    Humans live as long as the geneticists who study them, so tracking traits through generations is tedious. Most human families are not large, so there are not enough offspring for easy inferences about inheritance.- page 172

    For many genes, pedigree analysis might reveal simple Mendelian inheritance patterns that will allow inferences about the probability of their transmission to children.- page 173

    Imagine that. A university level biology textbook that agrees with me.

    BTW-

    salient

    1. moving by leaps or springs; leaping; bounding; jumping. Frogs and salient animals.

    2. shooting out up; springing; projecting. He had in himself a salient, living spring of generous and manly action. (Burke)

    3. Hence, figuratively, forcing itself on the attention; prominent; conspicuous; noticeable. He [Grenville] had neither salient traits, nor general comprehensiveness of mind. (Bancroft)

    4. (Science: mathematics) Projectiong outwardly; as, a salient angle; opposed to reentering.

    5. Represented in a leaping position; as, a lion salient. Salient angle. See Salient.

    (Science: geometry) Salient polygon, a polyhedron all of whose solid angles are salient.

    And as I have already noted- “human” is not a trait. It is not in the genes and it is not in the DNA. And no one even knows if that can be changed by any mechanism.

  156. JoeG: And the ONLY way what traits can be predicted in any offspring is if every offspring from one set of parents has exactly the same genes and DNA.

    You keep repeating this falsehood, which is easily verified. Breed some puppies or something.

    salient, of notable significance.

  157. Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology — Martini fifth edition 2001

    Your genotype is derived from the genotypes of your parents. Yet you are not an exact copy of either parent; nor are you an easily identifiable mixture of their characteristics.- page 1090

    Encyclopedia Britannica 2004:

    Mendel disproved the blood theory. He showed (1) that heredity is transmitted through factors(now called genes) that do not blend but segregate, (2) that parents transmit only one-half of the genes they have to each child, and they transmit different sets of genes to different children, and (3) that, although brothers and sisters receive their heredities from the same parents, they do not receive the same heredities (an exception is identical twins). Mendel thus showed that, even if the eminence of some ancestor were entirely the reflection of his genes, it is quite likely that some of his descendants, especially the more remote ones, would not inherit these “good” genes at all. In sexually reproducing organisms, humans included, every individual has a unique hereditary endowment. (bold added)

    human traits

    Many of you are already familiar with many of the genetic traits of humans such as baldness, eye color, color blindness and blood types. One often forgets that more familiar characters such as size and position of eyes, number and shape of fingers, total body size and body proportion may also be genetically determined (although such characters as body size may be profoundly influenced by environment). The tremendous number of genetic traits makes humans extremely variable. With the exception of identical twins, it is highly improbable that any two persons will have the same (or even similar) combinations of genetically determined traits.

    JoeG: And the ONLY way what traits can be predicted in any offspring is if every offspring from one set of parents has exactly the same genes and DNA.

    Zachriel:
    You keep repeating this falsehood,

    I am sure it is not lost on the readers that I keep substantiating my claims all the while Zachriel keeps making bald assertions and false accusations.

    I want to thank Zachriel for continuing to demonstrate his ignorance and inability to deal with reality.

  158. JoeG: And the ONLY way what traits can be predicted in any offspring is if every offspring from one set of parents has exactly the same genes and DNA.

    That’s not what your cites support. Let’s consider a somewhat different statement. “The ONLY way we can predict EVERY and ALL traits is if every offspring from one set of parents has exactly the same genes and DNA.” But even this statement is incorrect. Identical twins are not identical. Phenotype is somewhat dependent on the environment, including during development.

    But that wasn’t your statement which precludes predicting any traits. In fact, we can predict the vast majority of traits of offspring.

    Try an experiment. Let’s look at just one parent. A mother.

    Looking only at her, we can predict that her offspring will have eukaryote cell structure with organelles including mitochondria, will ingest food for energy, will have a head with an array of sense organs, and a series of vertebrae protecting a dorsal nerve cord. We can even predict that the offspring will have a scapula that forms the posterior part of the shoulder girdle, a flat, triangular bone, with a broad concavity, the subscapular fossa. We can predict thousands of such details, including that the offspring will have a gene sequence that is a 99+% match to the mother regardless of the identity of the father.

    Your statement is false. But if you were to claim that we can’t predict every single trait, then that was noted a long-time previously.

  159. I think you have a tendency to confuse words with the things themselves.

    “Trait” is such a word. 1) One meaning is a characteristic feature of an organism. 2) The other meaning is a characteristic feature that distinguishes individuals. While we can’t predict all individualized traits (2), we can predict nearly every salient characteristic feature (1). Pointing to distinguishing features of individuals (2) does not make heredity (1) random.

    trait a: a distinguishing quality (as of personal character) b: an inherited characteristic

    Offspring resemble their parents. There is a correlation of observable characteristics, morphological and genetic, between parents and their offspring. That means heredity is non-random. That’s the whole point of reproduction.

  160. JoeG: And the ONLY way what traits can be predicted in any offspring is if every offspring from one set of parents has exactly the same genes and DNA.

    Zachriel:
    That’s not what your cites support.

    Yes they do- absolutely and without doubt- that is to objective people.

    Zachriel:
    But that wasn’t your statement which precludes predicting any traits.

    Seeing that I never said nor implied such a thing would mean that you are a liar. Or a fool. Or perhaps just a foolish liar.

    My ORIGINAL claim:

    There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.– Which is supported by the cites I provided.

    Which os supported by:

    In sexually reproducing organisms, humans included, every individual has a unique hereditary endowment.

    However it is very telling that ALL you can offer in response are repeated doses of #15:

    15. “If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent’s acceptance or rejection some true proposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject an obviously true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your side for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition, as in #14, or maintain that your original proposition is proved by what your opponent accepted. For this an extreme degree of impudence is required, but experience shows cases of it succeeding.”

    And you appear to do so as if it means something.

    1) Zachriel tried to advance an argument that is difficult to “prove” .
    2) He then offered up something that is totally meaningless in the context of the discussion as if it really was meaningful.
    3) This is pointed out (several times)
    4) Zachriel doesn’t bat an eye and just continues flaunting his willingness to confuse a discussion by hanging on to irrelevancies.

    And again- it ALL depends on HOW the genomes are measured. It was once thought that chimps and human genomes were 99% identical. But that was due to faulty methodology.

    It would also help Zachriel’s credibilty if he provided a citation that supports his use of “traits”. But I know he won’t. I know that because he doesn’t have a clue and there isn’t anyone to support him.

    List of traits

    Does anyone see anything that Zachriel mentions? (hint: NO)

  161. Zachriel:
    I think you have a tendency to confuse words with the things themselves.

    1) You have demonstrated an inability to think.
    2) You have a tendency to project your inadeqecies.
    3) You have a tendency to conflate your stupidty for actual reality.
    4) You don’t have any clue as to what you are talking about.

    Your genotype is derived from the genotypes of your parents. Yet you are not an exact copy of either parent; nor are you an easily identifiable mixture of their characteristics.- page 1090

    And 5) I have provided citations that support my claim. All Zachriel has provided are lies, misrepresentations, deception, bald assertions and false accusations.

    And that is sufficient.

  162. Zachriel: But that wasn’t your statement which precludes predicting any traits.

    JoeG: Seeing that I never said nor implied such a thing would mean that you are a liar. Or a fool. Or perhaps just a foolish liar. My ORIGINAL claim: There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.- Which is supported by the cites I provided.

    Let’s look at your statement closely. There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    But that just isn’t true. We can predict that a human parent will have children with mitochodria and vertebrae. These are inherited characteristics.

  163. What part of the following don’t you understand Zachriel?:

    (2) that parents transmit only one-half of the genes they have to each child, and they transmit different sets of genes to different children, and (3) that, although brothers and sisters receive their heredities from the same parents, they do not receive the same heredities (an exception is identical twins).

    That supports what I stated. That you can’t understand that simple fact just further exposes your agenda of deception and refusal to deal with reality. Thanks again.

  164. Zachriel:
    Let’s look at your statement closely. There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    But that just isn’t true. We can predict that a human parent will have children with mitochodria and vertebrae. These are inherited characteristics.

    That you would continue to use that just exposes your ignorance. And it appears you wear that ignorance as a badge of honor. IOW that has NOTHING to do with what I said and they are NOT considered traits.

  165. JoeG: 2) that parents transmit only one-half of the genes they have to each child, and they transmit different sets of genes to different children, and (3) that, although brothers and sisters receive their heredities from the same parents, they do not receive the same heredities (an exception is identical twins).

    That is correct. However, almost all of those genes are identical. We are often interested in the genes that vary, but that does not make heredity random. Heredity is non-random and largely predictable.

    Can we reasonably predict that the number of vertebrae in human offspring will be the same as either of their parents? If so, then this is a non-random correlation.

  166. JoeG: IOW that has NOTHING to do with what I said and they are NOT considered traits.

    University of Michigan Museum of Zoology:

    Some characteristics shared by most or all vertebrates (in addition to those traits shared among all chordates) include the following (after Hickman, 1994):

    integument of two divisions, including an outer epidermis and an inner dermis; integument often modified to produce hair, scales, feathers, glands, horn, etc.
    replacement of notochord by vertebral column more or less complete, depending on group
    bony or cartilaginous endoskeleton consisting of cranium, visceral arches, limb girdles, and 2 pairs of appendages
    muscular, perforated pharynx; this structure is the site of gills in fishes but is much reduced in adult land-dwelling forms (although it is extremely important in embryonic development of all vertebrates)
    movements provided by muscles attached to endoskeleton
    digestive system with large digestive glands, liver, and pancreas
    ventral heart with 2-4 chambers
    blood with red blood corpuscles containing hemoglobin, and in addition, white corpuscles
    well developed body cavity (coelom) containing visceral systems
    paired kidneys with ducts to drain waste to exterior
    most vertebrates with two sexes, each with paired gonads (there are some exceptions)
    general body plan consisting of head, trunk, 2 pairs of appendages, and postanal tail (but these structures are highly modified in many vertebrates and sometimes absent).

    These traits are shared by vertebrates, including humans. If the word “trait” confuses you, then use a synonym.

    heredity, The biological similarity of offspring and parents.

  167. Here’s a second cite so you can see the consistent use of the word “trait”.

    Sam Houston State University, Department of Biological Sciences

    Vertebrates may be characterized by 12 general derived characteristics. You should become very familiar with these traits, and identify how they are expressed in the vertebrates you will see in lab.

    1. Bilateral symmetry
    2. Two pairs of jointed locomotor appendages, which can include fins (pectoral and anal/dorsal fins, as well as the forelimbs and hindlimbs).
    3. Outer covering of protective cellular skin, which can be modified into special structures such as scales, hair and feathers
    4. Metamerism found in skeletal, muscular and nervous system. This was described in a previous lecture – structures can include ribs, vertebrae, muscles and ganglia/peripheral nerves.
    5. Well-developed coelom, or body cavity completely lined with epithelium (cellular tissue), that may be divided into 2 to 4 compartments.
    6. Well-developed internal skeleton of cartilage and bone, separated into axial skeleton (skull, vertebrae, ribs, sternum) and appendicular skeleton (girdles and appendages).
    7. Highly developed brain enclosed by skull, and nerve cord enclosed by vertebrae. This provides advanced neural structures that are highly protected from damage.
    8. Well-developed sense organs (eyes, ears, nostrils) located on the head (cephalization).
    9. Respiratory system, including either gills or lungs, and located closely to the pharynx or throat.
    10. Closed circulatory system with ventral heart and median dorsal artery.
    11. Genital and excretory systems closely related, utilizing common ducts and pathways.
    12. Digestive tracts with two major digestive glands (liver and pancreas) that secrete into it.

    Instead of becoming mired in semantic issues, and accusing people who don’t understand you of deception, try to carefully rephrase your assertions.

    Can we reasonably predict that the number of vertebrae in human offspring will be the same as either of their parents? If so, then this is a non-random correlation of hereditary characteristics.

  168. There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.

    Every NORMAL person capable of thinking and reasoning understands what is meant by that.

    Zachriel sez that my statement is false because he can twist it in his warped mind. He states that “human” is inherited. When pointed out that “human” is not a trait, he then lists all of the charcteristics which classify something as being “human”.

    Then when that is pointed out to be deceptive hubris, he repeats it ad inifium, ad nauseum.

    Zachriel:
    However, almost all of those genes are identical.

    And the fact the the rest may or may not be SUPPORTS MY CLAIM! And with recombination, an OBSERVED mechanism, being the rule, my claim is supported by observation.

  169. JoeG: There is no way to tell what will be inherited from which parent.
    Every NORMAL person capable of thinking and reasoning understands what is meant by that.

    You claimed that heredity was random. Yet, the vast majority of characteristics of offspring can be predicted by looking at the characteristics of the parent (albeit, a few that can’t). I have provided cites from a variety of sources, including the Human Genome Project. You are either confused on the meanings of the terms, or have abandoned observation.

    Can we reasonably predict that the number of vertebrae in human offspring will be the same as either of their parents? If so, then this is a non-random correlation of hereditary characteristics. And there are many others.

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