Dismantling Irreducible Complexity

Microbiologist Michael Behe coined the term “irreducible complexity” to describe a system in which every part is mandatory. Here is his 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. (Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box [Touchstone, 1996], p. 39)

Let’s look at a popular example, the remarkable bacterial flagellum. Built of several dozen different protein types, this tiny motor with a whip-like appendage can propel a bacterium 60 cell lengths per second. Compare this to the cheetah, the fastest land animal, which sprints at 25 body lengths per second. (Here’s a video showing the structure of the flagellum.)

The irreducible complexity claim is this: imagine turning the clock of evolution back. Which protein was the last to be put in place? Pick any of them—the resulting one-protein-less motor wouldn’t work. So if one step back in time from a working flagellum is something useless, no matter which protein you remove, why would evolution have created this thing? Evolution doesn’t spend effort slowly building elaborate nonfunctioning appendages on the remote chance that with a few more mutations over 100,000 generations it might get lucky and create something useful. But Intelligent Design comes to the rescue by postulating a Designer that put everything together all at once.

A parallel example

We can topple this thinking by considering an arch. Which was the last stone to be put in place in an arch? If you try to turn the clock back by removing the central keystone, the arch falls. So that couldn’t have been last. But try removing any stone from the arch and the same thing happens. This makes the arch irreducibly complex, using this Intelligent Design thinking, with a Designer levitating the stones into place all at once as the only explanation.

But of course this is nonsense. If you imagine watching a movie of the building of an arch played backwards, the first change you’d see was not a stone removed but the last piece of scaffolding put into place. Then the remainder of the scaffolding to support the stones, then the stones removed one at a time, and then the scaffolding removed.

In the same way, the step that preceded the bacterial flagellum might have been the removal of an unnecessary piece of scaffolding.

What is “the” bacterial flagellum?

Another problem with the irreducible complexity idea is that it imagines a single, beautiful design. In fact, there are many varieties, just as you’d expect with a messy process like evolution. Look in the other domains of life (Archaea and our domain of Eukarya) and you find even more variety.


The bacterial flagellum might have evolved from the Type III secretory system, a needle-like structure used to detect and infect other cells. For example, the bacterium that causes bubonic plague uses this mechanism to inject toxins. Look to other domains, and other predecessors are possible. These plausible stepping stones show how the flagellum might have evolved.

For a layman like me, the bottom line is that this decades-old argument has had plenty of time to be evaluated, and it hasn’t convinced biologists. Evolution stands.

Science may well have unanswered questions regarding the origin of the flagellum, but “I don’t know” is no reason to invent a Designer. And you can be sure that once the origin of the bacterial flagellum is sufficiently well understood, this argument will be discarded like a used tissue and some other complex feature of biology (and there’s always something) will be seized upon by the Intelligent Design advocate as the wooden stake that will finally destroy the monster that is evolution.

If the past is any indication, our ID friend will have a very long wait.

The question I get asked by religious people all the time is,

without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want?
And my answer is: I do rape all I want.
And the amount I want is zero.
And I do murder all I want,
and the amount I want is zero.
The fact that these people think
that if they didn’t have this person watching over them
that they would go on killing, raping rampages
is the most self-damning thing I can imagine.
— Penn Jillette

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 1/28/12.)

Photo credit: adair broughton

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  • Y. A. Warren

    “I don’t know” is no reason to invent a Designer.

    “I don’t know” is really the most honest answer to all of the big questions on earth. All “knowledge” is actually the prevailing accepted theory, based on what we know today. I am comfortable with mystery that has no name, but I think I’m in the minority of people. My big beef, as I think it is with atheists, is those who have the arrogance to pretend they know what they don’t.

    I have taken to answering questions with a preface: “My understanding is…” or “My experience is…” or “This is my observed experience of…”

    • MNb

      The way you use the word “knowledge” here it has lost all meaning, so you should not use it anymore indeed.
      That doesn’t imply that your analysis applies to any other people.
      Note that I have comparable objections to the word “truth”. Of course most of the times it’s perfectly possible to find out what other people mean with it.

      • Y. A. Warren


        • MNb

          Now that’s a smart answer.

        • Y. A. Warren

          Who made you the arbiter of truth and/or knowledge?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          “The ultimate arbiter of truth is experiment, not the comfort one derives from one’s a priori beliefs, nor the beauty or elegance one ascribes to one’s theoretical models.” – Lawrence M Krauss

        • Y. A. Warren

          And many theories are widely accepted while they are tested. There are few, maybe no, absolutes in nature.

        • Greg G.

          Atheists who participate in online conversations tend to hold knowledge to a standard of being obtained by the best method for obtaining knowledge. The human brain was forced to make quick decisions based on limited knowledge in the life and death struggles for existence, but we have developed methods to eliminate the hasty conclusions of natural limitations. When a better method of obtaining knowledge comes along, we’ll adopt that one.

        • Y. A. Warren

          Do atheists accept that emotion exists?

        • Greg G.

          Yes or no depending on whether you are referring to some atheists or all atheists. I know there is at least one atheist who consider emotions to be processes in the brain. Some are rooted in the parts of the brain that are evolutionarily ancient (fear, for example) while others may come from more recent evolutionary developments.

        • Y. A. Warren

          We can’t actually see emotions, but we can see the areas of the brain that are excited by them. There is some evidence of a “God” center in the brain. What excites this area also can’t be seen, but I am willing to admit that some have this center excited by certain electrical impulses. I am simply sick of the charlatans that act as if they can see the impulses and insist that all accept their descriptions of the “God” they see.

          I accept energy, both positive and negative. I also accept that we experience energy in many manifestations. The manifestations that incite awe in me, I often feel are sacred. I also accept that what I see as sacred others may experience as scary. I guess this may make me a marginal atheist.

        • Greg G.

          The fact that the sense of awe can be triggered by so many things shows us that it should not be expected to be anymore reliable for detecting actual sacredness than a child’s fear is reliable for detecting actual monsters under the bed. Those are types of things we should be skeptical of, even if they “feel” real.

        • Y. A. Warren

          Is there any “actual” sacredness? It seems that the sacred is a very personal thing, just like fear and other emotions. My interest in the spiritual is to attempt to re-frame much of what I hear as “fear of God” into a conversation revolving around awe.

        • Greg G.

          I can’t say whether there is a sacredness as we have no way to detect it objectively in order to separate it from a mental illusion of a super-enlarged monkey brain. We are susceptible to processing shortcuts for emergency situations that don’t have a selective disadvantage in non-emergencies. Fear can keep you safe when there is danger is present but we qlwo fear non-existent things. We cannot detect ultraviolet light directly but we can measure it by other means. Our direct perceptions tell us the world is flat. We shouldn’t trust our senses beyond their reliable limits. We feel awe for many things even when the experience is mundane to others. That shows that the experience is subjective. You would have to have a method to measure awe apart from the senses to say it is an actual phenomenon. The mind can imagine more things than can be detected because the mind can conceive of imaginary things. Be skeptical until you are sure you are not imagining things.

        • Y. A. Warren

          I am a writer because I enjoy using and sharing my rich imagination. Because so many are scared into believing in what others imagine about “gods,” I attempt to give them another way to frame their own experiences, both real and imaginary. this is empowering to many who had no idea they had that option.

        • MNb

          “I attempt to give them ….”
          Who asked you?

          “this is empowering to many”
          Names, quotes please. Because on this site nobody seems to care.

        • MNb

          Well, no atheist argues that emotions “exist” independently outside of the brain. Quite a lot theists state that “God exists” independently outside of the brain.
          Define energy and then tell me how to determine it. If you can’t it only has meaning for you and has nothing to do with the concept as used in physics.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Do atheists accept that emotion exists?

          Total WTF, dude. Of course they do. Charles Darwin wrote a book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Why would any atheist deny the existence of emotions?

        • Y. A. Warren

          So much of the conversation coming from atheists seems to be asking for all beliefs to be proven. We know emotions exist, but I’m not sure we can prove exactly what and where they are in every case. This is what led to my question.

        • MNb

          Where did I claim to be the arbiter of truth and/or knowledge?

  • MNb

    Terminology like this – Jeffrey Shallitt wrote a similar article last wednesday – only consists of fancy words to woo the audience. As soon as someone tries to put it in practice either it doesn’t work – it doesn’t give us any concrete information – or it refutes ID.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    We can topple this thinking by considering an arch. Which was the last stone to be put in place in an arch?

    A further example, which further removes the aspect of design from the process, is to imagine a natural stone arch. Here there is no “scaffolding” put in place, but instead an erosion of the underlying structure. No designer, and no builder, required.

  • GubbaBumpkin
  • Greg G.

    Behe was refuted about 80 years before he published. Nobel Prize recipient Hermann Muller predicted that evolution would produce what he called “interlocking complexity”.

    Talk.Origins CB200

    • The characteristic of design is simplicity. What we see in the cell is a Rube Goldberg machine.

      • Greg G.

        Natural selection can reduce complexity, too. I understand that most cells have lots of junk DNA but some microorganisms that must reproduce quickly have shed the junk from their cells.

        Even a Rube Goldberg device is irreducibly simple. Remove either the ball or the rails it runs on and your egg doesn’t get cracked.

        • Interesting about junk DNA. The amoeba has the most DNA (200x longer than humans). I imagine useless DNA has some downside, which would drive the pruning process? Or maybe there’s simply no evolutionary pressure to keep the useless baggage, so a mutation that drops it is never undone.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          What’s in Your Genome?

          Biochemist and textbook author Larry Moran runs the numbers on junk DNA vs. essential/functional DNA. It has become popular, even among geneticists who should know better (I’m looking at you, DECODE Project), to claim that every newly discovered piece of functional DNA is a rollback of junk DNA. Not so.

        • I’m not following your penultimate sentence. What claim are you rejecting?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          There is a misunderstanding, mostly in the mainstream media, but sometimes also by scientists, that “Junk DNA” means DNA that does not constitute genes that code for proteins. Thus, every time someone discovers a new piece of functional DNA, you can find articles and headlines like this:

          Un-Junking Junk DNA

          This is entirely stupid, since “Junk DNA” does not mean, and has never meant simply “noncoding DNA.” Rather, it refers to the majority of our genomes which consists of broken remnants of transposons and retroviruses, highly repetitive sequences, etc.

        • Another point of confusion is that Junk = Garbage. It’s like a junk yard–maybe that piece of junk will never be used, but who knows?

        • Lark62

          What intelligent designer would create a planet full of Rube Goldberg machines? Pick up any decent book on evolution and read about about vestigial traits. Every living thing on earth evolved from a previous species, thus each being is an adaptation of the prior being rather than a new independent creation. Each living thing uses the structures and features it inherited even if any sensible designer could have found a much more efficient way of accomplishing a task.

          What creator would create a whale with hind leg bones imbedded in its abdomen? What creator would create a snake with a pelvis? What creator would would give a giraffe a recurrent laryngeal nerve that is 20 feet longer than necessary just so it can follow the same path that that nerve follows in a fish. The path is efficient in a fish, but absurd in a giraffe. Why would a creator give humans tail bones? Why would a creator give us muscles for raising fur or feathers, when we have neither fur nor feathers? In animals, raising fur or feathers is used for warmth, and/or to appear larger to scare off predators. But we humans still get “goose bumps” when cold or scared but it doesn’t do us any good.

          If there is an “intelligent” designer, he’s an idiot.

  • Greg G.

    I’ve always thought it should be called “Irreducible Simplicity”. That’s when evolution produces a very complex design for a system, then simplifies it to its bare minimum.

    • Lark62

      Irreducible stupidity, perhaps.

  • Little_Magpie

    slightly off-topic: I sure do love that quote from Penn Jillette.

    • Pofarmer

      Penn Gillette is teh awesome.

    • Sven2547

      Me too.
      I’ve invented a phrase for the dumb apologetic argument Penn is referring to: “sociopath on a leash”.

      If your religious faith is what stops you from raping and murdering, that doesn’t make you a good person, that makes you a sociopath on a leash.

  • wladyslaw

    You conveniently forgot that EVERY stone in that archway was DESIGNED to be there to form the future arch.

    • MNb

      You conveniently forget that we, thanks to science, have a very good idea who the DESIGNER was, what he/she did, when he/she did it, which means he/she used and which procedures he/she used. That’s because that DESIGNER was made of flesh and blood, ie material. The DESIGNER as proposed by ID: not at all.
      You’re presenting a false analogy, which has been known for decades.

    • tyler

      also, those stones are made of minerals, not dna! and the people that built that arch had nipples! and they got their knowledge of how to build arches from an older and more experienced tradesman!

      analogies only go so far. arguing your point based on the merits of the analogy rather than the underlying principle is either disingenuous or stupid

      • wlad


        The builders of the arch were INTELLIGENT, experienced tradesmen.

        No one coming upon an arch would think that it happened as a result of accidental processes of nature.

        But, come upon the flagellum (did you check out the video?), and you see an extremely complicated motor, with the removal of ANY of its many, many parts would effectively STOP the motor from functioning.
        In a GUIDED process, the step by step process of assembling this complicated motor makes logical sense–we know the purpose of each part, and how they will all work together for the purpose of locomotion. And so even if the all the parts are not working before the whole motor is assembled, we know they will when finished. The assembly of this motor is planned.

        Evolutionists would have us believe that ALL the parts of this complicated motor–and EACH part of this motor is necessary for the whole to work–evolved accidentally, and that each part was added to the incomplete motor, conferring some kind of evolutionary advantage totally apart from the future working flagellum– that part could not do its job unless the whole was complete. Each part relates to the whole future motor, but remember, the motor as a guided goal is not allowed in evolution.
        And so all these interrelated motor parts that don’t work until they are all together, are aimlessly gathering together for evolutionary advantages different from the future motor. At some magic

        moment the last part evolves, all the parts now happen to work TOGETHER for a totally new advantage-locomotion!

        And then, after all these unworking parts come together, somehow
        just the right power source to make this now completed motor actually turn arrives to make the working flagellum actually finally work.

        Yeah, right!

        • Wlad: I’d love to engage with an actual response, but if you simply restate your position and ignore what I’ve stated here, there’s nothing much to say.

        • wlad

          “But Intelligent Design comes to the rescue by postulating that the Designer that put everything together at once.”

          Absolutely not true! ID says NOTHING about how long a process takes. It does say that all the steps leading to the completion of a flagellum were intelligently GUIDED toward a purpose–a working mechanism for locomotion. A particular part might not itself provide locomotion, but it was part of the future motor. Every new part was exactly able to fit into the final product, and work together at the end–even if they could not do locomotion by themselves. It might have taken a million steps, but only if this process was DIRECTED would it lead to locomotion. An Apple computer assembler in China could put together a thousand parts in a guided fashion to produce a computer. All the parts are totally useless if the assembly is unguided. None of the necessary parts will become a computer without the working computer being a goal from the very beginning.
          Locomotion was not just a fortuitous result of an unguided process. It was a goal from the beginning.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Locomotion was not just a fortuitous result of an unguided process. It was a goal from the beginning.

          We’re now at the part where you are being asked to provide evidence to back up your assertion.

        • wlad

          Well, let’s look at the possible choices.

          Flagellum, a complex motor, composed of different well-matched parts, each part contributing to the function of the motor, and the removal of any part causes the motor not to function.

          Evolutionists–all these well-matched parts evolved because they conferred some survival advantage–the shaft of the motor, the stator, the rings, the power that makes the motor move. NONE of these helped the original “pre” motor to move. They just helped in some way for the “pre”-motor to SURVIVE. And somehow the shaft and the rings and the stator and the other parts–all non-moving– assembled in such a complementary way, that when the final part evolved to help this non-moving pre-motor to survive, the parts began to work together in an entirely new way, and now it not only survived. it began to function as a motor All along in the process it did not need to move to survive. But now, whatever function all these sub parts had, they now now were an in integral part of a motor to provide locomotion. A marvelous, fortuitous collection.

          Intelligent Design looks at the flagellum and says this complex motor with complementary well-matched parts, and needing ALL the parts to function, could only come into existence as a result of an intelligent GUIDED process–all the parts “evolved” moving toward a GOAL–a functioning motor capable of providing locomotion, and not as a result of series of lucky accidents that resulted in a motor.
          Logic and normal life experience recognizes the reality of the latter.

        • ID takes no effort to explain God, where he came from, how likely this shy guy is to actually exist, and so on. You gonna spill the beans and resolve this puzzles for us?

          If you are actually curious (instead of just clumsily fighting a rear-guard action), you could read up on the flagellum and where it is thought to have come from (y’know–besides the mind of God).

        • wlad

          ID makes NO reference to God. Please stop bringing Him up.
          When I say that intelligent design accounts for your arch, I do not mean God. I mean that when we look at artifacts around us, we quickly decide if they were the result of natural forces, or intelligent design. The brick arch, or the natural arch in Grands Canyon.

        • God, Ultimate Poo-bah, whatever. ID posits a supernatural sugar daddy who did it all. My questions remain.

          you act like there’s some puzzle here. We know about manmade arches or clocks. We know about crystals or canyons. And we know where they came from. And evolution tells us where life came from.

          Stamping your little feet because you don’t like the consequences of evolution doesn’t do much to make an effective argument.

        • wladyslaw

          Sorry Bob,
          Evolution has nothing to say about where life comes from.

        • wladyslaw

          Evolution has said nothing about the origin of life.

        • MNb

          Evolution isn’t about the origin of life. That branch is called abiogenesis. If you’d take the effort to read about it you might notice that it has made more progress you’d probably like to admit.

        • wlad

          They are trying like crazy. But every new try bumps up against scientific reality.

        • MNb

          Evolution theory is founded on three empirical pillars:

          1. fossils. It has correctly predicted in the past where we can find them. I refer to Tiktaalik.
          2. mutations. Have been observed in labs.
          3. speciation. Has been observed since more than 100 years. My compatriot Hugo de Vries probably was the first.

          ID nor any other form of creationism has anything that compares. It’s only good for made up stuff in retrospect.

        • Obviously. No one said that it did.

        • wladyslaw

          Look at your last previous comment
          “you act like there’s some puzzle here. We know about manmade arches or clocks. We know about crystals or canyons. And we know where they came from. And evolution tells us where life came from.”

          You said it.

          So did you really mean that evolution does NOT tell us where life came from?

        • “why life is the way it is” is what I meant.

        • MNb

          Evolution theory is about the origin of species, ie answers the question why there is such a variety of species on Earth. BobS knows this very well.
          Like with every creationist your comments get sillier and sillier.

        • wlad

          Bob explained .he didn’t mean it. See below

        • GubbaBumpkin

          ID makes NO reference to God. Please stop bringing Him up. When I say that intelligent design accounts for your arch, I do not mean God.

          The list of candidates for designer – and implementer – of the flagellum billions of years ago is rather short. If not God, then who?

          We need to know this so we can look for hallmarks of that particular candidate’s construction techniques.

        • wlad

          “Humans have always wondered about the meaning of life…life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the survival of DNA…life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.1 –Richard Dawkins”

          People may say they believe that , but I never met a
          single atheist who lives it.

        • Another opportunity for you to explain your theory flushed down the toilet. Well, why go for evidence when you have dogma to defend, eh?

          And today’s your lucky day! Life indeed has no ultimate purpose, no ultimate evil/good, etc. It is indeed indifferent to us (if we want to pretend that it could care). Atheists make their own purpose and find their own good, just like Christians. As for the ultimate kind … I’ve yet to read an explanation, though Christians have been making the bold claims for years.

        • wlad

          Dawkins said no good, no evil, None. Nada. He did not say no ultimate no good. No good or evil.

          Why are you blogging as an atheist? You atheists “find their own good.” Wonderful!
          Compare with other atheists about their “created good.”
          Talk with them about the beauties of atheism.

          But most of your posts are directed at believers in God, or unbelievers in evolution. I don’t think most of your arguments against believers and evolution doubters are aimed at atheists–unless you think some are wavering and need extra pep talks.

          Is your “created good” better than the “created” good of believers? Can’t do that, right. No objective reference, right?

          Why blog, other than entertainment?

          Why do you so strongly WANT the world to believe in unguided evolution, and try so hard to convince others.
          Remember, there is no good, only what you create

        • Christians say “no good, no bad.” They don’t always say “ultimate,” though that’s what they mean.

        • I want people to find the truth. Have I been confused? Am I on the wrong path? I’ll happily change if I find a more accurate claim.

          How about you? Are you following the evidence, or are you determined to argue for Christianity?

        • Greg G.

          The flagellum came from a different system that had nothing to do with locomotion. So your premise has collapsed.


          The explanation is about ten years old. IDiots are as bad as creationists at clinging to refuted arguments. They used to say they were going to do real research. They didn’t find anything.

        • Huh? Did I say this? Or are you just making up quotes and then getting furious at the idiot who wrote them? (Again?)

          Show that the flagellum was directed. Ball’s in your court. A statement from might impress you, but I don’t find it convincing. Sorry.

        • wlad


          Yes you said this!
          Look at the 23 line of your post. The line above the paragraph header “A parallel example.”

          The only error I made was including the extra word “that” after your word postulating.

        • Ah–my mistake. For some reason, I got nothing when I searched for that sentence.

        • wlad

          Does your disapproval mean that mean you didn’t really mean it?
          If not, what did you mean?

        • OK–you’re right. ID says nothing about the time.

        • Pofarmer

          Egads. This sort of sloppy thinking has been well refuted countless times. Geez.

        • wnarowski

          Cite me ONE reference that gives a plausible explanation of the steps leading to the flagellum.

        • (1) You’re not qualified to evaluate the evidence. You should be the least impressed by your own amateur analysis of evidence that you know you can’t understand.

          (2) Do an internet search. I suggest talkorigins.org.

          (3) Ask yourself: does this flagellum thing give biologists reason to question evolution? If not, what does that tell you?

        • wladyslaw

          I triad talk origins.


          Lame attempt to rebut Behe’s mousetrap example.

        • Once again, you’ve avoided responding to questions that highlight the problems in your threadbare argument.

          I guess I shouldn’t hold my breath, huh?

        • MNb

          Wow, you’re ignorant even for a creationist.


          Yup, it’s not only that there is no empirical evidence for creation, the “theories” that are supposed to back it fall flat on their face as well as far as they are testable.

        • wlad

          Using the above URL that describes steps to a mousetrap, I found:

          “I’ll start with a piece of springy wire, bent so that it can be held open by carefully positioning one end of the wire against the other.”

          It starts out as a simple step. EVERY step of fourteen steps along the way helps make a complicated mouse trap at the end.

          One MAJOR problem!

          Every step in his example is intelligently GUIDED toward goal of a better trap.

          ID! EVERY STEP is carefully explained–add staples, add wood, elongate and bend the wire, add bait, in a very orchestrated order. Change any of the precise order, and there goes the trap.

          However, evolution says something else.
          Out of all the billions of possibilities, accidentally the first spring develops another coil. Then out of all the other possibilities, it accidentally develops another coil.

          However each step is not accidental. Consider the requirement for just one step:

          The previous trap had the hammer propped up on a vertical piece of wire. This must be done very precisely, so that a mouse brushing against the vertical piece of wire will dislodge the hammer. Adding another piece of wire as a hold-down bar makes it easier to set the trap and easier for a mouse to trip it. One end of the hold-down bar is jammed into the end of the wooden platform, while the other end is hooked under the corner of the hammer. When a mouse nudges the hold-down bar, dislodging it from the corner of the hammer, it releases the hammer. Because the hold-down bar is a lever, it holds the hammer down with much less force and therefore requires less force to dislodge.

          Quite complicated for one accidental step.

          Evolutionists say all this happens with no planning or goal. The small intervening steps in the example above confer no benefit, but all the small steps in just the single
          step above have to happen JUST SO for the benefit to be realized. What caused the intervening steps to stay?

          And so we have fourteen steps, all accidental, and all having to happen in the precise order shown. If any ONE step veered in a different direction, goodbye mouse trap. If the order was in any way changed, goodbye mousetrap.

          And this is a simple mouse trap.

          Multiply this by a million accidental steps for the flagellum,

          And remember, the mouse trap STARTED out as a simple mousetrap, and accidentally became a better trap.

          The flagellum did not start out as a simple motor.

        • Pofarmer

          Pretty sure Greg gave a link to an entire book.

        • Lark62

          There was no goal. Some look at the current state and assume what they see is a final intended result. It isn’t, anymore than the California plate is “supposed” to put Las Angeles near exactly where it is, not up near the arctic circle where it will eventually be. We are looking at one small moment in the billions of years life of the earth.

        • tyler

          today we learned that god is a subordinate apprentice to an even higher celestial being who is him or herself part of a larger society that closely mirrors our own

          those are certainly some unique ideas about god there

        • GubbaBumpkin

          No one coming upon an arch would think that it happened as a result of accidental processes of nature.

          See comment already entered about natural stone arches.

        • wlad

          All people coming across natural stone arches in the Grand Canyon will conclude that they were formed by the forces of nature.

          All people coming across the arch in the above picture will conclude that intelligent agency, and not natural forces of nature, caused the brick archway.

          And the recognition of that obvious difference is what defines ID.

        • That’s a good point. The difference is indeed obvious. We have countless examples of natural processes in nature causing what we see in nature. And ditto for human building/designing/creating stuff.

          When you look in nature, we have plenty of natural explanations. And evolution is just one more. Ain’t nature marvelous?!

        • wlad

          “When you look in nature, we have plenty of natural explanations. And evolution is just one more. Ain’t nature marvelous?!”

          That reminds me of all the evolutionists that mocked creationists because only “20%” of DNA is useful, and a God would never be so dumb as to create all this junk DNA. A good example of how nature abandoned useless attempts, a proof of evolution.
          Then 300 scientists around the world found that close to 80% of DNA is useful.

          Know what evolutionists said?
          Isn’t evolution marvelous!

        • God don’t make no junk. Even 20% sounds like a pretty clumsy God.

          And it’s far more than that. Search this blog for more on the c-value enigma–the protozoa has 200x the DNA that humans do. (Still think that “junk DNA” is a fairy tale?)

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Then 300 scientists around the world found that close to 80% of DNA is useful.

          That would be the DECODE project. They did that by lowering the standard of what “useful” means.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          And the recognition of that obvious difference is what defines ID.

          1) Actually Creationists do not concede that feature of the Grand Canyon happend without divine intervention.

          2) In the case of arches, we can point to specific details about how we distinguish natural from man-made arches: construction materials, tool marks, artifacts of the construction process, natural indicators of water- and wind- erosion. It’s time for you to return favour and point out the features of the flagellum indicative of divine design and construction. This is a major flaw with ID, IDiots like you never provide that evidence, they just say, “science can’t explain it, therefore God must have done it.” They assume that they win by default. This is just one reason why they deserve to be called IDiots.

        • wlad

          ID people are not creationists. ID people never posit God. They are agnostic about the Intelligent Designer.

        • Yeah, that’s what I’ve always found. They’re completely uninterested in the Designer. Sure, there are a few Christian IDers, but they’re rare. The last thing an IDer would do is go to church to worship the Designer.

        • MNb

          Note that Wlad himself wrote “God created” above. Go figure.

        • wlad

          An atheist, a creationist, and an ID proponent can all look at a flagellum and say it certainly looks and acts like a designed motor, and think it very unlikley to arise from accidental accretions.

        • Lark62

          Except that those with brains understand science and will look for evidence-based explanations rather than blindly giving credit to some random supernatural boogyman.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          (Pssst – Bob: it appears we’re dealing with some very dim bulbs here. Sarcasm might fly right over their heads.)

        • GubbaBumpkin

          (Might be time to post the sign)

        • Yes, the thought had occurred …

        • GubbaBumpkin

          ID people are not creationists.

          So sorry, we should call them cdesign proponentsists.

          Apparently you are a clueless git who does not read comments already posted, and who mindlessly repeats arguments already refuted.

          William Fucking Dembski, of “complex specified information” notoreity, and a leading intelligent design advocate, identifies himself as a Creationist

        • wlad

          For you, God does not exist. Can’t use creationism with you.

          BOTH creation and ID attempts to disprove evolution.

          In arguing against evolution with you, I have to choose mutually accepted terms. You know what I mean when I say that an arch is intelligently designed. And I can apply it to other realities, and you know what I mean.

          Atheists who do not believe in evolution use ID.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Atheists who do not believe in evolution use ID.

          Name three.

        • wlad

          Bradley Monton, author of Seeking God in Science, an Atheist Defends Intelligent Design.

          Fred Hoyle – An Atheist for ID | Uncommon Descent
          http://www.uncommondescent.com › Intelligent Design‎Jun 12, 2009 – Fred Hoyle was an atheist, but also a freethinker who embraced intelligent design. I have just been re-reading his 1983 book, The Intelligent …

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Fred Hoyle was an atheist, but also a freethinker who embraced intelligent design.

          Fred Hoyle was one of those maverick scientists who was more fond of being a maverick than a scientist. Consider his claim that a famous Archaeopteryx fossil was faked – he had his ass handed to him by actual experts in paleontology. Not one of his better moments. There there was his “tornado in a junkyard” statement which betrayed a complete lack of understanding of probability and the mechanism of evolution by means of natural selection. Hoyle was fearless in speaking out, even on topics well outside his expertise.

          Bradley Monkcton is a fucking moron.

          That was only two. Neither of them was named Steve. And I asked for three.

          And just to show that on a planet with seven billion people, you can find a handful of people to support almost any position, here is Gerardus Bouw, who has degrees in astronomy and astrophysics, and who is a supporter of geocentrism.

        • wlad

          “Bradley Monkcton is a fucking moron.”

          Good debating skills.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          The truth is the truth. You haven’t supplied any evidence that would convince me that I am wrong about that.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Besides, your claim was that “Atheists who do not believe in evolution use ID.” Monton, a fucking moron, may think that ID might be true, but that is not the same as “using” it productively. Monton is not a scientist, but a philosopher, so I’m not clear what “use” of ID would do for him.

          An Atheist Defends Intelligent-Design Creationism

          Matt Young:
          In Chapter 2, Monton takes on Judge John Jones’s demarcation criteria and debates methodological naturalism with Rob Pennock. He argues, correctly, that we need to focus on evidence for and against ID creationism, rather than try to label it as science or pseudoscience. In particular, he says that a false theory should not necessarily be ruled out of science class—Newtonian theory is technically false. This argument could give sophistry a bad name; even if you think that all theories are technically false, good theories are useful within their ranges of validity. ID creationism is not useful anywhere. Says Monton: “I conclude that even if intelligent design’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community, it doesn’t follow that intelligent design is not science.” You could say the same for phlogiston or caloric; at best, then, intelligent-design creationism is obsolete or indeed useless science, just like phlogiston or caloric. We do not require teaching phlogiston or caloric in science class; theybarely deserve mention. Why then should we mandate teaching ID creationism? The answer is political, not scientific.

        • purr

          So you ignore the substance of the points made and instead focus on the bad werd?

          So intellectually dishonest wlad, tsk tsk

        • MNb

          If you had cared to click the link you’d found out that “moron” is fully satisfied. I quote:

          ” He doesn’t appear to have any expertise in biology or evolution but he’s interested in Intelligent Design Creationism.”

          From Morton’s own site:

          “Monton considers such a restriction [of science] as completely arbitrary”
          That restriction is methodological naturalism aka the scientific method. He is a moron indeed; basically he writes that science should use more than the scientific method.

        • MNb

          From a mathematical point of view geocentrism has a stronger case than ID. The only reason to reject it is Ockham:

          “The speed of light is only a speed limit for bodies moving through the stellar universe, not for rotation.”
          That’s an extra assumption, resulting in many mathematical equations that are very hard if not impossible to solve.
          But given his reasons I wonder why Bouw is not a Flat Earther.

        • I think Hoyle’s “tornado in a junkyard” metaphor was supposed to lampoon abiogenesis, not evolution.

          As for well-educated people who support nutty views, David Berlinski is a mathematician who works with the Disco Institute as an advocate for ID. He’s not Christian, so of course he’s a darling of theirs and does a bit to alleviate the very lopsided statistics of Christians within the Creationism movement.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          (shush – don’t give away the trap.)

        • GubbaBumpkin

          For your records, Bob:
          Knight-Ridder article of September 27, 2005 (original link dead, but you can find quotes here and there)

          But in an e-mail message, Berlinski declared, “I have never endorsed intelligent design.”

        • That surprises me. I’ve seen him speak in person, and I think he was in “Expelled,” which I’ve also seen. I don’t know what his position is if it’s not in support of ID. Perhaps he’s splitting hairs with definitions?

        • Maybe his position is that he doesn’t like evolution, not that he’s in favor of ID.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          They give him money, he says bad things about evolution. I think it’s that simple.

        • That kinda rings true for me, too. I’d also add fame/power/influence to the list.

        • wlad

          I was foolish for trying to name some ID atheists through a quick google search. Even if I searched diligently for days
          and weeks and found more and better candidates, you would simply say, “only thirty atheists, or only 100? We have millions.”

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Oh yeah? Well, I’ve got quadrillions. I can’t be bothered to hunt them all down though, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Consider my point proven.

        • More importantly, biologists (the folks qualified to evaluate this stuff) reject ID.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          For you, God does not exist. Can’t use creationism with you.

          I am open to evidence. You inability to present convincing evidence does not prove that I am close-minded. All you have to do is

          1) Present convincing evidence and/or arguments that God exists
          2) Present convincing evidence that God is the mysterious Intelligent Designer.

          Oh – then we’ll be asking: which God?

        • wlad

          Actually, no intellectual evidence will ever bring a person to admit a God and more importantly, have a relationship with God. Only love can do that. The Pope seems to be able to do that–because they experience him loving.

          Acknowledging a God means nothing by itself. Loving Him and being loved by Him is all that matters. And only people loving can ever make that possible.

        • So I can struggle with all my intellect to find God, but I’ll still roast in hell forever.

          Dang! Sux to be me, eh?

        • BOTH
          creation and ID attempts to disprove evolution.

          Yes, they do. What they should be doing, of course, is following the evidence. If evolution falls by the wayside, so be it. But that is no goal of any honest seeker of the truth.

          That it is indeed your goal reveals your agenda. Sorry.

        • wlad

          I see. All your anti ID posts and anti-creation posts make no effort to disprove creation and Intelligent Design. I suppose you can believe that.

          But I think everyone can simply see that you are not just calmly and scientifically presenting lectures on the merits of the facts of evolution.

          You attempt to disprove any defense of the opposing views, often with derision and often ad hominem. Evidence doesn’t need derision and personal attacks. When out of arguments, choose personal attacks and ridicule.

        • purr

          Or claim that people are big meanie heads because they mock you which gives you a reason to /faint and walk away from the debate when it gets too difficult for you to justify your arguments.

        • wlad

          Right. I’m too faint and walk away when it gets too difficult.

          How many ID people beside me posted a comment? Perhaps five, for maybe for a total of ten (probably not even ten) comments. How many comments? 244. How many evolutionists responded to my posts. How many times?

        • I have some posts on Creationism and ID. Search and ye shall find.

          Creationism is a fun topic. It’s like shooting fish in barrel, though. Would you like me to post more on that?

          I don’t spend much time refuting Creationist arguments. My quick rebuttal is: I follow the scientific consensus (and so should you).

        • wlad

          If you say so.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Paul Nelson, ID advocate and fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture is a Young Earth Creationist. Dean Nelson, ID advocate and fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture is a Young Earth Creationist.

          And actually, ID advocates frequently posit God. However they do this during their appearances in front of church groups, not in more secular settings (It’s like they don’t understand how the Internet works). And by the way, why are so many ID events held in churches or at specifically religious events?

          Discovery Institute – More Events

          April 11 – 12, 2014

          Science and Design

          Covenant Fellowship Church, Greater Philadelphia

          March 14 – 15, 2014

          Reasons 2014: Conversations on Science & Faith

          January 23 – 25, 2014

          Science, Faith and Apologetics

          Mere Anglicanism 2014

          January 22, 2014

          Darwin’s Doubt

          Southern Adventist University

          November 15 – 16, 2013

          Intelligent Design: Yesterday’s Orthodoxy, Today’s Heresy

          Apologetics Summit 2013

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Some more details on that last listed event:

          Intelligent Design: Yesterday’s Orthodoxy, Today’s Heresy
          November 15, 2013 – November 16, 2013

          Apologetics Summit 2013

          Mathematician, philosopher, and CSC Senior Fellow William Dembski will speak on Intelligent Design at the Cornerstone School of Theology’s Apologetics Summit 2013.

          Explore the roots of the ID movement and the implications of Intelligent
          Design on modern science and the defense of the Christian faith.

          When: November 15-16, 2013

          Where: Cornerstone Church

          56829 U.S. Highway 30

          Ames, Iowa

          Cost: $10/$15 after November 10

          Exhibit A: Speaker is ID advocate and Old Earth Creationist.
          Exhibit B: Location is at a church.
          Exhibit C: Event is religious apologetics conference.
          Exhibit D: Talk description ties ID to religion.

        • Lark62

          1. Google Discovery institute wedge document.
          2. Stop lying.

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t forget though, even though you miss characterize the process somewhat, that the process is MASSIVELY parallel. All the individuals in all the world evolving and changing means that even things with a seemingly infinitesimally small chance of happening happen. Think of it like the lottery, the chance is very small that you will win, but someone will definitely win. The chance of a winner is one.

  • wladyslaw

    You are also confusing creationists with Intelligent Design folks. Creationists may say that God created the arch (flagellum) all at once.

    ID folks say that there was a problem– a need for a mechanism to bear weight over an open expanse– and that an intelligent agency directed the creation of stones and their shape, and then guided the positioning of those stones to form an arch to bear weight over an open expanse. It didn’t happen all at once. It happened in small steps.But each step of the arch–from an idea to it’s completion was GUIDED toward a GOAL–bear weight over an expanse. Each step was not an unguided accidental step that conferred some advantage so that it could survive, and that without any guide or goal could become an arch able to bear weight. The GOAL of the arch, and the guided manufacturing and positioning of EACH stone, not just the last stone, was absolutely necessary for the arch to exist. And if we came upon the arch in your picture in a dessert, we all would agree on that.

    And in the same way, the flagellum could have happened in a long series of steps. But it absolutely needed to be a GUIDED process leading towards the goal of a working flagellum to perform a very particular job, and not just an accumulation of a long series of unguided steps going in no particular direction, with each step unable to confer advantage until all the steps are in place, and the voila! we have the marvelous flagellum.

    • MNb

      ID folks are creationists. Most of them are just too dishonest to admit it. The Intelligent Designer did it is all what ID says. You admit it yourself:

      “an intelligent agency directed the creation”

      Creation. Thus creationism.

      “it absolutely needed to be a GUIDED process”
      Tell me how the Intelligent GUIDER did it, which means the Intelligent GUIDER used and which procedures the Intelligent GUIDER, blessed be HIM/HER/IT followed. Then do some testable predictions for observations in the future and scientists will pay attention, but only then.

      • wladyslaw

        The arch happened through an unguided process of nature, right?

        It didn’t?

        If not, what makes us think that some guided intelligent process made the arch?

        • wlad

          Can anyone tell me what makes us think that some guided intelligent process made the arch in the picture?

        • Because we have documentation of how arches are built? Or is this a trick question?

        • wladyslaw

          No, not a trick question. What is it about the arch in your picture that lets you know that it was not a result of an unguided process, but rather designed and built for a purpose.

        • wlad

          And Bob, whatever it is about the arch in your picture that lets you know that it is not a result of an unguided process, but rather designed and built for a purpose is the foundation of intelligent design.

        • A manmade arch was intelligently designed. Yeah, I got it.

        • wlad

          Exactly the same logic that tells you the arch was intelligently designed is what tells you that the flagellum was intelligently designed. If the Mars Rover found your arch on Mars, the world would explode with the joyous knowledge that some intelligent being created it–not knowing if it was a human, an intelligent alien, or whatever. What the world would know that an intelligent agent built it, and that arch did not come from natural causes.

        • So you’ve taken this marvelous proof for ID to biologists, I assume? What did they say? Were they convinced?

        • wladyslaw

          Would your arch on the moon be proof of an intelligent designer for that arch?

        • MNb

          Show me that arch on the moon and I’ll answer your question.

        • Carol Lynn

          Sure. It would be evidence of other physical beings visiting the moon and building an arch. It would be pretty exciting to figure out why they did such a pointless activity. Oh wait. You thought it would be evidence for goddidit? giggle snort

        • wlad

          We would see evidence of an intelligent agency. We would have no idea of what kind of intelligent agency.

        • Pofarmer

          We can tell an intelligently designed arch by it’s features. Are the stones a consistent size? Do they show tool marks? Is it made of another man made material like stucco or concrete? Is the structure part of a settlement? Are there similar structures nearby showing the same properties? These are how we would determine if the structure is man made vs natural. How would you determine a biological structure determined by ID from what that came about naturally?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Exactly the same logic that tells you the arch was intelligently designed is what tells you that the flagellum was intelligently designed

          Not so. For man-made stone arches, we have books and videos from people who build arches, explaining exactly how to do it. Examples of already-built arches have similar materials and building principles. They have tool marks indicating the construction techniques. They have artifacts in their design and construction which are useful for construction but do not contribute to functionality of the final product.

          This is where you should return favour by providing evidence of precisely how an “Intelligent Designer” designs and implements bacterial flagella. I.e. “we don’t understand, therefore God did it” is not going to cut it. Are there scorch marks on the flagella from when God zaps them into existence?

        • wlad

          To GubbaBumkin and Pofarmer.

          We can tell an intelligently designed arch by it’s features.”

          That’s right!
          A biologist looks at a flagellum and is amazed a what he finds.
          He sees a device that has a rotor, a stator, a rod. This device rotates quickly in one direction, and then is able to reverse direction. It doesn’t just rotate. It uses this rotary motion to propel itself forward.
          Where has he seen anything like this before. O yes, his brother the mechanic showed him an electric motor. It had a rotor, a stator, and a rod. It rotated quickly. It used this rotary motion to propel itself forward. His brother told him that Tesla, a brilliant scientist, invented this kind of motor.
          He googled the flagellum and found this:

          Proton Motive Force

          A proton motive force drives
          the rotation of the bacterial flagella. Electrochemical energy is
          converted into torque via an interaction between the stator and the
          rotor. Torque is then transmitted from the C-ring by the MS ring to the
          rod and then to the hook region. From there it is transferred to the
          propeller (filament). When the filament rotates, the torque is converted
          into thrust, allowing the bacterial cell to move.

          Hmm, the biologist said. Sure looks like something Tesla designed. All the parts had an individual function, different from all the other parts, and were useless for motion by

          themselves. Put together in a precise way–like the way Tesla put together the various parts of the electric motor, it worked. Very intelligently designed.

          An evolutionist drops by and heard the last comment. Oh no, he exclaims. No intelligence was involved in the flagellum (like in the Tesla motor). You see the rotor evolved for some reason other than turning, and helped the original device survive. Then the stator evolved. It had nothing to do with turning anything, but somehow it helped the original device to survive. Then the rod evolved. Nothing to do with turning. Then an electrical-chemical power source evolved to power this device. All these disparate parts somehow then combined to form this motor, and it started turning! You see, no intelligence required like Tesla’s. Just a very long series of accidental additions that happened to confer some kind of advantage.

          Those Intelligent Design folks actually believe that the flagellum motor was intelligently designed. Whatever gave them that idea!

        • Those Intelligent Design folks actually believe that the flagellum motor was intelligently designed. Whatever gave them that idea!

          A rhetorical question, I imagine. What gave them that idea was their religious indoctrination. Surely evidence didn’t enter into it—if it did, the people who actually understand the evidence (the biologists) would be on board.

          And you continue to avoid the difficult question: what is the likelihood of a creator god? You gleefully say, “God dun it!” as the solution to some difficulty within science without ever considering the difficulty of your own inane hypothesis.

        • wladyslaw

          I have never ONCE said “God dun it.”I

        • And did God do it?

          Do you plan to answer any questions? Or only the ones to which you think you have an answer?

        • wladyslaw

          God created the universe and all its laws (the Big Bang). He created life (not all life at once) and guided the process to all past and present life, culminating in man, an intended goal.

        • MNb

          And when do you intend to give us any empirical confirmation for God creating this and that? Also: when do you intend to tell us how he did it, which means he used and which procedures he followed?
          All you gave to us thus far is baked air.

          “God created …”
          But you’re not a creationist and your Intelligent Guider is not God.
          Got it.

        • wlad

          And your SCIENTIFIC answer for the universe–it poofed out of nothing, all the laws poofed out of nothing, and all life, yours and mine, is accidental–not guided nor necessary, with NO purpose. (guided purpose is a big no no in evolution.

          Gotcha. Very scientific. Makes a lot of sense as I look at the world and life around me. Has the ring of truth and


        • GubbaBumpkin

          all the laws poofed out of nothing…

          Perhaps you imagine some thick dusty law book materialising in thin air. Natural laws are simply properties of matter/energy; so if the matter/energy poofed into existence, its properties came into being at the same time.

          You should spend more time educating yourself and less time spreading your ignorance on Teh Internetz.

        • wlad

          Matter and energy poofed into existence.

          Sounds scientific, right?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Matter and energy poofed into existence.
          Sounds scientific, right?

          Apparently questioning mainstream biology isn’t enough of a task for you (although you are not diong such a great job of it), so you want to take on mainstream physics as well. Save it for another post.

          Still waiting for your explanation of the who the Intelligent Designer is, then we can move on to your scientific explanation of how the Designer came about.

        • wlad

          If you do not accept that certain things like the flagellum are most logically explained by intelligently design rather than a result of accidental accretions that conferred survival advantage, then asking for the designer makes no sense.

          We only need a designer if we find something designed and ask who did it.

          I personally think it is God, but ID does not define the designer.

        • Pofarmer

          F you want to make an argument for a designer, then the attributes of that designer would be helpful so one could asess if that theory was more or less likely than another theory. A method for the designer to work and influence things would also be helpful.

        • wlad

          I think for the sake of logic, reason would posit an uncaused designer (an infinite regression of causes not logical), and therefore eternal.

          Reason would posit an immaterial designer (otherwise who created the material designer).

          It would posit an all powerful designer–or at least able to create the known universe and sustain it in its being.

          It would posit an intelligent designer–the universe is an intelligibly understood entity, with intelligible laws, and intelligently designed entities.

        • Pofarmer

          Why would an uncaused designer have to be eternal? How does an immaterial designer interact with the material universe?

        • wlad

          An uncaused designer had to be eternal. The designer was outside time–time entered with creation.

        • Pofarmer

          What if the desjgner didn’t cause time? Or, even if it did, if it created our space time dimension, why would that mean it would have to be eternal in it’s own?

        • wlad

          The only reality outside of time is simply “eternal” being.
          We use eternal only in reference to the created universe. Without the created universe, there is only a being that simply is. The uncaused designer is.

          Believers can point to the Bible to share their explanation of this reality. When Jesus was asked “WHO are you? He simply said, “I am.” The Jews knew what that meant–He was claiming to be God, and took up stones to cast at Him.

        • MNb

          Wlad, with every comment you post I love you more. You begin with an Intelligent Designer, who does not specifically have to be a christian god, who gave us the Bible, which proves that there is an Intelligent Designer called god.
          It’s hard to find a sillier circular argument.
          I’m beginning to lose the count of logical fallacies you rely on.

        • purr

          I can’t decide who I love more…wlad or Norm Donnan.

          I love wlad because when we were discussing abortion a couple of months ago, he admitted that he would prefer a ‘little infanticide’ over the deaths of a lot more embryos.

          And I love Norm because he isn’t capable of coherent thought.

          Decisions decisions.

          And I love Bob for attracting Norm *and* wlad to this blog…

        • Pofarmer

          How do we know that there is a reality outside of time? Couldn’t time be simply this one universe, alternatively expanding and contracting from nothingness and into nothingness? Limitless creation? How do we know that there is anything outside the Universe at all?

        • wlad

          That’s why the multiverse is ridiculous. Science cannot look outside the universe.

          And science doesn’t and can’t address your other proposals. It enters the area of belief.

          Scientific knowledge is not the only kind of knowledge. I KNOW my wife loves me with all her heart. I could never offer you scientific proof. You know you love your children. You could never offer scientific proof to convince me that you do. Is your love unreal because it cannot be so proved?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          wlad: That’s why the multiverse ridiculous.

          Of course that doesn’t matter. Quantum mechanics is ridiculous as well. What matters is whether it is true.

        • Pofarmer

          There is evidence that I love my kids and my kids love me. Cows are attached to their calves as well, Chimps to there offzpring. Plenty of evidence of it all over nature. There is no such evidence for what you descrjbe.

        • wlad

          Evolutionary psychology would simply say what you and the kids are doing is just an evolutionary event that has helped those who did “love” to survive better. No proof of love. Just an evolutionary advantageous trait. No good. No bad. (As Dawkins says). Just pitiless indifference.

        • Pofarmer

          The emotion of love assists procreation and assists in the raising of offspring. So what? Does that mean it can’t be hijacked or applied differently?

        • wlad

          I was saying some things that we believe is real cannot be proved by SCIENTIFIC evidence. Evidence you can test empirically. You could show me all the ways you love your children for hours–it’s not scientific evidence. A man loves a woman. A woman loves a man. A father loves his children. If anyone of them said, “I’m not sure you love me. Prove it, by facts I can test.” none could do it. But people truly love, and this love is known on a NONE scientific level. And this love is very real.
          Nothing any of them could “prove it.” Reducing love to science actually kills it.

        • purr

          And wlad loves zygotes.

        • Pofarmer

          No it doesn’t “kill” it. To know how something works doesn’t diminish it, it illuminates it. You can quit spouting nonsense at any point.

        • wlad

          I see. My wife looks at me and says softly, “I love you.”
          And I think “I want to illuminate this.” and say, “prove it, It’ll make it better for both of us.”

        • And this is relevant to your evolution denialism exactly how, again? Sorry–I’m missing your point.

        • Do you know why scientists point to a multiverse? (I mean, besides being mean to Christians.)

          I want to see if you’ve been paying attention.

        • wlad

          I know one reason was the fine tuning of the universe which was difficult for scientists to explain with known science.


          Wikipedia also offers at least fourteen other multiverse theories, with two disputed possiblities of evidence.
          And then it says: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

          He (George Ellis) argues that for many theorists, the LACK of empirical testability or falsifiability is not a major concern. “Many physicists who talk about the multiverse, especially advocates of the string landscape, do not care much about parallel universes per se. For them, objections to the multiverse as a concept are unimportant. Their theories live or die based on internal consistency and, ONE HOPES, eventual laboratory testing.” Although he believes there’s little hope that will ever be possible, he grants that the theories on which the speculation is based, are not without scientific merit. He concludes that multiverse theory is a “productive research program”:[30]

          No testing really needed, if at all possible.

        • Scientists point to the multiverse because well-established science (string theory + inflation) predict the multiverse.

          No, it wasn’t pulled out of thin air just to fend off an attack by Christians.

        • Your argument is; “I found something that, to me, is poorly explained by evolution, therefore God,” with no analysis of how well God explains things. Since science agrees on zero supernatural entities, you’ve got an uphill climb.

          Unfortunately for your credibility, you refuse to even acknowledge your problem.

        • MNb

          “We only need a designer if we find something designed and ask who did it.”
          You claim to have found something designed and still refuse to tell us who did it, how He/She/It did it, which means He/She/It used and which procedures He/She/It followed.
          Moreover you are not capable of determining what is designed and what not without a priori knowledge, as I have shown with that link to that Cracked article.
          You fail from every perspective.

        • wlad

          Atheists were presented with a problem. If God did not exist, how can one account for the universe.

          Aha, it always existed. An infinite universe, needing no Creator, possibly expanding and contracting forever. Problem solved.

          Then a Catholic priest posited the Big Bang theory, and scientific observation confirmed the universe had a beginning and is expanding. Some disgruntled atheists are still trying to discount that fact.

          What to do. Since scientists found the ONE universe we scientifically know to be finite, and the idea of an infinite universe simply not true, the atheist answer is: the multiverse.

          Lots and lots of infinite universes! Infinite number of universes! If one infinite universe cannot be true, surely
          an infinite number of them can be. Right?

          One infinite universe–science proves hasn’t happened.

          Infinite universes? Prove it.

          Oh, outside our universe. Cannot possibly prove it. What? You expect me to accept the multiverse on blind faith? Science does not allow that!

        • So this has become “Ask Dr. Science?” You just think up science puzzles and ask us about them?

          You didn’t mention that the apologist argument that the multiverse resolves is fine tuning.

          The multiverse is predicted by string theory and by inflation. We have substantial evidence validating inflation (I don’t think so much for string theory). The multiverse isn’t some crazy claim to avoid the inevitability of deist logic proving the supernatural; rather, it’s a consequences of well-established science.

        • MNb

          That’s wat IDiocy is about: god of the gaps.

        • wlad

          The multiverse isn’t some crazy claim to avoid the inevitability of
          deist logic proving the supernatural; rather, it’s a consequences of
          well-established science.

          Are you kidding me!?


          For a start, how is the existence of the other universes to be
          tested? To be sure, all cosmologists accept that there are some regions
          of the universe that lie beyond the reach of our telescopes, but
          somewhere on the slippery slope between that and the idea that there are
          an infinite number of universes, credibility reaches a limit. As one
          slips down that slope, more and more must be accepted on faith, and less
          and less is open to scientific verification. Extreme multiverse
          explanations are therefore reminiscent of theological discussions.
          Indeed, invoking an infinity of unseen universes to explain the unusual
          features of the one we do see is just as ad hoc as invoking an unseen
          Creator. The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language,
          but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.

          — Paul Davies, A Brief History of the Multiverse


          As skeptical as I am, I think the contemplation of the multiverse is
          an excellent opportunity to reflect on the nature of science and on the
          ultimate nature of existence: why we are here… In looking at this
          concept, we need an open mind, though not too open. It is a delicate
          path to tread. Parallel universes may or may not exist; the case is
          unproved. We are going to have to live with that uncertainty. Nothing is
          wrong with scientifically based philosophical speculation, which is
          what multiverse proposals are. But we should name it for what it is.

          — George Ellis, Scientific American, Does the Multiverse Really Exist?

          Look at all the different theories of the multiverse that their own proponents say may NEVER be able to be tested.
          Science demands testable hypotheses, otherwise it rejects them

          They’re all true? Some? One? Which one? Prove it.

          Well-established science. Right!

        • MNb

          “Then a Catholic priest posited the Big Bang theory”
          Eh no. It was a Soviet-commie named Alexander Friedman. An atheist.

          “Some disgruntled atheists”
          Names? Quotes? Every single atheist I have ever met, in real life or on internet, accepts the Big Bang. Your big fat thumb is at work again.

          “the atheist answer is: the multiverse.”
          Fancy creacrapper thinks he knows a few things about physics. The multiverse is a consequence of a good solid theory of physics correctly describing gazillions of known empirical data. It was formulated by physicists who don’t care about the god-question.
          Just google multiverse simply explained. You’ll be a bit less ignorant.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          What to do. Since scientists found the ONE universe we scientifically know to be finite, and the idea of an infinite universe simply not true, the atheist answer is: the multiverse.

          Bullshit, you lying toad. The multiverse did not arise from counter-apologetics. It is a prediction of other physical theories which have evidence to support them. Here is Sean Carroll: Welcome to the Multiverse


          That’s not right at all. As I explain in my Discover magazine piece, “Welcome to the multiverse“: The multiverse idea isn’t a “theory” at all; it’s a prediction made by other theories, which became popular for other reasons…

          You should get your science from scientists, not from religious apologetics web sites.

        • wlad


          Bob told me in a post “You didn’t mention that the apologist argument that the multiverse resolves is fine tuning.”

        • Is this the consensus view of cosmology? Show me.

        • wlad

          Bob, New discoveries in science came about precisely because someone challenged the consensus view.
          Or should you and I and everyone just stick with the consensus you keep bringing up?
          Did Darwin?

        • Yes, challenging the consensus view is fine.

          Are you saying that you’re qualified to do so?

        • MNb

          No, hence god is still a logical fallacy: this time the non-sequitur.
          And the answer is yes. One of the Big Bang models is based on quantum fluctuation, an integral part of a theory that has been backed by empirical evidence a gazillion times. One of those times was when the USA dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – something your god aka Intellect Guider never has thought of.

        • wlad

          The intelligible universe poofing into existence for no reason is a logical fallacy. Nothing in our known universe has ever done that.

          Quantum energy doing that? Let’s see:

          Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space throughout the entire Universe. One contribution to the vacuum energy may be from virtual particles
          which are thought to be particle pairs that blink into existence and
          then annihilate in a timespan too short to observe. They are expected to
          do this everywhere, throughout the Universe. Their behavior is codified
          in Heisenberg’s energy–time uncertainty principle. Still, the exact effect of such fleeting bits of energy is difficult to quantify.


          One MAJOR PROBLEM. The particles pairs that blink into existence, well,

          ” They are expected to do this everywhere, throughout the Universe.” (from above).

          THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE, THE EXISTING UNIVERSE. These particles blinking “in and out” of existence are only happening in our existing universe.

          I’m sure you are not saying that science has proven that they are happening outside our universe.

          Are you.

        • The intelligible universe poofing into existence for no reason is a logical fallacy. Nothing in our known universe has ever done that.

          You uncovered the clue to the answer to your own question! Nice one!

        • wlad

          Right Bob,
          But everything in UNKNOWABLE infinite universes has probably poofed into existence.

        • Keep trying to summarize the scientific consensus. You’re not doing well.

        • MNb

          Science has an unsolved problem – I immediately admit the Big Bang is one – hence god remains a logical fallacy: god of the gaps. Mutatis mutandis your argument was used to “explain” thunder and lighting: Zeus did it or Thor, depending whom you asked. For the same reason we safely can assume that your argument “MAJOR PROBLEM” will be laughed at in the future.

        • When you say, “So you actually believe [fill in argument that is the scientific consensus here]??” most of us will answer, “yes, of course.”

          Just a rule of thumb that might help in the future. That gibberish you typed in is not the consensus, so you can probably figure out the answer to that one, too, without having to embarrass yourself further with dumb questions.

        • MNb

          Next logical fallacy: the Tu Quoque. That science is imperfect doesn’t mean creationism is correct.
          Definitely dishonest and not going to answer questions.
          Of course science and philosophy have known since long where the laws come from: man. They are just describing what happens with the Universe.
          Also there are several models how the Big Bang occurred. Not that you are interested.

        • wlad

          I see. Science has PROVEN that an uncaused Creator didn’t create the universe. Right?

          Science has PROVEN by scientific process that the universe poofed into existence, for no reason, becoming an intelligibly understandable entity by pure accident, with life appearing (don’t ask how OOL happened), with no meaning except survival.

          As Dawkins said…life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the ” survival of DNA…life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.1 –Richard Dawkins”


          That’s how you live your life, right?

          That’s why you are having this discussion with me, to
          perpetuate your DNA better than me. Or perhaps you are just engaging in meaningless fun. Nothing really
          matters (except surviving).


        • Kind of a slow learner, aren’t you?

          Wlad: next time you want to lampoon “science,” take a deep breath and think first. It always turns out one of two ways: if you correctly portray what science says, our response will be “well, yeah—obviously.” And if (more likely) you fail to portray what science says, you’ll get insults and maybe a summary of the many ways you have put your foot in your mouth.

          Think it through before you put fingers to keyboard.

          And thanks for the quote from the Institute for Creation Research. That’s always my first stop when searching for accurate science.

        • wlad

          Are you saying Richard Dawkins did not say that quote because it appeared in the Institute for Creation?

          Other similar quotes from Dawkins:

          other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or
          reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has
          precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no
          design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

          — Richard Dawkins, “God’s Utility Function,” published in Scientific American (November, 1995), p. 85


          Do you agree with him?

        • MNb

          While I’m not a fan of Dawkins I totally agree with him here. I don’t have any problems with it. It completely agrees with what BobS always writes: there are no objective morals. Morals are manmade hence subjective.
          You are the one with problems – you are not capable of looking reality straight in its eyes because you think it ugly. I rather accept it for what it is, so that I can make the best of it. At the age of 50 I already can say I’ve been successful to some extent. I have made some difference in the lives of other people; a very satisfying thought. But the Universe doesn’t give a shit. Well, I don’t give a shit about the Universe as far it doesn’t concern me and unless I get curious.
          I don’t need a fairy tale to be satisfied and happy.

        • wlad

          ” Well, I don’t give a shit about the universe as far it doesn’t concern me and unless I get curious.”

          Your comments now make more sense.

        • MNb

          Intellectually dishonesty confirmed. What did I write just above? Science is not perfect.
          What’s more: science does not prove anything conclusively. Scientific theories are always temporary and tentative and thus open for improvement.
          So science does no have to prove that an uncaused Creator (blessed be Him/Her/It) didn’t do it.
          That’s a strawman; the amount of your logical fallacies is rising.

          “Nothing really matters (except surviving).”
          In the end no, not even surviving, not within the grand scheme of things. The Universe is 13,7 billion of years old; I may hope to live say 100 years. That’s close to nothing. The Universe is so much bigger than you or me or even the Earth that we even cannot begin to imagine it. The idea that the Universe is specifically designed for you and me to enable our entertaining discussion is even more absurd than a fly landing on the White House concluding it has been specifically been designed to provide it with a resting place. Your ID is a deadly sin as defined by Augustinus of Hippo: “the love of one’s own excellence”
          As such ID contradicts christianity. You might consider reconverting.

          “Or perhaps you are just engaging in meaningless fun.”
          Exactly. And I’m quite enjoying it. If I weren’t I would stop immediately. Yup, you are capable of learning.

        • Pofarmer

          “As Dawkins said…life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the ”
          survival of DNA…life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good,
          nothing but blind pitiless indifference.1 –Richard Dawkins”


          That’s how you live your life, right?

          That’s why you are having this discussion with me, to
          perpetuate your DNA better than me. Or perhaps you are just engaging in meaningless fun. Nothing really
          matters (except surviving).’

          I suppose I would ask, what evidence you have that that statement isn’t true? It seems to perfectly fit the world around me. The world doesn’t care if I live or die, and tries to kill me daily, in fact, in some way. So, if our purpose isn’t ultimately to pass on our DNA, then what is it? To worship God? doesn’t that seem a little empty?

        • wlad

          I see. Infertile and all those people who have never reproduced have no purpose.

          When people say to each other “I love you and want to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you and want you to bear my children.” what is REALLY happening is molecules in the brain furiously (oops–accidentally) interacting with each other to motivate (oops–no motivation allowed in evolution)–to accidentally move the brain owner to self-reproduce. Love is not good, Love is not evil. It’s only a survival mechanism. Survival rules!

          If you are married or have a partner and want to have children, at least be honest enough to share that. It’s only fair.

        • Pofarmer

          So, the fact that we have higher level cognition somehow is proof of ID?

        • wlad

          I don’t understand the question.

        • Pofarmer

          You seem to be opining that since we can love someone we cannot procreate with then that is somehow proof of ID.

        • wlad

          Forgive me, that wasn’t my point at all. I was trying to say that people don’t LIVE as if there is “no good no bad, just pitiless indifference,” and no higher purpose of life than “perpetuate DNA.”

          They, and I think you and me, and Dawkins, LIVE as if there IS good and bad, as if married love is a awesome reality, and not just an blind evolutionary drive for pushing one’s DNA.

        • Pofarmer

          We live in the reality we make. Simple as that. We are evolved primates. Simple as that.

        • wlad

          Every one makes their own reality? Does everyone have that right equally? Are they all equal, since we all create our reality. Is someones’ reality more real and valid than anyone else’s? Is the reality you CREATE more valid or less valid than mine, or Bob’s? Why, in either case? Who decides?

        • Pofarmer

          Good, evil, love. These are all human concepts. Moreover, the ideas of what are good or bad would change over time. It was once considered good to stone unruly children, for example. It was once considered good to not beat slaves until they died. Beating them until they died was bad. See the point? Morals evolve too. That’s the point, we created them.

        • Of course we all live as if there’s good and bad and purpose to life. It’s just that atheists don’t pretend that there’s absolute good, bad, and purpose.

        • MNb

          So what? In no way it contradicts Dawkins when he said

          “…life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the ”
          survival of DNA…life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”
          I wrote it before: you’re having a problem, not we. I’d like to formulate it differently than BobS: there is no external meaning of life. That’s what Dawkins meant with “higher purpose”. We human beings ourselves can give our life meaning. I call that internal meaning, because it comes from ourselves. I have very much done so and am proud of it. But I also know that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t make any difference at all. So what?

        • If you say that’s what happened, that’s good enough for me. Praise Jesus.

        • wlad

          This discussion was on ID.
          You asked me what I believed about God.
          I told you.
          Then you mocked me for stating my belief, as if I was trying to convert you.

        • You offered theology in place of evidence. Yes, I’ll mock that.

        • MNb

          In this discussion it matters exactly nothing if we call the Intelligent Designer God, Allah or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. You refusing to recognize this is another sign of your dishonesty.

        • MNb

          So you’re not going to answer my question: how did the Intelligent Designer did it? Like Gubba wrote above we know pretty well how craftsmen design stones and archs.
          You’re just another dishonest creationist. Not that I’m surprised.

        • wlad

          Intelligent Design does not say anything about the nature of a designer. It just says, for instance, that an intelligent design, from all of our experience, is a more logical explanation of a flagellum than it just is a fortuitous accretion of unrelated parts that helped something survive and turns into a motor.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Intelligent Design does not say anything about the nature of a designer.

          Well it certainly ought to. For example, if you claim the bacterial flagellum is Intelligently Designed, then you are committed to a time frame (billions of years ago), working material (genes which are translated into proteins) and the skill set to pull it off.

          Nikolai Tesla has been eliminated, continue with your list of candidates meeting the relevant criteria.

        • Uh, yeah, you need to show that a supernatural Designer is plausible (where it would come from, what would make it, etc.) before you posit such an incredible concept.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Where has he seen anything like this before.

          Dear clueless git who does not read comments already posted and who endlessly repeats arguments already refuted:
          When he examines the flagellum more closely, and sees that it is composed of multiple protein subunits, he find that almost all of these subunits have close analogs which are already in use elsewhere in the cell. Why, it almost appears as if the flagellum evolved from pre-existing parts.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Hmm, the biologist said. Sure looks like something Tesla designed.

          At last! Finally you reveal to us a candidate for the Intelligent Designer.

          I think we can dismiss this proposal on multiple grounds though.
          1) Tesla never constructed anything out of protein so it doesn’t fit his M.O.
          2) There is no evidence that Tesla ever understood how cellular information is stored in genes, and how the genetic code transfers that information into the structure of proteins. That sort of information wasn’t available until a decade or more after Tesla’s death.
          3) Teslas wasn’t born until 1856, and the flagellum has been around for billions of years.


        • wlad

          “Hmm, the biologist said. Sure looks like something (a motor)Tesla designed.”

          Even evolutionists call it a motor. I wasn’t comparing molecules. I was comparing function and complexity.

        • Actually, what I think we’d like to see you do is give an analysis of the likelihood of this supernatural Creator existing. So far nothing.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          To GubbaBumkin…

          Apparently you cannot even muster the intellect and skill set to master a cut-and-paste operation.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          He googled the flagellum and found this:…

          But then he posted it on Teh Internetz with absolutely no attribution to its source, thus committing plagiarism. This biologist friend of yours is quite incompetent, since all scientists receive training and experience in proper academic publishing standards.

          Or maybe it wasn’t some unnamed incompetent “biologist.” Maybe it was you who committed plagiarism. The blog custodian should look into it.

        • wlad

          Sorry, I should have cited the reference. I tried to find it but couldn’t. But I found this:


          Check out the many images.

          Do they remind you of anything?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Do they remind you of anything?

          Methinks it is like a weasel.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          You are looking at crude schematics. If you look with a similar level of discernment at tuna, dolphins, sharks and penguins, they all look vaguely similar. This is because the restraints of fluid dynamics are the same for all these swimming animals. But if you look in more detail at their anatomy, you will find some very noticeable differences.

          Likewise, if you look at flagella in more detail, they don’t look like motor diagrams, they look like proteins. Here’s one example: Monoclinic Crystal Structure of Salmonella FlgA in closed form
          It does not have stators and magnetic coils, it has alpha helices and beta sheets. Like many other proteins, including proteins that are not parts of flagella. The only way you can avoid the conclusion that flagella evolved from pre-existing proteins is to remain (willfully) ignorant.

        • MNb

          I answered that question beneath and thus far you’ve ignored it completely. Copy/paste:

          You conveniently forget that we, thanks to science, have a very good idea who the DESIGNER was, what he/she did, when he/she did it, which means he/she used and which procedures he/she used. That’s because that DESIGNER was made of flesh and blood, ie material. The DESIGNER as proposed by ID: not at all.
          You’re presenting a false analogy, which has been known for decades.

          Some examples of things that appear to be designed, but aren’t:


          Ain’t it remarkable? Science has the tools to find out if something is a result by a natural process or of human interference. Your creationism not at all. It just consists of a four step plan:


          with this list by hand to back it up:


          Creationism is only good for one thing – a training ground for people who want to learn to recognize logical fallacies quickly. I already pointed out


          That’s why you refuse to address this (again copy/paste):

          “Tell me how the Intelligent GUIDER did it, which means the Intelligent GUIDER used and which procedures the Intelligent GUIDER, blessed be HIM/HER/IT followed. Then do some testable predictions for observations in the future and scientists will pay attention, but only then.”
          You can’t. No IDer can. Science can. That’s why BobS’ argument is valid.

        • Lark62

          Comparing arches to creationism/ID is imperfect because it starts with the premise that some intelligent being wanted an inanimate object shaped like an arch.

          Evolution differs in that 1) the beings are living, and pass genetic material on to their offspring, 2) the living beings must survive natural forces in order to live long enough to pass on genetic material, and 3) there is no planned result.

          No designer ever said “Golly gee whiz. I would really like to create a mammal that lives in the ocean, breaths through a hole in its head and has completely unnecessary leg bones buried in its abdomen.”

          We look around at what we see and assume intention. We ignore the 99.9% or so of species that didn’t make it (went extinct). Whales evolved from land animals because each animal in the chain lived long enough to pass on genetic material, and that any variations from the average possessed by those individuals either aided survival or were neutral. The whale is the result of this series of events, but wasn’t “intended”, In another million years the whale may or may not be extinct, and some descendent of the whale may exist. The descendents will like retain some characteristics of the whale that are totally unnecessary to the new species in its current environment. .

        • I wrote about how DNA alone defeats the design argument here.

        • Lark62

          Kinda like a box of chocolates. There are so many good arguments it’s hard to decide which one to pick.

        • wlad

          The problem is that for that whale to evolve from a land animal, the incredible number of millions of small accidental changes that prove beneficial for survival and change to a water mammal, there is not enough time in our existing universe for those changes to happen accidentally. They can calculate the lifetime of a whale, and the length of a generation, and calculate how often some small accidental beneficial accretion occurs in a generation, and how many generations needed for all the huge changes in ALL the organs for a land mammal to become a sea-going one.
          And doing the calculations of numbers of generations, they found that since mammals first came upon the earth, there is simply not the amount of time for this to happen by accidental survivable accretions.

          Perhaps if EVERY accidental accretion ensured not only survivability, but also headed toward a mammal becoming sea-borne–in other words, if EVERY change was Guided toward a goal of a earth mammal becoming a sea mammal, there possibly could be enough time for it to happen.

          Intelligent Design people allow the possibility and probability of GUIDED gradual changes–it’s at least plausible.

        • MNb

          There is no problem with the evolution of whales. It has been thoroughly documented, with intermediate fossils and everything. Just google “evolution of whales” and you’ll be busy the rest of the week.

          “They can calculate …”
          You’re pulling “they this and they that” out of your big fat thumb – or rather out of the big fat thumbs of other IDiots. That’s why you don’t give any reference; you don’t have even a single reliable one.
          Here is one on the development of the eye, another favourite argument of creacrappers:


        • Yeah, yeah. You and your “edji-kashun.”

          You want to spend a useful week? Start checkin’ out the top-quality research done at ICR or Creation Research Institute or other God-fearin’ sites.

        • tyler


          can we move on to something actually worthy of discussion now and stop wasting everyone’s time with these failed arguments

        • Let’s see–Wlad says that evolution is bullshit. And the people who actually understand the evidence say it’s not.

          Decisions, decisions.

        • wlad

          Please don’t put words in my mouth. I may use sarcasm, but I don’t use swear words.

        • Was it an inaccurate paraphrase?

        • wlad

          In a public forum, I would never say “Bob believes that the idea of God is bullshit.”

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Which euphemism is appropriate? Caca? Poopoo? Cattle effluence? Number two?

        • wlad

          You are certainly able to have a public discussion at any level of maturity of your choice.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Well thank you. Meanwhile, you seem unable to meet the requirements of a rational discussion. You are unable to back up claims that you make with evidence. Your reasoning is faulty. You make assertions about topics on which you are poorly informed.

        • I do my best to not misquote you. When I paraphrase, I’ll put it in my own words.

          I am fairly cautious about using naughty words, but they do convey a nice punch sometimes. No one could read my comment and conclude that you must’ve used the b-word. I think your concerns are overblown.

          I only insist that you quote me accurate and/or paraphrase me honestly. The words are your choice.

    • ?? We don’t need ID to tell us where arches come from, thanks. We know where they come from.

      Evolution successfully answers the big questions and shows how evolution works. That you don’t get it means zip to me. That the people qualified to evaluate the evidence are almost unanimous that it explains things is what I find compelling.

      What’s also amazing to me is that you ignore the incredible improbability of god. Any estimate of how likely a god is? Y’know, given that there is no evidence for one?

    • GubbaBumpkin

      You are also confusing creationists with Intelligent Design folks.

      Just to clarify, let’s call them cdesign proponentsists.

      • Lark62

        Yes. Intelligent design was created when a court declared that creationism is religion and cannot be taught in public schools as science. So the brilliant authors of the creationism text book did a search and replace to change creationism and creationists to intelligent design and design proponents. Not one word of the underlying definitions was changed. Of course, search and replace failed them, leaving the term “cdesign proponentsists” to serve as the missing link.

        But wladyslaw, go ahead and explain how they are really really different.

    • Sven2547

      You are also confusing creationists with Intelligent Design folks.

      Allow me to present The Wedge Document, an official publication of the Discovery Institute. It outlines their goal to bring the “controversy” over “evolution” versus “intelligent design” into the public arena, in a way politically contrived to get less informed members of the public to side with the idea of “teach both sides” (one side being science, the other religion). It is the smoking gun that demonstrates that “intelligent design” is creationism in a thin disguise.

      • Are you saying that this group should be denied their right to fund research, publish it, and try to get others to accept their findings?

        • MNb

          Do you have comprehensive reading skills? He doesn’t even hint at that. He just presents ID for what it is – a political movement, not science.

        • ‘Smoking guns’ usually have bullets – forgive me if I read into the statement that because Sven2547 doesn’t agree with an organization, he does not support their continued efforts, or the way they label themselves.

          That said – Sven2547 makes a good point about them being around for years and publishing nothing. That says quite a bit about them.

        • Sven2547

          To the contrary: I encourage them to do actual research and submit it for peer review. Unfortunately outfits like the Discovery Institute and AIG don’t actually conduct any scientific research, they just rehash apologetics and apply political pressure.

        • And you know that they don’t actually do any research, that they are not involved in any ‘real’ research at this time such as digging into someone’s else’s data? How do you know that? Do you work there?

        • Sven2547

          For starters, both of these outfits have been around for years and not one of them has published a single thing for peer review.

          DI and AIG both have the explicit, stated goals of opposing evolution. It’s not science when you start with a conclusion and summarily discard evidence that doesn’t jive with your position. They are little more than political advocacy groups.

        • Understood. I’m not an advocate for them or what they do. I simply enjoy a balanced discussion, so thank you for this information.

  • Lark62

    Read Behe’s testimony in the Dover trial, and the cross examination. Irreducible complexity was pretty thoroughly skewered. Read the judge’s opinion – it’s a really good summary of the scientific evidence presented. This is all available on the National Center for Science Education website.

    My personal favorite was when Behe claimed, under oath, that there is no evidence for the evolution of the immune system. The lawyers presented text book after text book on the evolution of the immune system, plus dozens of peer reviewed papers. Behe admitted he had read none of them, then repeated his assertion: “but, but, but, there’s no evidence, really.” Most rational human beings understand that “I refuse to look at the evidence” is not the same as “there is no evidence.”

  • purr

    This discussion is great. I heart wlad. Especially the part about arches.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    The comment counter is currently at 187, and the list of candidates submitted as possible designers for the bacterial flagellum is pretty short:

    1) God, but we won’t admit it.
    2) Nikolai Tesla (dismissed for a variety of good reasons).

    • MNb

      What about superconductivity at relatively high temperatures? Science can’t explain it; there is no good theory of physics describing it.


      Hence here we see an Intelligent Guider at work in these suitable circumstances. He/She/It must specifically have designed them.
      Convert, all you atheists!

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Considerable progress has been made in understanding high temperature superconductors.
        Another step toward understanding of high-temperature superconductivity”

        Carbone’s group was able, for the first time, to directly observe the
        formation of Cooper pairs in real time in a superconducting HTS and
        determine how the process affects the optical properties of the
        superconductor. Using a novel approach, the scientists cooled an HTS to
        its superconducting temperature and then repeatedly fired laser pulses
        on it to break up the Cooper pairs back into single electrons. As the
        Cooper pairs broke and re-formed, they caused a periodical change in the
        color spectrum of the superconductor. By measuring the color change,
        the researchers were able to directly study what happens in a
        superconducting HTS. What they discovered was that Cooper pair formation
        follows a completely different path than in conventional

        • GubbaBumpkin

          And check this out:
          Will 2-D Tin Be the Next Super Material?

          Nov. 21, 2013 — A single layer of tin atoms could be the world’s first material to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency at the temperatures that computer chips operate, according to a team of theoretical physicists led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University…

          This is a theoretical prediction, not an experimental result. But if it works out…

  • MNb

    Today I learned something: IDiocy is even lamer than I previously thought. They have their own lab:


    “Scientists affiliated with Biologic Institute are working from the idea that life appears to have been designed because it really was designed.”
    They have their own journal as well:


    Money is not a problem.


    If it is there is always this:


    Biologic Institute is founded in 2005. We would have expected some sensational ID news by now, wouldn’t we?

    • GubbaBumpkin

      If it is there is always this:

      The Templeton Foundation did fund some earlier Intelligent Design activities, but stopped around the time of the Dover trial.

      The Templeton Foundation Distances Itself from “Intelligent Design”

      Wesley R. Elsberry: The Templeton Foundation did fund a number of projects and people in the “intelligent design” creationism movement. While early recognition of the depth of worthlessness and the essential political nature of “intelligent design” creationism was probably too much to ask, certainly by mid-2000 these elements should have been clear to granting entities like the Templeton Foundation. Templeton’s retreat from IDC, though, only became apparent in 2005…

      John Templeton Foundation – Frequently Asked Questions

      Does the Foundation support “intelligent design”?
      We do not support the political movement known as “intelligent design,”
      which denies large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge in
      evolutionary biology. As a matter of policy and in keeping with our
      legal status, we do not support or endorse political movements of any

      That last sentence seems to be wrong, since there is evidence that Templeton has supported global warming denialism; but that is getting off on a tangent.

    • That quote sounds like scientists are constrained to an agenda. I wonder if there’s a faith requirement to work there.

      • wlad

        Of course evolutionary biologists are not constrained to an agenda, right?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Of course evolutionary biologists are not constrained to an agenda, right?

          Right. Glad we finally agree on something. Actual biologists are only constrained by the data.

        • MNb

          Indeed. Every single biologist would be willing to kill his/her parents, wive/husband and children to find a cat fossil that’s 80 million years old (metaphorically and possibly some even literally).
          As always our house creacrapper grows more pathetic in time.

        • purr

          What is that agenda?

          Is it the same as the gay agenda for world domination?

        • wlad

          One agenda is to absolutely deny any affirmation of the possibility of something being intelligently designed. It would (horrors) lead to the quest for the identity of such designer.

        • In your sad world, I appreciate that you’re at the center, and everyone is either supporting or attacking you and your Christianity.

          But outside your head, it’s not really like that. Scientists actually are following the evidence and looking for the truth. Their goal isn’t simply to make you miserable or make Baby Jesus cry.

        • Ix-nay on the omination-day!!

    • Thank you for the links. The ‘line-up’ includes some very highly accredited PhDs and researchers. Yet you damn them for having a lab. You mock them for starting with a hypothesis, and you question them for for being well-funded. And because they seem to be researching prior to publishing, you dismiss them as being… Well, I don’t know why you dismiss them.

      Should you dismiss them prior to, and without examining, whatever findings they present?

      • MNb

        No, you definitely don’t have comprehensive reading skills. I only mock them for presenting zero results after 8 years, despite the PhD’s, despite the money.

        “I don’t know why you dismiss them.”
        You need a course comprehensive reading. It’s just there:

        “We would have expected some sensational ID news by now, wouldn’t we?”
        Like with every other creacrapper I need to spell it out: there hasn’t been any sensational ID news up to now. Apparently all those PhD’s, all that money and all that research has resulted in zilch, nada, nothing, naught.
        That’s a good reason for mockery given the arrogance of the IDiots from Seattle.

        • Give money to a biologist, and they can put it to use doing research. Give it to the Disco Institute, and they will spend it on slick books aimed at convincing the gullible public that they’re right.

  • MNb

    A separate comment, as Disqus nesting system is getting confusing.

    Oh man, is Wlad dishonest. Underneath he writes:

    “Some disgruntled atheists are still trying to discount that fact”
    ie the Big Bang.
    Somewhere above that quote he writes:

    “Atheists who do not believe in evolution use ID.”
    Gubba asks Wlad to name three. Wlad shows up with

    “Fred Hoyle – An Atheist for ID | Uncommon Descent”
    Yep – the same Fred Hoyle who tried to mock the models of Friedman and Lemaitre plus the empirical data of Hubble by coining the term Big Bang. Fred Hoyle was one of those “disgruntled atheists trying to discount the fact” of the Big Bang. That’s Wlad’s witness for the prosecution of Evolution Theory: someone who spectacularly failed to do what Wlad reproaches him for.
    So much for consistency.

    • Pofarmer

      Yes, disqus threading seriously sucks, plus, the last few days it has been losing comments.

      • (I doubt it’s been losing comments. I does hide them, however. It has an odd philosophy for which it shows and which it doesn’t. To reliably find an old comment, click on the “Load more comments” button at the bottom over and over until every comment is in. Then search for your comment. It should be there.)

        • Pofarmer

          I made comments on a different blog, and there were at least two comments following that. If I hit the “context” button in dashboard they show up, but if I go directly to the thread, or just look at the comments on my dashboard, they do not appear.

        • Did you try the Load more comments button repeatedly?

          I’ve complained about this, and apparently, this is a feature, not a bug (from the standpoint of Disqus). But entering a comment, then clicking a link, then going back to that page, and seeing your comment gone is not a good user interface.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, the comments would show up when you hit the more comments, but then they would leave again when you came back to the page or scrolled down. I like that you see full comments, I don’t like that it’s very very hard on a large thread to see who comments are addressed to, or even which specific comment. would leave aga

        • If you refresh or go back and return, you may see that comment gone since you’re back to the minimal number of comments (50 or so?).

          But scrolling shouldn’t make a comment vanish, however. At least, I’ve never seen that as a problem.

        • purr

          Drives me crazy! This has been bothering me for months, and I finally had to turn on email notifications so that I wouldn’t miss entire conversations.

          Once a thread gets really big, new comments are often posted but…entirely hidden to everyone but the people who are involved in the conversation in question.

          And related to the large thread is that the more comments you load = great way to slow your computer down.

          Terrible terrible coding.

  • Rick

    I found your description of the basic position represented by ID to be remarkably cogent. In fact, it was more convincing than your refutation of ID. Therefore, I will hold my position in assessing the evidence to be stronger in favor of ID than opposed to it. Thanks for strengthening my convictions on this.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    We can use the Ontological Argument here.

    1) If a Creator God existed, He would be perfect, and his work would be perfect, including the flagellum.

    2) If the bacterial flagellum was perfect, there would be only one flagellum. If there were different flaggella, one would be more perfect than the others.

    3) There is not one bacterial flagellum, but a large collection of them with various differences between them.
    ( Structural diversity of bacterial flagellar motors, Songye Chen et al, EMBO Journal 30(14) 2972-2981, 20 July 2011, DOI 10.1038/emboj.2011.186)

    4) Therefore, a Creator God does not exist.

    • Your point No 1 is incorrect. God is perfect – the world is not.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        If a Creator makes something imperfect, it defies logic that the Creator can be perfectly omnipotent. Unless He intentionally made the world imperfect, in which case He is morally imperfect.

        • This sounds like the ‘Problem of Evil’ argument which goes nowhere when God is understood as creating possibilities, not results.

        • GubbaBumpkin


        • Please understand that my ‘take’ on Isaiah 45:7 is a little unusual.

        • MNb

          Why should anyone here care how you understand any quote of the Bible?

        • I have followed links and considered ideas presented by you several times, and thanked you for the material.

          You, on the other hand, encounter something you can’t so easily explain and react… let’s say… ‘differently.’

        • MNb

          Because I don’t understand the relevance.

        • MNb

          God – a perfect one – creating possibilities that can go wrong. Makes totally sense.

        • God is much more interesting than most people allow.

          I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. –Isaiah 45:7

        • MNb

          The Flying Spaghetti Monster is far more interesting. Read his theology on Uncyclopedia. Ramen!
          Though I must admit that Revelations never fails to make me laugh. Fantasy avant la lettre with a sound dose of absurdism, written on the Ancient equivalent of LSD.

        • I’ve brought up the FSM for His Divine Purpose, which is to lampoon the Christian belief. Christians have gotten enraged and tried to say that the comparison makes no sense. One guy was comparing points of Pastafarian theology, ignoring the fact that any difficulties can be easily remedied by simply rewriting the theology.

        • I can’t imagine anyone becoming enraged by what is, admittedly, a pretty clever joke. The question becomes, ‘Upon whom is the joke being played?’

        • MNb

          Still I have angered a few christians as well by bringing up the FSM. Not everyone can stand the thought that atheists see the christian god, in whatever version, in exactly the same way as christians see the FSM.

        • That is not a very reasonable response to a challenging proposition.

          GubbaBumkin’s Ontology Argument fails if his narrow idea of God is not present. The quote I provided broadens our understanding of God enough to destroy his argument, and take the so-called ‘Problem of Evil’ along with it.

          The good news is that you agree that Revelation is an ancient manuscript. So maybe we’re making progress.

        • MNb

          “The Flying Spaghetti Monster is far more interesting.”
          is exactly as reasonable as

          “God is much more interesting than most people allow.”
          The quote you provided broadens nothing, because it assumes something Gubba and I reject exactly just as you reject The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

        • I don’t know if our rejections are exact. I reject the FSM because is it is a fiction created by a specific person at a specific time for a specific purpose. Do you reject God for exactly those reasons?

        • MNb

          Yes (the christian god that is), with Jesus and Paul in the role of Bobby Henderson. The only difference is that BH meant it as a parody. Note for instance that neither Jesus (probably) nor BH had the intention to start a world religion.

        • An honest answer. I wasn’t aware that Bobby died on a cross and was restored to life after three days. Or that Bobby suffered scourging, stoning, shipwreck, blindness, prison and beheading for his parody.

        • MNb

          Many people in human history have died on crosses and suffered scourging etcetera. So this is not a reason to take christianity seriously.
          As for the Resurrection, that’s a myth. You only have one witness – the Bible, which is prejudiced. Plus Testis Unus Testis Nullus.
          Like I said, the only difference – relevant to the question if we should reject christianity because it’s a fiction created by a specific person (actually two) at a specific time for a specific purpose (sorry for omitting this; I tend to forget that I have to spell everything out until the smallest detail for people like you) – is that BH meant it as a parody.
          Btw genuine thanks for that nice joke on me thinking low of myself (for some reason I couldn’t get it posted in the right place); I had a good laugh.

        • MNb – It’s good to laugh, even when it is nervous laughter.

          To accept the Resurrection as a myth, you must reject more and better evidence in favor of less and weaker evidence. This is not a reasonable position, but it is the one you have chosen. It is not an intelligent position, yet you have embraced it.

          Here are several links that show that even stern critics of Christianity accept Jesus in history, and that the ‘Resurrection as a myth’ story fails to convince anyone except fringe-cases and wackos.




          I invite you to dispute any or all of this, using credible sources, and will do my best to keep up 😉

        • Your focus is on the Christ myth theory? I haven’t been following your conversation with MNb closely enough, but is MNb a Jesus mythicist?

          Jesus might well have been a myth, but that argument is a dead-end for my purposes. I will strongly argue that the resurrection is a legend, however.

          Your thoughts?

        • Bob – it appears that we will drop this for now. I’m sure it will come up again.

          You will have to ask MNb what he is – he seems to be a moving target.

        • MNb

          Jesus is highly probably historical. The Resurrection (plus the infanticide, the detour via Egypt, him walking on water, raising Lazarus from the death, chasing demons away by means of drowning pigs) is a myth.
          Seems pretty stable to me.

        • Small quibble: I would say that those elements of the story are legend, not myth. But perhaps you have studied the distinction more than I.

          Legend is grounded in a historical time and place (instead of “long ago and far away”) and is more focused on humans (instead of gods).

        • MNb

          “But perhaps”
          No, we Dutch are lazy bummers. For most of us, including scholars, myth and legend are synonyms. Nobody has problems with “King Arthur mythology” for instance. I vaguely remember though that a teacher Dutch told me about 35 years ago about this small but not insignificant difference.

        • MNb

          The laughter was not nervous, don’t worry.

          “I invite you”
          Another time and another place as this is not the right place. This article is about ID, not about Resurrection. Though if you googled a bit and and didn’t only read stuff that confirms your prejudices you could find plenty.

          “except fringe-cases and wackos”
          How I love silly believers like you. Sure, 28% of the Dutch population (that many atheists and agnosts) are fringe-cases and wackos. John G Gager (Kingdom and Community: The Social World of Early Christianity, 1975) is another fringe-case and wacko. What else can you expect from someone who studied at Harvard, Yale, Sorbonne (Paris) and the University of Tübingen – totally fringe universities which only produce wackos.
          It’s not necessary for me to provide any source – you admitted yourself that you will brush them off as fringe and wackos at beforehand. This way you will be always right – in your own ridiculous way of thinking. That’s the second reason to decline your invitation for the time being.
          The third reason is that you have got your answer. You wanted to know why I see christianity exactly the same way as you see pastafarianism. Now you know. I didn’t expect you to accept it.
          When I feel like we’ll meet again on this subject. Save your links for then; I won’t read them now.

        • Yes, we will meet again.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          God is much more interesting than most people allow.

          The Baron Harkonnen is much more interesting than most people allow. That doesn’t make him real.

          Even if you could convince me that your God is real, you couldn’t convince me to worship the Creator of evil.

        • If I could convince you of anything, it would be to see the world through a broader lens then the limits of your own experience.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          I have no experience of any god. A being who is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent is the philosophical definition of God. Thank you for point out that ther God of the Bible is not the same as the omni-God of the philosophers, so that “proofs” for the existence of one do not apply to the other.

        • That sounds like a pretty good subject for a blog if the distinctions can be made. “Philosophers’ is a fairly broad term, and the ‘God of the Bible’ can be fighting words since many claim the Bible as if they owned the copyright.

        • So that’s where evil comes from! Now I finally know who to blame.

        • Many atheists do, in fact, blame God for something.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Stepwise formation of the bacterial flagellar system

    Renyi Liu and Howard Ochman (2007)

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

    104(17) 7116-7121, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0700266104

    Abstract: Elucidating the origins of complex biological structures has been one of the major challenges of evolutionary studies. The bacterial flagellum is a primary example of a complex apparatus whose origins and evolutionary history have proven difficult to reconstruct. The gene clusters encoding the components of the flagellum can include >50 genes, but these clusters vary greatly in their numbers and contents among bacterial phyla. To investigate how this diversity arose, we identified all homologs of all flagellar proteins encoded in the complete genome sequences of 41 flagellated species from 11 bacterial phyla. Based on the phylogenetic occurrence and histories of each of these proteins, we could distinguish an ancient core set of 24 structural genes that were present in the common ancestor to all Bacteria. Within a genome, many of these core genes show sequence similarity only to other flagellar core genes, indicating that they were derived from one another, and the relationships among these genes suggest the probable order in which the structural components of the bacterial flagellum arose. These results show that core components of the bacterial flagellum originated through the successive duplication and modification of a few, or perhaps even a single, precursor gene.

    • GubbaBumkin – are all scientists everywhere in perfect agreement with this paper?

      • GubbaBumpkin

        are all scientists everywhere in perfect agreement with this paper?

        No. There are probably quite a few scientist who have never even heard of this paper; particle physicists for example.

        It has been cited 49 times by people in relevant fields who have read it. Perusing the titles, I don’t see any direct challenges. That is too many papers to read them all, or even their abstracts.

        Here’s one paper that cited this one approvingly:

        Footprints of nonsentient design inside the human genome
        John C. Avise (May 11 2010)
        Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107, pp 8969-8976, supplement 2



        Intelligent design (ID)-the latest incarnation of religious creationism-posits that complex biological features did not accrue gradually via natural evolutionary forces but, instead, were crafted ex
        nihilo by a cognitive agent. Yet, many complex biological traits are
        gratuitously complicated, function poorly, and debilitate their bearers.
        Furthermore, such dysfunctional traits abound not only in the
        phenotypes but inside the genomes of eukaryotic species. Here, I
        highlight several outlandish features of the human genome that defy
        notions of ID by a caring cognitive agent. These range from de novo
        mutational glitches that collectively kill or maim countless individuals
        (including embryos and fetuses) to pervasive architectural flaws
        (including pseudogenes, parasitic mobile elements, and needlessly baroque regulatory pathways) that are endogenous in every human genome.
        Gross imperfection at the molecular level presents a conundrum for the
        traditional paradigms of natural theology as well as for recent
        assertions of ID, but it is consistent with the notion of nonsentient
        contrivance by evolutionary forces. In this important philosophical
        sense, the science of evolutionary genetics should rightly be viewed as
        an ally (not an adversary) of mainstream religions because it helps the
        latter to escape the profound theological enigmas posed by notions of

        The database I am using for this is Web of Science.
        As a comparison, I searched for “Dembski WA.” It brought up 6 papers which combined have been cited 12 times. Not all of those papers are science papers either, some would fall under religion or philosophy.

        I am surprised that you would ask me to back up an argument I made, when you have praised KarlUdy for failing to back up his assertions. Consistency is not your strong point, is it?

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Irreducible Incoherence and Intelligent Design: A Look into the Conceptual Toolbox of a Pseudoscience
    Martin Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman (December 2010)
    The Quarterly Review of Biology 85(4) DOI: 10.1086/656904

    Abstract: The concept of Irreducible Complexity (IC) has played a pivotal role in the resurgence of the creationist movement over the past two decades. Evolutionary biologists and philosophers have unambiguously rejected the purported demonstration of “intelligent design” in nature, but there have been several, apparently contradictory, lines of criticism. We argue that this is in fact due to Michael Behe’s own incoherent definition and use of IC. This paper offers an analysis of several equivocations inherent in the concept of Irreducible Complexity and discusses the way in which advocates of the Intelligent Design
    Creationism (IDC) have conveniently turned IC into a moving target. An analysis of these rhetorical strategies helps us to understand why IC has gained such prominence in the IDC movement, and why, despite its complete lack of scientific merits, it has even convinced some knowledgeable persons of the impending demise of evolutionary theory.