A Response to David Gelernter’s Attack on Evolution

A Response to David Gelernter’s Attack on Evolution August 26, 2019

Let’s subtitle this story, “Guy who made his career in not-biology is convinced by other not-biologists that Biology’s core theory is wrong.”

David Gelernter is a Yale computer science professor. You may know him as one of the technologists who was injured (in 1993) by a bomb mailed by the Unabomber. My first career was in computer science, so I want to like what he writes.

This time, however, he’s writing to tell us that evolution is a failure (Giving Up Darwin, 5/1/19). His article has been trumpeted by a number of Christian sites that use an Argument from Authority to encourage the rest of us to follow this smart guy’s lead.

Unlike many of the evangelicals who imagine they’re dancing on evolution’s grave, Gelernter takes a sympathetic stance. It’s like he’s a reluctant doctor who must tell the family that the patient is dead. He’s not pleased about it and in fact calls evolution “a brilliant and beautiful scientific theory.”

The alert reader will wonder, however, at the first words of his article: “Darwinian evolution.” If you’re like me, ominous music begins. It gets louder with the article’s repeated attention to what Charles Darwin knew or thought. And we truly know that all is not what it seems when the author mentions his guides in this world of evolution denial, three senior fellows at the Discovery Institute (none of them biologists), in particular Stephen Meyer.

We’ll return to this, but let’s overview his arguments against evolution.

Evolution and design

Gelernter says,

Darwin’s mission was exactly to explain the flagrant appearance of design in nature.

Yes and no. Richard Dawkins said, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose” (The Blind Watchmaker, 1986). But if we’re taking this naïve view of life, let’s not imagine it’s all sunsets and puppy dogs. If we insist on finding design, we can see not just good design but also poor design (the recurrent laryngeal nerve, chronic pain, atavisms, and vestigial structures) and evil design (parasites, babirusa tusks that can penetrate their heads, and the Tomentella fungus that zombifies ants).

DNA is often cited as the biggest clue pointing to design, but DNA singlehandedly disproves the Design Hypothesis (that the world looks designed and therefore must have been designed). No competent designer would include junk in their work, but DNA has plenty.

  • Every cell in your body contains DNA with 20,000 nonworking genes (pseudogenes).
  • Viruses replicate by inserting their DNA into cells, and millions of years of this imperfect process has left nonworking viral junk comprising eight percent of human DNA.
  • Atavisms are archaic genes that are accidentally switched on, like human tails or dolphin hind limbs. Vestigial structures (such as eyes in cave fish or pelvises in whales) are flashbacks to body features from species in the distant past.
  • Onions have much more DNA than humans do, as do lots of other plants and animals and even protozoa. Do they need it all, or is much of it junk?

I expand on DNA as a rebuttal to the Design Hypothesis here and here.

It’s also a mixed bag when we move beyond DNA. Our environment has warm spring days but also tsunamis; laughing babies but also earthquakes; satisfaction with a job well done but also disease, famine, cancer, drought, and more. This imaginary “Designer” is closer to a six-year-old burning ants with a magnifying glass than an omni-benevolent deity.

Could it be . . . Intelligent Design??

Gelernter quotes Intelligent Design advocate Stephen Meyer:

Our uniform experience of cause and effect shows that intelligent design is the only known cause of the origin of large amounts of functionally specified digital information.

And I’ve just shown that DNA, your “specified digital information,” is unlike anything that any designer we know would create. The Design Hypothesis fails.

While we’re talking about “our uniform experience,” our uniform experience of designers is that they have physical brains. Keep that in mind if you hope to eventually point to a god as the Designer.

Gelernter moves on to what explains life’s apparent design:

[Intelligent Design is] the first and most obvious and intuitive [argument] that comes to mind.

Sure it is, just like the earth being flat was the first and most obvious and intuitive explanation. But, as with flat earth theory, we’ve moved on to a better understanding of why life is the way it is.

Unlike evolution, Intelligent Design (ID) isn’t falsifiable, so it’s not a scientific theory. Any point where it’s unnecessarily complicated or confusing or unexpected, the ID proponent can always say that the Designer is smarter than you and must’ve had good reasons.

ID is Creationism—“God did it”—with one small change. Now it’s “Someone whose name we don’t know did it,” with an implied “wink wink—I think you know who that is!” The decision of the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover trial agreed: “ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.”

Read Gelernter’s arguments, Cambrian explosion + protein synthesis, in part 2.

(h/t commenter Scooter for pointing out the article.)

The “Intelligent Designer”
is the fundamentalist Christians’ god
with the serial number filed off.
— commenter Michael Neville

.

Image from Vassil – Alias Collections, CC license
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  • Reminds me a Fundy former universitary teacher of philosophy, who has similar claims and others related to the Flood having been a real event, etc. as well as when the man mixes stuff as cosmology and quantum mechanics with “the book”.

    All of this failing quite epically and showing a total ignorance of even the most basic science, that the man at least admits. Not to mention when it’s time to bash Catholicism and throw in the NWO and other nonsense.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Why is it that every creationist conflates our description of DNA with DNA itself? Just because we call it a “code” doesn’t mean it was coded. Just because we call it “information” doesn’t mean it was made in an informed manner.

    It’s just as idiotic as Ray Comfort claiming the need for a creator just because he calls it “Creation.”

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Because silly word games, ignorance and equivocation are all apologists have in their quivers.

      “Information” is particularly useless since we are the minds abstracting it from our surroundings. The molecular structure of a rock contains an incredible amount of information, does that mean it must have been designed that way? What doesn’t contain information?

      • Doubting Thomas

        Yup. A rock casting a shadow tells me very detailed information about the position of the sun even though neither the rock, the sun, nor the shadow required “information” to make. Information requires intelligence to interpret it, not create it.

        • Greg G.

          My favorite example is the light from a star. The bands of the spectrum that are absorbed by certain elements are a loss of information in creationist think but it tells us what elements the star is composed of. If those bands are shifted to a different frequency, it is a loss of information to the creationist but it tells us how fast the star is moving compared to us. Finding the velocity of a star on the opposite side of its galaxy tells hoe fast the galaxy is rotating.

          That is information we can get out of a creationist’s lost information.

    • DNA is processed in a computer-y sort of manner, though there’s no analog to a CPU in a cell.

      My favorite response to “but every instance of information comes from a mind!! :-)” is “but every instance of a mind is contained in a physical brain.”

      • Doubting Thomas

        I don’t really think DNA is processed in a computer-y way. It’s just that DNA transcription, translation, and replication are described in a computer-y sounding way. In reality, it’s simply molecules doing what molecules do.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Well said. The computer program analogy runs afoul in a similar way to the watchmaker. With WM, the argument discerns between designed and not-designed entities despite god supposedly creating everything.

          Likewise, if DNA is program code, then reality is the computer running the code. The problem is, computers are just as designed as program code, so there is no reason why DNA would appear more designed than anything else.

        • Rudy R

          The Watchmaker argument is crushed under its own false analogy. A watch is obviously created by a human, but the grains of sand to which the watch lays does not imply a designer.

        • epeeist

          The Watchmaker argument is crushed under its own false analogy.

          It was crushed before it was made, Hume’s argument against design was quite sufficient.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          If it wasn’t clear, that’s the point I just made.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          So maybe methylation is just fuzzy logic?
          ;>

      • ephemerol

        Once you’ve predetermined that every instance of information must have come from a mind no matter what, after that, then all the instances of information come from a mind! See? Easy-peasy!

  • Karen the rock whisperer

    Ad hominem attack coming here: I trained as a computer engineer and worked in the field for two decades before retraining with a geology MS. Many who study engineering and do it for a living are perfectly sensible people, but there are many in my former field who believe themselves to be experts on anything they like with a little light reading. In Silicon Valley where I live, we even make the mistake, over and over, of taking good engineers and making bad managers out of them.

    So I’m sad that a famous computer scientist, who is probably top-notch at his own game, has fallen into this trap.

    • You’ve heard of the Salem Hypothesis? “In any Evolution vs. Creation debate, a person who claims scientific credentials and sides with Creation will most likely have an Engineering degree.”

      • Karen the rock whisperer

        I have. I think that’s a fair characterization. My husband is an engineer, and he can make random (to me) claims about this and that, and then seems shocked when that claim doesn’t ring true to me and I demand citations. But, when faced with respectable data that disproves his claim (read, peer reviewed work) he immediately corrects himself without any drama. This is how we’ve managed 39 years of marriage. But a person in that sitch who wouldn’t back down–and I worked with some in my engineering days–can be a real PITA, especially if they develop followers.

      • Brian Curtis

        Engineers are also notoriously prominent among climate-science deniers. There’s something about engineering culture that somehow encourages a number of them to think they understand science better than actual scientists do. We should be glad that at least they aren’t a major component of antivaxers and naturopathy advocates.

        • I’m an engineer myself (or was, in a prior lifetime). C’mon, fellow engineers, stop embarrassing me!

          Maybe it’s Dunning-Kruger.

        • NS Alito

          Engineers are trained to solve problem with existing knowledge and components. In only the outermost fringe of development (e.g. bleeding-edge chip design) is there anything close to raw research. And that’s…OK.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          I had a very strong science and math program as an undergraduate. Did you know that you can get the speed of light out of Maxwell’s equations? In the math classes, we derived everything.
          Then, as a fun side course, I took a class on electronic circuits. When it came to applying Fourier to circuit analysis, it was completely formulaic. Pick a term from column A, fill in the number. Pick a term from column B… It was way way different.

        • Greg G.

          Did you know that you can get the speed of light out of Maxwell’s equations?

          Didn’t his son say that Maxwell started dancing around the room when he discovered that?

        • ThaneOfDrones

          I hadn’t heard that. Maxwell died in 1879, at which time the speed of light was known to less than 1% error so I suppose it is plausible. link

        • gusbovona

          They have also been prominent cranks of many sorts. I knew a physicist at my university who kept a file and a box of all the crank physics theories people would send him looking for approval, and many of them (a majority, I think) were from engineers.

        • BertB

          Well, here’s one old, broken down retired engineer who doesn’t fit your stereotype. :>)

        • gusbovona

          Sorry, didn’t mean to stereotype. Most cranks could be engineers, but that wouldn’t mean that most engineers are cranks.

      • NS Alito

        When you get the signed Creationists’ statements, many self-described “scientists” are actually engineers, MDs and dentists. These people apply the discoveries of science, but that doesn’t make them scientists, but designers or diagnosticians.

  • eric

    Darwin’s mission was exactly to explain the flagrant of design in nature.

    Well, he’s already wrong. Darwin actually stated plainly why he did what he did. Here’s the first few sentences of Origin of Species: “When on board H.M.S. Beagle, as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the organic beings inhabiting South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts, as will be seen in the latter chapters of this volume, seemed to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, it occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it. After five years’ work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions, which then seemed to me probable: from that period to the present day I have steadily pursued the same object…”

    [Meyer] intelligent design is the only known cause of the origin of large amounts of functionally specified digital information.

    Did IDers ever get around to defining information in an operationally useful way? Last I remember, they couldn’t even agree with each other over whether a copy command (i.e. going from string A to string AA) produced information or did not produce information.

    • Greg G.

      a copy command (i.e. going from string A to string AA) produced information or did not produce information.

      They argued that it was a loss of information, even though there were still copies of string A.

      • Michael Neville

        According to IDers and creationists that I’ve talked to, every change in DNA results in a loss of information.

        • Well that’s just nonsense, as it would seem to leads to a single DNA base pair having maximal information, and everything with more base pairs must have less information….

        • Michael Neville

          The Lenski e.coli experiment shows very specific genetic mutations evolving, and not only evolving, but adding additional functionality, and improving its overall fitness in said environments.

        • That’s kinda my point. No matter how much new functionality comes about, creationists will insist that it’s worse than it was in some previous iteration.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Sounds like they’re shoehorning in Fall Theology.

        • Chuck Johnson

          I don’t think so.
          I think that the ancient, original DNA is supposed to be God’s information with all changes being seen as a loss and corruption of God’s plan.

        • So there is some perfect form that has some kind of perfect amount of information, and everything that deviates from it is somehow lesser. Still an absurd proposition.

        • NS Alito

          Having a much cleaner genome, the puffer fish is God’s Chosen Species.

        • Or “sin” hasn’t affected them as badly as other species. 🙂

        • Chuck Johnson

          Not absurd to the ancient people.
          But things change over time.

        • NS Alito

          According to IDers and creationists that I’ve talked to, every change in DNA results in a loss of information.

          It’s a miracle!

        • ThaneOfDrones

          Genome duplication?

        • Michael Neville

          You’re thinking logically. Creationists and their ID brothers don’t try to make sense. Their religious masters have told them that any genetic change is automatically loss of information.

      • eric

        Now that’s amusing.
        But I guess they’re stuck, aren’t they? Any observed mutational mechanism has to be called a loss of information, if their baseline claim about evolution not being able to produce new things is to survive. And copy errors are an observed mutation.

        Even so, it still falls apart. AIUI there’s a number of traits where a certain number of copies of a gene provides the adaptation, with too few or too many copies providing a less effective or nonworking version of the trait. If going from [too few] or [too many] to just the right number via copy error is [‘loss of information,’] then evolution can indeed produce new effective adaptations.

        • Greg G.

          Right. There can be a duplication error where there are two copies of the same gene. If they use the Shannon definition of information, that is a loss, even though there was no loss. Then if one of those copies of the gene mutates in a beneficial way, then they must count that as a loss of information, even though there is clearly an increase.

    • Mojohand

      As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

      This immediately came to mind!

      https://youtu.be/5hfYJsQAhl0

    • I guess the idea is that because ID has a Designer behind it, ordinary reliable evidence doesn’t exist because who knows what kind of nutty shenanigans that Designer is doing? I see that point, but then what about Christianity itself? It has the same problem.

      • Chuck Johnson

        These are all arguments from authority.
        Trust us that you can trust in God. – – – He can do anything.
        Logic and rhetoric suitable for ancient audiences.

        • But isn’t God imaginary? All the non-Christian gods are, right? I wonder why Yahweh gets a pass.

        • Chuck Johnson

          You know why.
          And why it’s Allah within Islam.
          Etc.

          The most amazing fantasies seem to come true.
          Through the miracle of indoctrination.

  • Michael Neville

    I know little about evolution in specific or biology in general. As a result I go with the consensus of biologists that evolution is the most likely explanation of how life forms change over time. I’m not impressed that a non-biologist thinks there are holes in “Darwinian evolution”. That he refers to Darwin tells me that his objections to evolution are ideologically driven. Charles Darwin came up with a brilliant idea some 150 years ago. Since then biology and evolutionary theory have progressed. Nowadays Darwin is of interest to historians of science but not to biologists.

    Intelligent design (ID) was invented by a lawyer named Phillip Johnson to get around the Constitutional prohibition of teaching religious mythology in American public school science classes. As Bob says, another lawyer, Judge John E. Jones III, determined in the Kitzmiller trial that ID is creationism repackaged.

    • Raging Bee

      Well, there’s the “peer review” that debunks intelligent design.

    • NS Alito

      I know little about evolution in specific or biology in general.

      I’m struggling to think of many claims made by a Creationist that can’t be shot down based on logic, basic understanding of biology and DNA replication patterns.

      For those who haven’t enjoyed it yet, here’s Mark Isaak’s now-classic compilation of Creationist claims in all their glory:

      http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/

  • Ann Kah

    Thanks, Bob. Good article.

    There are far too many people who believe that if we can shoot down evolution, that would automatically make their preferred creation story true by default. In other words, they have no evidence of their own, so must shoot down (1) evolution, (2) scientists, and (3) all of science, by extension. And then they will get on their tablets and laptops and smart phones to tell the whole world that science is “evil”…

    • Mojohand

      Can’t remember where I read it (probably multiple sources) but it was pointed out that you rarely, if ever, see creationists arguing for their evidence because, as you noted, they haven’t any. Instead, they spend all their time and energy attacking evolution’s perceived weaknesses (areas where science admits it doesn’t know).

      Once you see this pattern you can’t unsee it. Watch their debates and articles and it becomes obvious. They can’t prove ID so if they can cast ‘doubt’ on evolution, voila, victory!

    • Michael Neville

      Creationists see evolution vs creationism/ID as a zero sum game. If evolution loses then creationism/ID automatically wins. This just shows that they don’t understand how science works. Any theory which replaces evolution has to answer every question that evolution answers and some it doesn’t. GODDIDIT doesn’t answer any questions and so is out of the running as a possible replacement for evolution.

    • I’m going to attack evolution and then argue that its defeat raises the status of my theory, Snozzle Theory.

      You wonder what Snozzle Theory is? Well, I haven’t figured that out yet. I’ll let you know. But its nonexistence doesn’t matter–evolution’s defeat means my victory!

  • Doug1943

    The statement in the article that ID is not falsifiable, like evolution, caught my eye. Although I try to be a good Popperian, I’ve always wondered at what evidence would falsify the fact (not the explanatory mechanisms) of evolution.

    So my questionis:what sort of evidence would falsify evolution?

    On the other hand, ID is falsifiable. Eventually, we will be able to create life, and that would seem to me to be a falsification of ID.

    • Greg G.

      that would seem to me to be a falsification of ID.

      Nope, creationists have been waiting since at least the 1970s for that to claim that the creation of life requires intelligence.

    • So my question is:what sort of evidence would falsify evolution?

      If the fossil record consistently showed fossils in orders that they shouldn’t appear. Imagine a fossil layer with fossils of every known species, and that they all appeared to have existed at the same time. This would be some pretty strong evidence against the idea that life evolved.

      • Greg G.

        There was a chance to falsify evolution when it became possible to compare DNA between species. If the tree constructed with the findings of DNA similarities was incongruous with the tree based on morphological similarities, it would disrupt the theory of evolution, if not the whole concept of evolution.

        Instead, the congruity confirmed evolution again and strengthened an already strong theory.

      • Doug1943

        Duh! Of course.

      • Mojohand

        I’ve asked that question repeatedly of Creationists (who are, of course, proponents of Noah’s Flood). Where the hell are all the modern human fossils (sh*t, any hominid) alongside the dinosaurs and other ancient life? The fossil record should be loaded with them (I’ve read xtian estimates of ante-diluvian populations from 1-10 billion).

        Never have I gotten a response…apart from a cacophony of crickets.

        • I’ve read xtian estimates of ante-diluvian populations from 1-10 billion

          Seriously? I’d ask where they got these numbers from, but most likely some twit like Hovind pulled it out of his ass.

        • Richard Forrest

          Pulling things out of your arse is what creationists call “research”

        • Richard Forrest

          Surely you’ve had the response that you are an atheist determined to destroy “True Religion”® ?
          That seems to be their response if you persist in questioning their dogma.

      • Karen the rock whisperer

        But creationists claim that this happens! All the time! They don’t believe in ‘thrust faults’ or ‘overturned beds’, those are just made up by us geologists who are eevilutionists.

        • Right. These same creationists would have us believe that modern scientists are all in on a giant conspiracy against God. It’s absurd that we even have to address these kinds of concerns.

        • NS Alito

          Like professional biologists, professional geologists miss the most obvious proof of God’s Creation. That’s why someone with no background in the discipline can so easily poke holes in it.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Biologist JD Haldane answered that precambrian rabbits would falsify the theory of evolution.

      • Doug1943

        Ah, JBS Haldane huh? One of my favorites … I quote his “queerer than we can conceive” a lot. And I admire his attempt to educate ordinary people about science, although of course he got caught up in the Great Error of the Left in his time, as almost everyone did, in seeing Stalin’s Russia as an example of the pinnacle of social evolution. He was a real character … a pity that modern scientists seem so bland.

        • Doug1943

          NO NO NO — It was JD Bernal … that ‘JD’ threw me off… just remembered. They were both admirable characters.

    • Chuck Johnson

      “So my question is:what sort of evidence would falsify evolution?”

      Given the preponderance of evidence that evolution is the best explanation for life on Earth, we will expect that the foundational claims of evolution will never be falsified.

      Certain details will be found false or inadequate, but that is the way it goes in all of the sciences.
      Such discoveries and corrections are a natural part of the evolution of the sciences.

      • Doug1943

        Yes, that’s my position as well. The “what evidenced would falsify” question is one I ask myself routinely, by now reflexively, about almost all issues, from the effect of the minimum wage, race and IQ, whether or not Charter Schools are a good idea … on the question of evolution, it was a kind of mental exercise.

        On the ‘certain details’ … I am still open to the idea that there may be some underlying order to reality which has played a role in it, something we have not yet discovered or even conceived of … possibly relating to those great puzzles which the quantum physicists have revealed, possibly related to the nature of consciousness, which may in some way be entangled with the previous issues … it’s wrong to think we have discovered everything and need only add decimal points to our laws.

        But as regards an invisible man in the sky being responsible …. we have no need for that hypothesis.

        • Richard Forrest

          Simon Conway Morris book ‘Life’s Solution’ argues for the existence of an underlying order behind evolution, basing his argument largely on the ubiquity of the convergent evolution of biological systems.
          I share the view of many biologists that he is straying too far from sound science because of the influence of his strongly held religious beliefs, but his well-earned reputation in the field of evolutionary biology means we should at least consider his ideas fairly.

        • Doug1943

          Thanks for the reading tip. Biology is the weakest of my sciences — I can still remember the stench of the foetal pig we had to dissect, after a couple of weeks in the formaldehyde — and yet in some ways it is, at the moment, the most important, because of the effect progress in it is likely to have on society. So I’m reading Muknerjee’s magnificent book on the gene, and a couple of things about epigenetics [there’s an interesting demonstration of why we must not be too dogmatically certain about anything] but would welcome any more suggestions for enlightening books — I am especially interested in trying to understand the arguments for and against group selection, so I’m waiting for a Comic Book guide to it, to supplement Wiki. All suggestions gratefully received.

        • eric

          I am still open to the idea that there may be some underlying order to
          reality which has played a role in it, something we have not yet
          discovered or even conceived of ..

          Keep in mind that while QM overturned NM, it predicts identical behavior for most human-scale phenomena. The same is true for relativity and NM; relativity predicts identical behavior at human-scale speeds, masses, etc. Which makes sense, given that we have a huge number of human-scale observations recorded, and any new theory would have to be consistent with them to be considered a reasonable alternative or upgrade. Relativity isn’t merely different from Newton; it also equals Newton or out-Newton’s Newton in situations where Newton is accurate.

          The same is true for evolution. While it’s possible someone comes up with some radical new idea that replaces evolutionary theory, you can bet the farm that such a theory would equal evolution in cases where evolution is accurate.Thus even without knowing what that new radical theory would be, we can say with some reasonable confidence that it would predict that in most cases species descend with modification, and that in most cases selection processes would lead to differential reproductive success and changes in allele frequency in the population. It would likely only be at the scientific periphery, at weird cases with not a lot of current observable data, that this radical new theory would greatly depart from the modern ToE

    • Hans-Richard Grümm

      Finding a pegasus would falsify evolution.
      Finding a bat with avian lungs and insect eyes would falsify evolution.
      Finding a life-form with a 100% mutation-proof genome would falsify evolution.

      Creating life would not falsify ID.

      • Doug1943

        So you think it’s non-falsifiable, and therefore not even a scientific proposition? You may be right. Perhaps I’ll ask them myself and see what the reply. That could be interesting.

        • Richard Forrest

          The only reply you’ll get is their supposed falsification of “Darwinism” through the claim that “irreducibly complex” systems cannot be created by evolution. Needless to say, this is scientifically illiterate. We don’t verify one theory by falsifying a completely different one, and “God did it”, even if disingenuously disguised in sciency-sounding language is not the default position in science in the absence of a robust explanation.

          If you persist in asking, you will be accused of being an atheist with an agenda to attack religious belief.

        • Doug1943

          And I would have to plead guilty. Unless they ‘showed me the instruments’, in which case I would convert immediately, but would still mutter e pur, si muove under my breath.

        • Greg G.

          I do not think he is saying that evolution is non-falsifiable, just that it would take remarkable evidence to do it.

        • Lark62

          Listing ways a theory could be falsified is the opposite of saying it cannot be falsified.

        • NS Alito

          No one can argue against unfalsifiable claims like divine fraud. Divine fraud is not the best explanatory model. I must quote Bill Jefferys, who expressed it so well:

          The ability to “explain more things” than can natural processes means that whatever “explanatory power” [a non-natural mechanism] has, it has LESS explanatory power than theories of natural processes, not more.

          This is because, if a theory has explanatory power, this actually means that it rules out a very large fraction of what might possibly be observed. The fewer outcomes predicted by a theory, the more explanatory power it has. Newtonian physics has a high degree of explanatory power precisely because it says that the vast majority of “possible” motions we might think up will never be observed. Planets will NOT be found to be travelling around the Sun on square orbits, or hexagonal ones, or almost every geometric figure that you might imagine. …

          ETA: “Divine fraud” is “because God made it look that way” or “the devil put that there to deceive us.

    • Lark62

      ID cannot be falsified because there is nothing that cannot be explained by “that’s how the deity wanted to do it.”

      • Doug1943

        I believe this is the position of mainstream religions; it allows them to accept evolution, but say, this was the will of God.

        Sort of like saying 2 + 5 + 0 = 7. True, but why the zero?

        • Greg G.

          Nice analogy!

        • Doug1943

          Thank you. There is probably an essay there for those who like to write such things, on “God as the Identity Element of Ontology”.

        • Die Anyway

          > ” but why the zero?”

          Because it’s nice and round and it makes me feel good.

        • Doug1943

          Well, let’s be charitable … I think there are some mystical associations with the symbol,
          something about the concept of sunya in Indian thought. So it’s sort of ecumenical.
          Perhaps it’s reminding us that before the 2 and the 5, “the earth was without form, and void.”

    • ThaneOfDrones

      So my question is:what sort of evidence would falsify evolution?

      Uh… you mean if the outcomes of all those experiments carried out since before the time of Darwin hadn’t come out in support of his theory instead of the other way around? Because they did.

    • NS Alito

      So my question is: what sort of evidence would falsify evolution?

      Individual hypotheses are falsified, but the Big Kahuna has been well-tested on the basics. When DNA ancestry comparisons were made possible, a few of people’s pet cladistic relationships shifted. When Lucy* was found, that resolved the bipedal-or-brainy-first question.
      ____
      *She had some ‘splainin’ to do.

  • skl

    No competent designer would include junk
    in their work, but DNA has plenty.

    If having junk indicates a lack of competent design,
    then many households and all communities are not competently designed.

    But on a serious note, maybe the term “junk DNA” is just a
    placeholder until scientists figure out what that bit of DNA was for.
    Scientists are learning new things all the time – for example
    “Scientists discover a role for ‘junk’ DNA”
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180411131659.htm

    • Raging Bee

      That still doesn’t come close to disproving evolution. Give us an actual alternative theory (that doesn’t include supernatural agency), or you have nothing, and evolution STILL wins by default.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Do you think houses are designed with junk in them?

      • skl

        Do you think houses are designed with junk
        in them?

        I was talking about households, actually.
        But the same might be said for at least some houses.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Well the question still remains. Do you think households were designed with junk in them?

        • skl

          Do you think households
          were designed with junk in them?

          I think households design junk into them.

        • ?? Designers don’t design junk into their plans.

        • skl

          ?? Designers don’t design junk into their
          plans.

          Sure they do.

          Well, maybe everyone but you. Maybe you’ve never junked anything you ever bought. But help is available – Hoarders Anonymous.

        • Not what I’m talking about. Luckily, everyone is on board except you.

        • skl

          The other thing I’m not on board with is this:

          The alert reader will wonder, however, at
          the first words of his article: “Darwinian evolution.” If you’re like me,
          ominous music begins. It gets louder with the article’s repeated attention to what Charles Darwin knew or thought.

          I don’t see what’s so ominous. It seems to me that very many
          modern articles about evolution mention Charles Darwin and his thought. And scientists and many others celebrate Darwin Day every year.

        • Lark62

          What’s ominous is the Christian obsession with authority.

          Yes, Darwin is respected because he figured out Natural Selection and made great contributions to science. Those contributions matter ONLY TO THE EXTENT THEY ARE SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE.

          But Darwin is not worshipped. He got some things wrong. “Darwin said” doesn’t mean squat without evidence. And if Darwin had recanted every word, evolution would still be correct because that’s what the evidence shows.

          The Great Courses has a very good 24 part couse titled “What Darwin Didn’t Know.” This is because there is a lot Darwin did not know. Science moves forward.

          When one admires a book that says Adam was created both before and after all other living things (3000 years, no correction), Jesus died on two different days (2000 years, no correction) and salvation is by faith alone but faith alone can’t save you (2000 years, no correction), the concept that “authority said” carries no weight must be very confusing.

        • eric

          Exactly right. I’d only add that because Darwin got some things wrong, when an evolution denier selects him as a target rather than the modern synthesis, they are somewhat attacking a straw man. It would be like someone going on and on about how ‘Newtonian physics’ has flaws. Well, yeah. But so what? We’ve learned a bit since the 1760s and Newton…and since the 1860s and Darwin.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “It would be like someone going on and on about how ‘Newtonian physics’ has flaws.”

          Maybe we should spend more time on what St Thomas Aquinas got wrong?

          Y’all ever notice how IDers and Creationists always dwell on the gaps in scientific knowledge and ignore the total lack of any evidence in their own beliefs? These people reject and disdain the materialistic reality of their environment all while actually utilizing the products of that environment to push their imaginary musings. How messed up is that?

        • skl

          I’d only add that because Darwin got some
          things wrong…

          I’m not sure I understand that. Perhaps you
          mean he didn’t talk about DNA and random mutations of same, but he couldn’t
          have known about such things at the time. But that’s not being
          wrong. More like unavoidably unaware.

          Please tell me what you think Darwin’s one or two biggest “wrongs” were.

        • eric

          IIRC, Darwin proposed an ‘analog’ system of (what we would call) genetic mixing. Mendel showed that to be wrong (and Darwin could have had access to Mendel’s research, but evidently, didn’t read it). Also, his mechanism was somewhat Lamarkian, with traits acquired during an individual’s life being available for passing on.

        • skl

          IIRC, Darwin proposed an ‘analog’ system
          of (what we would call) genetic mixing. Mendel showed that to be wrong .

          I don’t understand. That sounds like you’re saying Darwin proposed gradual (~ “analog”) change but was wrong because the change is actually sudden (~ ‘digital’). I thought evolution, even according to today’s science, was supposed to be gradual.

          Also, his mechanism was somewhat
          Lamarkian, with traits acquired during an individual’s life being available for passing on.

          I looked up Lamarkian and it appears such a mechanism might
          not be dead:

          “The simplistic storyline is that the two theories battled it out in the 19th century and that Darwinism won, leading to Lamarckism’s demise and the rise of what biologists call the Modern Synthesis.
          But recent discoveries have exhibited a remarkably Lamarckian flavor. One example is the CRISPR-Cas system …

          https://www.quantamagazine.org/can-darwinian-evolution-explain-lamarckism-20170511/

        • skl

          What’s ominous is the Christian obsession with authority.

          What could be ominous is an evolutionist’s obsession with
          the authority of Darwin.

          Or obsession with the authority of modern day evolutionary geneticists (and blog authors who used to be in computer science) who dogmatically declare something “junk” (but find out later it may not be junk after all).

        • Doubting Thomas

          What could be ominous is an evolutionist’s obsession with
          the authority of Darwin.

          What a dumb thing to say in the comment section of an article that explicitly bemoans using Darwin as an authority figure.

          “The alert reader will wonder, however, at the first words of his

          article: “Darwinian evolution.” If you’re like me, ominous music begins.

          It gets louder with the article’s repeated attention to what Charles

          Darwin knew or thought.

          Try not to be such an idiot.

        • skl

          I assume you bemoan the frequent mention of
          Darwin in modern, neo-Darwinian evolution articles.

        • Doubting Thomas

          What a nonsensical distraction of a statement. People around here would have more respect for you if you just admitted when you post something ridiculous instead of trying your “Squirrel!!” redirection technique. It wore it’s welcome out years ago.

        • skl

          A truly “nonsensical” and “ridiculous” “distraction of a
          statement” should be obvious to all, and call for no response or rebuttal whatsoever. Yet you do attempt to respond/rebut.

          But I’ll do you a favor. From now on, you won’t have to fret about any
          more comments from me to you.

        • Greg G.

          From now on, you won’t have to fret about any
          more comments from me to you.

          I bet Doubting Thomas is sad to read that.

        • skl

          I think I’ll do you the same favor.

        • Greg G.

          THERE IS A GOD!

        • BertB

          Nah you spelled it wrong. It’s DOG.

        • Susan

          From now on, you won’t have to fret about any
          more comments from me to you.

          Once again, the subtext is “I’ve got nothing but I’ll be back tomorrow on the Reset Button”.

        • skl

          Hi, Susan!

          I noticed you’ve been following along closely, lurking, giving thumbs-up votes to various bashers of me. And now, your own comment.
          Time for you to play some more ‘Catch the Weasel’ … elsewhere.
          This “weasel” won’t be playing.

          Bye, Susan.

        • Susan

          following along closely, lurking, giving thumbs-up votes to various bashers of me

          As always, just noting that people are making substantial points on the subjects you raise, and pretend you are interested in, but on which you never follow up.

          They are not bashing you. But you know that. You are just here to ship disturb.

          This weasel won’t be playing.

          You mean, you’re not going to go with the relentless disingenuous weasel routine any more?

          Imagine how happy it would make me if you participated in the discussions you raise.

          You and I both know that’s very unlikely (based on your history).

          You’ll be back. And you’ll hit the Reset Button, as you’ve always done.

          Good night, Susan.

          See you tomorrow, then. NOt sure how you sleep at night, but I know you will. You always do.

          Tomorrow’s Groundhog Day again, isn’t it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What a dumb thing to say…

          That’s all skl does….ever.

        • Greg G.

          Try not to be such an idiot.

          He’s trying to think but nothing happens. (homage to Curly)

        • Lark62

          Reading comprehension fail.

          Since I recommended a video series called “What Darwin Didn’t Know,” one might figure out that I don’t “have an obsession with the authority of Darwin.” Duh

          As for evidence of junk DNA, let me know when you have finished writing your peer reviewed paper. Until then, I will stick with those who know what they are talking about.

        • Greg G.

          What could be ominous is an evolutionist’s obsession with
          the authority of Darwin.

          It is creationists who have an obsession with Darwin.

        • skl

          Someone should do a survey of number of mentions of Darwin in creationist articles vs. mentions in evolutionist articles. I’d bet the frequency is about the same.

        • Greg G.

          Someone should do a survey of number of mentions of Darwin in creationist articles vs. mentions in evolutionist articles. I’d bet the frequency is about the same.

          Good idea. You should do it. Also, count the number of times the articles use “Darwinian” and “Darwinist”.

        • BertB

          That may be true, but the context is much different. In the creationsts’ case, it all about using Darwin’s outdated ideas as a strawman.
          People who accept the evidence of the process point to the errors Darwin made that have been corrected by more recent findings.
          Just a small difference there.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Fair enough.

          I’ve got $1000…where do I lay the bet, and confirm YOU put up the same amount?

        • If the article is about the history of science, yes. That’s not what this article was. It pretends to be a critique of the current state of biology.

        • skl

          If the article is about the history of science, yes. That’s not what this article was. It pretends to be a critique of the current state of biology.

          But as I already said, Darwin IS mentioned by evolutionary scientists working on the current state of biology. Darwin’s ‘small changes’ is the main thing, I think. The old ‘small changes’ are explained or embellished with the new speculations about genetic mutations and “junk”.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          oh SKL understands.. but trolls gotta troll

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh to be so asinine with just the one head, your a marvel.

        • Greg G.

          I recently saw a line you might like: How can one neck hold up that much stupid.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh that’s a cracker…yep, that’s nicked already.

        • Raging Bee

          HouseHOLDS are not designed; they evolve. That’s why they have “junk” in them.

          Is that the best you can do?

        • Doug1943

          It has been true in every household I’ve been in, although it usually takes a few months for the junk to manifest itself.

    • Astreja

      If having junk indicates a lack of competent design,
      then many households and all communities are not competently designed.

      No, having junk doesn’t have much at all to do with design. It’s more a failing of personal organizational skills, often with a bit of sunk cost fallacy (“I can’t get rid of that — I paid a lot of money for it!”), inertia, sentimental attachment and/or various fears.

      • skl

        You may be the one other intelligent designer, along with
        Bob S., who has never junked anything you ever bought and used.

        • Astreja

          I’m just saying that it’s not a matter of design, specifically, but something that happens long after the fact.

          I’m a veteran unclutterer/minimalist, eight years so far and still going strong (although I don’t have much left to give away now). I’ve sold or donated a lot of stuff, tens of thousands of dollars’ worth. Damaged and non-repairable things go into the trash sooner rather than later. Tastes change. Needs change. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to use it all, so I’d rather give it to someone who can use it.

        • skl

          So, you deliberately, designedly, acquired things which you
          later junked, but your design now is for others to be able to make use of your former junk. That’s nice.

        • Astreja

          I wouldn’t call it “designedly,” as lot of my purchases were driven by emotion or curiosity rather than by a carefully thought-out plan.

          Purchased a lot of books that I later gave away mostly unread because they weren’t as interesting as I thought they would be. I don’t tend to re-read books very often, so once I do finish something I drop it off at a coffee shop with a free “take one, leave one” library.

          I also rehomed quite a few musical instruments when I got serious about woodwinds, because my schedule didn’t allow me to practise all of them on a regular basis. I had to choose between playing two or three instruments well, or ten instruments not so well.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      But on a serious note, maybe the term “junk DNA” is just a placeholder until scientists figure out what that bit of DNA was for.

      On a serious note, if you want to be a serious person who is taken seriously, do your ferkin homework before you write some that that stupid.

      Junk in Your Genome

      • skl

        On a serious note, if you want to be a serious person who is taken seriously, do your ferkin homework before you write some that that stupid.

        I think you have some junk in your comment.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          In which skl acknowledges the commonplace occurrence of random mutation.

  • ephemerol

    If we’re going to drag Darwin back on the chopping block, I’ve always wondered, if even nutty christians like Kent Hovind, if even he accepts Charles Darwin’s primary observations that species can adapt to their environments in small ways over short time frames, like the shape of a bird’s beak, or whether a moth has light coloration vs. dark coloration, then what is the mechanism that ought to prevent adaptation in more significant ways over more significant time frames?

    If DNA can drift a short ways in a short time, what is there preventing it from drifting further given more time? In order to admit to the former, but subsequently deny the latter, one must propose a mechanism that neutralizes change or enforces stasis upon the genome. For a YEC like Hovind, I guess, since he thinks “deep time” is a conspiracy, the lack of such time frames could suffice within his ridiculous mental framework.

    Is Gelernter a YEC too? If so, that would open up far more problems for him than it solved. But if he accepts time scales even as short as the half-billion years over which the scientific consensus agrees that macroscopic life arose, then he’ll need just such a Darwin-defeater. But I have yet to hear anyone propose any such mechanism.

    It’s like saying, yes, I accept Hubble, that we observe the universe to be expanding, for now, and, apropos of nothing, I still believe in a static universe anyway.

    When Gelernter says “The origin of species is exactly what Darwin cannot explain,” this is like saying, the origin of the universe is exactly what the big bang cannot explain. It’s hard to see this as being anything other as a tautology phrased so as to sound like a brilliant observation. No one ever claimed evolution explained the origin of life, but it absolutely does explain biodiversity.

    It’s easy for casual critics and armchair culture warriors like Gelernter to pepper a juggernaut like evolution with incoherent birdshot without having to make any actual sense themselves. It’s another thing entirely for evolution to withstand coherent challenges from the scientific peerage. Evolution didn’t get to be the juggernaut that it is without being able to answer the serious critics. It’s foolishness to think the casual ones can bring to bear anything that even rises to the level of ordinance. Once you have a scientific juggernaut, if you’re determined to fight it, you’re really left with no other options than to shout crackpot conspiracy theories.

    • Michael Neville

      Like many creationists, and I include IDers with creationists, Gelernter is confused about the difference between evolution and abiogenesis. Which tells me that he knows very little about either subject.

      • ephemerol

        In his entire opinion piece, I don’t think he states even so much as a single opinion that he doesn’t attribute to Stephen Meyer. That’s how little he knows. It’s either that, or it was ghost written by Discovery Institute, which would also explain the stunning absence of Gelernter’s opinions in a piece purported to be the opinions of Gelernter.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          He did have nice things to say about Doctor Doolittle.

    • John Pieret

      Evolution didn’t get to be the juggernaut that it is without being able to answer the serious critics. It’s foolishness to think the casual ones can bring to bear anything that even rises to the level of ordinance.

      I just finished re-reading Peter J. Bowler’s masterful (if slightly dated … 2003 for the last major revision) Evolution: The History of an Idea. It lays out all the vicissitudes the very idea of evolution (predating Darwin by quite a bit) went through, particularly the history of Darwin’s version of it … from his voyage on the Beagle, thru his development of the theory, and thru all the opposition to his idea of natural selection by clergy and scientists alike and the floating of various opposing theories (Lamarckism, Ortthogenesis, Mendelian genetics, etc.), finally resulting in the “modern synthesis” between genetics and selection. There are still legitimately scientific issues about the modern synthesis but nothing that would completely overturn the synthesis or seriously challenging the reality of evolution by natural causes, including natural selection. If he had just read Bowler’s book (only 381 pages in the paperback edition). he might have realized just how many challenges Darwin’s theory, as supported by subsequent scientific evidence and theory additions, had already faced and, when all the dust settled, Darwin’s theory was still the best explanation of the diversity of life on Earth.

      Amateurs with pop guns should seek an easier target …

      • It’s amazing how he admits how much he’s Meyer’s puppy dog. Just for his own self-esteem, couldn’t he have read a couple of books on the other side of the issue?

        I wonder what Gelernter’s deal is. His CV has leadership in a Jewish organization, so he doesn’t fit the typical evangelical Christian mold.

        • Michael Neville

          Many Orthodox and Conservative Jews are Biblical literalists and therefore creationists.

        • Maybe that’s it.

          Gelernter will be like David Berlinski, non-Christians that Creationists/IDers can proudly put forward who are in their camp.

          The religious agenda still shows.

      • skl

        There are still legitimately scientific
        issues about the modern synthesis but … when all the dust settled, Darwin’s
        theory was still the best explanation of the diversity of life on Earth.

        I don’t think I buy that. Certainly you would agree that “best”
        does not necessarily mean “true”.

        An analogy in law:
        In investigating a crime, you’ve come up with only two
        suspects. Both have the motive and means to have committed the crime. But suspect
        # 2 has three strong alibis (sim to “legitimately scientific issues”). Suspect
        #1 has only two strong alibis. And you conclude: ‘Suspect #1 is the best suspect.’
        But that would be an illegitimate, or at least certainly misleading, conclusion.

        • BertB

          “True” is not a word used much by scientists. Religionists use it constantly. The Bible is TRUTH. (NOT)
          Scientific knowledge leads to the development of theories which are always provisional…subject to revision or even to overturning if new evidence casts it into doubt. What JP said is correct. The theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is the best explanation of the development of life on the earth. There is a vast consensus of experts in the field that accept it. You don’t buy it because you have your religionist truth…with zero evidence to support it.
          But you know all that.

        • skl

          “True” is not a word used much by scientists.

          But they do use it. For example:
          https://www.amazon.com/Why-Evolution-True-Jerry-Coyne/dp/0143116649

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ffs…piss off and learn something. Time stamp 5:30…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1m4mATYoig

        • epeeist

          I don’t think I buy that.

          Who gives a flying fsck what you think.

          Certainly you would agree that “best” does not necessarily mean “true”.

          But nobody (except creationists, whether in the closet or out) is claiming that the theory of evolution is true, simply that it is the currently best explanation for the development of the biosphere.

          And you conclude: ‘Suspect #1 is the best suspect.’

          The thing is, creationism either in its raw form or in the clown shoes of “intelligent design” has no alibis at all.

        • skl

          But nobody (except creationists, whether
          in the closet or out) is claiming that the theory of evolution is true…

          You better send your nasty gram to this famous “creationist”:
          https://www.amazon.com/Why-Evolution-True-Jerry-Coyne/dp/0143116649

        • epeeist

          He is correct, evolution is true. We have seen it happen, both in nature and in the lab. There is a huge amount of evidence for it.

          However, the theory is both contingent and corrigible.

          Not something lying weasels would distinguish between of course.

        • skl

          If your last two comments to me are not a true example of something from “lying weasels”, they might at least be the best example.

          These should be my last words to you.

        • epeeist

          These should be my last words to you.

          I’m devastated.

          Not.

          Now you might not reply to me, but it doesn’t mean to say that I’ll reciprocate. I reserve the right to expose the mendacity in your posts.

        • Greg G.

          If you can’t trust a weasel when he says he won’t talk to you anymore, who can you trust?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Now you might not reply to me, but it doesn’t mean to say that I’ll reciprocate. I reserve the right to expose the mendacity in your posts.

          Welcome to my world. It behooves us all to shine the light under the rock and onto that slimey shitstain skl. Uninformed lurkers are at rick otherwise.

    • then what is the mechanism that prevents adaptation in more significant ways over more significant time frames?
      If DNA can drift a short ways in a short time, what is there preventing it from drifting further given more time?

      Yes, precisely. They don’t even realize that they’re imagining a force field of some sort that allows a random walk of mutations inside a little circle in species space that lets things change a little but not too much. They’re the same species after a year and after a million years, apparently.

      When they identify this force field, I think there’s a Nobel Prize waiting for them. Should I buy my tickets to Stockholm yet to watch the awards ceremony?

  • John Pieret

    If we insist on finding design, we can see not just good design but also poor design

    I particularly want a long discussion with this supposed designer about my back. Its “design” has left me partially disabled and in considerable pain every day.

    Crappy Designer, crappy god ….

    • Michael Neville

      Arthritis in my hip tells me the same thing your back tells you.

    • Doug1943

      Snap.

      And think of this: who would design an AI system that ran for seventy years, accumulating more and more information, getting smarter and smarter, and then … by design…. has a system crash with no backup? (Actually, I know many non-AI systems that were designed that way, but they were created by human beings.)

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Amusingly, poor design is a requirement for anyone trying to claim our world is somehow “fallen”. It’s yet another example of apologists trying to win on both sides of the coin.

  • ephemerol

    I couldn’t help but wonder who Gelernter thinks he is, that he feels the need to share with us all his humble opinions about evolution. Reading his opinion, it’s obvious he brings nothing new to the table. He just wrote to let us know that he read some, let’s face it, pretty common stuff about intelligent design, which, I guess, he didn’t know about before, and he found it convincing, and suddenly, recently, and with much hand-wringing, he was convinced?

    If that’s what he wanted me to think, he failed.

    None of these ideas are Gelernter’s. All he does throughout, is tell us about Stephen Meyer, what Stephen Meyer thinks, what Stephen Meyer has done, and pollyparrot what Stephen Meyer has said.

    So I went over to Gelernter’s Wikipedia page. There I found what explained why Gelernter would want to write this opinion piece.

    Sure, Gelernter isn’t christian, he’s Jewish, but he’s religious, he’s conservative, he’s a climate-change denier, and he’s very Trumpy. Sure, he may be intelligent, but that doesn’t make him smart. He’s basically just a part-time conspiracy theorist.

    This is Gelernter being a culture warrior.

    • Doug1943

      If you’ve had your arm blown off, or whatever it was, by a maniac … you want to believe that there was a higher purpose, it’s part of a Grand Plan or something … an Intelligent Designer who is still designing. You don’t want to believe that you just got unlucky. But he just got unlucky.

      • Lark62

        He is luckier than the ones who died.

        • Doug1943

          Yessssss….. I think there’s a joke to made about that kind of luck but I can’t put it together.

      • ephemerol

        Is that when he got religion…and hаtе? He’s got some odd bedfellows, being Jewish and all.

    • My theory is that he had skipped doing a book report back in ninth grade, and he wrote the article to get that nagging item off his to-do list.

  • epeeist

    Haven’t we had this with Jim Dailey recently, he couldn’t tell us why we should pay any attention to a computer scientist pontificating on biology.

    I note that he too, like skl was intimating that one couldn’t trust academe because of its leftist agenda.

    • Jim Dailey

      That was me.
      I put a quote and reference from a Gerlenter article in a recent post.
      Gerlenter said academe was biased. I agreed – in part because Gerlenter is actually in academe.

      • epeeist

        I agreed – in part because Gerlenter is actually in academe.

        I was in academe, Gerlenter is talking rubbish. Respect my authority…

        • Jim Dailey

          Gerlenter’s CV is well known.
          Your CV – not so much.
          I am happy to give your opinion weight given proper evidence.

        • epeeist

          Gerlenter’s CV is well known.

          Indeed it is, he is a computer scientist active. What he is not is a biologist.

          Your CV – not so much.

          I am retired now. I was a physicist with a doctorate in molecular physics, I have worked at Unilever Research, Huddersfield University, Paris Observatory, the European Space Agency Technical Centre, UMIST, the University of Manchester and the Science and Engineering Research Council.

        • Jim Dailey

          Wow – that is impressive! (I am not being sarcastic!)

          Ok. Although I still will not say Gerlenter’s experience of leftist agendas interfering with science is “rubbish”, I will consider you as having an expert opinion.

        • epeeist

          I will consider you as having an expert opinion.

          You shouldn’t, I am not a biologist (though I have done a reasonable amount of reading on the subject). The best I would claim is some understanding of why the theory (in the modern synthesis) is accepted as the consensus by biologists.

          I will claim some authority on molecular physics and its associated quantum theory. Somewhat less authority on QM generally and even less on things like quantum field theory.

          I would also claim some authority on the history and philosophy of science.

        • Jim Dailey

          I was referencing your experience with academe and perceptions of political influences.

        • eric

          What political influences do you think are biasely promoting evolution, and why? Do you think the democrats are getting votes out of it? Are communists using it to claim the state should control the means of production? Do you think postmodernists and relativists are proclaiming the objective superiority of evolution over creationism as a way of sliding postmodernism into everyone’s beliefs? Could it be the gnomes of Zurich trying to secretly control the world by sending secret money to Harvard biologists?

        • epeeist

          Shush, or you will have sporks knocking at your door.

        • Raging Bee

          Gerlenter’s CV is well known.

          So is his recent “work” — as all the debunkings clearly indicate.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        Gerlenter said academe was biased.

        No excrement. It is hard for a flat-earther to get hired in a geology department these days due to all the bias.

      • Raging Bee

        Calling academe “biased” doesn’t mean much unless you can point out where academe is WRONG.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Given how how much Gerlenter misrepresents evolution and misapplies relevant mathematics, I see no reason to hold his opinion on academe in high regard.

        • BertB

          Or any other opinion he spouts.

    • Doug1943

      Maybe he meant you couldn’t trust the social science/humanities part of academe, for whatever reason. And he’d be right. Remember the Sokal Hoax?

      • epeeist

        Maybe he meant you couldn’t trust the social science/humanities part of academe

        Possibly, but their again they are dealing with social constructs with incredibly messy data.

        Remember the Sokal Hoax?

        Yes, but that is one instance with a particular target, though Sokal and Bricmont have widened their scope.

  • Rudy R

    “ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.”

    And like the the US national motto, “In God We Trust” is a mere re-labeling of “In the Christian God We Trust”, wink wink.

  • Jim Dailey

    Gerlenter actually appears to be agreeing with Bob:
    From Gerlenter’s article:
    “If Meyer were invoking a single intervention by an intelligent designer at the invention of life, or of consciousness, or rationality, or self-aware consciousness, the idea might seem more natural. But then we still haven’t explained the Cambrian explosion. An intelligent designer who interferes repeatedly, on the other hand, poses an even harder problem of explaining why he chose to act when he did. Such a cause would necessarily have some sense of the big picture of life on earth. What was his strategy? How did he manage to back himself into so many corners, wasting energy on so many doomed organisms? Granted, they might each have contributed genes to our common stockpile—but could hardly have done so in the most efficient way. What was his purpose? And why did he do such an awfully slipshod job? Why are we so disease prone, heartbreak prone, and so on? An intelligent designer makes perfect sense in the abstract. The real challenge is how to fit this designer into life as we know it. Intelligent design might well be the ultimate answer. But as a theory, it would seem to have a long way to go.”

    So, even though Gerlenter goes to great lengths to show that the math behind random mutation does not add up, neither is he buying off on an intelligent designer.

    And he does not buy off on the intelligent designer for the same reasons given by Bob!

    Not sure why Bob is so skeptical about something he agrees with.

    • epeeist

      But as a theory, it would seem to have a long way to go.

      It has a long way to go in that it isn’t even a theory. It has no evidential backing, no explanatory power, it makes no testable predictions and, given that, it has no record of passing any critical testing.

    • eric

      All his discussion about the why misses the unscientific flaw in his argument against evolution – which is that he’s assuming gaps in our knowledge counts as positive evidence in favor of design. It does not. The observation “we don’t know how…” leads to the conclusion “we don’t know how.” It doesn’t lead to the conclusion “designer did it, but we don’t know why.” This is just Dembski’s explanatory filter. recycled. It was unscientific when he introduced it, and it’s still unscientific now.

      Reigning scientific theories are not abandoned because they have gaps; they are abandoned when another theory does a better job of explaining phenomena, including predicting future phenomena. But as Demski’s own “ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories…” quote shows, IDers have no interest in using ID to explain phenomena. Thus by their own description, it’s not a scientific theory. Right or wrong, it’s scientifically useless. And in science, that almost worse than being wrong.

      • epeeist

        which is that he’s assuming gaps in our knowledge counts as positive evidence in favor of design. It does not.

        I don’t know how many times that Jim has been told this, and yet he repeats the same false dichotomy over and over again. But there again he is a creationist.

        • Jim Dailey

          That is an unfair characterization of what I am saying.
          I am criticizing fundamentalist atheists for using “random chance” in much the same way a fundamentalist Christian says “Goddidit.”
          You are the guy who says evolution comes down to one of two things God or chance.

        • RichardSRussell

          You’re probably familiar with the creationist’s analogy to a tornado passing thru a junkyard and assembling a 747 by sheer random chance. And you may think that actual evolutionary biologists are laffing themselves silly over it because of that “random” part. But no, what tickles them so much is that creationists so drastically understate their own case. A 747 is orders of magnitude less complicated than the biosphere. Of course they understand the level of complexity involved and would never dream in a million years of chalking it up to pure chance and nothing but.

          Fortunately, they don’t have to. They have a perfectly sensible, coherent, demonstrable explanation for the fact of evolution: the theory of natural selection. It depends on random mutations, but there’s this clever little ratchet built into it that says the good mutations survive and thrive, while the bad ones don’t. And, over multiple billions of years, that makes all the difference.

        • Jim Dailey

          Go to the part in Gerlenter’s article where he discusses the chances of altering a genetic sequence successfully.

          As to natural selection I am reminded of Einstein and Marilyn Monroe.

          Monroe said if we had a baby and it looked like me and was as smart as you…
          To which Einstein replied what if it looked like me and was as smart as you?

          That is, the idea that even a highly improbable gene adaptation is successful, another layer of improbability is passing the gene on successfully.

        • NS Alito

          That is, the idea that even a highly improbable gene adaptation is successful, another layer of improbability is passing the gene on
          successfully.

          Looking at it in terms of passing the “best genes” is backwards: The power comes in removing—across a population and generations—the problematic ones, leaving the OK genes a better shot.

          Hence the punchline, “I don’t have to run faster than the bear. I just have to run faster than you.”

        • ThaneOfDrones

          Go to the part in Gerlenter’s article where he discusses the chances of altering a genetic sequence successfully….

          I read it.
          1) He makes absolutely no mention of the role molecular biology has made in reinforcing, and sometimes correcting, the claims of relatedness based on fossil and anatomical comparisons.
          2) Consider a fairly simple protein of about the length cited by Gelernter: myoglobin. If successful mutations are so mathematically impossible, then why do the sequences of myoglobin differ in pretty much every species that contains it? To the point that it is diagnostic?
          3) Consider further that we can sequence both the proteins in all those species, and the genes responsible for encoding them. Fold in the redundancy of the genetic code. Isn’t it amazing that “silent mutations”, differing DNA sequences that code for the same amino acids, are more common than mutations that change the protein sequence? It certainly would be amazing if one discarded the ideas of random mutation and natural selection.
          4) Consider further that we know the structures of many proteins, including myoglobin. Isn’t it amazing that mutations are more common on the surface of the protein than in the physiologically important sites, such as those surrounding the cofactor, or in the core of the protein fold (myoglobin is predominantly alpha helix)? It certainly would be amazing if one discounted the power of random mutation and natural selection.
          5) Isn’t it amazing that Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe have different DNA, despite the very young age of our species, and the rarity you wish to attribute to successful mutation? Isn’t it amazing that every single human on the planet, excepting identical *tuplets has a unique set of DNA; verified to the extent that it is admissible as evidence in court? It certainly would be amazing if successful mutation were as rare as you sish to believe?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Great post. Thanks for teaching me something.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’ll have burst Jimbo D’s boiler.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          Did you notice that Gelernter made absolutely no mention of the neutral theory, nor the near-neutral theory of molecular evolution? Perhaps he should read books not written by creationist fuckwits.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          And you throw in some more PURE BEE ESS. Monroe never even MET Albert. So the conversation never happened.

          Here.. Let ME play this game:

          Moses: God is the most attractive god I ever met!
          Jesus: Nah, they multi-armed babe has him beat by a mile.

        • eric

          Go to the part in Gerlenter’s article where he discusses the chances of altering a genetic sequence successfully.

          I did. It’s awful. I won’t repeat everything I said in comments above, but he appears to be falling for the standard creationist error of calculating an entire dna string appearing spontaneously and calling that ‘evolution’.

          the idea that even a highly improbable gene adaptation is successful, another layer of improbability is passing the gene on successfully.

          Again, this ignores natural selection.

        • NS Alito

          I am criticizing fundamentalist atheists for using “random chance” in
          much the same way a fundamentalist Christian says “Goddidit.”

          We have measured how DNA mutates and recombines based on local molecular activity independent of the survival needs of the containing organism.

          Is that what you’re criticizing?

        • Lark62

          But scientists have shown that random genetic variation plays a role in evolution. Lenski experiment and others.

          Show me a peer reviewed scientific paper on “Well God must’ve done it.”

          And if you knew anything about evolution, you would know that it stems from a combination of random genetic variation and very non-random natural selection.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          “fundamentalist atheists” LaffmeFookArseOff.. Dats FUNNY!

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Well it’s a good thing there aren’t any fundamentalist atheists doing that on this page, isn’t it? But I appreciate you looking out for us more reasoned atheists with very good reason to accept evolution.

        • Raging Bee

          Please give examples of ‘fundamentalist atheists … using “random chance”.’ I, for one, only hear those last two words from creationists trying to misrepresent what actual scientists say.

        • Michael Neville

          Mutation and gene transfer are “random chance”, the other major part of evolution, natural selection, is not. It appears that, like many creationists, you’re under the misapprehension that evolution is directed. It’s not. So the choice is not “gods” (remember there’s more gods than the sadistic bully you prefer) or “chance”. Mutation and gene transfer change the genetic makeup of living organisms. Natural selection is the non-directed factor determining which organisms are more likely to survive and have descendants.

          Jim, you seriously need to read a book or two on evolution. Otherwise you’re like your buddy Gelenter, ignorant, incredulous.and spouting nonsense.

        • Jim Dailey

          Huh. There I was, under the impression that a mutation had to occur before nature determined it was beneficial! How silly of me!
          Tell me, what book did YOU read?

        • Michael Neville

          Yes, mutations occur and then get weeded by natural selection. Why is this process too difficult for your creationist brain to comprehend?

        • BertB

          Huh? What did you (mis)read? Michael said “Mutation and gene transfer are “random chance”, the other part of evolution, natural selection is not.” Work on your paragraph comprehension skills, please…or stop trying to read things into what people say that you can turn into a strawman.

        • It isn’t chance though. While there may be elements of it which have random aspects, natural selection and other selection pressures are not random.

        • Jim Dailey

          The “chance” part is the genetic mutation occurring in a single offspring that otherwise can survive all of the other natural selection pressures present in the environment and then passes on the adaptive gene, which manifests itself in enough offspring to alter the species.
          Does this happen? Sure!

          As I tried to humorously point out with the Einstein-Marilyn Monroe story below, there is also a significant chance that the combined genes of a great mind and a great beauty also have a pretty good chance of passing on the airhead gene and the ugly gene.

          Arguing that there is as yet some undetected – for lack of a better term “intelligence” somehow incorporated into genetic adaptation that better accounts for evolution and the time frames involved seems to me to be the essence of scientific exploration. This whole effort to excoriate those who legitimately criticize neo-Darwinism smacks of politics.

        • It doesn’t account for it at all. What accounts for it is natural selection.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Even sillier is when he offers something that isn’t even a gap, like the Cambrian Explosion.

        • epeeist

          when he offers something that isn’t even a gap

          It is a gap when you believe the world is only 6000 years old.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          That’s his problem, not a gap in the scientific sense. 🙂

        • BertB

          Does Gelenter believe that?

        • epeeist

          I suspect not, but Jim Dailey on the other hand…

      • Jim Dailey

        Gerlenter does not argue against evolution. He argues that random mutation + natural selection + time cannot = our current state of being. He definitely allows that it accounts for some of our current state of being, but the mathematics do not allow us to conclude that these are the only factors.

        Did you read Gerlenter’s article, or just Bobs piece above attacking
        Edited – added “cannot”

        • Raging Bee

          …the mathematics do not allow us to conclude that these are the only factors.

          Show your work.

        • eric

          Yes, I did, and he simply repeats a lot of tired old creationists tropes. Here’s one:

          no predecessors to the celebrity organisms of the Cambrian explosion.

          Incorrect. More damning however than just being incorrect, this claim is a very old one and has been dealt with decades ago. He could easily have done some research independent of creationist sources and figured it out. But evidently, he did not.

          And this one:

          The engine that powers Neo-Darwinian evolution is pure chance and lots of time.

          Incorrect; there’s nothing random about natural selection. And again, this is a very old, tired, well-refuted claim.

          And this one:

          Starting with 150 links of gibberish, what are the chances that we can mutate our way to a useful new shape of protein?

          Creationists love to calculate the odds of some long string of genetic letters developing suddenly. But that’s not what evolution does. This is again something that has been covered before. This was in fact the point of Dawkins’ weasel example; what it shows is that when creationists forget to take into account natural selection, they get the odds wrong by astronomical amounts. The ‘weasel’ sequence is a mere 28 letters long. How long did creationists calculate it would take to appear? 10E40 generations. How long does evolutionary mechanisms take? 43 generations. Their calculations are off by a factor of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Gerlanter comes up with creationist-like numbers; 1E150. 1E70. That’s because Gerlanter is doing the wrong math. What he’s actually calculating is the odds of a saltational, “one shot produces everything” event. And that’s not evolution. That is, ironically, much closer to what creationists think happened after the ark landed.

          He’s been conned by God-promoters into using an incorrect model of the world. They aren’t innocent about it – the error in calculating a “one fell swoop” probability when evolution doesn’t work that way has been pointed out to Meyer, Demski, and the others over and over again for decades. Gerlanter, in going to them, got introduced to their wrong model. Their intentional choice to keep using such a wrong model after decades of disproof is their error, their flaw. Gerlanter not doing the smart thing and getting a view of the problem from a mainstream evolutionary biologist is, however, his error, his flaw.

          Here’s the last one I’ll point out:

          Meyer understands “conscious”; the theory suggests nothing more about
          the designer. But where is the evidence? To Meyer and other proponents,
          that is like asking—after you have come across a tree that is split
          vertically down the center and half burnt up—“but where is the evidence
          of a lightning strike?” The exceptional intricacy of living things, and
          their elaborate mechanisms for fitting precisely into their natural
          surroundings, seemed to cry out for an intelligent designer long before
          molecular biology and biochemistry.

          He talks about evidence for ID, but do you see what’s missing? Any actually proposed evidence for ID. Any substantive, scientific discussion about what the design hypothesis predicts and how the evidence matches those predictions. Instead, he simply says “look!” It’s the creationists argument from incredulity.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Great response.

        • BertB

          It’s the creationists argument from incredulity.

          Yes, and it’s been obliterated by evolutionary biologists, geneticists…and by the courts, in KItzmiller vs. Dover. But still they bleat their ancient creationist tropes…

        • Correct, they aren’t the only factors, there are a lot of factors, such as genetic drift, horizontal gene transfer, and things like that. Just mutations and natural selection are large driving forces.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      But then we still haven’t explained the Cambrian explosion.

      An ‘explosion’ that lasted millions of years, and involved lots of trilobites. Many many species of trilobites, as if rampant evolution were occurring.

      Cambrian period trilobites
      https://www.amnh.org/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/amnh2/our-research/paleontology/paleontology-faq/trilobite-website/trilobites-dl/trilobite-images-folder/bathyuriscellus-siniensis-best-plus-1/3881916-1-eng-US/bathyuriscellus-siniensis-best-plus-1_wide_1020.jpg

      • ThaneOfDrones

        Gelernter: In the famous “Cambrian explosion” of around half a billion years ago, a striking variety of new organisms—including the first-ever animals—pop up suddenly in the fossil record over a mere 70-odd million years. This great outburst followed many hundreds of millions of years of slow growth and scanty fossils, mainly of single-celled organisms, dating back to the origins of life roughly three and half billion years ago.

        How wrong can one person be? The poorly named ‘Cambrian explosion’ lasted 13-25 million years (Wikipedia). So Gelernter must be folding in additional eras to come up with his numbers, and doing so without cluing in the reader that he is making shit up. And “mere”? 70 million years is a long time. That is longer than the world has been without non-avian dinosaurs.

        Gelernter, because he reads only creationist fuckwits, doesn’t seem to realise that early fossils are often difficult to correlate to modern phyla. I learned just recently that horseshoe crabs are more closely related to arachnids than previously thought (link. And there are freaky things like Dicksonia whose relationship, if any, to other life is still unclear.

        And he doesn’t mention anything about geological events which could have impacted the rise of complex life; such as the tectonic nature of our planet, or the oxygenation of the atmosphere.

        • NS Alito

          In any case, it isn’t the time, it’s the number of trials. Populations of hundreds of millions X generation time X number of offspring. Environmental changes mean changing which offspring are culled.

          Humans su‌ck at understanding how long 10 million years is to begin with. Considering the great number of parallel iterations that can take place in that time is even beyond that.

        • Greg G.

          or the oxygenation of the atmosphere.

          Am I misremembering something or was there a theory that it took a certain amount of oxygen to be able to grow the hard parts that fossilize more readily? Twenty year old memories can be fuzzy.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          I am not up on the current state of the conversation, but points I recall being raised are:
          1) All the complex multicelluar organisms metabolise oxygen.
          2) Solubility of certain relevant minerals, in particular calcium, may have been affected. This is what you seem to be remembering.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, especially point 2. Thank you.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2
  • ThaneOfDrones

    Junk in your Genome
    A breakdown of what is in your DNA by retired biochemist and textbook author Larry Moran.

  • Joe_Buddha

    As a computer programmer, I find it amusing that this person is arguing about how impossible it is for an algorithm that has been used for solving many complex problems in compsci somehow can’t do the same in the real world.

    • BertB

      As another computer programmer, I am embarrassed that he identifies himself as one. He gives us all a bad name.

    • eric

      Yeah, this computer programmer just did P = (1/N)^M where N is the number of possibilities and M is the string length. You’d think the guy whose expertise is in programming algorithms wouldn’t came up with his ‘odds’ without testing or using an evolutionary algorithm at all.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Especially if said computer programmer had taken Combinatorics, and had to deal with various restrictions put on the possible combinations.

    • sombodysdad

      Umm, those algorithms use telic processes to solve the problems they were intelligently designed to solve. They do not mimic the evolution promoted by scientists.

    • Computer science has the idea of evolutionary programming, where simple programs are mutated and selected, just like in evolution.

      Maybe he needs to read the literature in his own field.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Gelernter: The religion is all on the other side. Meyer and other proponents of I.D. are the dispassionate intellectuals making orderly scientific arguments.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! This guy is hilarious.
    Shall we review the ‘Wedge Document’, a 1998 summary of hte Discovery Institute’s plans and goals for Intelligent Design?

    link

    Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature. The Center awards fellowships for original research, holds conferences, and briefs policymakers about the opportunities for life after materialism.

    The authors Gelernter discusses: Meyer, Klinghoffer and Berlinski, are all waterboys for the Discovery Institute.

    • Greg G.

      Meyer and other proponents of I.D. are the dispassionate intellectuals making orderly scientific arguments.

      After reading that, I couldn’t take the guy seriously. I tried to read some more but gave up.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Gelernter: When the Bible gives us two different versions of one story, it stands
    to reason that the facts on which they disagree are without basic
    religious significance.

    What a maroon.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Gelernter: But what does generating new forms of life entail? Many biologists agree that generating anew shape of protein is the essence of it.

    “Many people say…” . Wholly bleeping bleep. You can generate terrific variety of form simply by changing timing of developmental expression of the same set of proteins. Consider just the mammals. Even sticking to the same basic bodyplan, you can get everything from bats to kangaroos to whales.

    Gelernter: Proteins called enzymes catalyze all sorts of reactions and drive cellular metabolism.

    RNAs called enzymes (or ribozymes) also catalyse reactions. Including manufacturing all those proteins. The ribosome is an RNA enzyme. Which points us straight at the RNA World theory, a path Gelernter has apparently never taken.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      I’ve had visions of putting together a presentation that compares a wolf with another member of the dog “kind”. Creationists are happy to concede the latter came from the former, so you then point out the discrepancies, asking if a change in snout size or shape, or size/shape of the tail, or length of the legs or posture, etc. somehow diminishes its fundamental “dogness”. Of course they’ll say no.

      Then you rewind time to the wolf’s ancestor, asking if this is now any less “dog”. If they say yes, show that the same body parts changed in much the same way, so when/how did the more fundamental change occur?

      If they say no, go forward again with slightly different alterations and land on a different “kind”. Once again, point out that all the changes were the same type they were fine with before, so why should this instance be disallowed?

      It’s a pipe dream, of course. I don’t have the tech savvy to pull this off nor do I have the stage to make it useful. But I think it could be an illuminating presentation.

      • islandbrewer

        I want to be in the audience of some creationist presentation some time where they are presenting their “kinds” model, and use their same arguments to refute it.

        “Mr. Hamm/Hovind/localbible thumper, each and every single dog breed musta been on the ark, because chihuahuas will never spontaneously give birth to a Great Dane! No matter how long you breed ’em!”

        And then they either have to concede my point, or explain the evolution of dog breeds.

        Then I can move onto the caballine vs. non-caballine equines, and so on, until they kick me out.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Gelernter: But neo-Darwinianism understands that mutations are rare, and successful ones even scarcer.

    Estimates are that every human being has roughly 100-200 mutations their parents didn’t have.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Gelernter: Evidently there are a total of no examples in the literature of mutations that affect early development and the body plan as a whole and are not fatal.

    WTF is he talking about? Something as basic as multicellularity has been evolved in the laboratory on multiple occasions, using a variety of species. Volvox, for example.

    • NS Alito

      We even know about exceptional outcomes, from the slime mold with multiple cellular nuclei to the colonial organism the Portuguese Man o’ war.

      • Thanks4AllTheFish

        Sure, but they don’t teach that in Complex Arrays 101.

    • eric

      He’s repeating Behe’s original irreducible complexity error, the one he (Behe) got called on and said he was going to fix and then never did. That error was to think removing some bit from a complex system (e.g. ‘working backwards’) is predictive of whether and how that complex system could have evolved (i.e. how it ‘worked forwards’). This is simply not true, and Behe even acknowledged it isn’t true. You can’t start dropping fundamental developmental genes out of a fruit fly and when it doesn’t survive, proclaim evolution couldn’t have produced it. But that’s what he’s basically saying in this section.

      IMO it really looks like Meyer hooked a fish here. Fed him classic ID claims from the ’80s and ’90s without bothering to explain how they’ve been addressed, and Gelernter just ate it up (apologies for the mixed metaphor).

      • BertB

        Behe was humiliated under cross examination in the Kitzmiller trial. After reading Lee Strobel’s “the Case for a Creator” which was sent to me by an evangelical ex-friend, and Behe’s arguments for “irreducible complexity,” I was pleased to see what happened to him. Strobel pretended to be an unbiased journalist, just presenting the facts, but in fact he was a real flack, spending most of the book “interviewing” ID proponents from the Discovery Institute. But I read the book, cover to cover. In response, I sent my ex-friend a copy of Michael Shermer’s book, “The Science of Good and Evil.” That’s why we are now ex-friends.

        • Michael Neville

          Strobel is notorious for pretending to be an “unbiased journalist” but presenting only one side of an argument in his books. In The Case for Christ he interviews a series of scholars to discover if Jesus existed. Every one of them was a Christian, every one of them was a Protestant, and all except one were evangelicals. Can you say “confirmation bias” boys and girls? I knew you could.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Yes, even when the subject was ostensibly the other side of the argument, he was always sure to get the Christian view of how the other side looks rather than simply interviewing someone who holds that differing opinion. It was laughable.

        • BertB

          Yep. He’s a dyed-in-wool Christian apologist. Total waste of time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Who lied about once being atheist.

    • Wikipedia says, “Volvox diverged from unicellular ancestors approximately 200 million years ago.”

      I’d like to see examples of multicellular organisms evolving in the lab.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Gelernter: I might, myself, expect to find the answer in a phenomenon that acts as if
    it were a new and (thus far) unknown force or field associated with
    consciousness. I’d expect complex biochemistry to be consistently biased
    in the direction that leads closer to consciousness, as gravitation
    biases motion towards massive objects. I have no evidence for this idea.
    It’s just the way biology seems to work.

    What a bleeping idiot. Which is it? Is there a complete lack of evidence for this, or is it the way things seem to work? When he contradicts himself like this, he leaves very little work for his opponents. All that is necessary to defeat him is to point and laugh.

    • Michael Neville

      Gelernter’s ignorance and incredulity aren’t arguments against evolution, they’re evidence that Gelernter is ignorant and incredulous.

    • David Peebles

      Stephen Jay Gould repeatedly emphasized that evolution has no inherent direction toward improvement. It just makes use of the the available genetic materials, and organisms either thrive (to pass on genes) or falter and fail.

      • Greg G.

        A complex organism can become more complex less complex, or stay the same. The simplest organism can only stay the same or become more complex.

        • sombodysdad

          If only your bald assertions were science…

        • Greg G.

          If only you could comprehend basic logic. If you try to simplify the simplest fhing that works, it no longer works.

        • sombodysdad

          You are not using any logic. And you don”t have any evidence, either

        • Ignorant Amos

          If an organism is already the simplest it can be, how can it be any more simpler?

        • Greg G.

          Did sombodysdad’s kid take the computer from him? He wants evidence for something that is true by definition.

        • TheNuszAbides

          We can know nothing for certain; they may have meant “somebody’s dead”.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          The simplest organism…

          OK, but remember that this implies a certain environment, and a certain requirement for what constitutes an “organism.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Amoeba?

          Which has more thinking power than the average creotard.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    I think PZ Myers is right on this one. Dude. You read the wrong books.

    Apparently the only authors Gelernter has read on the subject are by creationists. The only other books mentioned in the entire piece are the Doctor Doolittle series. He does throw around a few names of actual scientists, but it seems he pulled them from the writings of Meyer, Berlinksi and Klinghoffer rather than read them himself.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      BTW, no mention of David Berlinski is complete without an appearance of the word supercilious.

    • Michael Neville

      Since Myers is a PhD biologist I’m more willing to accept what he says about evolution than what a computer scientist opines.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        I am especially willing to accept it since I am a PhD biologist myself, and can see that Myer’s appraisal of Gelernter’s errors is indeed accurate.

      • Greg G.

        I noticed a comment at the link provided by TODs that was posted by mnb0. You don’t suppose…

        https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2019/08/26/dude-you-read-the-wrong-books/#comment-2008680

        • Michael Neville

          The writing style is similar, so it could possibly be….

        • Greg G.

          I saw that similarity, too.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Good impersonation if it isn’t. The “goddiddid” is a marker, if my memory serves.

  • Lark62

    What are the chances that the paper was written by the DiscoToot and Gelertner was paid or otherwise compensated for putting his name on it?

    It would be interesting to get plagiarism software to compare this with other DiscoToot drek.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      I don’t see that it matters. If they got Gelernter’s agreement, why would it matter who wrote the prose? It’s his reputation he’s putting on the line.

      • Lark62

        True. But it would tell us something about the desperation and lack of integrity of those fine folks at DiscoToot.

        On second thought, there probably isn’t much that can be added on the subject of their lack of integrity.

  • XaurreauX

    Evolution is for grownups.

  • Phil Rimmer

    Gelernter’s promising start in coding didn’t lead to the fame a success he wanted. Being “visionary” a couple of years too late must have been a bummer. Losing a hand and eye to the Unabomber also.

    His turn to the hard right seems a progressive courting of outrage to get some of the fame he lucked out on.

    Here’s his idea,

    https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/giving-up-darwin/

    There is a very great deal wrong with numerous parts. I’d love to take apart the Cambrian Explosion mis-characterisation, how a self fertilising oxygen injection into the oceans could un-stopper the rate of differentiated eukaryote cell manufacture (always held in check by a thermodynamic hump of supporting two lots of genes) creating in turn the vital components for more durable and variegated beasts. But that’ll have to wait.

    It is protein production which is woefully awry here. Like those claiming eyes are not to be countenanced until they are made of a piece.

    The research work of Andreas Wagner’s team in Switzerland gives the real story in Arrival of the Fittest. Here he shows how the protein solution space is a mullion fold richer in proteins to deliver a particular function (chemistry at this macromolecular level is better understood as nano-machinery, springs and plates, holders and chopping knives powered by heat) many different formulations creating identical mechanical function. But, much more than this, because of how chemistry works these equifunctional shapes lie connected in paths across solution space, such paths occurring reliably spaced resulting not only a good enough protein to be encountered rapidly from where you start, but in existing on contiguous paths facilitate evolution of pleitropic (multifunction) genes.

    Willfully ignorant controversialist, realising his time will be up soon. He won’t research this properly lest it snuff out like most else of his.

  • gemini bowie

    Is computer science really a “science?”

    • Catherine Spencer-Mills

      Disclaimer: I have a BS in Systems Engr and a 20 year career in IT.

      Which aspect of computer science? The concept includes both hardware and software design. Strictly speaking the hardware aspect of computers (including smart phones, newer vehicles, and any other device that contains a CPU – central processing unit) is a technology, relying on the basic scientific fields of chemistry and physics, with specialties in materials science, industrial engineering, electrical engineering, robotics, photography (yes, really), and many more. Yeah, I’m hand waving because I was never involved in the actual manufacture of computer hardware.

      Software design and development has become more and less complex over the years. At one time, I specified the memory address where programs were to be loaded into memory. Now, that is done for you by the operating system. Many tasks have become easier as programs and applications become more sophisticated, doing many tasks for you. Take a spreadsheet program. Any one of them. The program sets up the display of rows and columns, has a list of available formulas to use, the ability to color rows, columns, cells, can make a graph….. You need to know how the program will arrange everything, how to call up the various functions, but you don’t have to worry about how it is done.

      What about programming one of those apps yourself? Well, a lot of work is done for you. Why do those old games from the 70s, 80s, 90s so primitive looking? Because the programmer had to specify where each pixel on the screen was placed. Now you have programs that do a lot of the graphics smoothing for you which is much easier on the newer monitors with higher pixel counts. To create and maintain a complex business database is through an application that does a lot of the work for you. And so on.

      So, is computer science a science? The strict definition of a scientific process would say it is a technology. Because of the underlying science, it is repeatable and verifiable. As technology is improved, it is becoming more reliable – I challenge anyone to tolerate an IBM PC from the 80s for industrial or commercial usage. The term “computer science” is largely used by academia to collate related science and technology to a digestible whole. Only my opinion.

      • Phil

        I think to be a science in it’s pure form, it must have theories than can be proved or falsified and produce predictions. Turing’s machine complies. Taking and making stuff using those theories then becomes technology. Maybe, I don’t know. But then how words are used determines their meaning and words evolve in their own right. What are people really saying in denying the science aspect of computer science? Is it just snobbery?

        • Catherine Spencer-Mills

          I don’t feel snobbish. I just like to be precise with my definitions and language usage. Maybe that is a different kind of snobbery. I also don’t feel I denied the science aspect because all technology is based on science, whether we think about it or not.

        • Phil

          I guess the answer is not to get too bogged down with semantics. Would you agree current research into AI is science?

        • Catherine Spencer-Mills

          Sure – as is the new quantum computers.

    • Would the field be better described as computer engineering?

    • Doug1943

      I believe the rule is, “Anything that calls itself a ‘science’ — nursing science, food science, military science, etc — isn’t.”

    • sombodysdad

      Is evolutionism really science? It doesn’t make testable claims and science requires the claims to be testable…

      • gemini bowie

        “Evolutionism?”

        LOL! Try harder.

        • sombodysdad

          LoL! Evolutionism is the unscientific claim that life’s diversity arose/ evolved via blind and mindless processes.

        • gemini bowie

          I wrote “try harder.” You just doubled-down on ignorance!

        • sombodysdad

          The ignorance is all yours- double post

        • sombodysdad

          The ignorance is all yours.

        • gemini bowie

          “The ignorance is all yours.”

          WOW! The “I know you are, but what am I” retort.

      • “Is evolutionism really science? It doesn’t make testable claims and science requires the claims to be testable…”

        There’s nothing like a TROLL who literally prove that he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about, by the admission of his own statements.

        Here the TROLL says, ‘I am completely ignorant of the huge body of scientific research about all kinds of different aspects of and details about biological evolution that is published in the professional science literature of biology and paleontology.’

        Thanks, TROLL, for demonstrating just how out of touch with reality your remarks really are.

  • GW1: Bob, you’ve done it again — produced an articulate, interesting, and provocative essay. I’ll offer some thoughts.

    BS1: Unlike evolution, Intelligent Design (ID) isn’t falsifiable, so it’s not a scientific theory. Any point where it’s unnecessarily complicated or confusing or unexpected, the ID proponent can always say that the Designer is smarter than you and must’ve had good reasons.

    GW1: You are employing Popper’s criterion, i.e. falsifiability, to classify theories as scientific or not, but that is not the only alternative. Another idea is that a theory is scientific if it describes how reality might be or might work AND it can be tested through an empirical-rational process. I think ID would meet this criterion.

    GW1: But even if we use Popper’s criterion, I think ID may be falsifiable, at least in some of its versions, e.g. if God is claimed to be the designer. The argument would go like this:
    1. If God did exist and designed the human organism, then there wouldn’t be any obvious design flaws in the human organism.
    2. But there are obvious design flaws in the human organism.
    3. Therefore, God does not exist and could not have designed the human organism.
    If God did exist, he would certainly be smarter than you and me, but he could not have had “good reasons” for making the obvious design flaws we see. It would be impossible for him to have such “good reasons” because he would not have been limited by any constraints, as you and I are. He would be omnipotent.

    GW1: The argument is not quite as strong if the designer is claimed to be a lesser god than God or some alien from another galaxy. Still, probability is on our side.
    1. If a very intelligent agent (more intelligent than we are) designed the human organism, then there probably would be no or very few obvious design flaws in the human organism.
    2. But there are many obvious design flaws in the human organism.
    3. Therefore, a very intelligent agent very probably did not design the human organism.

    GW1: But what about a bumbling idiot. Could the human organism have been designed by an idiot. Not likely. The design is too good for an idiot.

    GW1: A related argument would go like this:
    1. If God did exist and designed the human organism, then the best human engineers would marvel at the perfection of the apparent design of the human organism.
    2. But the best human engineers do not marvel at the perfection of the apparent design of the human organism. They recognize “defects” which are best explained by the sloppy process of evolution.
    3. Therefore, God does not exist and could not have designed the human organism.

    • David Peebles

      One of my favorite ID proofs is the “perfection” of the human eye. Then you look around and see people wearing glasses, with macular degeneration, astigmatism, color blindness, etc. Nothing perfect about it. And nature is rife with organisms, including plants, that have cells capable of responding to light. How could evolution not selectively enhance this ability to make better and better eyes? (But no perfect eyes).

      Ours have evolved to let us spot danger in the jungle, judge distances, and watch TV. An eagle’s are evolved to spot food from great heights. An owl bobs its head back and forth to enhance its depth perception. Most prey animals are able to see not only ahead, but to each side, the better to spot predators (whose eyes all aim forward).

      • Susan

        you look around and see people wearing glasses, with macular degeneration, astigmatism, color blindness, etc.

        Then, there are bats and blind cave fish.

        The concept of “perfection” based on eyes is asinine.

        But so is creationism (ID).

        • sombodysdad

          ID is not about a perfect design. And you don’t have a mechanism capable of producing vision systems.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Rudy R

          Then your designer is not perfect.

      • DP1: One of my favorite ID proofs is the “perfection” of the human eye. Then you look around and see people wearing glasses, with macular degeneration, astigmatism, color blindness, etc. Nothing perfect about it. And nature is rife with organisms, including plants, that have cells capable of responding to light. How could evolution not selectively enhance this ability to make better and better eyes? (But no perfect eyes).

        GW1: What would “perfect eyes” be like for human persons living on the Earth? Or perhaps more importantly, what would some good designs for eyes (without obvious flaws) be like for human persons living on the Earth.?

        DP1: Ours have evolved to let us spot danger in the jungle, judge distances, and watch TV.

        GW1: Watch TV? I don’t think so, but I enjoyed your remark anyway.

        DP1: An eagle’s are evolved to spot food from great heights. An owl bobs its head back and forth to enhance its depth perception. Most prey animals are able to see not only ahead, but to each side, the better to spot predators (whose eyes all aim forward).

        GW1: But could the eyes of the eagle, owl, and prey animals have been designed by a very intelligent agent? If so, how likely is that?

        • David Peebles

          Why on earth would you need an “intelligent agent” to do that? Natural selection is such an obvious answer. Selection is always about surviving to pass on beneficial genes. Vision traits specific to the adaptation of the animal are such an obvious example of selection I can’t see why any other explanation would even be considered.

        • DP2: Why on earth would you need an “intelligent agent” to do that?

          GW2: Who said this would be needed?

          DP2: Natural selection is such an obvious answer.

          GW2: I don’t think it is an obvious answer to most people, but it is very probably the correct answer.

          DP2: Selection is always about surviving to pass on beneficial genes. Vision traits specific to the adaptation of the animal are such an obvious example of selection I can’t see why any other explanation would even be considered.

          GW2: But other explanations are considered, especially by people who grow up in religious families.

        • Ignorant Amos

          GW1: What would “perfect eyes” be like for human persons living on the Earth? Or perhaps more importantly, what would some good designs for eyes (without obvious flaws) be like for human persons living on the Earth.?

          Not even perfect, just an improvement is all it takes to demolish the ID argument. How would human life have been improved with eyes with night vision for instance?

          If humans are the pinnacle of ID, then you’d think the designers could’ve enhanced our vision in areas where it is so pathetic where others eyes thrive. I say designers, because if we accept the hypothesis that everything was designed, then the fuck up is the result of a committee of not-so-intelligent designers.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I would like to shake the hand(s) (or equivalent) of the Trigeminal Nerve Subcommittee.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A had to look that one up.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Indulged in an Anatomy+Physiology course a few yrs back … Nervous system is defo a favorite.

    • sombodysdad

      ID is falsifiable and IDists have said exactly how to falsify it. On the other hand no one knows how to test the claim that nature invented vision systems (for example)

      • If God is claimed to be the designer, then ID is falsified and the IDists are mistaken. If an agent other than God is claimed to be the designer, then ID is improbable, and the IDists are still mistaken. See my arguments above.

        Nature didn’t “invent” anything. Nature is not an intelligent agent. It might be better to say that vision systems occurred in nature or occurred by natural processes.

        • sombodysdad

          What? Nathan Lents said nature invented vision systems in his book “Human Errors”. And what does “natural processes” mean? Sounds like an equivocation. Cars are not made by supernatural processes. If God is the Designer how is ID falsified? To falsify ID you need to demonstrate nature is up to the task and you can’t.

        • S3: What? Nathan Lents said nature invented vision systems in his book “Human Errors”.

          GW3: So what? Lents is not participating in this discussion, and still nature does not “invent.” If you believe it does, then present your case.

          S3: And what does “natural processes” mean? Sounds like an equivocation.

          GW3: “Natural processes” are orderly sequences of events which occur in the universe, especially on Earth. No equivocation.

          S3: Cars are not made by supernatural processes.

          GW3: I agree. Cars are made through natural processes, which can be divided into two classes: made by intelligent agents vs. not made by intelligent agents. Are you claiming that “original” human persons were made by a supernatural intelligent agent?

          S3: If God is the Designer how is ID falsified?

          GW3: See my argument I already presented.

          S3: To falsify ID you need to demonstrate nature is up to the task and you can’t.

          GW3: I falsified the claim that God exists and intelligently designed and created human persons. Further, I showed that ID by any intelligent agent is unlikely.

        • sombodysdad

          Wow. If natural selection did it then nature did it. And if natural selection produced vision systems it means it invented them. And you did not falsify anything jut your strawman. Cars are made via ARTIFICIAL processes. Nature cannot produce cars.

          Look, you have no evidence that vision evolved via blind and mindless processes. You don’t even know how to test the claim.

        • epeeist

          And if natural selection produced vision systems it means it invented them.

          Dear, oh dear, one of the most obvious fallacies of reification I have seen in a long time.

          Cars are made via ARTIFICIAL processes.

          Indeed they are, they are designed by teams of fallible designers, produced by other teams of artificers and made from already existing material in the universe. Besides being fallible the designers and producers are not omnipotent, not immortal, not ineffable, not outside space and time, they live in a universe they did not create and are made from the same material.

          The more dissimilarities there are between the analogy and the thing it analogises then the weaker it is. Which is why David Hume’s argument against design crushed Paley’s argument (of which yours is simply a copy) before it was made.

        • sombodysdad

          And what Lents says carries more weight than what you say. He has the credentials- you do not

    • sombodysdad

      “1. If God did exist and designed the human organism, then there wouldn’t be any obvious design flaws in the human organism.”

      Dumb argument. No one said the creation had to be perfect or if it started that way that it had to remain that way. And it still remains there isn’t any non-telic mechanism capable of producing a living organism.

      • GW1″1. If God did exist and designed the human organism, then there wouldn’t be any obvious design flaws in the human organism.”

        S2: Dumb argument.

        GW2: I disagree. I believe it is a rational argument, but I’ll listen to and evaluate your objections anyway.

        S2: No one said the creation had to be perfect…

        GW2: Some persons who claim God exists say the creation was perfect, and wouldn’t the creation be perfect if God were omnipotent and perfectly moral, as is claimed? Other God believers say the creation was good. If it were either perfect or good, then there wouldn’t be any obvious “design flaws” in the human organism. But there are.

        S2: …or if it started that way that it had to remain that way.

        GW2: If God did exist and perfectly designed human organisms, they would remain that way. Why would you think otherwise?

        S2: And it still remains there isn’t any non-telic mechanism capable of producing a living organism.

        GW2: This has nothing to do with the first premise of my argument. Please stay on task. So far, your objections are superficial and very weak.

        • sombodysdad

          Yours is a theological argument. You have erected a strawman. No one says the creation was perfect. You are lying. And the design flaws are explained by genetic entropy. You entire “argument” proves that you are desperate and clueless.

        • S3: Yours is a theological argument.

          GW3: I think it is a theological, philosophical, and scientific argument, wrapped into one package. So what? It is a correct argument, regardless of how it is classified.

          S3: You have erected a strawman. No one says the creation was perfect.

          GW3: No, the argument is not a strawman. I didn’t say a creation was perfect, if there was one. Where are you getting this? Did I use “perfect” in the first premise? No, I didn’t; anyone can see that.

          S3: You are lying.

          GW3: No, I am not lying. Please pinpoint what you believe to be a lie in the argument I presented and we can discuss that. BTW, a lie is a false claim known to be false or believed to be false by the person making it. That applies to none of my statements.

          S3: And the design flaws are explained by genetic entropy.

          GW3: They could be, but that isn’t what the argument asserts. Try to focus on the argument itself. You are going off on tangents.

          S3: You[r] entire “argument” proves that you are desperate and clueless.

          GW3: That’s just a personal attack, not a defense of your position. Try to focus on my argument. Otherwise, we have nothing to talk about.

          GW3: Also, why are you hiding behind a nickname? Please present your correct first and last name.

  • Catherine Spencer-Mills

    I believe why so many computer professionals and engineers believe in ID is the nature of their work. Everything they work with, supporting and creating, is designed by people. Nothing is magically generated out of thin air. And for someone who is not very well informed on biological processes, evolution can seem rather magical without the magician. ID gives them a magician, sort of like they may view themselves. It can be difficult to get them step out of their comfort zone, but if you can throw around ideas like reiterative processes sometimes you can break through the mindset.

    • BertB

      Hmmm. Well, I think I qualify as a “computer professional,” although I have been retired for almost twenty years. I do NOT believe in ID. I thought it was nonsense when I first read about it. It is based on…what?…the notion that all that complexity can’t come from nature…so Goddidit.
      It’s the classical false dichotomy. If you scientists can’t answer all the question, then you are obviously wrong.
      It’s also a blatant effort to shift the burden of proof. I saw it immediately as intellectually dishonest, and still do.
      And people a lot smarter than I have torn the whole idea of ID into shreds.

      • Catherine Spencer-Mills

        You are absolutely correct. It is just I am amazed when someone who should know better, doesn’t.

        • BertB

          We all suffer from confirmation biases.

      • sombodysdad

        ID is not about mere complexity. Grow up. ID is based on our knowledge of cause and effect relationships in accordance with science. And no one has torn ID to shreds. To do so you need science and supporting evidence. Yet you don’t even have a mechanism capable of producing biologically relevant replicators. Yours is a non-starter

    • Phil

      “Everything they work with, supporting and creating, is designed by people” Actually created by brains with almost infinite possible connections and feedback loops which self evolve day to day, making everyone unique. It doesn’t really relate to current knowledge of computers and processing. So the brain is effectively gaining intelligence out of thin air, so anything it produces is ultimately created out of thin air. Sorry I can’t articulate this any better.

      • sombodysdad

        Minds from the mindless via blind and mindless processes is total nonsense. Yet that is what you are pushing

        • Phil

          “Total nonsense” please explain. Perhaps you should understand emergent behaviour before dismissing without a reason.

        • sombodysdad

          Perhaps you should provide some evidence as opposed to just spewing nonsense

        • Phil

          Emergence plays a central role in theories of integrative levels and of complex systems. For instance, the phenomenon of life as studied in biology is an emergent property of chemistry, and psychological phenomena emerge from the neurobiological phenomena of living things.

          https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/emergent-behavior

        • Phil

          The ignorance is all yours. As is the cowardice. Moronic cowards only think they mock others. The truth is they just expose themselves as losers.

          Nice own goal…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Happens all the time.

          Look up genetic algorithms…they outstrip the best human minds can ‘design’.

    • Joe_Buddha

      As a card carrying computer professional for the last 40+ years, I have the obligatory “Not All Programmers”. So, here’s my understanding. Feel free to correct me if necessary:
      1) Evolution is a fact, not a theory. It’s been seen in the fossil record, in the wild, and in the laboratory. It’s practiced all the time by animal breeders. What Darwin’s contribution was, was an explanation of the mechanism. There were others (Lamarck, e.g.), but his was the best explanation of the observed phenomena.
      2) The Theory is Natural Selection. This has proven to be so powerful that many computer solutions to complex problems have used this approach. It doesn’t usually give the optimal solution, but it gives A solution, often counterintuitive, when other approaches fail.

  • SusieQZee

    Dumb cretin

  • So tired of seeing Gelernter being heralded as someone who’s uneducated opinion on evolution should be taken seriously.

    • sombodysdad

      If he is so uneducated then he is easily refuted so it is very telling that no one can do so

      • What is there to refute?

        He made a baseless claim which he didn’t support.

        • sombodysdad

          Except he didn’t make any baseless claim. The baseless claim is that blind and mindless processes can produce the diversity of life

        • That isn’t baseless, that is based in observation.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You obviously flunked astronomy, geology, chemistry, and statistics.

  • sombodysdad

    Intelligent Design is NOT anti-evolution. And evolution by means of blind and mindless processes can’t even be tested. Intelligent Design can be falsified merely by demonstrating blind and mindless processes are capable of producing life, biological structures and whatever else ID says requires a designer. Do that and Occam’s Razor slices off the Designer requirement. So yes, ID is both testable and falsifiable. Yet no one can test the claim that nature invented vision systems.

    The author of this article is clueless and clearly doesn’t understand science.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Is it a requirement to be a creationist that you don’t understand the difference between abiogenesis and evolution? Just asking because I’ve noticed a trend.

      • sombodysdad

        Umm, how life originated dictates how it evolved. It is only if life arose via blind and mindless processes would we infer evolution proceeds via blind and mindless processes. On the other hand an intelligently designed OoL means life was deigned with the ability to adapt and evolve. Also I did mention biological structures.

        • Do tell more about how thar works, in your own words,

        • sombodysdad

          How what works, Joe? Why don’t YOU say how blind watchmaker evolution works and provide the science to back it up?

          Organisms designed with the ability to evolve is exemplified by evolutionary algorithms.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Wouldn’t you reading a textbook on evolution be easier that us trying to educate you in the comments section of a blog?

        • sombodysdad

          I have read several textbooks on evolution. I have even taken many courses on biology and evolution. If you have a point then make it or admit that you have nothing

        • Doubting Thomas

          It would take numerous pints for me to want to try to deal with your ignorance. I prefer mockery.

        • sombodysdad

          The ignorance is all yours. As is the cowardice. Moronic cowards only think they mock others. The truth is they just expose themselves as losers.

          Nice own goal…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Remember, the ‘somebodysdad’ *kind* only believe there’s ONE book that needs reading, and have a track record of *burning* all others

          🙁

        • Greg G.

          Sombody = skl?

        • BertB

          Very possible. skl has gotten a bad rep here for idiotic posts. Maybe he thinks a new nym will help.
          It won’t if the content is the same. So far, it seems to be….

        • epeeist

          skl has gotten a bad rep here for idiotic posts.

          He has got a bigger bad rep for serial lying.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Evolution works because it has a ratchet making backsliding very difficult.

          With that, the blind watchmaker does QUITE well.

      • sombodysdad

        Showing that blind and mindless processes can produce life would falsify ID. That is what my post says. Learn how to read.

    • epeeist

      Intelligent Design can be falsified merely by demonstrating blind and mindless processes are capable of producing life, biological structures and whatever else ID says requires a designer.

      And again, what is it with you people?

      If you are hypothesising an “intelligent designer” then it is down to you to provide evidence for the existence of such an entity, what explanatory power it provides for the biosphere, what empirical fit it has, how it can be tested and what tests it has passed.

      So, over to you. Let’s start with your designer, what evidence there is for its existence and what properties it has.

      • sombodysdad

        We have provided the evidence for ID. And you clearly don’t understand how science works. YOU cannot show the positive evidence nor a testable methodology for blind watchmaker evolution.

        ID is NOT about the Designer. ID is about the DESIGN. And we use our knowledge of cause and effect relationships to determine if design exists. The genetic code is evidence for ID. Why? Because 100% of our knowledge says that codes only arose via intelligent agency volition. No one even knows how nature could have done it. and nature had to do it from the bottom up. Too bad no one can show that nature can produce the components required.

        • epeeist

          We have provided the evidence for ID.

          Evidence which you strangely fail to mention.

          And you clearly don’t understand how science works.

          Well no, a doctorate in physics obviously failed to give me any understanding of the way science works.

          ID is NOT about the Designer.

          Strange how you shy away from describing your designer or producing any evidence for its existence or properties.

          And we use our knowledge of cause and effect relationships to determine if design exists.

          In which case you should be able to start from your “theory” and some initial conditions and show us how it works.

          Too bad no one can show that nature can produce the components required.

          Let’s go with this for the moment. Assume that the theory of evolution (in its modern synthesis) is shown to be false. What are you going to replace it with given that it must provide at least as good an explanation power and empirical theory as well as accounting for the anomalies which the current theory cannot.

          Oh, and the usual other requirements of a good theory apply, it must be testable and withstand critical testing.

        • sombodysdad

          Oh my. ID is NOT about the designer. With archaeology design is determined without knowledge of the designer. All knowledge of the designer comes from studying the design and all relevant evidence. There isn’t any scientific theory of evolution. ID makes testable claims and we have said exactly how to test it. We have said how to falsify it. On the other hand your side has nothing but hope.

          IDists have written about the methodology used. Your ignorance, while amusing, is neither an argument nor a refutation.

          The genetic code is evidence for ID. Why? Because 100% of our knowledge says that codes only arose via intelligent agency volition. Deal with that

        • epeeist

          Oh my. ID is NOT about the designer.

          So you don’t want to give a description or properties for your purported designer. Why then should I accept the existence of such an entity.

          ID makes testable claims and we have said exactly how to test it. We have said how to falsify it. On the other hand your side has nothing but hope.

          Testable claims which again you strangely seem not to mention. So what are these claims, what are the predictions and how have they been tested?

          The genetic code is evidence for ID.

          You beg the question by assuming the the genome is a “code”. Something else that you need to demonstrate.

        • sombodysdad

          LoL! Science textbooks say that the genetic code is a real code. And its a real code because it fits the definition of a code. See, you are ignorant of biology. the real genetic code- https://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2007/02/real-genetic-code.html

          Only someone who is scientifically illiterate demands a description of the designer. Science says design is determined before we even ask such questions. And no, I am not going to reproduce the ID literature for someone who is so obviously willfully ignorant

        • epeeist

          Science textbooks say that the genetic code is a real code.

          Citation required

          As for your reference, it doesn’t prove your point. Just because someone refers to a “code” does not entail that it was produced by a coder.

          Only someone who is scientifically illiterate demands a description of the designer.

          So you have nothing. In which I am perfectly at liberty to dismiss any claims for the existence of a designer. Why should I bloat my ontology with something for which there is no justification.

          Science says design is determined before we even ask such questions.

          Citation required

          And no, I am not going to reproduce the ID literature for someone who is so obviously willfully ignorant

          So once again you have nothing. Which means that my response is the same as before, why should I bother with something for which you are not prepared to provide any justification.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          It’s a way that biology has found for coding proteins.

          WE overlaid a code on it to understand it.

        • Mike De Fleuriot

          Oh my. ID is NOT about the designer

          Of course it is about Allah.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower
        • Did you even read Bob’s post? There’s a lot of unused bits in our DNA, and we know how it got there. It quite clearly is not the result of a designer. Positive evidence of natural selection and randomness exists everywhere!

          You say “we have provided the evidence” as if you had something to do with it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And you clearly don’t understand how science works.

          Priceless.

        • Rudy R

          No one even knows how nature could have done it. and nature had to do it from the bottom up. Too bad no one can show that nature can produce the components required

          As opposed to, everyone knows how god has done it and from the bottom up. Such a satisfying explanation!

        • I will pray Lurue, the Unicorn, for you.

    • BertB

      First of all, you show a degree of ignorance about the evolutionary process when you say “blind and mindless processes.” Part of the process is what’s called “Natural Selection.” I suggest you go read up on how that works. Here’s a place for you to start…a discussion of how the human eye evolved.
      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        FWIW, I’d say that Natural Selection *is* blind and mindless. It’s also pitiless, only allowing the successful to survive long enough to breed.

        None of that requires agency, IMHO.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Intelligent design IS anti-evolution.

      It PRESUMES that a massively complex, powerful entity imagined, designed, and CREATED everything we see.

      That presupposition sneaks biological complexity in at the start…evolution need not do that, and states flatly that it’s not necessary.

    • “Yet no one can test the claim that nature invented vision systems.”

      Actually, many intermediate stages of vision systems are seen not just in the fossil record, but in species that survive today, exactly as evolutionary theory predicts.

    • Ignorant Amos

      The author of this article comment is clueless and clearly doesn’t understand science.

      FTFY

    • Phil

      “And evolution by means of blind and mindless processes can’t even be tested.”

      Really?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

      Now provide details of an experiment for ID.

      • groovamos

        Then would you please show where a series of mutations providing novel form or function have been absolutely proven to be RANDOM? As in statistically independent?

        • Phil

          So you are trying to weasel in a “God did it” instead of giving an example of an ID experiment.

    • sombodysdad <- This TROLL is clueless and clearly doesn't understand science, doesn't understand "intelligent design" creationism, is ignorant of the Kitzmiller trial, is ignorant of the fact that the "blind and mindless" biological processes relevant to evolution are tested and research and published about in the professional science literature by the hundreds of research articles every month of the year (not to mention the fact that the "blind and mindless" processes in physics, chemistry, geology, meteorology, oceanography, and so on are tested and researched and published about all the time (yes, "sombodysdad" troll, thank you for writing that moronic "blind and mindless" phrase just to prove how inane everything you write really is).

  • sombodysdad

    There isn’t even any scientific theory of evolution. Go ahead and try to find it. The best you will do is find people talking about it as if it actually exists but they do not reference it.

    • Greg G.

      Did you do a search for “On the Origin of Species”? Did you overlook it when that popped up in the search results? Did you look at anything that has been written on the subject over the last 150 years besides creationist material?

    • epeeist

      There isn’t even any scientific theory of evolution. Go ahead and try to find it.

      And yet if I do a search for “Theory of evolution” then I seem to find quite a number of hits.

      • sombodysdad

        LoL! Do a search on “bigfoot” or “loch ness monster” I am sure you will get a large number of hits. What you will not find in your number of hits is an actual scientific theory of evolution

        • epeeist

          What you will not find in your number of hits is an actual scientific theory of evolution

          And yet my search returns references to books and articles by people like Karl Pearson, John Maynard Smith and a whole stack of actual biologists who describe what they refer to as the “Theory of Evolution”. Why are they wrong and you right?

          What facets of something like Fr. Ernan McMullan’s The Virtues of a Good Theory does the theory not meet?

        • sombodysdad

          And yet you cannot find the alleged scientific theory of evolution. That says it all, really. You don’t know who authored it. You can’t say when it was published nor what journal it was published in.

        • epeeist

          And yet you cannot find the alleged scientific theory of evolution.

          You are denying that any of the papers and books in the search that I made describe the the the theory of evolution?

          You don’t know who authored it. You can’t say when it was published nor what journal it was published in.

          Let’s ask the question here, who was the author of quantum theory, when was it published and in what journal?

        • BertB

          You misunderstand the Scientific Method. Most theories develop over time as tests are made and data is gathered, reports are written and peer-reviewed. There is no single author…except the process itself. All theories are a work-in-progress, always subject to revision.
          Some theories, like Evolution, have become so well documented and verified that they reach the level of consensus among the vast majority of researchers and scientific experts. But your position is a common one among Evolution deniers. “It’s only a theory!” As if that degrades it somehow. Actually, your position that it not even a theory is even more laughable.

        • groovamos

          The designation of all mutations as “random” certainly is a hypothesis. It is the null hypothesis because there is no proof of the converse. I’ve actually seen academics label “randomness” as the null hypothesis on other blogs. Thus we have a hypothesis of evolution, with people desperately hanging on and calling it a theory in a desperate hope theology is wrong and delusional. It makes atheism a good enough life choice and so the theory is held up.

        • BertB

          My goodness! All those desperate evolutionists…otherwise known as scientists who study the evolutionary process. As I said before, you misunderstand the Scientific Method. What is clear is that lots of mutations happen that don’t do a damn thing…or they are fatal to the organism, and it doesn’t live to reproduce. A few result in survival advantages for the organism carrying them so that more of those organisms live long enough to reproduce. If you are trying to find something in that process that is directed by an outside agency, YOU are the one who is desperately grasping at straws.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Another knuckle dragging creotard…wtf is happening?

        • epeeist

          Another knuckle dragging creotard

          What odds they turn out to be yet another drive-by (assuming it isn’t yet another sock)?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am still pishing maself laughing at the absurdity of this question…

          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/08/a-response-to-david-gelernters-attack-on-evolution/#comment-4601523920

          And the idea that the respiratory system would be the result of any intelligent designer worth a fuck also cracks me up too.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is pretty simple: “Biological organisms can differ from their antecedents, and those organisms that survive and reproduce best win out.”

          What part of that would you consider false, and why?

        • groovamos

          Because you can’t come up with a scientific definition of “win out” unless this is all politics which it is.

        • Susan

          a scientific definition of “win out”

          HEWBT did.

          “Survive and reproduce.”

          unless this is all politics which it is.

          Only from the science-denying side.

        • groovamos

          Oh but you left out the important part “and those organisms that survive and reproduce best win out” so your definition must be “survive … best” and “reproduce best”. Where has this been defined? We’re into politics here.

        • Susan

          We’re into politics here.

          It’s pretty straightforward. Those organisms that survive and reproduce, survive and reproduce.

          That’s how it works. What is political about that?

          What interpretation of “win out” are you inferring?

        • groovamos

          Wow that is some mind-blowing science there: organisms which survive, survive. Never in my life would have dreamed that one up. All these organisms living in my yard, some of them even “survive best”. Simply stunning logic there, enough for the foundation of a whole religion, which is the foundation of this science I think.

        • Susan

          organisms which survive, survive.

          Organisms which survive and reproduce, survive and reproduce. Nothing political there.

          The science is in the mechanisms.

          enough for the foundation of a whole religion

          How is a scientific field a religion?

          I think.

          Not yet.

          You still haven’t explained what you inferred from HairyEyedWordBomber’s phrase “win out”.

        • BertB

          That qualifies as one of the most inane statements I have ever read in my years on this web site.
          What she said is that natural selection works. The only thing stunning about that is you don’t get it. Religion? Hardly. It’s reality.
          And that’s your problem. You are ignoring reality.

        • epeeist

          Simply stunning logic there, enough for the foundation of a whole religion, which is the foundation of this science I think.

          Here is the latest issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology. Perhaps you could tell us how this corresponds to a religion.

        • I’d always followed the lead of the scientists who actually understand the science. But, golly, you’re making so much sense that I think I’ll accept whatever you say from now on.

    • Joe_Buddha

      Evolution is a fact. The Theory is Evolution by Natural Selection.

    • sombodysdad <- Will someone please ban this lying TROLL already?

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    The problem the religious have, is that they presuppose a purpose and then go looking for one. This is not how nature works, things happen and then they might be found to be useful. There is no end goal and ToE explains this. Hydrogen pairs do not look for an oxygen atom to make a water molecule, they just happen to be near each other and the laws of physics happen which leads to a water molecule. It was not the purpose or reason for Hydrogen or Oxygen to exist so that water could come into being. And you can take this line of reasoning all the way up to an option to punch a Nazi. The result of a process is not the choice of the process. If it was then your job would be even harder to explain how swimming in the sea was arrived at by the land dwelling ancestors of the modern whale. The whale did not look longingly at the sea and pray to Allah to give him fins and move his nostrils onto his back. Every species we can see today, we can work out how they arrived at the stage we find them today and no where do we see the need or evidence of a god doing god magic to make this happen. You have to show purpose before you can go and actually find that purpose and the purpose you find better provide a better answer that what ToE gives.

  • “Viruses replicate by inserting their DNA into cells, and millions of
    years of this imperfect process has left nonworking viral junk
    comprising eight percent of human DNA.”

    Reminds me of some code I still have running. After 15 or so years, some of what a program does becomes unnecessary. For whatever reason (I’m a pack-rat? I can’t bear to erase history? I’m afraid I’ll need it later?), I just comment it out. In once case, I had a web-scraper running to collect power price and load data from several websites. The company eventually contracted a service to take care of this, which was good because I kept having to change my code when the websites changed. As the switch-overs were done, I just commented out the calls to the separate functions until there was only one left. They never replaced that last bit so my program is still running, calling only the one function. I can’t remember if I deleted the others from the source, but I think I didn’t.

    That code evolved. Only a god, I suppose, would I have written all of those functions when only the one was needed.

  • groovamos

    Someone please link me to the proof the first respiratory cilia provided survival advantage. You know like Darwin said, any structure (providing selective advantage) that could not have arrived by a gradual process, would be fatal to the theory. So those tens of billions of respiratory cilia, all wired together to move in wave fashion had to have evolved in gradual fashion, meaning gradually larger numbers started out small. So how did the first thousand provide selective advantage?

    • Ignorant Amos
      • jononomo

        he was pointing out that no one is able to explain this

        • Greg G.

          So? Not everything has been explained. That is why science does research. If everything is explained, then science will stop.

        • BertB

          …and religion will disintegrate…because without the “mysteries that we can’t explain so GodDidIt,” they will have nothing to justify their beliefs.

        • jononomo

          This is actually a great point. Are you familiar with evolutionary aeromechanics? It is the study of the evolution of airplanes. The trend in the photographic record toward more complexity is clear. And people who can fly would obviously have mated more successfully. If we jump too quickly to the design hypothesis and invoke intelligence, then we’ll never get to the bottom of the problem. The question of where airplanes come from is indeed unresolved, but science is an ever-onward enterprise that is committed to rationally considering only naturalistic explanations.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re really this fucking retarded?

        • Greg G.

          It is the study of the evolution of airplanes. The trend in the photographic record toward more complexity is clear. And people who can fly would obviously have mated more successfully.

          Your implication is clear. Since airplanes have become more complex over time and are intelligently designed, then anything that becomes more complex is intelligently designed. That does not follow logically.

          See, when my grandfather was young, they didn’t refrigerators, just ice boxes. Then came more complex refrigerators with freezer compartments where we made ice cubes in trays. When I was in high school we got a new refrigerator with an automatic ice maker but if we wanted crushed ice, we had to beat it with the rolling pin. Now my refrigerator gives chilled water or crushed ice just by holding the glass to the levers in the door. Therefore, icebergs are intelligently designed.

          but science is an ever-onward enterprise that is committed to rationally considering only naturalistic explanations.

          First, you need to demonstrate that there is something besides the natural that can be distinguished from the imaginary.

        • Ignorant Amos

          On another note. I’ve gone and done a really, really, really, silly thing.

          Ave only gone and opened up a dialogue with Luke Breuer over at The Tippling Philosopher and am losing the will to live already.

        • Greg G.

          There, there. It’s not the end of the worl… LB???!!!! I’ll alert the Island to effect a rescue, pronto!!!

        • BertB

          The best rescue from LB is very simple. Block him, as I did long ago.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A was over looking at something else and I noticed him saying something stupid and a got too close a fell down the rabbit hole into Breuerland.

          A should block him, but I’m reluctant to block folk unless they are really fucked up beyond all recognition as being able to be rational.

        • MR

          Condolences

        • MR

          Oh, Lord, whose sock is this?

        • Greg G.

          I assumed it is groovamos. jononomo knew what groovamos was talking about.

          jononomo made 10 posts three months ago, another two days ago, and three here.

        • Ignorant Amos

          First of all, science doesn’t deal in proof.

          Secondly, the evidence that the first respiratory cilia provided a survival advantage is all around us.

          Lastly, my point went right over your head. He was pointing out fuck all of the sort, he was trying to be a smart Alec. He doesn’t know whether nobody has been able to explain this, just that he doesn’t know of if anybody has explained this. But he is doing that creotard fuckwittery of pointing out what might still be unexplained, in a cretinous attempt to be able to say, “ah ha, science can’t explain everything, so god-must’ve did-it. Well, to cite comedian and scientist Dara O’Briain…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDYba0m6ztE

          That said, there are plenty of sources that explain why the respiratory cilia are a useful respiratory evolutionary development, but I can’t help it if morons can’t use a search engine.

          The discovery that all cilia may have crucial functions for human health has led to an explosion of interest in these fascinating organelles. The term ciliopathy has been coined to refer to the group of diseases now recognized to be caused by defects in ciliary assembly or function (Badano et al. 2006). As patients with defects in ciliary motility share common symptoms, so too do patients with defects in nonmotile cilia often exhibit overlap in their symptoms. These ciliopathies are characterized to a greater or lesser degree by cystic kidneys, retinal degeneration and blindness, extra digits and other skeletal abnormalities, fluid accumulation in the brain, cognitive deficits, and obesity. A great deal of effort has been expended over the last decade to identify genes mutated in human ciliopathies and to understand the underlying functional connections between the encoded proteins. Excellent reviews of these advances have been written for professionals in the field (Drummond 2012, Fliegauf et al. 2007); here, we target teachers and students who may not be aware of the recent exciting developments in cilia biology.

          https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/64/12/1126/250297

          Now, get in the fuckin’ sack.

        • jononomo

          you certainly can’t explain how aeroplanes arose, but I guess you have your theories, lol

        • Ignorant Amos

          you certainly can’t explain how aeroplanes arose,…

          How ta fuck do you know?

          Let’s to engage in yer asinine silliness. If I don’t know, I could go and find out the basics. Or if I couldn’t be arsed and knew an historian who specialized in that area of expertise, and/or aerospace expert, I could point you in their direction.

          But I don’t see the relevance. Because I can’t, doesn’t mean everyone can’t.

          …but I guess you have your theories, lol

          Demonstrating you are of a special level of idiocy.

  • skl

    test

  • skl

    testing one two three.

  • gemini bowie
  • Kevin R. Cross

    Just took the opportunity to read Gelertner’s piece. Shockingly for a computer specialist, he actually does not understand statistical probability, even the basics that 1 in 100 000 chances will actually tend to come up one in one hundred thousand iterations. He also doesn’t understand the evolutionary time scale.

    • The guy seems to be following an agenda, like so many smart people before him.

    • Alitheia

      I bet you could find a conspiracy in a game of Solitaire . . .

      • Kevin R. Cross

        I honestly have no clue what you’re talking about.

        • Alitheia

          If exceptional intellect is required to merely duplicate the breathtaking daedal designs & systems present in nature (Biomimetics) then much more the original being replicated. Creation is thus unshakable evidence of our Creator’s necessary existence.

          Yet you prefer magic in the form of fantastic chance as a better explanation . . .

          If you hear hoofbeats, why think unicorns?

        • Kevin R. Cross

          Depending on the circumstances, I might well think Wildebeeste.

          Biomimetics is hard, not because of the genius of a creator, but because of the necessity to produce in one iteration of creative force what was formed over literally millions or billions of iterations of trial and error gradual improvement. In such a situation, one can expect virtually every possible permutation to be explored, and only those relative few that provide continuing advantage towards survival to be retained. Thus, biomimetics is equivalent to attempting to reverse engineer an item that not only has been researched and invented, but which has also had immense and continuous development over many cycles and iterations.
          In fact, were we to postulate a singular act of creation, it would follow that this would make biomimetics significantly simpler and easier, since the replication of a single act of creation would obviously be easier than replicating the result of a continuous and continuing course of development.
          Considered thusly, the fact of existence is not only not an unshakeable form of evidence, but in fact is not evidence of anything at all, but only a part of the reality to which both of us are seeking to attach some reason or origin to. The Theory of Evolution provides us with a good explanation of the diversity and nature of life on this planet, and has significant evidence that agrees with it’s suppositions, and thus a part (though only a part) of the origin and nature of the world around us. Your alternative, the theory of Creationism, is broader, and explains the nature and origin of the entire universe, but is lacking in supporting evidence and relies upon facts not in evidence, without which it collapses.
          Until or unless those situations change, I will maintain support for those theories we actually have reason to believe actually pertain.

        • Alitheia

          what was formed over literally millions or billions of iterations of trial and error gradual improvement.

          https://i.imgur.com/8XrngQQ.png

        • Alitheia

          The Theory of Evolution provides us with a good explanation

          Apophenia inbred with confirmation bias. I bet you could find a conspiracy in a game of Solitaire . . .

          If you are to accept the doctrine of molecules-to-man evolution as true, you must believe that agnostic or atheistic scientists will not let their personal beliefs influence their interpretations of scientific findings. But this is obviously wrongheaded considering the fact that, as Lewontin puts it, plenty of researchers are prepared to embrace doubtful scientific allegations as they quite simply “have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” As he frankly admits, “we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” If that’s not noetical bigotry, exactly what is?

          You must also believe that mutations and natural selection produced all complex life-forms, despite a century of research that shows that mutations have not transformed even one properly defined species into something entirely new. You must believe that all creatures gradually evolved from a common ancestor, despite a fossil record that strongly indicates that the major kinds of plants and animals appeared abruptly and did not evolve into other kinds, even over aeons of time. Does that type of belief sound as though it is based on facts or on myths?

        • epeeist

          If you are to accept the doctrine of molecules-to-man evolution as true

          Enough straw in that statement to contain an infinite number of Edward Woodwards.