Can Young-Earth Creationists and Proponents of Intelligent Design be Christians?

Can Young-Earth Creationists and Proponents of Intelligent Design be Christians? August 29, 2013

Michael Ruse famously asked the opposite, whether a Darwinian can be a Christian. But the opposite question is the real pressing issue. Here is what I wrote in a comment on Michael Kruger’s blog:

I don’t think that any view which misrepresents evidence the way young-earth creationism and Intelligent Design do is compatible with the moral teachings of Christianity. If you reject the clear teaching of Jesus about truth in order to defend that ancient human beings were somehow prescient in their knowledge of modern science, there is really no way you can seriously call yourself a Christian.

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  • Well you are getting into the question then of what makes one a Christian. Of course anyone can call themselves a Christian, just as so many in the UK called themselves “Jedi Knights.”

    I take your point that if someone is outright lying then they are not being very good Christians, but in most definitions of “being a Christian” there is more to it than their actions… Confession, etc. usually plays a fairly important role, as you know.

  • Norm Englund

    Young Earth Creationists and Intelligent Designists are my deluded, small-minded brothers and sisters in Christ. On the positive side, they remind me to look for my own prejudices and assumptions. On the negative side, they help drive away people who might otherwise become Christians.

    My son adds, on the positive side, it may drive away people who want to destroy Christianity from the inside, thinking that the job is already done. 😀

  • Jakeithus

    While I understand where you are coming from, I don’t think framing the question in such exclusive and extreme terms does anything to add to the discussion around the issue. On both sides of the debate, calling into question the Christianity of those who disagree, over what in my mind is a fairly inconsequential issue, is a far less “Christian” thing to do.

    As someone for whom reason and searching has led to a fairly agnostic form of old earth creationism, I’m certainly in a position where neither “side” in the game really accepts me, so perhaps it’s just a matter of an increased awareness and sensitivity to the team picking, line drawing, and judgement that accompanies the issue.

  • Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

  • nelson.james

    Have you actually read “Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen Meyer? It seems most people attack the person without addressing the actual argument or science involved. Maybe it is just too advanced for many people to follow it, so they resort to name calling.

    • I was going to, but it got such disappointing reviews from biologists that it doesn’t sound like something I want to waste my time with – in the short term at least. The reviews were consistently about the disappointing content and had nothing to do with the author.

      • nelson.james

        It is interesting to read the Amazon reviews for “Darwin’s Doubt”. There are far more 5 star ratings than 1 star. When you read the 1 star they are high on emotion and low on facts. I think this is also true of many (not all) biologists. When a person’s world view (atheism in this case) is threatened, they respond with a visceral reaction. Christians can actually look at the arguments for evolution and ID very objectively because.either one could fit the Christian worldview since God could have guided evolution. I go with ID simply because the arguments from specified complexity and the irreducibly complex nature of DNA and molecular machines at the biochemical level are too compelling to believe in macro evolution.

        • Scientific matters are not settled by Amazon ratings. This is not about atheism, and the attempt to sell it as such is precisely part of the problem with ID. It is a PR exercise aimed at making people think they have to choose between what they offer and atheism, when one can accept what the world’s leading scientists have to say and be a Christian, since many of those leading scientists are Christians themselves.

          Your personal incredulity is irrelevant. People have had the same reaction to the claim that the Earth rotates.

          • nelson.james

            ID is science and not a PR exercise. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. ID begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be tested for by reverse-engineering biological structures through genetic knockout experiments to determine if they require all of their parts to function. When scientists experimentally uncover irreducible complexity in a biological structure, they conclude that it was designed.
            By the way, if you reject ID as scence then you have to also reject Darwinism as science since both also use historical science in their evaluations and inference to the best possible conclusion. ID, though, also uses the more traditional method of science as I mentioned above.

          • It is a PR exercise, and that should be obvious. Dembski’s arguments about CSI have not been found persuasive by experts in the relevant fields, but he and others like yourself are ignoring that the claims and models have failed to convince, and are trying to persuade people to adopt the, even so. If that is not a PR exercise, what is?

          • nelson.james

            Please tell me who has refuted Dembski. I’m aware of some assertions, but no proven refutations.

          • GubbaBumpkin

            Please tell me who has refuted Dembski. I’m aware of some assertions, but no proven refutations.

            I could point out the criticisms of Shallit & Elsberry,
            Information theory, evolutionary computation, and Dembski’s ‘complex specified information, Synthese, 2004

            but rather than read it and understand what it is about, you will merely dig up the denial by the Discovery Institute. I don’t think you have the grasp of the subject matter to understand information theory, nor how Dembski’s use of it falls short.

            This notion that any denial will do, and that all publications have equal value, aligns well with McGrath’s original point about the dishonesty of creationists.

          • GubbaBumpkin
          • GubbaBumpkin

            You can also find critiques by Elliott Sober and Mark Perakh.

          • Scott

            Sorry, ID is still not science. It’s creationism dressed prettier. The Dover trial showed that all the ID people did to update their textbooks was to find and change creationism to ID. Michael Behe was shown a number of research papers showing that his prime idea of “irreducible complexity” was just him stopping and not wanting to research beyond that step.

            There are not scientists using ID to find better ways of understanding cancer or how the climate change is going to effect Eco-systems. ID is a philosophical system.

          • Ian

            The infamous Wedge document was quite explicit about that – it is a system designed to overturn western naturalism.

          • Ian

            Everything is irreducibly complex at a certain level. There is always a minimal level of complexity required to perform a biochemical function. Mainstream biology would predict the same, so your experiment would show literally nothing, because the same result would be expected by any Darwinian.

            The key of irreducible complexity is that none of the elements comprising a system can have any function except as a component of that system. That would differentiate between mainstream biology that says that all systems must either be simple enough to form directly, or be made from other components that were functional, often in other ways. Of course ID-proponents don’t like this because it means they can’t show anything. They can claim such and such is irreducibly complex, but all a biologist needs to do is show a possible functional precursor. So irreducible complexity turns out to be a God-of-the-gaps argument, an argument to incredulity. Like any other creationism.

          • nelson.james

            Ian, it sounds like you are descending into the chance hypothesis–that anything could happen by chance given enough opportunities. It takes five or six amino acid changes to alter a protein to protein binding site. That is five or six mutational steps. Even three or four simultaneous amino acid changes is mathematically impossible. Just 2 new binding sites is a one in 1×10 to the 40th power probability, which is more cells than has ever existed on earth. These types of improbabilities are rampant in neo-Darwinism and are indicative of why Thomas Nagel, famed NYU professor, stated that neo-Darwinism as a theory will be laughable within a generation or two.

          • Ian

            Not at all, I’m merely refuting your claim that you can demonstrate ID based on the experiment you suggest. Your ‘demonstration’ of ID is merely a phenomenon that both ID and mainstream biology would expect. You’ve mistaken the actual ID claim which is stronger, and isn’t demonstrated by the experiment you claim. I’m not descending into anything: I’m showing you that your claim is false.

            I notice you’re playing the normal creationist game of moving on to another topic now your initial claims have been shown to be false. Fair enough. But it would be more honest if you actually conceded the first point first.

            Then we can talk about probability. Which is something of a pet subject of mine, since my PhD was in probabilistic bias in genetic evolution.

          • nelson.james

            Based on the research of Doug Axe, Ann Gauger and others we can conclude “The central challenge posed by irreducible complexity is that functional utility is separated by discontinuous leaps in complexity, which cannot be scaled by a blind search. It is the need for multiple, coordinated changes that delivers a substantive challenge to neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. This challenge stands regardless of whether sub-components within the flagellar apparatus can serve functions in other organelles.” This need for multiple coordinated changes does in fact point to molecular machines being irreducibly complex. To state otherwise is descending into the chance hypothesis.

          • Ian

            But that wasn’t what you said. You put forward an experiment that would demonstrate ID. You seem now to be arguing that the experiment doesn’t show ID, but that probabilistic reasoning does. Am I right that you now want to withdraw that claim and talk about probability?

            I need to be clear. I understand you have a whole bucket of mud to sling in the hope some sticks, but I want to make sure that we’re dealt with at least one point. Am I’m sorry if I sound a jerk on this, but I am going to press you to be clear: either explain why mainstream biology would not expect functionality to be harmed when components of the functional system are disabled, or concede that your claim was incorrect.

          • nelson.james

            The less we know about the cell, the more likely Darwinism and neo-Darwinism seem viable. The more we learn about the complexity of the cell, the less likely it is that unguided forces could construct it. Mainstream biology, I think, has always been surprised by this ever increasing complexity and never anticipated biochemistry (born in the ’50s and made possible by X-ray crystallography and later nuclear magnetic resonance) to snow molecular machines operating at the biochemical level. Materialist scientists have always tried to explain it away with the vocabulary of assertion and assumption but nothing has ever really worked. So, no I don’t think many biologists ever expected advanced machinery operating at the biochemical level and definitely did not expect function dependent on so many intermediate parts. Darwin himself said that if anyone could show that organisms could not come about by small, gradual steps, then my theory would be dis proven. Of course ion powered rotary motors equipped with stators, rotors, bushings, universal joints, propellers and several other necessary components don’t just self assemble themselves. The intermediates contribute to the end function only and thus render it irreducibly complex. Genetic knockout experiments show they need all their parts to function.

          • Ian

            All very interesting, but I notice you are avoid the issue again, and responding by making new claims.

            Once more, either withdraw your initial claim or explain why mainstream biology would not predict that a biochemical function would be disrupted by disabling some of its parts.

            Then we can talk about other stuff.

            Once more, I understand that you want to get on with flinging some other mud and seeing if it sticks, but I want to make sure you are the kind of person who is capable of admitting that an argument you’ve made is incorrect. Otherwise I may as well just sit and listen to a greatest hits playlist of creationist claims, rather than try to engage you at all.

            So – do you withdraw your original claim about a test for ID or not? If not, please explain why you think mainstream biology would predict that disabling a key gene involved in a function wouldn’t disable that function.

          • “The less we know about the cell, the more likely Darwinism and neo-Darwinism seem viable. The more we learn about the complexity of the cell, the less likely it is that unguided forces could construct it.”

            Which, I suppose, is why cell biologists are all against evolution.

            Oh, wait a minute, virtually all cell biologists on the planet support the scientific theory of evolution.

            Which leads me to this point: When a creationist is spouting creationist rhetoric pretending to represent science, he’s almost always using fabrications for the deliberate purpose of misrepresenting matters to try to make his pseudoscience crap not smell so bad.

          • GubbaBumpkin

            Mainstream biology, I think, has always been surprised by this ever
            increasing complexity and never anticipated biochemistry (born in the
            ’50s and made possible by X-ray crystallography and later nuclear
            magnetic resonance) to show molecular machines operating at the
            biochemical level.

            Biochemistry was doing just fine well before the 1950s. You may be referring to molecular biology. Your attempt to appear well-informed is falling flat. Time for you to change the topic again.

          • I.D. is neo-vitalism, seance biology. it has no hypothesis concerning HOW anything was “designed,” it just asserts it was. But neo-Darwinism and evo-devo build on data everyone can perceive and utilize to formulate actual scientific hypotheses:

            1) Known mutations which occur naturally to germ cells, sometimes via cosmic rays, or via known mutagenic chemicals inside the cell, or happen during meiosis. These include point mutations, frame shift mutations, whole gene duplication, whole chromosome duplication, even whole genome mutation (all the chromosomes duplicated together with subsequent whittling down of that genome, and this even happens in animals, not just plants).

            2) The smallness of genomic space. There are a vast number of homologous genes found in all species with a similar evolutionary history, so the genomic “gaps” are not as great as one might think looking only at the outward morphologies of different species. Speaking of small gaps, humans and chimpanzees are no further apart genetically than sibling species of fruit flies, or some species of cats.

            3) The fact that only a small percentage of each generation passes along its genes to the next generation. It’s a proven fact that not every fertilized egg or seed reaches the point of sexual maturity where it can pass along its genes to the next generation. And there are obvious examples of evolutionary arms races, predator-prey competition, host-parasite competition, organism-environment competition, even whole groups of cousin species competing with whole groups of nearby cousin species. And the world is one huge graveyard of those individual organisms and species that did NOT make it to the point of passing along their genes to the next generation.

            4) Biologists are also working on figuring out what natural chemical properties inside the genome contribute to a higher probability of some types of mutations rather than others, and some points of breakage in the genome rather than others. But these are natural chemical properties that can be observed, measured.

            5) Yes, cells are complex, and there’s a natural reason for that. In fact, recent experiments indicate that replicating molecules that are more complex and that work in series can out-reproduce other replicating molecules that work alone. So complexity appears to be favored even on a biochemical level. See the new book, What is Life?: How Chemistry becomes Biology by Addy Pross and these other books on modern day biochemical research into the origin of life and rising complexity in the genome:

            6) Mutations do not have to be fully efficient in order to provide some added function. A famous recent example is the discovery of a simple frame shift mutation in a species of bacteria that allowed it to partially digest nylon, a recent man-made polymer. The bacteria did not receive a lot of energy partially digesting the nylon, but that is only the beginning of further mutations. Same with the recent experiment in which a bacterial colony in a lab evolved the ability to digest citrate. It did not happen all at once, but in stages (see Dennis Venema’s article, which also responds to I.D. assertions , Venema is a biologist and, and he also has an ongoing series on understanding evolution that goes into greater depth that you’re liable to see elsewhere on the web, )

            7) Stephen Meyer, the who recent wrote a book on the Cambrian explosion is a philosopher of science, without a doctorate in the appropriate subjects, such as paleontology, evolutionary biology, etc. and his arguments according to the following reviewers, are ill informed (the third reviewer goes into considerable detail, fascinating reading):

            a) Charles R. Marshall, Prof. at UC, Berkeley, one of the most respected experts on the evolution of early life, specializing in the Cambrian Explosion. His review of Meyer’s book appeared recently in the magazine, Science

            b) Donald Prothero, paleontologist, currently a research associate in vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles: County

            c) Nicholas Matzke, doctoral student in evolutionary biology at the University of California Berkeley

            8) My post on Why More Biologists Are Not Intelligent Design Advocates, and PLEASE NOTE THE DEDICATED SEARCH ENGINE AT THE TOP OF MY POST, since you can plug in the names of particular I.D.ists or the names of their arguments, like “irreducible complexity,” “junk DNA,” “encode,” or “cambrian,” and you will be lead quickly and easily to sites where scientists have responded to I.D. arguments.

          • David L. Hagen

            “Everything is irreducibly complex at a certain level.”

            That is the heart of the difference between Darwin and Behe, as Darwin required numerous small incremental changes. Behe points out that there is a quantum jump required to irreducible complexity and challenges neoDarwinism as to how that is bridged by any known mechanisms. See Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution.

          • Ian

            Way to utterly misunderstand what I said!

            As I said mainstream biology, including evolution, predicts the ‘irreducible complexity’ of biochemical functions.

            I read Darwin’s Black Box. It was awful.

            Perhaps you should take some actual classes from a proper university rather than relying on propaganda that panders your sense of how smart you are. They should also have the welcome side effect of requiring you to display basic reading comprehension.

          • “Irreducible complexity” is actually a prediction of evolutionary theory, not a refutation of it:


          • GubbaBumpkin

            ID begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI).

            Before you can say that the production of CSI has been observed, you would have to define it, and explain how to calculate. Good luck with that, William Dembski’s definition has changed over time (evolved!) and he never seems able to provide any actual examples.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Christians can actually look at the arguments for evolution and ID very objectively because.either one could fit the Christian worldview since God could have guided evolution.

          You should be aware that the “God guided evolution” view, generally known as “theistic evolution” is different from Intelligent Design, which states that God didn’t just guide, he actively intervened. Since ID is a political “big tent” strategy meant to appeal to the greatest numbers, ID proponents have been very cagey about just how much God created. Some ID proponents are Young Earth Creationists who believe that God created everything in a week. Others subscribe to “Old Earth Creationism”, either of the Day-Age variety or the Gap variety, who believe that God created pretty much everything, but perhaps it took longer than a strict reading of Genesis would convey, and certainly humand and apes were created separately. The most liberal ID types like Behe believe that God occasionally created such things as the bacterial flagellum, the blood clotting system, the immune system, etc.

          As William A. Dembski, ID proponent and Old Earth Creationist made clear in 1998:

          Design theorists are no friends of theistic evolution. As far as design theorists are concerned, theistic evolution is American evangelicalism’s ill-conceived accommodation to Darwinism. What theistic evolution does is take the Darwinian picture of the biological world and baptize it, identifying this picture with the way God created life. When boiled down to its scientific content, theistic evolution is no different from atheistic evolution, accepting as it does only purposeless, naturalistic, material processes for the origin and development of life.

          I go with ID simply because the arguments from specified complexity and the irreducibly complex nature of DNA and molecular machines at the biochemical level are too compelling to believe in macro evolution.

          Isn’t it funny how people who actually understand information theory and biology don’t seem to find them compelling?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          It is interesting to read the Amazon reviews for “Darwin’s Doubt”. There are far more 5 star ratings than 1 star…

          Yes, and?
          Did you read the review by Donald Prothero, a paeleontologist? He read the book, and pointed out many specific shortcomings.
          Did you read the review by David Stokes, who inadvertently revealed a deep lack of knowledge of relevant topics?

    • TomS

      I saw nothing in the book which would – even if it were accurate – cast any doubt on the reality of the common descent among vertebrates (including humans) by natural processes over hundreds of millions of years.


    It seems to me, the only people misrepresenting the evidence, are people like Richard Dawkins, Michael Ruse Eugenie Scott the NCSE and the other defenders of the faith. The same theory that was upheld at Dover a few years ago as an undisputed and unquestionable axiom, (which is referred to as the “modern evolutionary synthesis, and which is still taught till this day) has apparently crumbled beyond repair. And I have at least 5 peer reviewed papers that have been recently published in various science journals that confirm this little known fact. And these are secular evolutionary developmental biologist who are admitting this.

    In fact Cornell university just released another 24 papers that were a part of a 2011 study, which is said to be one of the most broadest and in depth studies in the last one hundred years which brought together 29 different scientist and scholars, and which also confirm the death of this same “modern synthesis” Again, the fact that we still teach this outdated obsolete theory without question or criticism, is what is really shameful. Will there someday be a new or extended synthesis? Who knows? Maybe, but we certainly do not have a cohesive theory now. And this has been made explicit. The question remains,
    Will the real theory of evolution please Stand up?


    The new biology: beyond the Modern Synthesis
    Michael R Rose1* and Todd H Oakley2

    Soft inheritance: challenging the modern synthesis
    Eva JablonkaI; Marion J. LambII

    Epigenetics: a challenge for genetics, evolution, and development?
    Van de Vijver G, Van Speybroeck L, De Waele D.

    The Origin at 150: is a new evolutionary synthesis in sight?
    Eugene V. Koonin

    Beyond neo-Darwinism—an epigenetic approach to evolution
    M.W. Ho

    • David Evans

      What I take from all that is that Darwinian natural selection is not as large a part of the whole evolutionary process as Darwin thought it was. That’s no surprise – we have learned much about genetics, development and mathematics since he wrote. What I don’t see is any replacement for natural selection as the means by which organisms become more adapted to survive in their environment. Every other mechanism is neutral with regard to survival. Nor do I see any endorsement of ID’s Designer.

      • THEMAYAN

        My comments were not limited to natural selection, and I never brought up classical 1860’s Darwinism, and this why I used the term “the modern evolutionary synthesis” And it seems no one is willing to address the points I made, or seem to just be ignoring them. Its not about what you see. Its about what is out there. And If you don’t look, you will never see. I stand by my claims that the same modern synthesis which is still taught as an unquestionable theory (and if you do, you risk a lawsuit from the ACLU or the NCSE) has been refuted by modern science.

        In fact, if you even question or are critical of the modern synthesis, then according to Eugenie Scott, your only motivation is religiously based, and many of the post on this thread demonstrate this same paradigm. How about the motivation to teach accurate science? One of the questions I asked was, if ID is nothing more than a pseudo science? Then why are ID theorist now getting their papers published in science journals? Is there anyone willing to grab the bull by the horns.

        • David Evans

          I looked at the “Soft inheritance” paper. It says there are mechanisms of inheritance that are not included in the modern synthesis. That may be true, the modern synthesis may not be complete. That’s a long way from suggesting that it’s in the process of collapse, still less that it will be replaced by any sort of ID.

          Here’s an excerpt from that paper:

          “Many of the traditions found in animals are associated with observational learning, rather than more direct soma-to-soma transmission, although this is often involved as well….One well known example of how non-imitative social learning led to a new habit spreading in a population is the development of the ability of some European tits to open milk-bottles.”

          Really? Birds that can learn? This is what’s going to revolutionise evolutionary theory?

          I think not.

          • THEMAYAN

            David why didn’t you post the the conclusion based on the same abstract you quoted from? All you guys are aiming for what you perceive as low lying branches yet no one is willing to grab the bull by the horns and answer the harder questions. I cited peer review papers, and even from secular evo devos. And you guys respond with a notoriously biased blog called Pandas Thumb. You might as well quote from Freethoughts blog. Again notice the rest last couple of sentences from the same abstract.

            Soft inheritance: challenging the modern synthesis

            Eva JablonkaI; Marion J. LambII

            “In view of the data that support soft inheritance, as well as other challenges to the Modern Synthesis, it is concluded that that synthesis no longer offers a satisfactory theoretical framework for evolutionary biology”

            The new biology: beyond the Modern Synthesis
            Michael R Rose1* and Todd H Oakley2

            “The last third of the 20th Century featured an accumulation of research findings that severely challenged the assumptions of the “Modern Synthesis” which provided the foundations for most biological research during that century. The foundations of that “Modernist” biology had thus largely crumbled by the start of the 21st Century. This in turn raises the question of foundations for biology in the 21st Century”

            And these are just two of of many that say the same, and which I have not even cited yet.

          • Ian

            The problem is, it isn’t clear what you are arguing.

            Take the Jablokal and Lambll paper, it’s problem with the NDS is that there may be additional mechanisms involved in hereditary and selection beyond DNA, mechanisms that — in some very specific cases — are more powerful than natural selection alone in guiding evolution.

            The NDS is the combination of population genetic mathematical models with darwinian evolution.

            Many extensions to NDS have been proposed. This goes right back. Some of them have been analysed in sufficient detail to figure out how much they affect evolution.

            But non of these disprove evolution. They are challenges to a particular mathematical model of evolution. The Jablokai and Lambll paper, for example explicitly says

            “These non-DNA variations can form an additional substrate for evolutionary change”


            “Saltational changes leading to evolution beyond the species level are common”

            So exactly what are you suggesting. You seem to be doing a variation of “biologists think the NDS has issues, therefore evolution is false.” which is roughly equivalent to saying “physicists think relativistic gravity has problems, therefore there is no gravity.”

            So are you actually interested in NDS and in more complex models of evolution? Or are you actually stupid enough to read that scientists are critical of NDS and think they are suggesting that evolution is wrong?

    • OK, so you clearly don’t understand what those articles are about, but worse still, you don’t understand how science works, or how scholarship works in all academic fields. Scientists, like all experts, are constantly trying to come up with a new find, a new paradigm, a new explanation, something worthy of publication. That something is published is just the first step. Then it is evaluated and discussed by other experts. Not everything that we publish carries the day. You need to look at the consensus, and not just pick and choose things that you think support what you really would like to believe – although these articles don’t do that anyway, in this case.

      • THEMAYAN

        What did I say which leads you to believe that I didn’t understand what the these peer review articles were about? Please tell me, when did I ever claim to be against new discovery and or new revelation in science. Before you accuse me of ignorance, why don’t you go back and actually read what I wrote. To hell with the consensus. It seems that it may be you who does not understand that science itself is not based on a democracy.

        Secondly most scientist have nothing to do with general field of evolution. And those that do, (especially including evolutionary developmental biologist/evo devo) are some of the most critical opponents of the modern synthesis. Yes science is advancing and showing us how ignorant we were (and in many cases still are) And especially concerning our prior assumptions about not just evolutionary biology, but on how the genome itself actually works.

        This refutation has been known for many years, and this is just a fraction of the papers and work out there. We now know that natural selection and random mutation (as well as many long held assumptions of the modern synthesis) are limited, and that this same synthesis can no longer be considered a cohesive or valid evolutionary framework. Again this has been made explicit. Also see the work of Dennis Noble and James Shapiro.

        • What did I say which leads you to believe that I didn’t understand what the these peer review articles were about?

          Well, for starters, you said that “Cornell university just released another 24 papers that were a part of a 2011 study.” In fact the University had nothing to do with that other than the fact that a group of ID advocates and even YECs rented a room at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration to hold a “symposium.” The “29 different scientist and scholars” were all of the like of Dembski, Marks, Meyer, Behe, and Axe and those papers were never “peer reviewed” except by other creationists.

          What flavor of Kool-Aid is your favorite?

    • GubbaBumpkin

      In fact Cornell university just released another 24 papers that were a part of a 2011 study…

      Do you have more information on that? Was it really an official Cornell University release, or was it a bunch of Creationists who rented a meeting room at a hotel on campus and tried to pass themselves off as an official Cornell event? Because that would be another lie of just the sort that McGrath is complaining about.

      Springer gets suckered by creationist pseudoscience

      • THEMAYAN

        Yes I agree this is the definition of the word axiom and the point went completely over your head. Gubba, I’m glad you mentioned this. And this is where a little critical thinking can come in handy. Your article actually mentions the Elsevier boycott which was brought upon by the same kind of people who blog on Panda’s thumb and Talks origins. And just because they published articles that refutes the junk DNA paradigm. In fact Jerry Coyne has also called for boycotting of Science publications that are critical of the the modern synthesis as well as the supposed mechanisms of the same modern synthesis.

        And again, this only makes my point from me. Scientific America who published these findings should be applauded for not bowing down to pressure from the neo Darwinist crowed. And notice how your article leave out the fact that Scientific America did not bow down, and in fact does not even mention them. This is what is referred to as a hit piece.

        And as for the person named James, and MIT. Again you seem to be reading more into what was said. The mind sometimes does this. Again if you actually take time to read what I said, I rightfully claimed that Park Center now uses design theory in systems biology to better understand the cell. Again, this axiomatic design theory was created for very complex engineered systems, which are indeed intelligently designed, e.g. space shuttles, complex electrical systems and other engineered systems.

        When a reductionist design approach is taken to the cell (instead of a reductionist biological approach, which has failed over and over) it seems we actually get results. Again the field of systems biology is becoming increasingly important, and is the future.

        Scientific Proceedings Published, Challenging Conventional Neo-Darwinian Theory

        By FMS Foundation

        Published: Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 – 9:32 am

        WACO, Texas, Aug. 12, 2013 — “This is by far the most rigorous and in-depth re-examination of the sufficiency of neo-Darwinian theory. Never have so many well-credentialed scientists, representing so many disciplines, united so effectively to look beyond the standard mutation-selection paradigm.” – The Editors

        Above is a response to your response. Notice how I did not cite an extremely biased blog like Pandas Thumb as you did.

        And the links to the science papers (which can be accessed at Scientific American) are also listed. Why not try a little research. This was a culmination of many different scientist from many different backgrounds and fields, and some were even hostile to ID, yet they all agreed on the empirical challenges that current science has imposed on the assumptions of the modern synthesis. And “that Conventional chemical and evolutionary mechanisms are insufficient to fully explain the labyrinth of information that is life”

        Behe is one of the highest rated professors at Lehigh University, and by his own students. Dembski is a brilliant mathematician and mathematics are not an integral part of bioinformatics. All these guys you speak of have published many peer review articles.

        You don’t even seem to even understand the difference between creationism and ID. Berlinski is not even a Christian or practicing Jew. Michael Denton who is also a senior fellow at the DI is an agnostic. Bradley Monton who has been supportive of ID is an atheist. The late Philip Skell of the national Academy of sciences was hardly a fundamentalist or YEC. At least a third of the the one thousand + scientist who supported the Discovery Institute enough to sign the (Scientific Dissent From Darwin) list were atheist. Again this kind of narrow minded and limited thinking only makes my point for me. Dawkins believe that there could be little green men from outer space and know one disqualifies him for this non empirical notion.

        • Ian

          Priceless gems in here.

          > Again, this axiomatic design theory

          Please explain how axiomatic design theory has anything to do with the discovery institute’s ‘design theory’. Other than using the word ‘design’. Something tells me you couldn’t tell a result in axiomatic design theory from any other causal inference model if your life depended on it.

          >Dembski is a brilliant mathematician


          I’m pretty sure even Dembski wouldn’t describe himself as a mathematician. If he does, he’s even more deceitful than I thought. He’s a theologian, possibly a philosopher, if you’re being generous. Someone who uses math in their work is not a mathematician.

          Again, this indicates that you wouldn’t know a mathematician if one hit you in the head.

          [Edit: As responded to by the Mayan, above, this is actually incorrect. My bombast misplaced, and my accusation false.]

          > And again, this only makes my point from me.

          No, your point was that Cornell had released a set of papers. This is a lie. Cornell school of hotel management rented them a room, that is the extent of their involvement.

          Sure we can talk about other details of the conference, but it would be more honest of you to admit that this was deliberate misinformation. The inability of creationists in this thread to admit when they’ve made a mistake is rather incredible.

          > Dawkins believe that there could be little green men from outer space

          Dawkins does not believe there are little green men in outer space. He does think there is likely to be alien life outside our planet. If they were ‘men’, little and green or otherwise, that would be a much bigger challenge to evolution than creationism ever will be. And since (unlike Dembski et al) he is not making an empirical claim that there is alien life, why would anyone disqualify him on empirical grounds? The problem we have with the ID-crowd is that their claims run counter to empirical observation, as we’ve seen elsewhere in these comments with Sandford’s predictions about mutation rates.

          >Notice how I did not cite an extremely biased blog like Pandas Thumb as you did.

          You just quoted a press release from the “Feed My Sheep Foundation” (though I note you put it as an acronym, to obfuscate the source)!

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Note the contradictory messages here:

          1) Real scientists, like John C. Stanford, support YEC.

          2) YECs are discriminated against in established science, and thus have to form their own organizations and publish their own journals.

        • David Evans

          “Dawkins believe that there could be little green men from outer space and know one disqualifies him for this non empirical notion.”

          Dawkins was asked whether he could think of any circumstances whatsoever under which intelligent design might have occurred
          (source: )

          He gave the honest and logical answer that one possibility is intervention by aliens from another planet. We know that’s possible because we ourselves have already landed machines on Mars which could (inadvertently in our case) have carried biological material and altered the evolution of whatever life might have been there.

          • THEMAYAN

            David, I am glad that you admit that we “know” that intelligent design is possible. And no one has yet to answer my questions. Those would be the ones with question marks. And Sanford would not qualify a YEC since he doesn’t believe the earth is 6000 years old.

            The truth is, nobody knows. Some would claim that we know now. But we once knew that that flies came from rotting meat, or that the universe was static and eternal, or that 97% of our genome was useless junk. We once knew that the overall similarity between human and chimp genome was approximately 99%.

            Who knows what we will know 500 years from now? Who knows? It could be 10 billion years old.

            These responses are basically straw man and red herrings, and again, they do not address the questions I asked. And as for Ian, I would get my facts straight before calling anyone deceitful…. “Dembski has done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT, in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University. He also received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1988” Here is how UCLA defines a doctorate in mathematics. “The Doctorate in Mathematics is a degree that certifies both a high level of scholarship and the ability to make original contributions in one’s own field”

            Even I could not resist this red herring. And I have already addressed the MIT question. Go back and read my response. If you don’t get it the second time, then it is what it is. As for Gubba, again this data can be accessed at Scientific American. And your whole argument rest on the premise that you don’t like their personal world views. Or that only atheist can do real science. Or that no real scientist would come to these conclusions. This is called the “no true Scotsman fallacy” And you conveniently left out the fact that there are now many secular scientist who are saying the same thing concerning the demise of the MS including many who were present at the symposium.

            I hope this thread stays posted for another 5 years. I know this sounds petty, but I would love to come back 5 years from now and say “I told you so” As for the person who brought up the Steve list, first off, the statement from the NCSE does not even mention the term the “modern synthesis or neo Darwinism Again it uses the general term “evolution” which can mean many different things. It seems they don’t even have enough confidence to use the correct term, and I find this odd since the NCSE still promotes the neo Darwinian synthesis/the modern synthesis. What I find even more ironic, is that the Steve list was named after Stephen J Gould, (who himself) said thirty years ago, that neo Darwinism was effectively dead, despite its orthodoxy in textbooks. This whole paradigm reminds of a tragic comedy.

            If there is anyone really serious about this, I also cite the work of Dennis Noble, James A. Shapiro and Lynn Murgulis. They are as secular as you can get, and they have also come to the same conclusion concerning the demise of neo Darwinism, again which is also referred to as the modern synthesis.

          • David Evans

            Sanford is on record is saying that the Earth is less than 100,000 years old, and conceivably less than 10,000 (source: ). I would say that puts him in the YEC camp, since his age for the Earth is less than the accepted one by a factor of at least 45,000.

            Yes, we “know” that intelligent design is possible, since we ourselves alter organisms in intelligent ways. But that’s not what ID is about, and you know it.

            If Stephen J Gould said 30 years ago that neo-Darwinism was effectively dead, he was mistaken, since it’s still alive and generating new research. Much more than the ID movement is.

            I won’t address your other points now because it’s late at night, and also because I suspect that Ian knows a great deal more on these topics than I do.

          • Ian

            Re: Dembski – you are right, I was wrong. He has a PhD in mathematics from UChicago. I withdraw that comment and apologise unreservedly for the accusation and the tone in which I made it. I have amended my comment below to reflect this.

          • THEMAYAN

            Well I appreciate your willing to retract your statement, and although an apology was not necessary, I appreciate that as well.

            Again, I do not dispute DNS as having a role in biology. As I said before, Darwin demonstrated how natural selection can cause finch beaks to vary in size etc. What is disputed, is the many assumptions of the modern synthesis. In other words, NS is limited and cannot account for life as we know it today, as well as the challenge to many other disputed mechanisms concerning the modern synthesis (which are coming to light based on the current evidence and observable data) including gene centrism, Junk DNA, or molecular biology’s central dogma, and some are even challenging the paradigm of random mutations etc.

            Another big problem for the theory, is self organization, which Stewart Newman has written about in his work. In fact, according to Eugenie Scott, the NCSE will not support an extended synthesis which uses self organization models, because she believes that people will confuse self organization with intelligent design. And what a strange thing to say from someone who claims to be all for scientific progress.

            Here are some lectures, talks and takes that might help you better understand the challenges I refer to by those who may still believe in the evolutionary paradigm, yet are now willing to admit the truth about the MS and where we stand right now in evolutionary biology. I have no problem with what anyone believes. I just do not want my tax dollars spent on teaching an outdated obsolete theory. We should at least make young people aware of the current as well as the older scientific data that challenges the theory as it stands today.




          • Ian

            My issue isn’t a lack of understanding.

            I did part of my doctoral research at the Santa Fe Institute, where the mathematical study of self-organization was largely developed in the 1980s.

            My research (in the 1990s) was on systemic bias in models of genetic evolution. To that extent, I have been part of this movement of science that says that Haldane’s NDS models of evolution are not sufficient or complete. My research identified algorithmic bias that is non-selective and non-random, and therefore not modelled by Haldane’s math.

            But I still want to understand the level at which you think these challenges to the NDS work. It seems to me, given you want to bring Dembski and Sandford into the mix, that you think these challenges completely undermine the credibility of the NDS.

            Because, if you do, then I think you are fundamentally missing the point of these scientific criticisms.

            In the end, we’re unlikely to end up with a theory of evolution that is exactly NDS, any more than we’re likely to have a theory of gravity that is exactly General Relativity. There are ‘problems’ with both, because both are mathematical simplifications of complex phenomena.

            But that’s not what ID-folks are saying. They are saying that evolution is fundamentally not the best explanation for the origin of biological function. And none of these criticisms of NDS are at that level, any more than researchers in quantum gravity who insist that General Relativity is hopelessly inadequate are suggesting that gravity is not the best explanation for why things fall to earth.

            You see why I’m asking. Unless i can figure out how you are understanding what you are reading, I can’t respond sensibly to your questions. At one level my answer to your question is “yes, I think the NDS is hopelessly naive, and needs to be (and has been, to be fair) seriously overhauled”, but at another level the answer is “no, the NDS will still be the central pillar of evolutionary biology in 100 years time, and absolutely needs to be taught in schools”…. which, to use the physics analogy again, is equivalent to me sitting in 1910 saying “yes, I think Newton’s theory of gravity is hopelessly naive, and needs to be totally overhauled”, and at the same time “no, Newton’s gravity will still be the central pillar of gravitational theory in 100 years time, and absolutely needs to be taught in schools.”

            I hope you can see how those things are not contradictory (even if you disagree), and why it matters therefore, at what level you are wanting to discuss the NDS.

          • Ian

            Would you care to answer my point below about the NDS and exactly what you are arguing here?

            Because you are jumping around all kinds of levels of criticism. And, as you say ‘evolution’ means a lot of things. Any many creationists who use the ‘NDS’ also mean all kinds of things by it.

            So what exactly is your argument? Are you actually interested in the NDS, or are you actually interested in discrediting the principles of common descent, natural selection, and so on?

            If you think, say, Gould and Margulis, are ‘on your side’ in terms of advocating the kinds of evolutionary dynamics you want to contest, then you’re in a very different position than if you think Dembski and Sanford are ‘on your side’.

          • Ian

            I hope this thread stays posted for another 5 years. I know this sounds petty, but I would love to come back 5 years from now and say “I told you so”

            I suspect it probably will be. Certainly threads very much like this that I engaged with twenty years ago are still available online, where folks claimed that Darwinism would collapse in the next few years. Along with discussions I engaged in where people were convinced the rapture was going to happen ‘well before 2000’, and I should just wait and see because I’d be living in the one-world-government of the anti-Christ [I’m not accusing you of being a rapture-predictor, just saying that bold Christian proclamations of the vindication of their claims are rather common.]

            I, for one, am very happy to wait five years and see on all these fronts! Not least because some of the research going on in evolutionary biology at the moment is frickin’ awesome, and I can’t wait to see what we know in 5 years time.

            And, speaking personally, if you do come back in five years and it has become obvious you are right, then you totally deserve a big “told you so.” And I would expect folks like Dembski and Sandford to be first in line for a Nobel prize. If you are proved right in five years, threads like this will be a necessary embarrassment to the whole scientific community. So your desire isn’t petty at all. But, having said all that, I won’t hold my breath! It is much more likely that you’ll come back here in five years, when your claims have not been shown to have any empirical foundation, where you are still carping on about failures in biology, perhaps mixing in some more conspiracy ideas because iD still has not gained any traction, and you’ll end up just trying to claim victory, while the scientific community get on with the actual research. In much the same way as the folks who insisted to me that creationism would overturn evolution ten years ago.

          • THEMAYAN

            “folks claimed that Darwinism would collapse in the next few years”

            And they were right. It has. The fact that most are not aware of it is a different story.

            There were also some who many years ago claimed that those who were critical of junk DNA would be shown to be wrong. Just the opposite happened, and it was the paradigm of junk DNA that in fact that turned out to be wrong.

            There were also some that claimed that in a few short years, we would be able to demonstrate how chemistry and physics alone could account for life. There were also those who claimed that when we finally sequence the human and chimp genome, that it would verify the 99% genomic similarity between the two. However we have, and now the overall genomic similarity has now dropped down to 70% and on the protein level 17%. And according to some. It may be even lower.

            There were also those who claimed that
            Retroviral DNA were random insertions in non specific chromosomal loci (which was once used as a poster child for the MS. We now know that all these assumptions turned out to be false, as all of these are examples of the many failed predictions of the modern synthesis, and the accurate prediction of ID theorist.

          • Ian

            So why bother to come back in 5 years and say I told you so?

            If you’re actually predicting that nothing will change in 5 years because the whole thing collapsed a decade ago?

            I am struggling to understand if you’re actually making a point here, or just playing games.

          • THEMAYAN

            Ian, again I’m glad you brought this up. You can criticize general relativity, Newtonian Physics or any other theory in an American high school classrooms, but let a teacher criticize neo Darwinism, and that teacher and or school district will get slapped with a lawsuit from the ACLU or the NCSE or both.

            In fact the NCSE proudly displays their docket sheet on their own site. Again, according to Eugenie Scott ‘anyone who is critical neo Darwinism is only doing it for religious reasons’ This is simply false.
            PS. This is no game.

          • Ian

            That’s because there is no well organised ideological opposition to the basic science. I don’t think that everyone who criticises NDS (in either level of my distinction) is religious. But it is disingenuous to pretend that the vast majority of organised opposition isn’t religiously motivated.

            If, for example, 60% of American buddhists thought their scriptures taught the correct reason that objects fall to earth, had been trying for decades to have their beliefs taught instead of or alongside physics lessons on gravity, who fed talking points to Buddhist children on how to refute their teachers, who rejected the conclusions of the vast majority of physicists, and had been repeatedly prevented from altering science standards by constitutional judgements, then there would be political issues around teaching gravity too.

            The biggest problem about teaching evolution in the US is that it is so politically charged, and that is largely because of the religious baggage it carries. That issue doesn’t crop up in other western nations. There would be no problem having a discussion about epistatic dynamics, or natural teleology in a UK science classroom, because the well hasn’t been poisoned in the same way. Except, of course, that we don’t expect science teachers to be experts on the science they teach, but instead to effectively communicate the scientific consensus. I would expect the average biology teacher to be no more able to defend evolution against someone with creationist talking points than I would the average physics teacher to be able to defend relativity against someone with a bag of anti-Einsteinian arguments, or the average history teacher to refute the arguments of holocaust deniers. That’s simply not their job. That’s what professors are for.

            Again, we must be careful to be clear what we mean by ‘criticism’ of NDS.

            So are you going to answer my question?

          • arcseconds

            If a science teacher were to, at the point where they’re supposed to teach Newtonian physics, declare that it’s all so obviously wrong and a child could see through it, and we should adopt instead a teleological view of motion, and the only reason why the science community doesn’t accept this is because they’re all a bunch of blinkered ideologues (or mendacious conspiritors), then they’re doing their pupils a serious misservice and they’re just as culpable as someone deliberately undermining the biology curriculum.

            The only thing that makes this not quite as bad as the situation where a teacher undermines the biology curriculum is that the students are not going to get any reinforcement about this view of motion from anywhere else. There can’t be many fundamentalist Aristotelian parents out there, there’s precious few books promoting this sort of theory of motion, and the’re not going to get it from the pulpit on sundays.

            However, I don’t think anyone actually does try to undermine high school physics. Do they? If they do, it must be very rare. That’s why there’s no specific rule against it.

          • vowels

            Please name a high school in which the teachers and students are criticizing general relativity. Better yet, please describe what is being taught about general relativity in these high schools and the nature of the criticism.

          • THEMAYAN

            Vowel, with the exception for a few red herring or straw man arguments I have responded to almost everyone’s questions. Yet no one has yet answered my questions. And if you’re interested in answering yourself, then go back and read them. Having said that, I’ll be glad to answer your question. Keep in mind, with the exception of neo Darwinism, critical thinking is considered an important part of epistemology and pedagogy, and has been for the last few hundred years. I’m actually a little surprised that such a question would even be asked, but again, sure Ill answer. See below……


            Also see (The High School Teacher Bundle)

          • Ian

            You haven’t answered mine, which I have addressed twice now in a specific effort to understand you question so I could answer it better.

            The “I’ve not seen anyone answer”, or “I’ve not seen any evidence” is a common enough trope, but rarely matches the reality.

          • vowels

            I checked out your link. I stand corrected: there is at least one high school physics class in which general relativity is introduced and students are encouraged “to openly express their skepticism [about relativity] as an exercise in critical thinking.” This is however a far cry from teaching the aether theory as a *viable alternative* to general relativity.

            Analogously, it would be reasonable to allow students to express skepticism of evolution. It would also be reasonable to teach them that prior to Darwin, design and creationism were understood to be the correct explanations for biological observations. But just as aether theory was discarded as the correct explanation for light propagation, so were creationism and design theories. Science has moved on. The broad consensus of scientists is that evolution, not creationism, explains the history of life on Earth. To prepare our students to work in 21st century industries, they need to understand the basic principles of evolution and that it represents the scientific consensus explaining biological life.

          • THEMAYAN

            Vowel thats very interesting take. So you have no problem teaching religion in science class, as long as students know that it is just stupid, because after all science has replaced it. First off, this is a religious like view in its own, and its called metaphysical naturalism. And secondly, its not a question of allowing students to be critical of Darwinism, as many already are. The problem comes when teachers encourage critical thinking of Darwinism. As I said before, if a teacher does, the school will get slapped with a law suite.

            As for what they need. What they need to understand is the challenges to the theory based on the observable scientific data. As for this whole notion that true science is based on a democracy is quite frankly a bunch of nonsense. And again I repeat, the vast majority of scientist have nothing to do with the field of evolutionary biology which the MS is based on. And the actual few who do work in the field of evolutionary developmental biology/ devo, many of them are some of the most vocal opponents of the modern synthesis.

          • arcseconds

            So you have no problem teaching religion in science class, as long as students know that it is just stupid, because after all science has replaced it.

            Where does vowels say this?

            What vowels actually said was they’d be happy to have creationism in the science curriculum taught as a historically-held majority viewpoint of educated people.

            That has no relationship to your statement whatsoever. The only way I can see how you have got from vowel’s statement to yours is by equating creationism with religion, which seems like a silly thing to do.

          • THEMAYAN

            Yeah I get it. It was once the view of educated people. Wink nudge. I think the message here is clear. I think some of the responses I have been getting from this post rightly reflects the kind of modern educated people we’re talking about. Now off course, I would never mean that in an offensive way.

            And I guess its my own fault for following yet another red herring which has nothing to do with my comments about the MS or ID. I wonder if Vowel would also have no problem with informing the students that today there are many educated people who adhere to ID or support it as a valid alternative hypothesis as cited in many peer review journals. My guess would be (and based on another strawman argument) a big fat no.

            You guys are real trip. Let it be known that I at least tried to respond to most questions, yet mine is still are left unanswered. Again the same old red herring and straw man arguments oh so common.

          • arcseconds

            There are not significant numbers of the relevant experts who think so.

            How do you propose we decide how to structure the science curriculum? Don’t say ‘according to the evidence’, because it ends up being the decision of human beings one way or another. And practically all the relevant experts think the evidence points in a different way to you.

            Does every group who thinks the evidence points in a different direction to the consensus of expert opinion get their view aired? Jesus mythicism and holocaust denial in history classes?

            And if so, how does this not end up being the democracy that you claim you’re against?

          • Mary

            It was once the view of educated people that the world was a flat circle surrounded by ocean with a solid dome overhead containing the sun, stars and the moon. Above that was the firmament or an ocean in the sky and further up was an actual physical heaven. Underneath our feet was an actual physical hell.

            This, according to the Bible. We have further proof from Ancient Near Eastern culture maps that show this very clearly.This view was not refuted until the invention of the telescope..

            I learned that this was not true in school. According to you, then we should not have been taught that because it would make religion look stupid.

            Despite all your scientific double-talk it is obvious that this is your achilles’ heel. You think religion should be taught in school as science. It is especially obvious because you made the YEC’s favorite argument which is that evolution is a religion.

            Sorry, FAIL.

          • THEMAYAN

            I have to disagree there. I think there is enough evidence to suggest most educated people understood the world was round. Even the ancient Greeks knew this. You can find pictures of all types of things even today. There might have been some who had these views, but that doesn’t mean that all people did.

            Remember it was a Christian theologian named Copernicus who challenged the prevailing science of the day called Ptolemaic system. And later the theologian scientist Galileo was also given full encouragement by the Pope to continue his work on the Copernican model. Of course until he broke his promise to keep his studies academic and got involved in church politics. After which he was sent to a live in a beautiful villa with full house servants and was given privileged to his lab and eventually allowed to come and go where some say he did his best work. Even under house arrest he lived a better quality life that most of the populace.

            As for your remark. I would hate for religion to be mandatory in schools. Thats not even Biblically sound. And I never brought up religion, but others have. Mary it seems you have also made my point for me, as anyone who challenges the modern synthesis is accused of wanting to usher in a theocracy.

            “It is especially obvious because you made the YEC’s favorite argument which is that evolution is a religion”

            Dr. Richard Lewontin—Dr. Coyne’s mentor at Harvard—wrote Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

            It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

          • Mary

            Yes Christian scientists did come up with better models AFTER they observed that the Biblical model was wrong. We are not talking about the Greeks, we are talking about the Hebrew religion which later gave rise to Christianity. Plus the model included more than a flat earth and it wasn’t until the telescope was invented that the idea of the heavens being more than lights in a dome was challenged.

            Edit: As an aside if it was generally accepted that the earth was round then why did Columbus set out to prove it?

            I love the way you minimize the abuse of poor Galileo. You do realize that the Church gave him an out and he refused it, right? All he had to do was come up with a model that refuted his observations and he would have been a free man. The man had integrity and the church I believe has apologized for the way they treated him. They have also embraced evolution.

            Since you seemed to get very upset over the issue of religion it certainly seemed that you wanted to have religion taught in school. If I have misinterpreted that then I am sorry.

            Frankly I find your arguments unconvincing in light of all the dancing around you are doing. However I find this an interesting debate, none the less.

          • THEMAYAN

            Geocentrism was considered the science of the day. And it wasn’t changed until they had mathematical proof a hundred and some years later. The Columbus flat earth story is a myth which was perpetuated by people like John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White during the 19th century. Look it up. No serious Historian believes this.

            It was Galileo’s own fellow scholars who conspired against him. The church gave him their full blessings, and simply told him to keep it academic until he could prove it. Which he agreed to, but later broke that agreement. And his math was filled with errors. He falsely believed the planets rotated in perfect circles and that the sun caused the tides. But by then we already knew it was the moon and and not the sun that did caused the tides.

            He admitted that he could not prove it mathematically. He also wrote a book called the Two Chief World Systems in which he tried to humiliate the Pope comparing him to a character called simplicio (which means simpleton) who had up to that point been one of his closest friends and allies. Many years later he admitted that he was wrong and had been treated fairly. I’m not the one thats upset. Again it is you who brought up religion.

            Most people don’t even realize that it was theologians who ushered in what we now refer to as the “modern sciences” and established the first universities in Europe that taught the same modern sciences. At that time it was called the world of mathematics as the word science had not yet existed.

          • Mary

            I did not bring up religion, you did that by attacking another person here who was critisizing creationism. He said nothing about religion until YOU accused him of trying to make religion look stupid. If you did not want anyone to respond to that then you should not have said it in the first place.
            i am done with these games and your revisionist history. Good bye.

          • THEMAYAN

            No I never said that. And again I did not bring up religion. He was implying with a wink and nudge that those who were religious were not educated. The subject I was speaking of was the the demise of the modern synthesis. I also pointed out that intelligent design theorist had their work published in peer review and that others had spoken positively of ID in their own work.

            “If you did not want anyone to respond to that then you should not have said it in the first place”

            I maintain the right to speak on what whatever I choose to. And it is not revisionist history that I cite. I showed how it was people like you who fell for inaccurate revisionist history. But I am glad you are done.

          • arcseconds

            Goodness me. Is there anything we can do to put an end to your paranoia? It’s causing you to make some embarassing errors in reading comprehension.

            This was you bringing up religion:

            So you have no problem teaching religion in science class, as long as students know that it is just stupid, because after all science has replaced it.

            That was in response to vowels’s remark that didn’t mention religion, just creationism. Vowels never mentioned religion in that post. The point was that it might be appropriate to teach creationism as a once widely-held idea that didn’t pan out, much as one might teach geocentrism. Nothing really much to do with religion.

            That’s how I understood it, that’s how vowels intended it, and that’s how Mary understood it too. You’re the only person here who interpreted as an attack on religion.

            What makes this particularly bizarre is that you apparently actually agree that creationism (in the sense of YEC) is not a going concern scientifically.

            But nooooo… vowels couldn’t be making a sensible point. It had to be a move in the great coordinated materialist attack on everything that’s holy.

            Likewise with your interpretation of my remark. What I actually said was a compliment to creationism: that it was once almost (or actually) universally held amongst educated people, and it certainly deserves discussion as such in a history of science class.

            The reason I said ‘educated people’ stems from much the same sentiment as your statement that science shouldn’t be a democracy: the history of science is not the history of the views of the general public. Had it only been uneducated people who believed in creationism, discussing it would probably belong in a different class.

            So, no, it wasn’t a nudge nudge gosh aren’t religious people uneducated. It only seems that way if you have a persecution complex.

            Perhaps it might be worth keeping in mind that this discussion is taking place on an educated religious person’s blog, where religion is often discussed. I think most people who are interacting with you were religious and educated once, and some of them still are. If we were inclined to think things like ‘religious people are so uneducated’, we either wouldn’t be here, or we’d be in the process of learning otherwise.

          • THEMAYAN

            That was in response to vowels’s remark that didn’t mention religion, just creationism.

            So you’re saying that creationism is not a religious viewpoint? Now who is being disingenuous?

            Yeah right, it was a compliment. This reminds me of the “Clergy letter project” complement.

            No paranoia here. As for religion and science in classrooms. Just offering my opinion (which judging on the amount of questions and responses I’m getting in my email) seems to be very popular. The only thing I ask for is to have the theory taught critically as even Darwin did. Let the other stuff like religion be taught in social studies. Secondly there are many educated people who still believe in creationism.

            Just as there are many educated people who believe that nothing zapped itself into everything, including space and time all by itself 15 billion years ago. And that the universe and the constants somehow just fine tuned itself to within exponential improbable ratios and parameters within several order of magnitude. Or that physics and chemistry alone can create life, even without any empirical evidence to support this faith based belief.

            It seems on both sides of the coin, even the educated still believe in some pretty crazy stuff as we all believe in creation. The only question that divides us is what, who, or how.

          • arcseconds

            No, it is paranoia. You’re seeing persecution where there isn’t any. That’s the very definition of paranoia.

            The point about creationism in science class has nothing to do with whether or not it’s a religious viewpoint. A viewpoint on the natural world held by the vast majority of scientists (or the closest approximation the society has — scientists have only been around under that name for a couple of hundred years (*)) would be worth mentioning in a history of science class, no matter what its origins.

            So, this has nothing to do with denigrating religion, or religious people just to do with what should be taught in a science class, and you apparently agree that religion per se doesn’t belong there.

            The fact that many educated people believe in creationism still is, of course, irrelevant, as you yourself agree. Science shouldn’t be a democracy, so you say, and you deny that you’re supporting creationism, so presumably you don’t think it’s an empirically well-grounded view.

            So, why is it that when you relegate religion to social studies, don’t think creationism (YEC-style) is a going concern empirically, and don’t think the science curriculum should be up for grabs to just include any content that influential groups want it to hold, that’s OK, but whenever anyone else says the same thing it’s part of a materialistic attack on religion?

            (*) this was why i said ‘educated people’. Science as we know it didn’t really exist for most of the period when the vast majority of educated people thought God created living things more or less as they are now from scratch.

          • THEMAYAN

            It has nothing to do with a democracy. It has to do with hypocrisy as you claim that teaching that educated people once believed in creationism is acceptable yet at the same time claim that educated people who still believe in creationism is irrelevant You’re not even consistent with your own rhetoric. But thats your dilemma not mine. I never claimed YEC should be taught or religion or creation even mentioned. Again all I ask is that neo Darwinism be taught critically. The same way critical thinking is encouraged in the “High School Teacher bundle” I don’t think this is unreasonable. It seems to me that those who bring on lawsuits if you do, is what is really unreasonable.

          • arcseconds

            My dear themayan,

            I explained in my last post why I said ‘educated people’. I thought I did so fairly clearly. Was it unclear to you?

            Could we just turn off your over-sensitive problem detection mechanism for a bit? If you spend less brain-power looking for contradictions to accuse me of and more actually reading and trying to understand what I’m saying, your reading comprehension might improve.

            I’ll try again.

            Scientists have been around by name for less than 200 years, and has been an activity distinct from philosophy with a distinctive methodology for maybe 200 year prior to that.

            But the notion that the world can be rationally investigated (without constant appeal to intentional agents – gods, spirits and the like) is a lot older than that. And of course, people didn’t just get their copy of Novum Organon in the mail and stop being alchemists and start being modern chemists: the move to modern empirical science took place over a long period of time.

            So it would be artificial and short-sighted to start the history of science at the point where modern science had unequivocally arrived.

            On the other hand, the history of science is not the history of popular viewpoints, even those held by educated people.

            So my position here is that when looking at the history of science, one looks at the views and activities of scientists, or the next best thing if there aren’t clearly scientists. My initial mention of ‘educated people’ was put in to cover the situation where science doesn’t exist as a distinctive activity in its own right.

            In retrospect, I should have made it clear what I meant back then — one tries to balance clarity and brevity with accuracy, and one doesn’t always make the right compromise.

            But, I’m not sure whether it would have made much difference, seeing as I’ve already explained this, and you ignored it. And of course, you’re prepared to just read in persecution where there isn’t any, so why not hypocrisy, too?

            So, as hopefully you can see by now, there’s no hypocrisy here.

            Is there anything about this which remains unclear to you?

          • THEMAYAN

            “But the notion that the world can be rationally investigated (without constant appeal to intentional agents – gods, spirits and the like) is a lot older than that. And of course, people didn’t just get their copy of Novum Organon in the mail and stop being alchemists and start being modern chemists: the move to modern empirical science took place over a long period of time”

            How about a constant appeal to pretending to know that teleology was not involved, despite the fine tuning of the cosmos as well as the appearance of purposeful design in biology which even Dawkins admits exist on both levels, even if he refers them as just an illusion?

            And even worse, claiming this view is the only rational one? I and many others believe that there is a reason why design is apparent. And that’s because it is not illusory as many like him have claimed. Your world view is different from mine based on what you perceive to be rational or reasonable. And thats all it is. To pretend it isn’t is just stroking yourself.

            I.e., science is supposed to be neutral, yet you have no problem introducing your own personal philosophy, and then have the gonads to call it rational science. Again it is your own personal philosophy nothing more and nothing less. Anything else is just “shit on hot ice” and or more arrogance with the same wink nudge argument that those who believe in a creator or designer are irrational. Again these same people you spoke of made some of the most important discoveries in history of science with limited means, and without having the advantage of standing on the shoulders of giants like we do. There motto was that God showed us the way to heaven, but that man showed us how the heavens are made. They were not ignorant men.

            Most people agree the person who said these words below was a very rational person. Even if he did not believe in a personal God. He was able to see evidence of a teleological origin based on the observable evidence.

            1. “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details”

            “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind”

            “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind”

            “Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble”

            “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views”

            Clark, Ronald W. (1971). Einstein: The Life and Times. New York: World Publishing Company, p. 425.

          • arcseconds

            Your post has at best a tenuous connection with the paragraph of mine you quoted.

            There, I was explaining what I meant by a view of the natural world. Prior to the Greeks (in the West), what we call ‘natural’ phenomena were understood in terms of activities of supernatural agents. In such a worldview, there’s no distinction between natural and supernatural, and I don’t think such a worldview allows for what we’d call scientific enquiry.

            I don’t think anyone in the West has this kind of worldview — I’m not sure how they could come by this and maintain it. At any rate, there can’t be many. There are, of course, people who believe that there are supernatural beings pervading the universe, but they don’t think they make cars go and the clothes dry on the line.

            But anyway, yet again you show yourself unable to understand that I was making a historical point about the change in culture that’s necessary for science to come about, and continue to persist in seeing everything I write as evidence that I’m part of some kind of Confession for the Doctrine of the Unfaith.

            I haven’t said anything about belief in God being rational or irrational. I haven’t even implied it. What we’ve been discussing is your lack of reading comprehension, due in no small part to your paranoia, and what should be in the science curriculum.

            You are aware, I take it, that there are many Christians who would agree with everything I have written? James is one, but there are lots that have more traditional views on religion than him, but would still agree with me.

            Did it ever occur to you that I might be a Christian?

            I wait with eager anticipation to see how you will continue to understand everything I say as being ‘down with religion, scientific materialism FTW’.

          • Mary

            As far as the quote is concerned, it is slighly misinterpreted as it was in an introduction to a book authored by Carl Sagan on astronomy. So he was not talking about evolution. In the context of what he was saying is that this is the position that is necessary to take in order to use the scientific method properly. You can agree or disagree with that but I am just putting the statement in context.
            I am having trouble with the cut and paste function on my browser, but you might want to check this out for the full quote at

          • THEMAYAN

            He was talking about science as scientism.

            “The myth of the Flat Earth is the modern misconception that the prevailing cosmological view during the Middle Ages saw the Earth as flat, instead of spherical. The idea seems to have been widespread during the first half of the 20th century, so that the Members of the Historical Association in 1945 stated that”

            “The idea that educated men at the time of Columbus believed that the earth was flat, and that this belief was one of the obstacles to be overcome by Columbus before he could get his project sanctioned, remains one of the hardiest errors in teaching.” •.

            ^ Members of the Historical Association 1945, pp. 4–5 In this pamphlet the Historical Association listed “Columbus and the Flat Earth Conception” second of twenty in its first-published pamphlet on common errors in history.

            Russell 1991, p. 3. See also Russell 1997.

          • Ian

            Let it be known that I at least tried to respond to most questions, yet mine is still are left unanswered.

            Rather than declaring ‘let it be known’ it might be worth demonstrating it is true.

            Of the fourteen times in this thread I could find that you asked a question that didn’t seem to be a quote from somewhere else, 4 where rhetorical and you answer them immediately after, 2 seemed designed to be abstract, such as “Who knows what we will know 500 years from now? Who knows?”, 2 seemed to be for arguing effect, such as “What strawman will you pull up next?”

            If you want to make concrete questions out of any of these, please rephrase them.

            Why don’t you email him [Sanford]?

            Didn’t get an answer.

            If intelligent design theory is such a pseudo science, then why are there now several science journals that have published the work of either intelligent design theorist and or those who speak favorably of ID being a valid alternative theory in their own work?

            You asked three times, in slightly different words, and received an answer. You may disagree with or reject the answer, but it is dishonest to pretend non was offered.

            Will the real theory of evolution please Stand up?

            You’ll need to ask in a more concrete way, if you expect an answer.

            Ok, Name me some current papers that have made any novel discoveries exclusively using the framework of neo Darwinism?

            Which comes back to the central question of what you understand by “neo-Darwinism”, specifically, and what use you want to put it to. A question that I’ve asked and reminded you of three times now. Without us first being specific about terms, and what you think scientists are claiming, and what you are asking, exactly, there is no way to answer your question. You appear to me to be crashing around various levels of abstraction, without any clear idea that you are talking about different things. So at one point you appear to suggest NDS predicts Junk DNA, and at another you seem to doubt that it is used in any papers making novel discoveries. Both may be true or not, but you’re clearly using NDS in a way very different to the way I’d use it (I describe my understanding of the term in my previous comment, click my name to find it if it isn’t showing up for you). So we need to sort out what you mean, precisely, before any answer will mean anything.

            So that’s it, from what I can see. Hardly a litany of tough questions asked with no answer given. You’re missing one answer, and two others could be forthcoming if you are willing to clarify them.

            Feel free to add any unanswered questions I’ve missed. I confess I haven’t read through every word again in detail, I searched for the question marks, since you suggested to arc that they were the key indicators of where your questions were relative to the rest of your responses.

          • THEMAYAN

            Since you do not seem to understand what neo Darwinism actually means or even understand the article that you cited, and never provided any current papers that seems to be showing any novel discovery using that same Darwinian framework.

            The question remains that if ID is a pseudo science, then why are ID theorist still getting their papers published in science journals? I don’t have to pretend anything. The only response I was given was that there have been things like racial and gender superiority published in science journals,
            which were originally, (and are still are to many) Darwinian view points. I even cited the Bell curve and James Watson’s view on the notion of Blacks being less evolved as evidence. But this did not answer the question.

            If an article proposing a theory or hypothesis is published, and then found to be in fallacious, then it is retracted. Yes this does happen, but the amount of ID articles have only increased over the years. I am not the one using obfuscation and red herrings. My questions were clear and direct, and still have yet to be answered. Do you think there is some kind of conspiracy to deceive going on with these same journals that publish this same work? Are they purposely publishing pseudo science because they want to lose credibility and go out of business?

          • Ian

            I don’t know who you think you’re responding to. i didn’t cite an article, did I?

            you do not seem to understand what neo Darwinism actually means

            What an odd response to being asked to define what you mean by it! The question is, what do you mean by it?

            Please answer the question rather than deride it. This is now the fifth time you’ve been asked. If you cannot, then that is telling on your understanding, not mine.

            and still have yet to be answered

            Which one specifically? The one you admit did get an answer that you didn’t accept? Or one of the others? If so which.

            My questions were clear and direct

            I asked you to specifically clarify your terms. Are you going to? Or just declare it done?

          • arcseconds

            Who is suggesting that science ought to be a democracy?

          • vowels

            You say, “So you have no problem teaching religion in science class, as long as students know that it is just stupid, because after all science has replaced it.”

            1. I didn’t say I had no problem teaching religion in science class. I said I had no problem teaching creationism in science class (if it was briefly discussed as a theory of biological life that had been superseded). I never used the word “religion”. Maybe you regard creationism as equivalent to religion? I personally don’t think any religion should be taught in a science class.

            2. I didn’t say that religion or creationism should be taught as “just stupid”. I said it should be taught that creationism was discarded because the theory of evolution explained biological phenomena better.

            You say, “First off, this is a religious like view in its own, and its called metaphysical naturalism.”

            3. Sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about. What is “a religious like view in its own”? The theory of evolution? My proposal that creationism should be taught as a theory superseded by the theory of evolution? Your idea that students know that creationism is just stupid?

            4. Metaphysical naturalism? Most scientists don’t really care whether the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis (NDS) is a religion or a metaphysically naturalistic philosophy. They just know that it explains things and helps them make progress in achieving results that advance medicine, agriculture, etc. In a previous posting, you challenged me to name “some current papers” in evolution research and I responded with the results I had using Google Scholar. Remember? Thousands of papers, written in 2013 only. Many of those papers actually advance the knowledge we have of human biology and will lead to medical advances. Can you point me to some creationist results that will generate new drugs? I did a google scholar search on “creationism”, but the results seem to be limited to a bunch of philosophy papers. No lab or field results at all. Maybe creationists plan to have a debate with offensive microbes.

            “if a teacher does [encourage critical thinking of Darwinism], the school will get slapped with a law suite (sic).”

            5. No. If a teacher teaches religion (i.e., equivalent to creationism, as you’ve already pointed out) in a science class with the approval or guidance of the school district, the school will get slapped with a law suit. If the teacher teaches religion in a science class without approval or guidance, then the teacher likely will be fired. Science should be taught in science classes. German should be taught in German classes. Band should be taught in Band classes. Religion should be taught in Religion classes, if there are any.

            “the challenges to the theory based on the observable scientific data.”

            6. Since creationists don’t actually have any labs or do any field work, they don’t have any “observable scientific data” that challenges the NDS. Instead most creationists take quotations from reputable scientific papers and rearrange them to make them appear that reputable scientists support their conclusions. Dishonest, deceptive practices, extensively documented.

            “As for this whole notion that true science is based on a democracy is quite frankly a bunch of nonsense.”

            7. You’re right. Science is not a democracy (and I never said that it was). It’s a meritocracy. If you produce solid scientific results, you will be regarded highly by the scientific establishment. Solid scientific results means data from lab and field work, explanations for observed phenomena, and clues for future work. Creationism doesn’t do any of these things.

            “And the actual few who do work in the field of evolutionary developmental biology/ devo”

            8. Short memory, eh? Recall the google scholar search I did in response to your 21,400 hits for “bacterial evolution” in 2013. Many of those papers have more than one author, quite a bit more than a “few”. The “most vocal opponents of the modern synthesis” are mostly Christian apologists, philosophers, and others not practicing biology.

          • vowels

            “”folks claimed that Darwinism would collapse in the next few years”

            And they were right. It has. The fact that most are not aware of it is a different story.”

            And yet, non-sectarian universities still keep on churning out more research supporting biological and molecular evolution and more PhDs and teaching more courses in evolution. The only ones who seem to be aware of this cataclysmic collapse are fundamentalist Christians and the occasional Panspermian.

            The imminent collapse of Darwinism has been touted by fundamentalists ever since The Origin of Species was published. Occasionally, some brave fundamentalist will actually attach a specific date and a testable definition of “collapse”:

            2002 (Predicted collapse in 2005 or 2006): “Paul Nelson (Discovery Institute) (Aug 8, 2002 4:58:47 PM)
            Here’s a prediction. Universal CD [Common Descent] will be gasping for breath in two or three years, if not sooner.”

            2004 (Predicted collapse in 2014, still one year to go): “”Dembski: In the next five years, molecular Darwinism — the idea that Darwinian processes can produce complex molecular structures at the subcellular level — will be dead. When that happens, evolutionary biology will experience a crisis of confidence because evolutionary biology hinges on the evolution of the right molecules. I therefore foresee a Taliban-style collapse of Darwinism in the next ten years.” Anonymous (Touchstone Magazine), (2004). “The Measure of Design: A conversation about the past, present & future of Darwinism and Design.””

            1976: Tom Bethell in “Darwin’s Mistake (Harper’s, February 1976): “Darwin’s theory, I believe, is on the verge of collapse.…Natural selection was quietly abandoned, even by his most ardent supporters, some years ago.”

            1902: Literary Digest, April 5, 1902, “It must be stated that the supremacy of this philosophy [Darwinism] has not been such as was predicted by its defenders at the outset. A mere glance at the history of the theory during the four decades that it has been before the public shows that the beginning of the end is at hand.”

            Amazing! 110 years after the Literary Digest proclamation and most people, most universities, and most biologists are still not aware of the collapse.

          • THEMAYAN

            ‘And yet, non-sectarian universities still keep on churning out more research supporting biological and molecular evolution and more PhDs and teaching more courses in evolution”

            Ok, Name me some current papers that have made any novel discoveries exclusively using the framework of neo Darwinism? I have already cited several that state the theory has crumbled beyond repair and or that it is no longer a valid theoretical framework. So again, name these empirical studies. I don’t want to see anything with language like “maybe” “supposedly” “perhaps” could” “have” “might have” “might possibly” And since micro evolution is not being disputed, (as even Jablonka has mentioned in her refutation of the modern synthesis) then please show me the data concerning macro evolution.

            And you’re mistaken. Darwinism did collapse. In fact it could not even hold up to 1930’s science. Darwin’s law of inheritance which was called pangenesis, is now considered a joke. They had to reformulate the theory and piggyback Mendelian genetics into the modern synthesis. The reason being that they ignored the work of Gregory Mendel for fifty year as he was in opposition to Darwin’s theory, which can be found in the the (Journal of heredity volume 87) but by the time they realized their mistake and incorporated Mendel’s law of inheritance on to neo Darwinism. Mendel was dead, and had no say so.

            The only thing they kept was natural selection, and even that is now being challenged as being limited as major mechanism for evolutionary biology. And just like the collapse of classical Darwinism, it is now neo Darwinism that has collapsed. You can keep creating new theories and keep calling it Darwinism if you wish, but it is only the name that hasn’t collapsed, but the theoretical framework has, and this is the second time. Again i repeat, classical Darwinism collapsed 70 to 80 years ago and now neo Darwinism has also now collapsed. Again the current data has made this explicit.

          • vowels

            I said, “And yet, non-sectarian universities still keep on churning out more research supporting biological and molecular evolution and more PhDs and teaching more courses in evolution.”

            You said, “Name me some current papers that have made any novel discoveries exclusively using the framework of neo Darwinism?”

            OK, a little bit of goal post moving, but I checked google scholar for 2013 papers with the subject “bacterial evolution”: 21,400 hits. Each hit is a book or paper; yes, there are some duplicates among the total but still there are thousands of unique hits. On the first page of hits, titles like “Bacterial evolution in simple microcosms”, “From passengers to drivers: Impact of bacterial transposable elements on evolvability”, “Transposon Mutagenesis in Disease, Drug Discovery, and Bacterial Evolution”, etc. And the list goes on for pages and pages. From page 10: “The evolution of antibiotic susceptibility and resistance during the formation of Escherichia coli biofilms in the absence of antibiotics”. From page 22: “Evolution of saxitoxin synthesis in cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates” Do I need to go on? And this is only in 2013 and only accounts for work in bacterial evolution. I searched for “human evolution” in 2013 and got 5850 hits; “cenozoic evolution” + 2013 gets 1240 hits; “plant evolution” + 2013 gets 2640 hits; and the list goes on.

            The scale of this work is massive. A major proportion of biology research focuses directly on evolution and an even larger proportion is indirectly influenced by the methods and results of evolutionary researches. Tens of thousands of scientists, researchers, and students are involved in this field throughout the world and their work underlies much of the progress we gain in understanding diseases and hereditary conditions, improving agriculture, and understanding the ethology and basic biology of existing species.

            Your statements about pangenesis are silly and irrelevant. Darwin’s work is not regarded like the Christian bible as a gospel to be observed and protected. Pangenesis is not taught in evolutionary biology classes or used in making advances

          • THEMAYAN

            No goal post change. The subject was about neo Darwinism/ the modern synthesis and I made this clear several times. I asked you to provide recent papers that used the neo Darwinian framework exclusively I never asked how many hits you can get using the word “evolution”

            Secondly, your own citation says this……”Microbes have several mechanisms that promote evolutionary adaptation in stressful environments. The corresponding molecular pathways promote diversity through modulating rates of recombination, mutation or influence the activity of transposable genetic elements. Recent experimental studies suggest an evolutionary conflict between these mechanisms. Specifically, presence of mismatch repair mutator alleles in a bacterial population dramatically reduced fixation of bacterial insertion sequence elements. When rare, these elements had only a limited impact on adaptive evolution compared with other mutation-generating pathways. IS elements may initially spread like molecular parasites, but once present in many copies in a given genome, they might become generators of novelty during bacterial evolution.”

            Your paper is simply making my case for me in refuting the notion of junk DNA and even speaks of this “evolutionary conflict” And also seems to makes a case for what Shapiro calls “natural genetic engineering” which strongly implies that bacteria are programed to react this way.

            Again I repeat. It makes my point for me because functional transposable elements are clear examples of what the some of the failed predictions of neo Darwinism which I cited before. And for the very reason that these same transposable elements were considered to be useless junk. However we now know that this junk dna paradigm is false.

          • vowels

            Where does the Neo Darwinian Synthesis predict that transposons could not give rise to mutations? Citations, please.

            And even if the NDS makes an incorrect prediction in this particular respect, how does this prove creationism?

          • THEMAYAN

            I never said it proved creation. i said that these were failed prediction of neo Darwinist and the accurate predictions of ID theorist.

            “Intelligent design cannot explain the presence of a nonfunctional pseudogene, unless it is willing to allow that the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles. Evolution, however, can explain them easily. Pseudogenes are nothing more than chance experiments in gene duplication that have failed, and they persist in the genome as evolutionary remnants of the past history”
            Kenneth Miller

            “INASMUCH as the only requirement to be qualified as partitioning sequences is to be untranscribable and/or untranslatable. it is not likely that these sequences came into being as a result of positive selection. Our view is that they are the remains of natures experiments which failed. The earth is strewn with fossils remains of extinct species, is it a wonder that our genome too is filled with
            the remains of extinct genes? Sumo Ohno junk DNA”

            Home Genetics Stockton EDU
            Priceless Junk: Discovering the Secrets of “Junk” DNA … Some experts believed that the name itself slowed down research in non-coding DNA.

            Indeed, researchers like John Mattick of Queensland University, Australia think that the idea of junk DNA is junk science:
            Researchers the world over are confirming that non-coding DNA holds critical clues to a vast range of diseases; breast cancer, HIV, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, ovarian and skin cancer … the list is growing daily. A leading figure in world genetics, Prof. John Mattick, recently claimed that, ‘the failure to recognize the implications of the non-coding DNA will go down as the biggest mistake in the history of molecular biology’ [Genius of Junk (DNA), Catalyst, Thursday, 10 July 2003].

          • vowels

            To repeat: Where does the Neo Darwinian Synthesis predict that transposons could not give rise to mutations? Citations, please. What you’ve stated here says nothing about NDS.

            Regarding the ENCODE Project’s original press releases:
            “However the conclusion that most of the genome is functional was severely criticized on the grounds that ENCODE project used a far too liberal definition of functional, namely anything that is transcribed must be functional. This conclusions was arrived at despite the widely accepted view that many DNA elements such as pseudogenes that are transcribed are nevertheless non-functional. Furthermore the ENCODE project has emphasized sensitivity overspecificity leading to the detection of many false positives.”

            So maybe not so much Junk DNA is as functional as ID would predict.

          • THEMAYAN

            I never said anything about transposons concerning “mutations” (which are errors that occur during the transcription process) So it seems you are the one changing the goal post and asking me to cite evidence for something I never said.

            The Darwinian notion was that transposable elements/jumping genes were just mindless scribble and useless junk. And thats what I said. And cited the papers. In fact I cited many papers. I already responded to the ENCODE data. And all the papers I cited on this post were completely independent of ENCODE’S findings (which represented at least 30 independent studies from many different research facilities as published in different science journals.

            I even cited my own critique of Guars paper pointing out his errors with verifiable citations, and included the critique of John Mattick who also included verifiable citations of his own, and many more than I did. The fact remains that ENCODE is producing very important useable data that is changing the face of science, and especially medical science which is already putting the data to use. While his detractors are not producing anything, and that is why ENCODE’s funding has actually increased over the years.

            Again, the basic argument is that the data is incongruent to the theory, (and like the rest of the data that I also cited from independent sources) maybe its the theory that needs changing. It seems that those who claim to adhere to scientific progress only welcome that same progress if it fits their paradigm, as these people are the same people who try to marginalize or demonize the work of those who demonstrate empirical data that does not jive with old entrenched ideas.

            Again, this is a part of the history of science. And in the modern sciences, it can be traced back to at least Copernicus through Pasture, Mendel and up to the present day.

          • vowels

            If “transposable elements/jumping genes” are not “just mindless scribble and usless junk”, how is that “incongruent” to the NDS?

          • THEMAYAN

            I already made my points concerning the false prediction of the theory and cited the evidence. If you’re not going to bother to read them, then that is not my problem. I will not repeat myself over and over again. This is why reading comprehension skills are so important. And I think you mean DNS. Again I used the term the “modern synthesis” or “neo Darwinism” I cannot give you a crash course on these discrepancies.

            You have to take some time and research the subject on your own. I already gave numerous citations to papers many of which are open access and free. And I even cited few video lectures, and at least one explaining in them in simple layman terms. I tried to respond in good faith to your questions, including a few red herrings, but I can’t’ do your homework for you.

          • vowels

            You’ve made some extraordinary claims, starting with the claim that Darwinism has collapsed, and at least in responses to my questions you have delivered nothing but gobbledygook.

            Let’s start with my questions to you two days ago:

            “Where does the Neo Darwinian Synthesis predict that transposons could not give rise to mutations? Citations, please.

            And even if the NDS makes an incorrect prediction in this particular respect, how does this prove creationism?”

            In the response immediately following, you wrote:

            “I never said it proved creation.”

            In your next response, you wrote:

            “I never said anything about transposons concerning “mutations””

            This would seem to dispose of both of my questions. Nevertheless, you felt compelled in one of your reponses to provide two passages with quotation marks followed by two without (but still possibly quotations, I would guess from the context). The first quote, from biologist Ken Miller asserts that junk DNA makes the notion of ID highly improbable. Note that even if Miller’s premise is invalidated (i.e., Junk DNA is functional), it doesn’t logically prove that ID is probable. (But a smart guy like you probably already knows that, right?) Your second quotation is referenced with the text, “Sumo Ohno junk DNA”. No journal name, no date, no volume or page number. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate anything about the source of this quote on the internet except that it was probably written in the early 1970s. You seem to be the only one who quotes it and you do so on multiple forums, each time with no identifying information. Next in your response to me, you start a paragraph with the text:

            “Home Genetics Stockton EDU”

            Is anyone supposed to be able to make sense of this word salad?

            The totality of your Home Genetics Stockton EDU quotation/evidence is:

            “Priceless Junk: Discovering the Secrets of “Junk” DNA … Some experts believed that the name itself slowed down research in non-coding DNA.”

            Is anyone supposed to credit your 20 odd word assertion with a citation like “Home Genetics Stockton EDU”? And how is it relevant to my questions? If someone wants to read more of this putative article and find out who the “experts” in the sentence are and why they think that “the name itself slowed down research,” where do they find this article? Yes, “reading comprehension skills are so important,” as you say, but so are writing skills, and you don’t appear to have them.

            It’s evident that you believe that you have mastered the current literature on transposons and junk DNA and that you have made a great discovery about how Darwinism has been destructed as a result. Yet, your knowledge seems to be restricted to Christian websites while using a pseudonym, and has not been communicated with coherent prose and a lucid argument to the scientific community. You’ve been caught making an amazingly irrelevant reference to axiomatic design theory and also the bogus claim that “Cornell university just released another 24 papers” (when these papers were actually released by a Christian ID group which rented a room at Cornell University). You were told that your interpretation of some of the papers you’re citing is wrong, e.g., Jablokal and Lambil: “But non[e] of these [issues about mechanism] disprove evolution. They are challenges to a particular mathematical model of evolution. The Jablokai and Lambll paper, for example explicitly says ‘These non-DNA variations can form an additional substrate for evolutionary change.'” That comment to you was made three days ago, and you have *not* responded to it.

            Sorry, I’ve taken the time to investigate your claims. From what I can tell, they’re nonsense, you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’ve been covering up your ignorance with a lot of bluster, name dropping (e.g., axiomatic design theory), and avoidance of straightforward discussion of your claims.

          • THEMAYAN

            Your selectively reading what you want to hear. You left out that Miller claimed that Evolution could explain junk DNA. And even T. Ryan Gregory admitted to me that Ohno said this. And this can be found on his own blog at Genomicron. I also provide you with citation of Mattick’s critique paper that spoke of the same failed prediction. And yes, he also points out that this has been one of the biggest blunders. If you can’t put two and two together then again, this is not my problem.

            And I can provide even more citations, but why should I when this is common knowledge? And it seems it doesn’t matter how many citations I provide, as I provided many citations on the demise of junk DNA paradigm, and still the data got hand waved away. And I have not made any great discovery. This has been well known for a long time. It is you who is out of the loop. And I correct myself. Cornell did not release these papers. “Scientific American” did. And they have released a lot of great data. But again, so what. These are more straw man arguments and do not even address the points made.

            You keep bringing up the word creationism, as if the meeting had anything to do with creationism. And in fact, it was attended by some who were even hostile to ID, but your brilliant research at Panda’s thumb never seemed to mention this fact, and I can almost guarantee, you made no effort to read any of the 24 papers from anyone there, and again, including those hostile to ID yet critical of the modern synthesis.

            If this Dissent view can bring together ID theorist as well as those critical of ID together for one common goal, then I think this says alot about where we are at in evolutionary biology right now. And you have yet to answer the most basic question I asked concerning ID and science journals which I repeated at least 3 times.
            And at the same time, you want me to respond to things I never said.

            You’re not interested in science. Your whole shtick is about metaphysical naturalism vs biblical creationism. Or maybe atheism vs Christianity. If you want to understand the incongruencies concerning Darwinian selection and the arguments over the finding of functional ncDNA and RNA, then I have provided a lot of data that you can reference. And if you do not understand the data, then I suggest you take at least a basic course in biology, and in addition to at least that. Do a lot of serious research on the subject. Its not going to happen with a five minute google searches at Panda’s Thumb. And good luck. PS here is another article that also backs up what I said.

            Post details: ENCODE decodes Junk DNA
            by David Tyler 12:52:49 pm, Categories: Literature – Articles, 673 words
            ENCODE decodes Junk DNA

          • I hope you are not referring to the “dissent from Darwin” list! That is a misleading PR exercise. It took the uncontroversial statement that random mutations and natural selection are not of themselves sufficient explanations for the diversity of life that we see (it left out other things that even Darwin talked about, such as sexual selection), and then it is touted as if it says something about what those who signed it think about the theory of evolution as a whole, as understood now.

          • vowels

            Non-responsive. You still haven’t specified the references to “Sumo Ohno junk DNA” and “Home Genetics Stockton EDU”. Or explained the relevance of the statement, “Some experts believed that the name itself slowed down research in non-coding DNA.”

            You wrote, “And I correct myself. Cornell did not release these papers. “Scientific American” did. And they have released a lot of great data.” Sorry no, Scientific American never published these papers either. Springer-Verlag initially took up the job as publisher but they withdrew after about a week: The current publisher is World Scientific Publishing Co.

            Your latest cite, “ENCODE decodes Junk DNA” by David Tyler, is actually an Access Research Network (ARN) introduction to the 2007 ENCODE Nature paper. It’s three paragraphs long, with no details about assumptions, methods, and results. (According to wikipedia, ARN is a “de facto auxiliary website to the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (CSC) in promoting intelligent design (ID)”.) Instead it includes predictions such as “Furthermore, the ENCODE findings should lead to the final demise of the term “Junk DNA”.” Pretty convincing stuff.

            You wrote, “You’re not interested in science. Your whole shtick is about metaphysical naturalism vs biblical creationism. Or maybe atheism vs Christianity.” So says the wannabe scholar writing comment after comment of error-filled and tendentious ramblings.

          • THEMAYAN

            Your know you’re right. My mistake. It’s a little hard debating five people at once. Scientific America is only a magazine.

            “World Scientific Publishing is an academic publisher of scientific, technical, and medical books and journals headquartered in Singapore. The company was founded in 1981. It publishes about 500 books annually as well as more than 150 journals in various fields.[1] In 1995, World Scientific co-founded the London-based Imperial College Press together with the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine.[2] World Scientific has been publishing online since 1996, including e-journals, e-proceedings, e-books, and operates an online bookshop”

            “World Scientific Signs New Agreement with Nobel Media (Nobel Foundation) to publish Nobel Lectures Series (2006–2010) in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Economic Sciences and Literature”

            There are a lot of things that ARN cites. Again just because something is cited art ARN or any other place does not invalidate it. They have also cited the work of many secular scientist writers or scholars. Again more strawman that have nothing to do with the substance of the data which you have yet to even read or comment on. And again this is coming from a guy who gets his info at Panda’s thumb. You’re a very amusing fellow.

          • THEMAYAN

            I find it interesting that you can gather all these strawman arguments from Pandas thumb but can’t seem to access information that you do not like.

            Journal Evolution of genetic systems Brookhaven symposia in biology. no/23 1972 pg 366-370 editor H.H Smith. Editorial committee H.J Price Chapter one So much junk in our genome. S. Ohno

            What strawman will you pull up next? Why not try giving a detailed comment on the data itself?

          • vowels

            1. There are no references to Pandas thumb in my comments.

            2. You keep accusing me of engaging in strawman arguments. A “strawman” argument is a sham argument set up to be defeated. I am not aware of any strawmen in my comments. If you believe there are strawmen in my comments, please identify them. (Requesting a paper citation is not a strawman argument.) Otherwise, I will conclude that you don’t know what a strawman argument is and you are indiscriminately throwing out the label because you think it sounds good.

            3. Thank you for the Ohno paper citation.

          • Mary

            From the Smithsonian:

            “While the genetic difference between individual humans today is minuscule – about 0.1%, on average – study of the same aspects of the chimpanzee genome indicates a difference of about 1.2%. The bonobo (Pan paniscus), which is the close cousin of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), differs from humans to the same degree. The DNA difference with gorillas, another of the African apes, is about 1.6%. Most importantly, chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans all show this same amount of difference from gorillas. A difference of 3.1% distinguishes us and the African apes from the Asian great ape, the orangutan. How do the monkeys stack up? All of the great apes and humans differ from rhesus monkeys, for example, by about 7% in their DNA.

            Geneticists have come up with a variety of ways of calculating the percentages, which give different impressions about how similar chimpanzees and humans are. The 1.2% chimp-human distinction, for example, involves a measurement of only substitutions in the base building blocks of those genes that chimpanzees and humans share. A comparison of the entire genome, however, indicates that segments of DNA have also been deleted, duplicated over and over, or inserted from one part of the genome into another. When these differences are counted, there is an additional 4 to 5% distinction between the human and chimpanzee genomes.”


          • THEMAYAN

            Mary, what you wrote although popularized in literature intended for the general public. It’s only a part of the picture. What you cited is the differential in SNP’s/single nucleotide polymorphism which has to do with variation differences in a single nucleotide. Your article also included indels/insertion and deletions events, but this is not the overall differential between the two genomes. Notice how I said the “overall” differential is closer to 70%. And this is why this figure above is misleading.

            The article below is sourced from the 2005 draft
            (Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome)

            Human body
            From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
            The draft sequence of the common chimpanzee genome published in the summer 2005 showed the regions that are similar enough to be aligned with one another account for 2400 million of the human genome’s 3164.7 million bases[19] – that is, 75.8% of the genome. This 75.8% of the human genome is 1.23% different from the chimpanzee genome in single nucleotide polymorphisms[19] (changes of single DNA “letters” in the genome). Another type of difference, called indels (insertions/deletions) account for another ~3 % difference between the alignable sequences.[19] In addition, variation in copy number of large segments (> 20 kb) of similar DNA sequence provides a further 2.7% difference between the two species.[20] Hence the total similarity of the genomes could be as low as about 70%.

          • David Evans

            My reply seems to have got lost. I’ll try again.

            You praise me for admitting the same thing that you ridicule Dawkins for admitting. Make up your mind! Neither admission supports ID as a scientific theory. I disbelieve ID not because it’s impossible but because the evidence presented for it is unconvincing.

            Sanford is on record as believing that the Earth is at most 100,000 years old, and maybe as little as 10,000. The larger figure is 1/45,000 of the radiometric age. I’d say that qualifies him as YEC, and a denier of inconvenient science.

            “And no one has yet to answer my questions”

            Wrong idiom. You mean “no-one has yet answered” or “you have yet to answer”

            I did answer your question about MIT’s Park Centre. To repeat – I don’t see anything in their publications that relates to ID as it is understood here.

            Then you ask “Will there someday be a new or extended synthesis? Who knows?”

            Indeed. Who knows? The present synthesis may well be extended further – we are still in the early stages of comparing different species’ genomes, there are bound to be surprises. What I don’t see is any evidence that ID will play a part in that process.

          • THEMAYAN

            I never asked a question about MIT so I don’t know what youre talking about. And It doesn’t matter what you see or don’t see. The fact remains that design theory is being used as a completely scientific and non religious tool in systems biology, and again, this is the same design theory that was developed for intelligently designed complex systems, and its being applied to the cell and with great success, and this is a completely practical application which is a part of science.

            In fact more and more biologist are relying on structural engineers and design theorist. We are also using reverse engineering principles in biology now. Thats right. The same people who design and build complex mechanical structures and electrical systems etc. (as well as mathematicians and computer scientist etc) have been used in biology for a few years now. And Systems biology and bioinformatics which utilize these fields is only growing as time goes on.

            And as for the question that everyone including you has ignored, was if ID is a pseudo science, then why are ID theorist getting their work published in peer review science journals, as well as others who speak favorably of ID in their own work?

            Instead of answering. You keep throwing up these red herrings, while trying to marginalize a great and prolific scientist who has made great contributions to science, And just because he doesn’t accept the orthodox view of the age of earth and challenges the MS.

            So what! His work is not dependant on whether he believes in neo Darwinism or the earth being five billion years old or 5 minutes old. In fact the vast majority of scientist can do their work just fine without ever adhering to the MS. But I don’t really care about red herrings arguments. So please tell it to someone else. This is getting very old.

          • David Evans

            You write “I never asked a question about MIT so I don’t know what youre talking about”

            Allow me to remind you: You wrote:

            “If intelligent design theory is such a pseudo science, then why are there now several science journals that have published the work of either intelligent design theorist and or those who speak favorably of ID being a valid alternative theory in their own work? In fact right now as we speak, Park center at MIT…”

            Park center was the only example you gave, so I looked at it. I maintain that they are not referring to Intelligent Design (in the sense used by the Discovery Institute) or using any concepts that originate with ID. If I am wrong, show me.

            On the general point, science journals are not infallible and nor is the peer review process. Nature, one of the most respected journals, has published research on homeopathy, which failed to be replicated. There has been much flawed research, in peer reviewed journals, “showing” that women are less intelligent than men, that blacks are less intelligent than whites, etc, etc

            “So what!”

            So he has decided to deny several independent strongly supported lines of evidence about the age of the Earth, without giving any evidence for doing so. That calls his scientific judgment into question. Anyone can “challenge the MS”. The trick is to provide adequate evidence for the challenge.

          • THEMAYAN

            David, did you notice where the question mark was? I asked a question and then made statement. Secondly, the discovery institute maintains that living things can be better explained through a design paradigm. Why is this so hard for you to understand? And yes they are using design theory created for intelligently designed engineered complex systems on the living cell. And again they are doing so in a completely scientific and non religious or philosophical way.

            And if you’re going to use the nuclear option, then you shoot yourself in the foot, as we would have to apply the same standard to Darwinism, since these things you mentioned were said or believed by proponents of Darwinism like Huxley and others. And even Darwin made references to the primitive or savage races of man. And in just recent years in addition to what Richard J. Herrnstein claimed about Black intelligence, legendary James Watson a proponent of neo Darwinism, made this statement…….

            “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really” By “ours” he means Whites

            “there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so”

            Furthermore, I never claimed that everything that gets published in peer review was the gospel truth, and or that it should not be questioned or critiqued. You merely threw out another red herring. And you still have yet to answer the question. E.g. when a paper is submitted for peer review, it has to go through an initial judging stage just to determine if it has any scientific merit. If it does, then it gets published. And this was my point.

          • David Evans

            “David, did you notice where the question mark was?”

            I decided not to go searching for examples, but to address the only example you actually gave. If you have others I would be glad to consider them.

            I don’t see my examples as a “nuclear option”. The question is not about morality but about whether appearance in a peer-reviewed journal is a guarantee of good science. My examples (particularly homeopathy) show it is not. The initial judging stage clearly went wrong in that case.

            “Secondly, the discovery institute maintains that living things can be better explained through a design paradigm.”

            That’s a modest way of putting it. What they actually mean is that there are some things which cannot be explained by material causes within the Earth’s biosphere, and require an explanation in terms of causes from outside. A Darwinist would expect that natural selection would produce structures with the appearance of design, but without a designer being involved. That’s where the ID theorists disagree.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Scientific Proceedings Published, Challenging Conventional Neo-Darwinian Theory
          By FMS Foundation
          Published: Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 – 9:32 am

          That’s very strange; that the FMS Foundation (Feed My Sheep Foundation, formed by John Sanford) would make this press release, when earlier you said that the proceedings were released by Cornell University. Please reiterate or retract your claim that this was an official Cornell University endeavor.

          Behe … Dembski … Berlinski … Denton … Monton … Skell … At least a third of the the one thousand + scientist who supported the Discovery Institute enough to sign the (Scientific Dissent From Darwin) list were atheist.

          1) How many of those signers were named “Steve”?

          2) “I have never endorsed intelligent design” – David Berlinski, Knight-Ridder article, September 27, 2005.

          3) All those ID proponents you mention can’t even agree on such scientific basics as the age off the Earth.

          4) Evolving opinion of one man

          Bob Davidson is a scientist … He’s also a devout Christian who believes we’re here because of God. It was these twin devotions to science and religion that first attracted him to Seattle’s Discovery Institute. …
          Not anymore. He’s concluded the institute is an affront to both science and religion.
          “When I joined I didn’t think they were about bashing evolution. It’s pseudo-science, at best … What they’re doing is instigating a conflict between science and religion.”

          • GubbaBumpkin

            I found a link for that press release by the FMS Foundation:

            Scientific Proceedings Published, Challenging Conventional Neo-Darwinian Theory

            Note that this is a PRNewswire article, they will accept pretty much any news release sent to them.

            WACO, Texas, Aug. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — World Scientific Publishing has just released the proceedings of a symposium held in the spring of 2011, where a diverse group of scientists gathered at Cornell University to critically re-examine neo-Darwinian theory.

            Source: FMS Foundation, sponsor of the proceedings.

            Heeding your calls for critical thinking, I have determined that the only link to Cornell University is that the meeting was held on the campus of that university; specifically at a hotel which occupies part of the campus. Cornell was not the official sponsor of the meeting, FMS Foundation is identified as the sponsor of the meeting, and of the resulting published proceedings.
            Putting two and two together, it appears clear that

            1) You have told an untruth and
            2) You continue to fail to admit or correct that untruth.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Yes I agree this is the definition of the word axiom and the point went
          completely over your head. Gubba, I’m glad you mentioned this. And this
          is where a little critical thinking can come in handy…

          If you had a point, you should have made it. Darwinian evolution has been accepted as a theory backed by a great deal of evidence, not an axiom. Failure to address that evidence does not make it go away, and labeling it an “axiom” is not honest. Apply a little critical thinking yourself, and address that, rather than slide off onto another change of topic.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      The same theory that was upheld at Dover a few years ago as an undisputed and unquestionable axiom, (which is referred to as the
      “modern evolutionary synthesis, and which is still taught till this day)

      An “axiom” which Wikipedia defines as:

      An axiom, or postulate, is a premise or starting point of reasoning. As classically conceived, an axiom is a premise so evident as to be accepted as true without controversy…

      It’s going to be difficult to take you seriously if you take that tack. Evolution was accepted “without controversy”? It wasn’t tested for 150 years? It was a starting premise rather than a conclusion drawn from evidence?

    • GubbaBumpkin

      In fact Cornell university just released another 24 papers that were a part of a 2011 study,…

      Let’s get back to this point. You say these papers were release by Cornell University. Is that actually true? Or were they released by a group of Creationists who rented space on campus for their own little conference?
      This is more of that “pretending to be part of mainstream science, while simultaneously complaining that you are being excluded.”


    If intelligent design theory is such a pseudo science, then why are there now several science journals that have published the work of either intelligent design theorist and or those who speak favorably of ID being a valid alternative theory in their own work? In fact right now as we speak, Park center at MIT is using the aid of design theory created for complex and intelligently designed and engineered systems in the field of systems biology, and with great results. And they are using design theory as a completely non religious or philosophical scientific tool. It seems that systems biology and bioinformatics is the new science that will lead the future of biology and not this outdated theory we still teach, which is about as scientifically valid as a Kipling just so story.

    • David Evans

      I don’t see anything on your link which relates to ID as a theory of intervention in the development of life on Earth by a non-human designer. Most of their publications are purely about engineering design. Some are about understanding biological systems in terms of their function (which no Darwinian would oppose). One describes the way in which modular structures can arise spontaneously in nature. The fact that they use some of the same words as ID does not imply that they use or endorse its theory.

    • Perhaps reading something from MIT Press will help you understand why the page you linked to at MIT is not about ID – at least, not in anything like the sense that that term has been popularized.

    • Ian

      This is awesome. So little understanding, that Axiomatic Design theory is now mistaken for ID because it has the word ‘design’ in it? Wow. Just wow.

    • David Evans

      One can argue about whether ID should be called a pseudoscience. I myself wouldn’t class it with, for instance, perpetual motion machines, which could never have worked. I would say it’s a failed science – one which might have been true but has not provided enough evidence.

      • THEMAYAN

        Well I would put perpetual motions machines right up there with neo Darwinism. As sometime science reaches the end of the rope on certain ideas and has to move on. Theories are largely based on their predictability criteria and earlier I cited many failed predictions of the MS and it turns out that they were also accurate prediction of ID theorist.

        It seems the biggest problem is that most people are not even willing to research the subject or even bother to read some of the literature with an open mind, and just buy into the mob mentality and that its all about a bunch of Bible thumpers void of any scientific reasoning.

        Most of the arguments presented here are basically hand waving arguments. ID is not a God of the gaps. ID is based on our knowledge, and not our ignorance, and just like our knowledge of perpetual motion machines as being futile, the same can now be said for the MS.

        We now know that our DNA is filled with complex digital encoded information which requires a complex transcription process to read that same code. There are molecular machines like ribosomes which convert the language of DNA into the language of proteins. We now know the genome is not just filled with useless junk, but is extremely mind boggling complex, with reams and reams of regulatory sequences and switches and biofeedback systems. System that activate and silence genes in an extremely very precise way. And a whole myriad of functionality. And much yet to be discovered. The theory that we currently teach cant even begin to explain this.

        ID is not fading away. It is getting stronger. Slowly but surely. There are no dissenters in ID, but there are now many dissenter of the modern synthesis and more so than any other time. Again Mendel was ignored by Darwinist for fifty years. New theories that challenge old dogmas are alway met with scorn. This is our history.

        • David Evans

          Let’s look at some of your failed predictions:

          “There were also some who many years ago claimed that those who were critical of junk DNA would be shown to be wrong. Just the opposite happened, and it was the paradigm of junk DNA that in fact that turned out to be wrong.”

          That’s doubtful. The ENCODE project showed that some of the alleged junk DNA can code for something, i.e. produce some protein in the right environment. That’s very far from showing that it does something useful for the organism. And some DNA is pretty obviously junk, for instance the damaged versions of genes that are fully functioning in other animals.

          “There were also some that claimed that in a few short years, we would be able to demonstrate how chemistry and physics alone could account for life.”

          That’s typical scientific (and human) hubris. People involved in a project always underestimate the time it will take. Look at the IT industry. It doesn’t imply that their basic theory is wrong – we understand computers pretty well.

          “and just like our knowledge of perpetual motion machines as being futile, the same can now be said for the MS.”

          You’re claiming the falsity of the MS is as certain as the law of conservation of energy? That would require more evidence than you’ve shown.

          Suppose people like Sanford (much quoted here) are right, and it’s impossible for beneficial mutations to spread as fast as detrimental ones. In that case, how does ID account for obvious cases of evolution such as the spread of antibiotic and pesticide resistance? Does the Designer intervene every year to screw up our medicine and agriculture?

          • THEMAYAN

            Even mutations that give an organism a functional advantage comes with a fitness cost, and this is where accumulation builds up over time until you are finally on the shallow end of the gene pool and your ability to out compete eventually someday causes extinction. There is no escaping genetic entropy. Why don’t you email him? I have. I’m sure he be happy to respond to your questions. And again your response still does not answer my question.

            As for ENCODE. The vast majority of the criticism toward ENCODE can be traced back to about a dozen or so people with their own blogs, and this was simply repeated over and over by others. People like T Ryan, Dan Gruar, Larry Moran, PZ Myers and a few others. Hardly an avalanche compared to those who accepted the findings including Richard Dawkins. In fact PZ Myers has gone on record as claiming that those scientist who look for function in ncDNA are only interested in job security. In other words, lets just give up research on ncDNA because after all we already know its junk. Talk about a science stopper.

            This attitude is what held us back in the first place. Barbara Mcclintock’s brilliant work on transposons was ignored for thirty years until she was finally redeemed decades later. We had evidence of possible function 60 years ago, and what did neo Darwinist do? The ignored and ridiculed the messenger. And what are they doing now, even with empirical data? Exactly the same.

            Below the many citations concerning the junk dna paradigm is my critique of the Dan Gruar Paper where I point out his errors. And below that is a technical paper that also critiques the Dan Graur Paper.

            How ‘Junk DNA’ Can Control Cell Development

            Saturday, 03 August 2013

            Researchers from the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at Sydney’s Centenary Institute have confirmed that, far from being “junk”, the 97 per cent of human DNA that does not encode instructions for making proteins can play a significant role in controlling cell development.


            Junk DNA’ Can Sense Viral Infection: Promising Tool in the Battle Between Pathogen and Host

            ScienceDaily (Apr. 24, 2012) — Once considered unimportant “junk DNA,” scientists have learned that non-coding RNA (ncRNA) — RNA molecules that do not translate into proteins — play a crucial role in cellular function. Mutations in ncRNA

            Citation: Pray, L. (2008) Transposons, or jumping genes: Not junk DNA? Nature Education 1(1)

            For decades, scientists dismissed transposable elements, also known as transposons or “jumping genes”, as useless “junk DNA”. But are they really?

            Sternberg, R. v. & J. A. Shapiro (2005). How repeated retroelements format genome function. Cytogenet. Genome Res. 110: 108-116.

            Shapiro, J.A. & R. v. Sternberg (2005). Why repetitive DNA is essential for genome function. Biol. Rev. Cambridge Philos. Soc. 80: 227-250.

            Shapiro and Sternberg Anticipated the Fall of Junk DNA (in 2005)

            Douglas Axe September 13, 2012

            ‘Junk’ DNA Proves To Be Highly Valuable(June 12, 2009) — What was once thought of as DNA with zero value in plants–dubbed “junk” DNA–may turn out to be key in helping scientists improve the control of gene expression in transgenic … > read more

            Saved By Junk DNA: Vital Role In The Evolution Of Human Genome (May 30, 2009) — Stretches of DNA previously believed to be useless ‘junk’ DNA play a vital role in the evolution of our genome, researchers have now shown. They found that unstable pieces of junk DNA help tuning …

            Junk’ DNA Has Important Role, Researchers Find

            May 21, 2009 — Scientists have called it “junk DNA.”….

            Comparative and Functional GenomicsVolume 2012 (2012), Article ID 424526, 4 pagesdoi:10.1155/2012/424526

            MY CRITIQUE

            (On the immortality of television sets: “function” in the human genome according to the evolution-free gospel of ENCODE)

            Just reading the abstract alone sounded more like a hit piece than professional scientific journalism. The mean spirited tone reeked of anger and bias.

            As I read further, I was surprised to find the authors paraphrasing Frank Zappa. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Zappa, but I think even he would have said that it would be very silly to use any of his utterances in a science journal, and especially one which seems to be more personalized than unbiased.

            “Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, wisdom is not truth,” —Robert Royar (1994) paraphrasing Frank Zappa’s (1979) anadiplosis

            I also found it interesting that they quoted T. R. Gregory who is critical of ENCODE, but for completely different reasons. According to Gregory, we supposedly knew about function decades ago and that this should be so no big surprise.

            Of course as I had to remind him, that maybe one of the problems laid in the fact that many scientist ignored this data (as they should have just stuck to science and not gotten involved in the culture war) as it is well document that many instead, held this useless junked DNA paradigm as a poster child for bad design with all this supposed empirical evidence to back it up.

            Like many others, Gregory is of the sort that follows the logic, that if the data is incongruent to the theory, then the data must be wrong as he speaks of his “onion test” concerning C Value paradox below.

            “The onion test is a simple reality check for anyone who thinks they can assign a function to every nucleotide in the human genome. Whatever your proposed functions are, ask yourself this question: Why does an onion need a genome that is about five times larger than ours?” —T. Ryan Gregory”


            Dan Graur……

            “playing fast and loose with the term “function,” by divorcing genomic analysis from its evolutionary context and ignoring a century of population genetics theory”….

            Dan, maybe its time to update these 80 year old constructs. As this paper below which is one of many indicates……

            The new biology: beyond the Modern Synthesis Michael R Rose1* and Todd H Oakley2 . The last third of the 20th Century featured an accumulation of research findings that severely challenged the assumptions of the “Modern Synthesis” which provided the foundations for most biological research during that century. The foundations of that “Modernist” biology had thus largely crumbled by the start of the 21st Century. This in turn raises the question of foundations for biology in the 21st Century. .



            Dan Graur…..

            “There are two almost identical sequences in the genome. The first, TATAAA, has been maintained by natural selection to bind a transcription factor, hence, its selected effect function is to bind this transcription factor. A second sequence has arisen by mutation and, purely by chance, it resembles the first sequence; therefore, it also binds the transcription factor. However, transcription factor binding to the second sequence does not result in transcription, i.e., it has no adaptive or maladaptive consequence. Thus, the second sequence has no selected effect function, but its causal role function is to bind a transcription factor”

            Here is what ENCODE’s lead analysis coordinator E. Birney says about this….

            “Rather than being inert, the portions of DNA that do not code for genes contain about 4 million so-called gene switches, transcription factors that control when our genes turn on and off and how much protein they make, not only affecting all the cells and organs in our body, but doing so at different points in our lifetime. Somewhere amidst that 80% of DNA, for example, lie the instructions that coax an uncommitted cell in a growing embryo to form a brain neuron, or direct a cell in the pancreas to churn out insulin after a meal, or guide a skin cell to bud off and replace a predecessor that has sloughed off”


            Dan Graur…..

            “The human genome is rife with dead copies of protein-coding and RNA-specifying genes that have been rendered inactive by mutation. These elements are called pseudogenes (Karro et al. 2007). Pseudogenes come in many flavors (e.g., processed, duplicated, unitary) and, by definition, they are nonfunctional”

            Not according to paper below…..

            PSEUDOGENES: Are They “Junk” or Functional DNA? Annual Review of Genetics

            Vol. 37: 123-151 (Volume publication date December 2003)

            First published online as a Review in Advance on June 25, 2003

            DOI: 10.1146/annurev.genet.37.040103.103949″Pseudogenes have been defined as nonfunctional sequences of genomic DNA originally derived from functional genes. It is therefore assumed that all pseudogene mutations are selectively neutral and have equal probability to become fixed in the population. Rather, pseudogenes that have been suitably investigated often exhibit functional roles, such as gene expression, gene regulation, generation of genetic (antibody, antigenic, and other) diversity. Pseudogenes are involved in gene conversion or recombination with functional genes. Pseudogenes exhibit evolutionary conservation of gene sequence, reduced nucleotide variability, excess synonymous over nonsynonymous nucleotide polymorphism, and other features that are expected in genes or DNA sequences that have functional roles”…..

            It seems the biggest criticism in this paper is in how the the word function is used, as its definition of function is used broadly, but it also seems kind of silly to not expect such a broad definition when the findings themselves are so broad. And again just because the findings seem incongruent to how we view selection based on the modern synthesis, it does not mean the theory should trump scientific revelation & the discovery of new and empirical data. Maybe it’s the theory that needs changing. One very well known scientist once told me. Scientist don’t change their minds, they just die. End

            The extent of functionality in the human genome
            John S Mattick123* and Marcel E Dinger12


          • David Evans

            “And again your response still does not answer my question.”

            Which question? I thought I had answered some of them.

            I don’t want to get into the ENCODE argument. It’s somewhat off topic for this thread. I do want to press the point that if Sanford is right that “There is no escaping genetic entropy”, something must explain in the present why bacteria are successfully acquiring new abilities and show no signs of going extinct. What is that something – is it the Designer, acting in the present? What testable hypothesis is ID putting forward to explain this?

          • David Evans

            “One very well known scientist once told me. Scientist don’t change their minds, they just die”

            There must have been a high mortality rate after the publication of Einstein’s relativity theories, because ten years later there were very few believers in the theories they displaced.

  • joriss

    Why could YEC’s not be Christians? I think many of them just can’t believe the evidence that the earth is old or that evolution is true, because they rely on what is writen in the bible. That may be wrong in your eyes, but that doesn’t say they are deliberately lying. Many of them are sincere Christians, so there is no question if they can be Christians, just the same as evolutionists can be Christians.

    • I was sincere when I was a young-earth creationist, but I don’t think the fact that I didn’t investigate their claims adequately before accepting and repeating them means I am not culpable for propagating falsehood. I believe that we have a responsibility not only not to invent falsehood, but not to pass them on like so much baseless gossip.

      • David Evans

        One can be culpable and be a Christian. Some might say it’s a requirement!

        Inspired, partly, by reading Francis Spufford’s Unapologetic which I thought to be, despite its name, an interesting and well-written piece of apologetics.

  • David L. Hagen

    James F. McGrath
    Are you not rejecting Jesus explicit teaching on creation that the Creator made them male & female?
    “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’” Mark 10:5-6; NIV
    “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ Matthew 19:4 NIV

    Current quantitative genomics evidence further exposes the inadequacy of neoDarwinism.

    You can now quantitatively verify yourself that harmful mutations accumulate faster than “beneficial” mutations, nullifying Darwin’s “just so” stories.

    See papers and downloadable software at Mendel’s Accountant

    For a popular explanation, see John C. Sanford, Genetic Entropy and The Mystery of the Genome. 2008 ISBN 0981631606

    • I am not denying that Jesus emphasized that story. But Jesus’ words there are not literally true if one approaches the Genesis accounts the way anti-science creationists do. According to the story in Genesis 2, God made one human being in the beginning, and then from that one made two. So if you are a literalist, then you have to view Jesus as a liar. That is not my view.

      I am happy that the software you linked to has been created. That is a first step. Has the second step happened yet? Have there been evaluations of the program by other experts in the field? Merely creating a model is not the end of a discussion, but only the beginning of a new discussion.

      • David L. Hagen

        Jesus clearly said that male and female were created. You will have to answer to him for that.
        Please study Mendel’s Accountant and papers by reknowned genetic agronomist John C. Sanford. Sandford et al. have codified all major peer reviewed literature parameters and have given users the ability to now quantitatively forward evaluate the consequences with sufficient replication for excellent statistical validity.

        See recent papers by “John C. Sanford Mendel” e.g.

        Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the
        Probability of Beneficial Mutation, Montanez et al. 2013

        • Just looking at scientific papers is not how one gets a sense of the scientific consensus. Where were those papers published? How have other scientists evaluated the claims made and conclusions drawn in them?

          If merely publishing something made it so, then presumably all the proponents of ID would accept the publications that support the conclusions of mainstream biology, would they not?

          • David L. Hagen

            Science progresses by the scientific method of comparing models against data, not majority opinion. See Richard Feynman on the Scientific method, and on the need for the highest level of integrity in science.

          • The two tend to coincide. The majority of scientists find ID unpersuasive because it at best says nothing useful about the data, and at worst, when carefully examined, turns out to not fit the relevant data well.

          • David L. Hagen

            Major scientific breakthroughs occur contrary to majority opinion. See Thomas Kuhn on Scientific Revolutions

            According to Kuhn the overall pattern of scientific inquiry, at least in the mature natural sciences, is this. A loosely characterized field of inquiry becomes a mature science when it achieves a paradigm that defines what it is to do “normal science.” Normal science under a paradigm is the normal state of a science and of the community of researchers who constitute it. Normal science is convergent rather than divergent: it actively discourages revolutionary initiatives and essentially novel discoveries. Normal research is so detailed and focused that it is bound to turn up anomalous experimental and theoretical results, some of which will long resist the best attempts to resolve them. As practitioners lose confidence in the paradigm as a secure guide to research, crisis sets in. Relative to normal science, crisis periods are pathological. Scientists can now propose significant alternatives to the reigning paradigm. Should one of these abnormal, previously illegal, even crazy-looking approaches convince enough community leaders that it is the way of the future, a paradigm battle breaks out. Should the revolutionaries win, they will have achieved a paradigm change and accomplished a scientific revolution. While normal scientific work is highly cumulative, acquiring a new paradigm is a noncumulative scientific change, a rupture, a break from the past. This is true both for the first acquisition of a paradigm by a maturing field and for paradigm change within an already mature field.

            I see no mathematically credible explanation explanation for the genome and genetic information posited by the neoDarwinian hypothesis.

          • You are misunderstanding the point of Kuhn’s work. It is not that anyone who disagrees with the current consensus is right. It is that consensuses are conservative. That is as it should be. We should not toss out established knowledge every time someone has a new idea. When new ideas are tested and prove themselves superior to what went before them, they will eventually win the day, even if it takes a generational shift for this to occur. But trying to claim, as ID does, that because your views are rejected by almost everyone, it is because of the conservative nature of science ratherthan because your arguments are unpersuasive, is to show oneself to be a crank. Actual scientists know that, if they have something that is not only new but correct to offer, the onus is on them to persuade their peers.

          • David Evans

            “even if it takes a generational shift for this to occur.”

            And sometimes it doesn’t. Einstein’s special relativity was widely accepted within 5 years of publication.

          • arcseconds

            Of course major breakthroughs occur contary to majority opinion. If the majority already expected the breakthrough, it wouldn’t count as a major breakthrough! Everyone would be ‘oh, yes, we expected something like that, thanks for filling in the details’. Major breakthroughs are practically by definition surprising.

            Thomas Kuhn is very popular amongst people who are, for whatever reason, somewhat antipathetic to mainstream science. Quite understandably, as he often sounds like he’s supporting a view of science where it’s not even a rational enterprise at all, where mainstream science and how it changes are to be explained in essentially sociological terms.

            However, the relevant experts (philosophers of science) don’t have such a high opinion of Kuhn. He’s not utterly dismissed, but it’s regarded that firstly, on many points where he says something worthwhile, he’s not as novel as he’s often portrayed; secondly, he overstates his case rather, and thirdly, he gets some things just plain wrong.

            As an example of the third (and to some extent the second) that has some bearing on the case at hand, he suggests that the training that ‘normal science’ gives its students ammounts to indoctrination in the dominant paradigm. If this were really the case, then we might expect outsiders or people where the indoctrination failed (who would therefore be regarded as having failed their education) would be the ones to initiate scientific revolutions. But this never happens: the classic cases of revolutions are always conducted by people with a very thorough understanding of their area, and almost always they have perfectly regular training.

            At any rate, he’s not someone you can just quote and expect anyone to accept what he says.

            Anyway, even if we do adopt a Kuhnian view of science, this doesn’t help your case at all. It’s not the case that every minority view succeeds, or deserves to succeed. Why should we think yours is?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Your second article there is:
          Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation
          George Montanez (Computer Science dept., Baylor)
          Robert J. Marks II (Electrical & Computer Engineering, Baylor)
          Jorge Fernandez (FMS Foundation, Livonia, NY. – An acronym in a journal author atttribution? I believe this is the Feed My Sheep Foundation, a small non-profit started by Sanford)
          John Sanford, “courtesy associate professor” at Cornell, and inventor of the gene gun, who is on the record with his beliefs that the Earth is less than 100,000 years old, that life on Earth does not share common descent, and in particular that humans do not share common ancestry with apes.
          Published by World Scientific, 2013.

          This is not a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal, and only one author has any credibility in genetics, which he has done his best to fritter away. So, you’re off to a bad start in your attempt to mimic actual science.

          This appears to be the result of that 2011 meeting which Sanford and friends tried to pass off as an official Cornell-sponsored symposium. Negative honesty points on that one.

          Now, on to the content.

          The title contains an error. By “multiple overlapping genetic codes” they apparently mean “multiple overlapping coding regions.” This is the kind of booboo which peer review should prevent. Oops.

          Looking at the abstract, I can see that these authors, at least half of whom are computer people and not evolutionary biologists, did not do any actual laboratory experiments regarding the existence, prevalence, or relevance of multiple overlapping coding regions in “higher genomes.” Rather, they constructed some computer models on how such multiple overlapping coding regions would decrease the probability of the occurrence of beneficial mutations.

          As anyone who follows Creationism will know, Creationists do not care much for computer models, claiming that to use a computer – which is designed, and to write a model program – which is designed, is to sneak design into process, tainting the result. This is a very stupid argument, which John Sanford himself makes in his book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome (2005) (page 10). (He also invokes the bogus Second law of thermodynamics argument, page 144, which does not help his science cred) Despite this general disdain for computer modeling by evolutionists, Creationists apparently are happy to construct their own computer models. This reinforces McGrath’s point about honesty and Creationism being incompatible.

          I have no objection to granting the conclusion of this paper on computer models of multiply constrained overlapping coding regions: if they actually occurred with high frequency, and were actually expressed, and the gene products actually contributed to the fitness of the organism, then beneficial mutations in those regions should be very rare. But whether any of those conditions actually apply is the interesting question, and the authors do not address it.

          • David L. Hagen

            Thankyou for having “no objection to granting the conclusion of this paper on computer models of multiply constrained overlapping coding regions”. 111 papers on “overlapping coding regions” or “overlapping genetic codes” since 2009 suggest rapidly growing activity and recognition of this phenomena. Were these “overlapping coding regions”

            Note, while “overlapping coding regions” is used in several
            hundred papers, 22 other papers address
            genetic codes”

            Your denigrations of Sanford et al. are but ad hominem logical fallacies. e.g., Einstein did no lab experiments either. Address the science.

            On 2nd Law, see mathematician Granville Seward’s
            quantitative extension to open systems and discussion. Entropy,
            Evolution and Open Systems
            , 2013;
            Entropy and Evolution, BIO-Complexity 2013 (2): 1-5. doi:10.5048/BIO-C.2013.2

            How do you explain the origin of information given stochastic processes with the 4 laws of nature?

            See: W. Gitt et al. 2013 Biological
            Information – What is it?

          • Ian

            ” Einstein did no lab experiments either. ‘ – no but the predictions of his model matched known facts and further discoveries. Sandford’s predictions about deleterious mutations don’t match real world. In real science the real world wins.

          • David L. Hagen

            Your statement is unscientific as unquantifiable. In essence you imply that cancers are not caused by mutations. e.g. see evidence that cancers are caused by mutations and are inherited. The evidence is posted at: OMIM – Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man at
            May I recommend that you study to understand mutation rates, parameters and accumulations in large complex systems with extensive genomes like humans with about 3 billion base pairs.

            Sanford summarizes the genomic population dynamic literature in his papers, as summarized in his popular book, with links to the primary literature. Mendel’s Accountant quantitatively replicates Mendelian genetics as documented in the scientific literature.
            Per the scientific method, please detail and quantify your objections and show where Mendel’s Accountant fails to do what it is designed to do and what Sanford et al. have published.

          • Ian

            Did you respond to the correct comment. I said nothing about cancer.

            I’m quite aware of population genetics, thanks. I’ve done rather a lot of research on quantitative genetics.

            Mendel’s Accountant is quite a nice simulation, from what I’ve played with. It has limitations of efficiency which makes it impossible to show steady-state behaviour, the infinite genome model causes problems of scale, and the mutation model is rather simplistic, because it doesn’t account for the functional effects of mutations. But while those are serious issues, none of them mean the simulation can’t produce interesting results.

            As for the results, Sandford’s results published in peer reviewed papers look fine to me. From a zero-mutation starting point, I’d expect deleterious mutations to accumulate roughly linearly in the very first few thousand generations, which is all the papers show. If I were a reviewer for those papers, I’d have recommended they be published too.

            It doesn’t surprise me that that does not match observed data about rates of beneficial and deleterious mutation fixation in bacterial populations. Because while he takes care to show that some of the parameters are taken from experiment, the model itself is a de-novo model, and so it isn’t surprising it doesn’t correspond to observed steady state dynamics. As I said before, reality wins.

            Sandford then extrapolates this in all kinds of ways in which the data does not suggest in his book, and makes non-scientific and ridiculous conclusions. Assuming that there is a zero-mutation starting point is daft, and if you don’t assume that, you need the longer term dynamics. So his conclusions simply assume the young-earth. Not surprisingly, his book was not peer reviewed (it would not pass) and is self-published.

            May I recommend that you study

            Out of you and I, one of us has studied this, professionally for years. One of us has published papers in the area. One of us has done a PhD on the topic. Respectfully, I submit that you need to go do the study, rather than drinking the kool-aid.

          • David L. Hagen

            Thanks Ian for a serious response and looking at Mendel’s Accountant and Sanford’s papers. What I was referring to was complex systems like the human genome where you have 20 years/generation.

            Note: “It also suggested that Adam lived 180,000–200,000 years ago, similar to initial estimates of Eve’s age2.”
            Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2013.13478

            Assuming 20 years/generation, that suggests the order of 10,000 generations, not an infinite number. Compare Behe’s evidence on the rate of mutations in Edge of Evolution.
            How do you propose the major genomic changes from this posited Adam/Eve age with the changes needed from posited genetic ancestors?
            I do not see quantitatively how that jump can be achieved.
            Furthermore, see Sanford’s image of the Princess and the 13 mattresses – with numerous small impacts from mutations, how can the required transitional mutations be selected, especially when there are more numerous harmful mutations than those needed to make the transitions.
            Sanford’s Mendal’s Accountant can readily forward model 20,000 generations. How do you quantitatively make these major jumps, say from chimp to man, with measured mutation rates?

          • Ian

            I think you misunderstood the ‘infinite’ in my comment.

            Sanford’s model is an infinite genome model, which starts at zero mutations, and allows mutations to accumulate, independently (except for genetic linkage and simple [non epistatic] mathematical operators for random fitness) ids, without bounds. Both of these are highly problematic assumptions for doing simulations of real genetic change. In particular Sanford found (and can be replicated with Mendel’s accountant) that the rate of increase of mutations in his model dropped off with the increasing number of mutations. Which isn’t a problem for his nice straight line graph in his paper — starting from zero and running a few thousand generations — but is a problem for the real world because it requires you to assume the initial individual had no mutations. If you want to avoid that assumption, you’d need to run the simulation to stead-state, which he doesn’t do, and would be impossible because of the model he’s chosen to simulate.

            Hence my comment about him just assuming his conclusions. He assumes Adam had no mutations, then discovers that mutations starting from zero accumulate too fast to allow humans to survive for very long, so deduces that Adam had no mutations and lived recently. The conclusion is simply begged.

            But let’s no go into human evolution just yet. If Sanford’s simulations were correct we’d see evidence of it in bacterial populations. It is never good practice to look for something that you would expect to be more difficult to observe, when something far simpler is at hand. It might be rhetorically useful to claim that the simulation works for humans, but the simulation is designed to work for any model of reproduction, right? And so let’s check it on things we have data for. And… it doesn’t work.

            It is very easy to change tack and try an avenue that seems more fruitful (perhaps you’re more comfortable voicing your incredulity around human evolution that evolution of bacteria). But in my experience this is a common creationist tactic. When one objection gets met, or the discussion gets too hard, it is time to flee to something else. So I’m afraid I’m going to stay on bacteria for now, at least until you clearly admit that Sanford’s simulation does not match observed bacterial mutation experiments. Or until you show us some evidence that it does. And not just a vague interpretation of Lenski’s data in terms of some new notion of ‘information’ that you’re not going to define. Or insistence that the simulation must be correct, because it was very cleverly thought out. I mean actual quantitative evidence that the simulation matches observed accumulation rates of deleterious mutations and the effect that has on the expression of favourable mutations.

            As I said Sanford’s actual published papers merely outline a novel simulation model and describe some early results. They are worthwhile, basic early days research, as you’d expect from a tentative new approach. But then his self-published book then spins this into a grand creationist narrative with huge conclusions. At nowhere does he go through the intermediate stage of showing that his simulation is quantitatively accurate.

          • David L. Hagen

            Re: “the rate of increase of mutations in his model dropped off with the increasing number of mutations.” Please submit your objection and recommend to Sanford.

            While beginning to read Sanford & Mendel’s Accountant, your comments appear to show false presuppositions on Sanford. e.g. on Adam. Since earth’s climate could not have supported life for an infinite time, why start with an “infinite” model. Cannot you equally use Mendel’s Accountant to take an existing genome with current measured rates of mutations and function change and model it forward 20,000 generations? Would not that continue to show an increasing mutational load over finite periods?
            Please see Mendel Accountant’s instruction manual

            On bacteria, see Sanford’s paper on viroids – below. Given sufficient computer resources, Mendel’s Accountant can model the full range from a viroid of 100 nucleotides on up to a full human genome of 3 billion nucleotides or more, for as many generations as you have storage space. You can separately quantify the rate for all mutations, the fraction of major mutations, and the fitness impact for a major mutation. Etc.

            Please see John Sanford’s rebuttal “Critic ignores reality of Genetic Entropy” to Scott Buchanan on 7 March 2013 (GMT+10)

            Sanford observes: “The most definitive findings (on genetic degeneration) were published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science by
            Lynch.4 That paper indicates human fitness is declining at 3–5% per generation.
            I personally feel the average mutational effect on fitness is much more subtle than Lynch does—so I think the rate of human degeneration is much slower than he suggests—but we at least agree that fitness is going down, not up.” . . . “ Our numerical simulations indicate that for higher organisms, up to 90% of all deleterious mutations should be un-selectable (in press).”

            “Dr. Tomoko Ohta . . .acknowledged that our numerical simulations appeared to be valid, and that our conclusions appeared to be valid. . . .Using numerical simulations, we have confirmed that synergistic epistasis fails to slow mutation accumulation and accelerates genetic decline (in press).” . . . “Suppose two mutations each reduce fitness 10%. When both mutations are present, then fitness might be reduced by 20% (additive interaction), or less than 20% (multiplicative interaction), or more than 20% (synergistic epistasis).” . . .”All three of the downward decay curves I show in my book indicate that degeneration slows dramatically as it becomes more advanced. If a species is alive today and has been
            around for thousands of years, the rate of degeneration must be very slow (too subtle to measure in most cases). Obviously, genetic degeneration is not going to be clearly visible in most lab experiments.” . . .”we have just published a paper showing that RNA viruses are clearly subject to genetic entropy.7”

            7. Carter, R. and Sanford, J., A new look at an old virus: patterns of mutation accumulation in the human H1N1 influenza virus since 1918, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 9(42):1–19, 2012.

          • Ian

            You can certainly model 20,000 generations yes, but that doesn’t tell you about steady state dynamics, since it assumes a starting point from zero mutations, which is exactly what his creationism assumes but is not what biology assumes. So is an assumption of the conclusion.

            I’ve no idea what you think the quote dump is supposed to achieve, but it doesn’t even address the issue. Did you understand the issue? Do you understand what is being said at all?

            Please see Mendel Accountant’s instruction manual

            Are you trying to be a dick, or is it accidental?

            Since earth’s climate could not have supported life for an infinite time


            What is it with you and infinite time? I already made clear I wasn’t talking about infinite time! Did you understand?

            Please see John Sanford’s rebuttal

            You’re just copy and pasting the same responses now. We’ve already discussed the problems with that document. Bringing it up again as if it that never happened is just dishonest. Are you keeping up?

            the rate of degeneration must be very slow (too subtle to measure in most cases)

            Indeed. This is exactly the issue I was raising. He has established no bounds on the decrease in rate of degeneration. If you run the simulation yourself (do you need the manual) you’ll see the degeneration drop off rapidly. Until it is immeasurable, yes, and until it is utterly swamped by beneficial mutations.

            He *claims* in the book that the degeneration is unbounded, but his model does not show this, the simulation is not capable of showing this, and his analysis of his results and my results suggest that it is not.

            As I already said above. Twice now.

            If you don’t understand what you’re reading, ask, rather than just assuming that if you cut and paste the same thing again it makes you look smart.

          • David L. Hagen

            Relax and don your objective scientific hat. You noted
            having “done a PhD on the topic”. My dissertation was on
            flywheels so genomics is not my primary expertise. However, I can read. So I am trying to understand and evaluate models and assumptions. So bear with me if you think your models are scientifically justifiable.

            1) I noted mutation parameters, and so referred to Mendel’s Accountant manual for definitions.
            You asked re modeling bacteria, so I referenced Sanford’s paper on even smaller viroids.
            I took the effort to edit out sections of Sanford’s post ref to
            your comments, not a bulk dump.

            2) Question: Based on experimental evidence, can degrading mutations be inherited?
            Publications I have read model mutations that can degrade fitness and be inherited as well as positing benefical mutations.

            3) Are humans degrading genetically?
            I referred to the objective evidence of the global database of mutations in humans:
            OMIM – Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man at
            John C.
            wrote: “Is man presently degenerating
            genetically? It would seem so, according the papers by
            Muller, Neal, Kondrashov, Nachman/Crowell, Walker/-Keightley, Crow, Lynch et al., Howell, Loewe and also myself (in press).”

            Sanford documents each of these papers in his papers and in the appendix of his book.

            4) Re: “Assume the initial individual had no mutations . . .
            to avoid that assumption, you’d need to run the simulation to stead-state”

            What if you run a Mendel’s Accountant model to say 10,000 generations. Then use one of those genomes and run it forward with the best currently measured mutation rates? Alternatively randomly seed a genome with mutations before starting.

            Would that provide a model having mutations that is then
            quantitatively run forward with current measured mutation rates?

            5) Can we model organism mutations that can degrade fitness as well as benefit fitness?
            To allow realistic degrading mutations, must there not be the option of ongoing degradation with greater loss of fitness than beneficial mutations?

            6) Infinite or steady state:
            You appear to be insisting on the opposite extreme of assuming that steady-state is possible, and a priori exclude the possibility that organisms may be undergoing ongoing degrading mutations that cannot reach steady state.

            If complex organisms like humans are declining in fitness,
            logically could they die out before reaching steady state?

          • Ian

            1. Mutation parameters weren’t the point of the problem. They’re irrelevant. Mendel’s accountant (MA from here on) just uses a probability distribution. You can plug whatever numbers you like in there.

            2. ‘Degrading’ is just a term that begs the question, because it implies a process. Mutations are specific things. Mutations, in MA have fitness effects, positive or negative. The latter we call ‘deleterious’, unless the negative effect is large enough to prevent reproduction, when they are called ‘lethal’. Mutations are inherited in MA. Deleterious mutations are removed from the population by selection only.

            3. This is again an attempt to change the subject to human genetics, away from the lack of evidence for the ability of MA to model simpler organisms that we can do the experiments on.

            And again ‘degrading’ is an assumptive term. New deleterious mutations occur in all species, including humans, over time, as do new beneficial and new neutral mutations. “It certainly seems so” is not a scientific quantitative argument. Note that the papers aren’t actually about ‘degeneration’ at all. They are about the fixation of deleterious mutations (absolutely expected in any sensible model of evolution) and genetic load. He tries to co-opt genetic load as somehow demonstrating his point, and claims it is ‘continuously growing’, but that is highly misleading because genetic load doesn’t not talk about actual decreases in actual population, but about comparing actual population to a theoretically ideal one. And genetic load can continuously grow, as long as maximum theoretical fitness grows at least as fast. And, as in the experiments he is so keen to wave away as trivial, in actual evolution there are discontinuities in the environment and therefore in the fitness, which mean you can’t extrapolate *any* change longer than you can assume that individuals experience identical selection pressure. Which also makes it basically impossible to infer changes in genetic load in human populations, where it is possible in bacteriological studies when you control the selective criteria.

            This is the kind of treatment that fools people in a self-published book, but would be utterly trounced in credible peer review, by actual folks who understand the science he’s trying to co-opt.

            4. You can’t do it. You’re still running the same number of generations. You’d just get less sensible results because you did an all-but-one-individual selection pass every 10k generations.

            5. Yes, if by ‘degrade fitness’ you mean have a negative effect on fitness. We do this all the time. Every model of evolution from Haldane on can model such mutations. Near-neutral deleterious mutations fix with a probability that depends on the degree of negative fitness they contribute. Right down to lethal mutations that cannot reproduce and therefore cannot fix. Beneficial mutations likewise fix more rapidly and with higher probability, but can also be lost.

            6. Yes, you’re right. Steady state is a sloppy term. I used it to mean ‘until there are no further changes to the trend’ rather than ‘until there are no further changes to the raw numbers’. So the problem is that, if you start a population at the theoretical optimum genetic make up, then start introducing mutations, it is obvious you’re going to get a drop in fitness. You’ve simply found another way to demonstrate the existence of genetic load, which has been a core part of evolutionary biology since the 30s. We can observe genetic load. We know it is there. And the math of evolution predicts that, for a population with a constant fitness function, it should reach equilibrium. Taking a population that is dropping from an artificially perfect start to this equilibrium and claiming this is evidence of long-term trends to fall in fitness is simply foolish. Unfortunately there is no obvious way in MA to begin from a random population, because MA is designed to have mutations accumulate without bound.

            There are plenty of other genetic evolution simulations. And they absolutely feature tunable mutation parameters, and selection, epistasis, all the stuff in MA (MA’s innovation is the tracking of discrete mutations through generations, which is why it is interesting, and why I said I would have accepted those initial papers for publication, its actual simulation structure is nothing unusual). You typically start them at random populations. And you see a rapid increase in fitness and a boom in beneficial mutations. But this initial surge is just as artificial as Sanford’s results, just from the opposite direction. Because a real population isn’t random, so the system rapidly arrives at its equilibrium, where the rate of deleterious and beneficial mutation production is balanced by the ability of the selective pressure to sort them out. It is just that the equilibrium fitness is higher than random fitness (but lower than perfect fitness, for the current best alleles available in the population).

            This equilibrium is normally retained for long periods of time, without an unbound accumulation of deleterious mutations. From time to time a very beneficial mutation will be sampled at some point in the population and this will be rapidly fixed in the population. Fitness graphs show long periods of equilibrium, punctuated by sudden rapid increases in fitness. So again, this isn’t ‘steady state’ dynamics, but it is consistent long term dynamics. Because such systems don’t have to track unique mutation events, we can easily simulate millions of generations of hundreds of thousands of individuals. But — as I said before — this isn’t really very useful, because it is unrealistic that selective environment for real organisms stays static for that long.

            That ‘steady state’ dynamics is also what we see in real long term bacteriological studies, and the characteristics of the evolved genomes is also consistent with what we see in genomic studies.

            Which is why Sanford’s claims are so bizarre. They don’t match reality. Except when he’s reinterpreting reality in strange ways to shoehorn them into his theory, such as his claim that the loss of a deleterious mutation is actually evidence of degeneration, because it is a loss of information!

          • David L. Hagen

            Thanks Ian for your detailed comments.

            Re: “the math of evolution predicts that, for a population with a constant fitness function, it should reach equilibrium.”

            How does that not equally beg the problem if we are trying to
            objectively test two opposing models against the evidence?

            I see plenty of evidence for deliterous mutations. What quantitative lab evidence is there for beneficial mutations?

          • Ian

            I’m not sure you understood the point of that passage.

            I’ve just run a simulation I wrote for my PhD starting from a theoretically perfect population, and I get Sanford’s graph at first. So Sanford’s results seem consistent with my simulation. If I run my simulation more normally from random, I get the opposite effect, rapid fixation of beneficial alleles, and a rapid rise in fitness. In the long term of hundreds of thousands of generations both level off to equillibrium, punctuated by sudden increases in fitness as a beneficial mutation gets fixed over the course of a few tens of generations. (these appear sudden jumps in the graph, because 100 generations is less than a tenth of a pixel wide when your graph shows a million).

            So given that we’d expect Sanford’s results, if evolution were as mainstream science expects it, Sanford’s results alone don’t make his case.

            So we have to say: can we make a prediction that is *different* if Sanford were right, compared to if mainstream evolutionary theory were right?

            It is no use making predictions that would be the same in both cases, and claiming victory. It is no use extrapolating from the data that is the same in both cases and claiming that you would observe something different in time.

            So there’s no question begging there. If Sanford is right, there should be a terminal and unending decline in fitness. If mainstream science is right, it should reach an equilibrium. Remember Sanford isn’t just saying that his is another model to fit the data we know, he’s saying that his model implies a terminal genetic catastrophe.

            The only way to test that prediction is to run the system for long enough that the difference would be visible.

            That would, of course, only show that his simulation indicated terminal degradation. As we’ve covered before, just because a simulation says something, does not mean it is true. I’ve found that out to my cost before (properly, I can share the war story if you like).

            So the next step is to say, if Sanford’s simulation really did show that we’d expect a terminal fitness decline, does that match what we see.

            Well we certainly don’t see the rapid degradation from Sanford’s paper. And Sanford admits himself that, given the drop off he observes, the degradation he predicts would be immeasurable.

            So, effectively, if his simulation did display the behavior he claims (but can’t demonstrate, because of the nature of the simulation), then he wouldn’t be able to differentiate that behavior from the equillibrium demonstrated by mainstream evolution anyway.

            Hardly the stunning result that he builds his book on, right?

            Does the mainstream model do better for prediction?

            But we do see ubiquitous evidence for equillibrium. In fact this evidence is often touted by creationists arguing against what they perceive as the gradualist predictions of Darwin (though, as I said above, this is mostly an error of mixing scales). It is telling, I think, that Punctuated Equilibrium was a surprise to many evolutionary biologists of the 70s, but actually appears quite naturally when you run the mathematical models of evolution from the 40s and 50s on computers powerful enough to demonstrate long-term evolutionary dynamics. People are really bad at inferring large scale dynamics from rule sets. (There’s a good mathematical reason for this connected with complexity theory, which again I could go into).

            In bacterial experiments can we see the long term sudden jumps characteristic of my simulation? Well the timescales are too long to see more than one or two, and only then if we’re lucky. And, in fact, in bacteriological studies, such as Lenski, we mostly see equillibrium dynamics, punctuated by one or two beneficial mutations that rapidly spread through the population over the course of a dozen or two generations.

            For much larger populations, and faster generations, we should expect to see rapid emergence of new beneficial mutations, however, especially in environments with high selection pressure. And that is why David brought up bacterial resistance to antibiotics. That is an area where you do see very specific beneficial mutations with huge fitness increases, that dominate populations very quickly. You don’t see a long term genetic catastrophe.

          • Ian

            I should point out that Google scholar has thousands of articles on the evolution of antibiotic resistance, because it is such a crucial area to human health, from a quick look through the first couple of pages, many are quantitative and model based – I guess that’s what you meant by ‘quantitative’. It gets a little beyond my expertise in some of these models that include biochemical models of the phenotype. Ultimately such models are just more complex and biologically accurate versions of the kinds of pure-genome models we’re talking about here.

          • GubbaBumpkin

            I tried clicking your “111 papers on overlapping coding regions…” link, but it seems you failed even to make a valid link.

            Address the science.

            I did. Maybe you slept through it.
            You provide a nice case study of exactly what McGrath was noting. Creationists try to create their own false image of science, establish their own journals in a dishonest attempt to appear sciencey. This reveals an odd simultaneous envy and contempt for science.

          • GubbaBumpkin

            Your denigrations of Sanford et al. are but ad hominem logical
            fallacies. e.g., Einstein did no lab experiments either. Address the

            Not only did I deal with the science content of Sanford’s paper, but your claim that Sanford’s variance from the scientific consensus on the age of the Earth and common descent, evidence for which is plentiful in Sanford’s own field of genetics, has nothing to do with science is bizarre.

          • David L. Hagen

            Sanfords personal beliefs on the age of the earth is a red herring argument irrelevant to the issue raised of the laws of Mendellian Genetics with mutations quantitatively modeled by Mendel’s Accountant with users given full control over all parameters. The NeoDarwinian hypothesis cannot withstand the voluminous genomic evidence of accumulating harmful mutations overwhelming beneficial mutations, which are too slow to achieve Darwinian “just so stories”.

          • David Evans

            You mean Granville Sewell, not Seward:

            Yes, he’s a mathematician, but his “quantitative extension” is not mathematical. It amounts to the argument from incredulity: because “we have no experience with sunlight producing the kind of order and complexity needed for life”, it is extremely improbable that life on Earth arose without intervention. Of course we have no such experience – any prebiotic structures that formed now, on an Earth crowded with life, would be eaten before we got to hear of them.

            This is an old argument, and is becoming less credible as we find out more about the organic compounds already available on the early Earth, and about the possible processes leading to life. It has very little connection with the classical 2nd Law. And I repeat, he presents no new mathematics relevant to the argument. I’m also a mathematician, for what it’s worth.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Jesus clearly said that male and female were created. You will have to answer to him for that.

          Jesus said: “Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.” He’s going to have to answer for that. If he ever comes back.

      • David L. Hagen

        PS “any view which misrepresents evidence” is “begging the question”. See:

        Try quantitatively addressing the objective evidence such as the genomic consequences of mutations now quantitatively evaluatable any high school student by using Mendel’s Accountant.

        • No, I am referring to the fact that the claims of ID proponents have been examined and found wanting, and yet they continue to try to get others to adopt them. Referring to all that has been discussed in book-length treatments and not reproducing it in a blog post is not begging the question.

      • James,
        How can you assume Jesus said that? Could not these words be put in the mouth of Jesus by “Mark”?
        Cordially, Bernard

    • David Evans

      The first question to ask about any computer simulation is “Do its predictions match the real-world situations it describes?”. The experiments on bacteria by Lenski ( )
      appear to show a beneficial mutation spreading through a population faster than any harmful ones, consistently over many generations.

      • David L. Hagen

        David Evans
        Re: Computer simulation matching evidence.
        Sanford et al. quantitatively implement forward marching genomic
        mutations, incorporating all the major parameters established in th
        peer reviewed genomic literature. They provide users with full
        control over all the parameter values. Mendel’s Accountant can thus be used to apply mutation rates with user selected parameters based on experiments by Lenski, or by AK Gauger etc.

        Re: Lenski mutation progression.
        Lenski’s findings are addressed in Behe’s peer reviewed paper:
        Behe, M.J. 2010. Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function
        Mutations, and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution.’ Quarterly
        Review of Biology 85, 419-445.
        and in Behe, M.J., The Limits of Evolution.

        Behe, M.J., Getting There First: An Evolutionary Rate Advantage
        for Adaptive Loss-of-Function Mutations.

        “loss-of-function mutations generally have an intrinsic
        evolutionary rate advantage ovr gain-of-function mutations …”
        Post: Rose-Colored Glasses: Lenski, Citrate, and BioLogos

        See also Ann K. Gauger & Douglas D. Axe “The Evolutionary
        Accessibility of New Enzyme Functions: A Case Study from the Biotin Pathway” Biocomplexity, doi:10.5048/BIO-C.2011.1

        The mutation rates quantified by Lenski and by AK Gauger do not
        appear adequate to account for even the simplest new organism, let alone the Cambrian Explosion. See Stephen Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt.

        These propositions can be quantitatively tested using Mendal’s

        • Ian

          You misunderstood the comment you’re responding to.

          The question isn’t whether you think your simulation is biologically plausible. The question is simply does it match reality.

          Stanford’s work predicted fitness degradation that would be apparent in bacterial populations. Stanford’s predictions were wrong.

          It doesn’t matter how many simulation parameters they provide, if the results don’t match observed reality. You can play with simulations until the cows come home, but reality wins.

          Always a difficult concept for folks who think that the bible trumps reality.

          • David L. Hagen

            See John Sanford’s response to Scott Buchanan:Critic ignores reality of Genetic Entropy

            Scott makes a big deal about Lenski’s long-term bacterial experiments, but these actually support my thesis. Although a very trivial adaptation happened (optimal growth on a given medium), his bacteria shrank in genome size (the functional genome decreased). Evidently the more rapid growth was largely accomplished through genetic degeneration. Many useful genes not essential in that artificial environment were apparently lost. When transferred to a natural environment, those highly degenerated bacteria would essentially be dead-on-arrival.

          • Ian

            And you don’t spot the howler in the response?

            Sanford is trumpeting the fact that a gene that is no longer used and therefore is neutral (or marginally deleterious in his model) is deleted from the genome? And that is vindication.

            No, his model is that such things should be more likely to be *fixed*. Losing genes for processing molecules no longer in the environment is not a sign of a degrading genome. In Lenski’s case the gene was originally fixed, and was lost, exactly as we’d expect under natural selection. To argue that a lost of unneeded function is somehow a loss of information and then a degradation is bizarre, and smacks of someone who’s lost the plot.

            That’s before we get to the nice facile dismissal of evidence that contradicts his model as ‘trivial’.

            As is raising information theory as if it were somehow what his model is based on, which it is not.

            “That appeared to be a beneficial mutation, but was actually just what I said as a deleterious mutation, because when it wasn’t needed it was lost. And besides the beneficial effect was trivial.’

            This is not unusual for anyone who’s predictions have been shown to be wrong. Witness the way true believers in the 9/11 conspiracy theory deal with new evidence. they do a similar little dance. Well – it might seem like that contradicts the story, but if you look deeper it is actually evidence that supports it!

            I’m running Mendel’s Accountant here. I’ve spent a couple of hours playing with it under various parameter assumptions. There are a bunch of issues I have with it too, based on what I learned from the simulations I built for my PhD. But, for all simulations, the lack of correspondence with actual results is the most serious. Something I struggled with myself during my research.

          • GubbaBumpkin

            Based on the quote above, and on Sanford’s book, Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome:

            1) Sanford runs on at length about the impossibility of beneficial mutations.

            2) When clear evidence of a beneficial mutation is presented, Sanford changes his tune and starts talking about “information,” a topic in which he has no particular expertise, which he never defines, and which he cannot tell you how to calculate. This is “moving the goal posts.” Note the bit about “his bacteria shrank in genome size“, and yet mere size of the genome cannot be the measure of Sanford’s “information,” since he also insists that gene duplications do not constitute an increase in information.

            3) “Many useful genes not essential in that artificial environment were apparently lost.” – Yes, and? Fitness depends on the environment. The fitness contribution of a gene may vary in different environments, and over time as an environment changes. This leads one to the idea that a population which was split into two environments could evolve in different ways, and eventually differentiate or even speciate. You could lead Sanford in that direction, but you could not make him drink. He is stuck on his “evolution is bad” idea, and if following the consequences of any of his ideas lead away from that, he will change the subject rather than own up to it.

        • David Evans

          Quite apart from Lenski’s data, your conclusions don’t match the well-known ability of micro-organisms to evolve resistance to whatever we try to kill them with. Beneficial (to them!) mutations spread quickly through the population with no obvious degradation.

          The “Cambrian explosion” spread over 30 million years or more. Has anyone simulated that length of time in Mendel’s Accountant?

          • David L. Hagen

            For evidence on rate of mutation in humans, see: Gerald R. Crabtree Our Fragile Intellect. Part 1 Cell Press, TIGS-995

            It is very likely that within 3000 years (~120 generations) we have all sustained two or more mutations harmful to our intellectual or emotional stability. Recent human genome studies revealed that there are, per generation, about 60 new mutations per genome and about 100 hetrozygous mutations per genome that are predicted to produce a loss of function [7], some of which are likely to affect genes involved in human intellect.

          • Ian

            Way to not respond to the point made. Gish Gallop, anyone?

            If you want to make Sandford’s point, rather than changing to look at some other form of life, or some other probabilistic argument you are channeling, be a man and stand up for the point! Where is the fixation of deleterious mutations predicted in Sandford’s book when we look at long-term bacteriological evolution? It is a simple objection.

          • David Evans

            There’s a lot wrong with that paper. For one thing, they say mutations will accumulate “with reduced or absent selection”. Well, yes. One thing that natural selection does is weed out harmful mutations before they can accumulate. Selection may be reduced in modern prosperous societies, but I don’t think that’s been true for most of history.

            Also, we have no idea how bright the average citizen of Athens, or any ancient civilisation, was. Obviously the ones we know about from that time are the handful of geniuses. It’s unfair to compare but if we are going to: I can understand everything that Archimedes ever wrote. I’m very far from understanding everything written by Einstein, Hawking or the modern cosmologists – and I’ve taught cosmology. What does that tell you?

            Also those average citizens condemned Socrates – apparently one of the most moral men who ever lived – to death for “corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens” and “impiety”. Pretty dim of them, don’t you think?

          • Ian

            You can’t easily do that time, there are a few problem:

            1. The system is quite processor intensive. He claims it is optimized, but you can’t do more than a few tens of thousands of generations on a population of ten thousand or so.

            2. The model, as far as I can tell, is an infinite genome model. So there is no way you can run this for large time scales where the length of the genome would be significant. You simply run out of mutation ids.

            3. Interestingly, in his papers, and from playing with the system, the fixation rate is not linear, it falls off with time. Even on the short numbers of generations you can run.

          • GubbaBumpkin

            The “Cambrian explosion” spread over 30 million years or more. Has anyone simulated that length of time in Mendel’s Accountant?

            Since Sanford believes that the Earth is less than 100,000 years old, it is doubtful that he has given an honest treatment to that scenario.

          • David Evans

            Good point.

        • David Evans

          Lenski measured mutation rates for a single organism, which has already been evolving for a very long time, in a static environment. Effective mutation rates in a complex ecosystem in a varying environment would be very different. If only because in a complex system the chance of a mutation being beneficial (perhaps by finding a new ecological niche) would be greater.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      For a popular explanation, see John C. Sanford, Genetic Entropy and The Mystery of the Genome. 2008 ISBN 0981631606

      I just read that. Not impressed. Not only is Sanford’s basic argument flawed, but he completely fails to mention that he is at odds with the scientific consensus on the age of the Earth, the common ancestry of all life on Earth and specifically common ancestry between humans and other apes. Ignoring all that science does not make it go away.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        In addition, while population genetics is the main target of Sanford’s argument, he includes the usual roundup of Creationist arguments. If you want to be taken seriously as a scientist, you should leave out the invocation of the second law of thermodynamics, you should not blame a scientific theory for Hitler and eugenics, and you should not leave very important and relevant details until the appendix (such as that the figure you have been quoting throughout the book for the human birth rate has changed a lot over time).
        And of course the denial of the scientific consensus timeline is directly relevant if one were to consider the effect of low-level selection over multiple generations, which has a cumulative effect comparable to compound interest calculations. At least Sanford did not use the “if we’re descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys” argument; so in that respect it is somewhat better than other Creationist books I have read.

  • Hey James. I’m pretty sure you and I are on the same page about this, but I’m not sure it entirely came through in this post, so I wanted to ask you about it. I share your opinion that YEC and ID “ministries” and churches are wasting time, talent and millions of dollars that could and should be put to much better use in addressing world hunger and other humanitarian crises. I also agree that “lying for Jesus” makes about as much sense as committing genocide for the cause of peace.

    However, I find that I must make some distinction between the misguided perpetrators of anti-science views (including organizations like AiG and those who work for them, pastors and ministers who misuse their office to teach on scientific matters which they have no business teaching, and the legions of Internet crusaders who believe it is their calling to bring down blogs such as yours and mine) and those whom I see to be largely their victims.

    TLDR: I have encountered a number of YECs and/or IDers who believe what they do simply because they were presented with incorrect and misleading — but nonetheless very carefully crafted and convincing — information, and they made the decision they sincerely thought was the most faithful to God. And I would certainly hesitate before I would accuse people like that of not being Christians.

    What do you think?

    • Tyler, I know you know about attention-grabbing headlines! 😉 I would never really say that someone is or is not a Christian. People of all worldviews sometimes do things that are incompatible with their core beliefs and values, without ceasing to hold to them nonetheless on the theoretical level. What I am doing here is trying to shock some people who desperately need it out of their assumption that only young-earth creationists are Christians, or at least they are the only faithful ones.

      I will add that, when I was a young-earth creationist, I was not deliberately deceiving others. But if I had fact-checked what I was told sooner, I would not have passed on misinformation to others. And so I still consider myself culpable.

  • Greg Allison

    Dr. John Sanford, Young Earth Creationist, Geneticist, Professor Emeritus Cornell University, developer of the “Biologic Gun” and holder of 30 other Patents disagrees. At the least, evolution is not a “slam dunk” despite most scientists having faith in it so all the disgraceful condescension should be tempered a bit. Natural Selection involves pre-programmed information in the genome (implies a programmer boys); it is a HUGE stretch (per Sanford-based upon his knowledge of Biology and not his Christian faith) to extrapolate Natural Selection into goo to you evolution. There are many scientists that have faith in evolution but there are a great many very accomplished ones who do not; since evolution is completely incompatible with Genesis 1-11, one would think you guys would at least look another look at this growing issue in Christianity. Most young earth creationists were formerly evolutionists and have scientific reasons not faith reasons for doubts about evolution. Dr. Sir Ernst Chain called evolution a hypothesis since there was no proof of it. I will be back Monday night to reply to all the people who will probably chew me out!! Love you’all!

    • David Evans

      Does it occur to you that the fossil record, the geological record, radiometric dating, galactic astronomy, astrophysics and the Big Bang are also incompatible with (a literal reading of) Genesis? Are you going to dump those sciences as well?

      PS It’s entirely possible for a very distinguished scientist to be wrong. Fred Hoyle was wrong to go against the consensus of cosmologists in sticking to his Steady State theory against the evidence.

      • Greg Allison

        The Basaltic dome at Mt St. Helens shows a radiometric age of over 1 M years despite only 30+ years of radiometric decay. Several other recent eruptions show the same anomaly. Helium diffusion in deep earth rock shows a young age. c14 in diamonds (7,000 yr half life) and deep earth coal (all over the planet) can’t be explained except with a young earth cosmology. Look at Russell Humphreys’ work regarding time/distance conventions. It is entirely possible that long age believing scientists could be wrong; the point was modern science at the very least backs up the argument that we can question those hypotheses that don’t line up with the Bible.

        • David Evans

          These are standard creationist arguments and (in my view) adequately dealt with in talkorigins’ list of creationist claims at Their response to the Mount St Helens claim is short enough to quote:

          “Austin sent his samples to a laboratory that clearly states that their equipment cannot accurately measure samples less than two million years old. All of the measured ages but one fall well under the stated limit of accuracy, so the method applied to them is obviously inapplicable. Since Austin misused the measurement technique, he should expect inaccurate results, but the fault is his, not the technique’s. Experimental error is a possible explanation for the older date.

          Austin’s samples were not homogeneous, as he himself admitted. Any xenocrysts in the samples would make the samples appear older (because the xenocrysts themselves would be old). A K-Ar analysis of impure fractions of the sample, as Austin’s were, is meaningless.”

          As I understand it (which isn’t very well) Humphreys’ work relates only to the conflict between YEC and the time required for light to reach us from distant galaxies. It doesn’t address the evidence that some relatively nearby astronomical objects are millions to billions of years old.

          • GubbaBumpkin

            To sum up the RATE studies: “performing a technique badly proves that the technique does not work.” I hope the logical error in this is obvious enough that it doesn’t need to be spelled out in detail.

          • Greg Allison

            Dr. John Baumgardner was one of the scientists on the RATE team and received one of his two Masters Degrees from Princeton University; the other Master and his PhD from UCLA. He spent an entire career with Los Alamos National Laboratories. Dr. Russell Humphreys was another-while with General Electric he earned one Patent and while with Sandia National Laboratories, he worked on Sandia’s Particle Beam Fusion Project; he was co-inventor of special laser-triggered Rim-Fire high Voltage switches now coming into wider use. Humphreys in particular has answered critics during the intervening years of RATE and has done similar young earth confirming experiments with Argon.

          • David Evans

            So? Should I list the qualifications of everyone who has worked with radiometric dating and accepts its results? There are many more of them. That would be tedious, and I doubt you would accept it as a valid argument anyway.

            I wish you would give references. I don’t want to have to search for Humphreys’ answers.

            Let’s look at one of his articles for RATE:


            He says that a particular mineral – in which he admits that uranium has decayed to lead – is 6,000 years old, not the 1.5 billion years indicated by the amount of lead. If so, the average decay rate was at least 250,000 times its present value. Radioactive decay produces heat. That much extra heat would have had some effects, don’t you think? Like melting uranium ores. And when did the rate drop to its present value? He doesn’t say.

          • Greeg Allison

            Perhaps the water of Noah’s flood played a part in thermal transfer. The decay was apparently much accelerated in the past-there are some examples that show it is not necessarily stable a rate over time. I know a few years ago some Italian scientists (not YEC’s) caused Thorium (not one of the 8 radiometric dating methods) to decay at a rate 10,000 times today’s observed rate (using a principle of water called Cavitation-also makes me think of Noah;s Flood!). Strongly urge you to look at this-and it references (secular).

          • David Evans

            The Italian paper has been severely criticised, see
            I also doubt it because if it were true it would be a revolution in physics. Everyone would be trying to replicate it. Success would mean instant fame. I haven’t heard that anyone succeeded.

            In any case it refers to cavitation in a solution of thorium in water. Radiometric methods always use solid samples, for the obvious reason that in a liquid you can’t keep track of the decay products.

            The flood water doesn’t help with the heating issue. There are uranium ores, deeply buried away from the water, which would have melted if the decay rate was ever 250,000 times what it is now. While melted, they would have separated out into uranium and lead. Needless to say we don’t see any uranium ores that have separated like that. If we did, and we tried to date the uranium, it would have no lead in it and would appear young!

          • Greg Allison

            There is always criticism. The Italian scientist Cardone replies “In our opinion, the main shortcomings of the criticism by the Swedish authors are due to their omitting of inserting our experiment in the wider research stream of piezonuclear reactions, and to the statistical analysis they used, which does not comply with the rules generally accepted for samples with small numbers. However, apart from any possible theoretical speculation, there is the basic fact that two different experiments (ours and that by Urutskoev et al.), carried out independently and by different means, highlight an analogous anomaly in the decay of thorium subjected to pressure waves. Such a convergence of results shows that it is worth to further carry on experimental investigations, in order to get either a confirmation or a disproof of the induced-pressure anomalous behaviour of radioactive nuclides even different from thorium.” Would really encourage you to engage the scientists with your comments about the heat etc. I have always observed them to be the most reasonable with the evidence. Dr. Gary Parker in Florida (retired) went to a YEC forum in the 70’s with the express intent of humiliating the speaker; a few years later he was no longer an evolutionist.

          • David Evans

            They quote Urutskoev, but I can’t see that he measured anything like the 10,000-fold increase in decay rate that they are claiming. If I understand him (it’s not easy) he claims at most a factor of 2. And his results, if true, would require the presence of a strong magnetic field – much stronger than the Earth’s. I don’t see that he supports them at all.

            Also (as I’ve just posted elsewhere in detail and will keep repeating) if the decay rate were anything like high enough to fir a 6,000-year-old Earth, the rocks would have melted.

          • Greg Allison

            Interesting. I think Cardone’s point was they used different processes but both had an similar result even if the % was not same or close. I will post your statement about the extraordinary heat required and see how they respond.

          • David Evans

            I think the people who should be thinking about the heat are the RATE project, not Cardone who doesn’t seem to be a YEC.

          • Greg Allison

            I agree. I am sure they have written about the heat-I have never seen it though and it would help to just get them to respond.

          • Greg Allison

            And don’t forget-the main point is that nuclear decay has been shown to not be constant. Not to mention that they guess how much material was present when the decay started. And the results from the various dating methods are not concordant – Dr. Ralph Matthews writes: “A rough correlation of results is to be expected if publication of ‘agreeable dates’ occurs selectively over grossly discordant dates, and such selective publishing is freely admitted to be a common practice:“In general, dates in the ‘correct ball park’ are assumed to be correct and are published, but those in disagreement with other data are seldom published nor are discrepancies fully explained.”

          • David Evans

            “And don’t forget-the main point is that nuclear decay has been shown to not be constant.” By a factor of 10,000 in a liquid solution, in one paper which hasn’t been replicated. Even if true it would come nowhere near the factor of 750,000 in solid rock needed to reconcile the data with Genesis. Which would have melted the rock anyway (I’ll keep on saying that until you answer it)

            “Not to mention that they guess how much material was present when the decay started.” It’s not a guess (it may have been in the early days). There are several ways of checking. Some are listed in

          • Greg Allison

            Now how would they know they could not measure samples less than 2M years old? That would be a statement based upon an assumption in itself. All they did was help affirm how much decay of the isotopes had occurred. What was Austin’s response? You didn’t quote that and you should. Humphrey’s owns some patents himself (proof of ability with experimental science) and predicted the magnetic fields of several nearby (supposedly) ancient planets. They should not have a magnetic field if they are so many billions of years old; this is another one of those “anomalies” which are one more check mark in favor of a young universe as implied in the Bible when counting the generations back-6,000 years or so.

          • Ian

            Now how would they know they could not measure samples less than 2M years old?

            Because we can directly measure radioactive decay rates in the lab. And we know how atoms work, because we can directly to experiments on them. And so we can work out the accuracy of radioactive dating. Some forms of decay are suitable for deep-past dating, with accuracies of + or – a million years or two (plenty enough for looking at something a billion years old), others are suitable for dating things more recent. Some labs are set up with detectors sensitive enough to date things at a particular level of accuracy, other labs may have greater or lesser accuracy. And because we have so much actual observational data, we can figure out these accuracies very precisely.

            The problem with the ‘physicists are wrong about radioactive dating’ line is that — while it is necessary to explain why all these dating methods are so astonishingly consistent and consistently give an old earth — physics makes very specific predictions that prove to be really accurate. So young earth creationism isn’t about evolution, it is about throwing away most of science, including atomic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on.

          • Greg Allison

            See my post above about evidence that nuclear decay is not constant over time. What they observe that is consistent in the lab is in the present-they can only guess whether it has always been constant over time. There are 8 different methods for radiometric dating; there are plenty of examples of the same rock being tested with 3 of the 8 methods and yielding wildly different ages. I am not aware of any rock ever producing remotely close ages using even 2 of the 8 different methods. And There are places in the Grand Canyon where the rock in the lowest layers has a radiometric age far younger than the layers up higher. Extrapolating today’s rate of nuclear decay billions of years into the past just doesn’t stand up to such facts.

          • David Evans

            To the best of my knowledge this is simply false. This article


            by a Christian geologist gives an example where 5 different radiometric methods give consistent results on a particular very old rock formation. (If you don’t want to read the whole thing, it’s in the section “The Age of the Earth”) There are many other examples in the literature. Do you have any references for what you say?

          • Greg Allison

            Sure. Dr. Tas Walker critiques Wiens’ paper point by point here.

          • David Evans

            Walker spends a lot of time arguing Christian theology, which does not concern me. He also reiterates several times that the assumption of constant decay rates in the past is just that – an assumption. However:

            We have evidence from looking at distant galaxies that the parameters of physics don’t change much over billions of years – if they did, the detailed spectra of those galaxies would be very different.

            Also, to fit the Genesis timetable the decay rates have to vary hugely. I’ve said this before, so I’ll add some more detail.

            Some rocks have a uranium/lead ratio which, if the decay rate has been constant, show an age of 4.5 billion years. If they are actually 6,000 years old, the decay rate has been higher by a factor of (4,500,000,000/6,000) = 750,000 over the past 6,000 years.

            Uranium generates heat at a rate of 0.1 Watts per metric ton. Multiply that by 750,000 and divide by 50 to allow for the fact that a rich ore is about 2% uranium, and we get 1,500 Watts per metric ton, or 1.5 Watts/kg.

            That amount of heat is sufficient to raise the ore’s temperature by about 1 degree C in 600 seconds, or 1000 degrees in about 1 week. That’s about the melting point of most rocks. Conclusion: there would be more than enough heat to melt a rich uranium ore many times over. Yet we see old rocks, containing uranium and lead, which have clearly not melted (or the 2 metals would have separated).

            I think this is very important. Creationists say “You can’t assume the decay rate hasn’t varied”. But they never ask the very simple question “What would have happened if it had varied?”

          • Greg Allison

            That assumes that Billions of Earth years have elapsed- with all the talk about multi-verses, dark matter etc I am surprised you would be that confident in such a long time extrapolation. Background Microwave radiation in the Universe shows a uniform temperature throughout the visible universe-Physicists say this is a huge problem for the Big Bang Theory since there has not been any where near enough TIME for that to occur. I am not sure (in other words I am not being facetious)-but did Einstein suppose that even time was relative? I will post their response to the heat question; may take them a few days to respond since i can only go to their website to ask.

          • David Evans

            The microwave radiation is thought to be left over from shortly after the big bang, when the universe cooled enough to be transparent to radiation. It is now much cooler because the universe has expanded so much. Its existence makes sense ONLY in a big-bang universe which is billions of years old. How you explain it in a 6,000-year-old universe I cannot begin to imagine.

            There is a question how the radiation comes to be so uniform. That is usually answered by assuming an initial period of very fast expansion, called inflation. That also makes sense in terms of other aspects of physics such as the Higgs field. Anyway it’s not completely uniform.

            “That assumes that Billions of Earth years have elapsed” I think that’s a fair assumption since they are billions of light-years away! I don’t buy Humphreys’ various arguments about light travel time, there is simply no evidence for them and much evidence that c is constant to high accuracy.

            “since i can only go to their website to ask.”

            That’s revealing. Do you have a brain of your own or are you just a mouthpiece?

          • Greg Allison

            I doubt you know anything except what you have read David. Very disappointed in you for that remark.

          • David Evans

            I’m not particularly proud of it myself. I apologise.

            However, when I assembled the facts about radiometric heating I was in fact going to original sources for the data and doing the calculations myself. I was not (as it sometimes seems to me you are doing) simply looking for a web site that backs up what you want to say.

            In a sense, none of us knows anything outside our own experience about what we have read. But I have a B.Sc. in applied mathematics and physics, a Ph.D. in solid state physics and several years’ experience in lecturing on physics and cosmology. I have earned some of my knowledge.

          • Greg Allison

            I accept that David. I am sure you have earned it all. I strongly urge you to engage those guys as they are certainly more at your experience level than I. I have read their material extensively for over 14 years and always found them to be very reasonable with the data; I think you will typically be glad you did. You may never agree but I would bet you will respect most of them more for it.

          • David Evans

            As Ian pointed out, most of these sites don’t allow comments. So suppose I ask them a question by email (say, about the radioactive heating issue). Suppose they reply and I report back to you. Suppose I can show (I can dream, can’t I?) that their reply is inadequate.

            Honestly, would that change your mind about anything?

          • Ian

            Nice spouting of creationist talking points, but this is simply false. If you disagree, please provide links to the primary research that shows what you claim. Not creationist propaganda on it, the actual studies. Anyone can make up random claims.

            We’ve found fourteen versions of the bible in Klingon from the third century, and a copy of The Purpose Driven Life in Latin signed by Moses.

            Its quite another thing to show they are true.

            Dramatically increased radioactivity in the past (billions of years worth of radiation in a few thousand years) would have catastrophic implications for geology and biology on earth. It is simply impossible that radioactive decay rates were high enough in the past to make the kind of wild claims you’re making true.

            But, of course, you wouldn’t know that, because you don’t actually know any atomic theory, do you? You’ve just read the right talking points from creationist sources.

            And my response was to your pseudo-question about accuracy. But typical that you want to wander off into some other incorrect claim.

          • Greg Allison

            If you are a Christian then your remarks above are disgraceful in their tenor. If you will take the time to review the articles that I highlighted, as I answered, and also search a little then you will see the YEC articles typically reference secular literature/data. And they do plenty of primary research; most worked for mining companies, Los Alamos, Sandia, industry etc for entire careers before retiring to try and help guys like you understand that nothing in science conflicts with a plain reading of the Bible. That is, after all, the only worthwhile reason for having a discussion like this with you-or perhaps a young person will read all the above and see who is being more reasonable (even if you won’t).

          • Ian

            Or perhaps the actual reason to have these conversations is so that less brainwashed creationists will actually go through and check the actual science and see. I hope so. For years I’ve been consistently encouraging creationists to find out about the science by taking an actual class, rather than reading websites set up specifically to oppose it. In the same way I’d suggest someone not get their information about the bible from the Richard Dawkins website. I hope at some point a creationist does go and take an actual class, and discover what scientists think and why, from the actual people who think it. I hope so.

            Is suspect that person won’t be you. You already read creationist websites, so you know everything you need to know on the subject, right? No point actually finding out whether you’re being fed lies. Just take these retired mining engineers at their word, after all they say nice things about your faith too, so they can’t be bad, right?

            Certainly creationists cite secular research, in the most cherry picking way possible. Something that sounds on the surface to fit in with a talking point is cited (and regurgitated by folks like you who suck up the propaganda), but all the rest of the work that actually puts those things into scientific context are ignored or rejected. They laud the scientific credentials of one or two scientists who appear to say something they can use, but dismiss the expertise of the tens of thousands of other scientists who’s results they can’t twist. No matter how many times their claims are systematically rebutted they make them again, unaltered, not even taking account of the criticisms. This is the very definition of a pseudo-science.

            Some atheists do a similar thing with the bible. They cherry pick the bits they think make their point, ignore the context, reject the rest, and claim the bible says exactly what they want it to say. And if you disagree, and if you cite other passages, or experts in the bible, that doesn’t matter, because those so-called experts are all biased, and those bits don’t count. They read so in the God Delusion, so that settles it. No need to actually spend the time going back to the source and understanding it on its own terms.

            That you want to do the same with science is disgraceful. That you do so with so much pride is exactly why James speculated in this article about whether your Christianity is genuine or not.

          • Greg Allison

            Gee whiz Ian; you write a lot! No-young folks and young Christians do see these things-I believe it helps them. Why don’t you visit Russell Humphreys or other when they speak at a Church near you-bet it would do you some good. Maybe you can try to stump them-they have a huge volume of material you can review before you get them! My Faith is fine (it is God who knows the Heart) and it has been helped greatly (not built by) by YEC scientists that showed me I can trust a plain reading of my Bible; science does not conflict with the Bible.

          • Ian

            Why don’t you take a class on some of the science you feel happy denigrating online?

            I’m quite sure the YEC folks have helped your faith by telling you what you want to hear. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t lying to you.

          • Greg Allison

            Denigrate? To point out where YEC scientists disagree with other scientists and to specify what they disagree on? I don’t recall using that type of language. Lying? Don’t think so Ian. Good luck to you kid.

          • Ian

            I don’t for a minute think you’re lying intentionally. But that hardly changes the fact that you’re promoting lies. And given that you’re being told as much, but are not willing to either stop, or put the effort into finding out the truth, means you are not inculpable.

          • Greg Allison

            Well I am glad we got that cleared up! One man’s trash is another man’s treasure I guess Ian. You guys (David, Ian and James) all speak as if everything is settled; if I have shown anything, then I have at least shown there are literally thousands of scientists that disagree with you and their basis is testable-repeatable science. And many of them are in the top of their field-without question-as proved by their Patents and discoveries. So for you to blithely write all their years of work off as lies is absurd; if these questions were so settled then folks with their credentials would not be on the YEC side-certainly not so many of them (most of them were formerly long age/evolution believing persons like you anyway). The fact that there are so many of them proves the questions are not settled beyond doubt.

          • Ian

            You haven’t shown anything of the kind, because they haven’t shown anything of the kind. What you’ve actually shown is your ability to repeat the lies you’ve been told uncritically.

            If these ‘thousands’ of scientists were doing actual repeatable science, then there’d be tens of thousands of actual papers on this stuff. Instead we get a bit of quote mining from a couple of folks who’s experiments only support your position if you treat them in the most tendentious way possible, a few papers that don’t show what you claim but have a twistable quote in them, a self-published book containing all sorts of nonsense and a *lot* of big claims. Vast amounts of innuendo (“this could be interpreted this way”, “this is just another way of looking at it”), a big digression into a set of simulations that the author admits can’t actually be tested, but no actual results. That is not science. That’s pretending. Its pseudo-science.

            And you are only mistaking it for science because you are not willing to educate yourself enough to tell the difference.

            As for the ‘writing their years of work off as lies’. Yes I am. But that’s no different to the way you and I both see the lifetimes of work that go into some non-Christian theology say. Right? You’re not going to say that, just because someone spends their life faithfully doing some work on some topic, that means it is true. So how do we distinguish between actual reality, and wishful thinking? We check. We do actual quantitative investigation into predictions made on the basis of hypotheses. We don’t just trust a simulation, or the earnest opinion of a faithful scientist, or someone because they have a patent, or even a nobel prize.

            We see if their fancy pronouncements actually correspond with reality. We check. Anyone can claim “of course it does fit with reality!” or even “here’s a paper that says something similar to what I’m claiming.”

            You have to check: quantitatively, and those results have to be verified, cross-checked and expanded by others. Your hypotheses have to be turned into predictions by others, and checked. And they will be wrong, and they will need to be modified and rechecked. That is science, that’s how we find out how the world works.

            Exactly what these ‘scientists’ have not done. The tens of thousands of missing papers shout at their lack of results.

            But folks like you don’t care. Because you read a website where they assure you that everything’s fine, that they[re making progress, that the nasty godless science will implode under its own hubris any day now, that the vast majority of scientists have it all wrong and that anyone with common sense can see through it all. But, by the way, you definitely should not go and actually study the science, because you’d have to study at one of those godless institutions where they’ll try to brainwash you with the Darwinist/Atomic theory/Geological religion.

            Doesn’t that even sound, on the basis of common sense, like you’re being taken for a ride?

            You’re being played. Actually look, learn enough science to see where the actual results are coming from, stop reading creationist propaganda on what scientists think and actually go and see what work is being done, and how it fits together. Stop being a lackey. As you admitted above, they’re telling you what you want to hear.

          • Greg Allison

            Hey Ian. Why don’t you
            read some of the papers here that are in your field
            and write a paper critiquing them. You could then “show them up”
            since by your own words they are a joke; you should be able to make short work
            of them. Try this one by Danny Faulkner “An Evaluation of Plasma
            Astronomy” Or this one criticizing a fellow YEC by Nathaniel T. Jeanson (by
            the way, he earned his PhD from Harvard doing research specifically on
            the role of Vitamin D in regulating blood stem cells.) “Does Natural Selection
            Exist? A Critique of Randy Guliuzza’s Claims”.
            Russell Humphreys has published many
            non-creationist articles; about 30 in mainstream technical journals from 1968
            coming forward. @ Sandia a lot
            of his work was classified, so there was less of it in the open
            literature. His
            multiple-author article in Review
            of Scientific Instruments 63(10):5068–5071,
            October 1992, ‘Comparison of experimental results and calculated detector
            responses for PBFAII thermal source experiments.’ Some of his earlier articles:
            ‘Inertial confinement fusion with light ion beams’, (Multiple-author)
            International Atomic Energy Agency, 13th International
            Conference on Plasma Physics and Controlled Nuclear Fusion Research, Washington D.C., 1–6 October 1990. ‘Progress toward a superconducting opening switch’,
            (Principal author), Proceedings
            of 6th IEEE
            Pulsed Power Conference (Arlington,
            VA June 29 – July 1, 1987) pp. 279–282. ‘Rimfire: a six megavolt laser-triggered gas-filled
            switch for PBFA II’, (Principal author), Proceedings of 5th IEEE Pulsed Power Conference(Arlington,
            VA June 10–12, 1985) pp. 262–2265. ‘Uranium logging with prompt fission neutrons’, (Principal author) International Journal of Applied Radiation
            and Isotopes, 34(1):261–268, 1983. ‘The 1/γ velocity dependence of nucleon-nucleus
            optical potentials’, (Only author) Nuclear Physics, A182:580–592, 1972.

          • Ian

            Why don’t you actually learn enough to be able to know what you’re reading? Or how about actually reading something, anything, that isn’t filtered through an organisation that exists to tell you what you admit you want to hear?

            This really isn’t tough. Don’t go to Richard Dawkins website to find out about the bible. Don’t go to Answers in Genesis to find out about evolution.

            We get that you can copy and paste things. But how about actually learning something? It won’t kill you.

          • Greg Allison

            You just hop on over there and impress us Ian and stop avoiding the challenge with personal attacks on me. Pull some of their technical statements and refute them-in writing. So I can then get them to critique your statements just as specifically.

          • Ian

            How exactly? They don’t let you respond to their work. There are no comments on their articles.

            You can fill in a feedback form. Which says that he ‘might’ select your comment for publication.

            Those of us who’ve tried to correct Ham on facebook, where he can’t prevent comments, have had our comments removed and our accounts blocked from his pages.

            If you don’t believe me, try it yourself. Make a new account and try to post something critical (some of my responses in this post, say) and see if he or one of his scientists let’s them stand and responds to them constructively!

            Are you starting to spot a pattern here?

            There are many resources dismantling AiG claims in detail around the web though. Which are only a google away!

          • Greg Allison

            Well you practically get hysterical Ian-can you blame them? Why don’t you show some confidence in yourself and plainly lay out facts and reasonable extrapolations? (Ken Ham is actually a pretty rough character-I have met him and that boy is abrasive!) Dr. Snelling manages ARJ. I am sure if you produce a strong paper that makes solid points against some of what is written @ ARJ then he will publish it; the whole point is to weed out bad YEC arguments and get good YEC arguments out there. I was shocked Jeanson wrote about Guliuzza; Guliuzza was a part of the team @ icr that hired Jeanson fresh out of Harvard a few years ago. But apparently Guliuzza’s arguments were way out there.

          • Ian

            The facts have been plainly laid out many times. You can find any number of them by searching online. Or in any scientific journal, or course for that matter!

            AiG and cronies don’t thrive because of a lack of available counter-evidence. They thrive because people like you refuse to look at it. Because, as you say, they tell you what you want to hear.

            Can you not hear yourself justifying them? justifying yourself for not being informed enough to actually find out? You are quick to tell James to maybe take some college courses in science so he can see the truth, but you’re not going to do that are you?

            “Post a criticism”, “they don’t allow it”, “its no wonder, you’re hysterical!”

            Can you not see through the whole charade?

          • Greg Allison

            Wow Ian.

          • Ian

            I’ll take that as a no.

            Well, its sad, but I hope you will starting asking more questions. And not taking answers on face value, or judging them by how they make you feel, but actually going and seeing the actual data. I hope at some point you figure out that people who tell you what you want to hear are not always reliable.

            Sorry I couldn’t have been more helpful.

          • Greg Allison

            You have been abusive Ian. You discredited yourself son. Do better in the future.

          • Ian

            I agree with both sentences, and will try in the third.

            None of which, of course, means I was wrong 🙂

            But yes, I’ve been having similar conversations for 20 years, and I’ve not figured out how to do it without being a jerk.

          • Greg Allison

            Well gee whiz Ian. I told you all 3 of you were endeared to my heart. Oh well. I hope your combativeness translates to Pauline type War for the Lord. After 20 years, You had better go an confront some YEC creationist folks at a forum near you-I bet you get a huge surprise.

          • Ian

            You could then “show them up”since by your own words they are a joke

            As I said in my previous comment, creationists don’t make predictions, they don’t do quantitative basic science, they tell stories. What is there to ‘show up’ except that? There’s nothing to engage with, because there’s nothing but derision and quote-mining. There are *lots* of resources systematically correcting their mistakes on the basic science. You haven’t read any of them, or if you have, you haven’t understood them. So why would you read something identical that I wrote?

            Danny Faulkner “An Evaluation of Plasma Astronomy”

            This is a book review mixed with some bits of the history of astronomy. Do you even know what scientific research looks like?

            This is absolutely characteristic of the narrative approach to creationism. This is not actual science. Which you’d know if you’d ever seen any.

            “Does Natural SelectionExist? A Critique of Randy Guliuzza’s Claims”.

            Again, can you not see there’s no science in here? Not a single experimental result, not a single new observation, no theoretical modelling, no predictions, nothing. It is an exercise in coming up with was to pour scorn on the theological opinions of another creationist!

            Wow, you’re really hitting this science out of the park, Greg.

            Russell Humphreys has published manynon-creationist articles; about 30 in mainstream technical journals from 1968

            Yes he has. And he’s also published a non-peer-reviewed popular creationist book. Which contained no new observations, no results, independently verifiable predictions that proved incorrect (and were later rejected by Humphreys as a misapplication of his theory) and no predictions made by Humphreys that were both testable and differentiable from what he is arguing against. The contents of that book have been systematically dismantled by experts in their respective fields. And though he, of course, has ‘responded to the critics’ his responses are further narrative, no new observations, no new data, no testable predictions.

            These are *exactly* the kinds of pseudo-science you’ll get all day long from AiG and its peers. And, unless you actually educate yourself, you’ll never know how far from being real testable science they are.

          • Greg Allison

            Ian: Jeanson writes: “I critically evaluate Guliuzza’s claims and show the shortcomings of his model.” And Jason Lisle has a paper there on Distant Starlight & Synchronous Time conventions (he was severely criticized by for some of his assumptions in that paper). Plenty there for you to have a go at.

          • Ian

            Yes, he’s certainly critical. But there’s no actual science. No predictions, no observations, no data. So you tried to show me a bunch of creationist science and came up with only narrative criticisms without any actual data to back the criticisms up?

            It is almost as if you don’t know what science actually is. Do you Greg?

          • Greg Allison

            Oh yea. Science – gnosis – knowledge. 1 Timothy 6:20 – “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings,and oppositions of science falsely so called:”

          • Ian

            i have much more respect for folks who dismiss the science on principle.

            Folks who have the courage of their convictions enough to say “all the evidence of our senses and all the workings of our intellect may point in one direction, but if that is contradicted by the bible, I will discard it all.”

            Seems more honour in admitting that your faith is the arbiter of what is real. instead of trying to suggest that you’re ‘really doing science’, and ‘genuine science points to creationism’.

            So have the courage to say “science is irrelevant to finding the truth, because it is vain babblings and false knowledge, true knowledge comes from God alone.”

            Rather than seeking out people who’ll tell you what you want to hear about science.

            It would have saved you a lot of copy and pasting this week!

          • Greg Allison

            “all the evidence…all the workings”; you just got it all figured out Ian. Good for you.

          • Ian

            Not sure you read that how I intended. The “may” was important. I meant something like

            “Even if every piece of human knowledge and understanding pointed one way, I would chose to go the other way with God”

            makes sense?

            I’m not ridiculing you here, I’m genuinely encouraging you not to sit on the fence. Either properly learn the science, or have the courage to reject it.

            I can’t seem to find it now, but there’s a creationist who blogs who very strongly holds that view. That he believes in YEC because he feels called by God to interpret the bible that way. He is quite explicit that ‘evidence’, ‘theories’, ‘data’ or anything else is irrelevant to that.

          • Greg Allison

            Ian: I have been reading and evaluating this material for 14+ years; most of it is not beyond my education/experience. There is no “evidence” that must be considered irrelevant in order to hold to the Bible. Quite to the contrary, it is refreshing to see that, after all the years of brainwashing in favor of evolution/billions of years, science actually does line up with the Bible…big time! You shall see if you go and engage a YEC scientist at a Forum-you should do this.
            1 Corinthians 3:19 – 19 For the wisdom
            of this world is foolishness with God.

          • Ian

            I have, I’ve discussed with a claimed YEC scientist on my area of research. And, as per AiG, they were able to give no data, no observations, no predictions to meet their theory. They made a lot of handwavey statements, but could actually show no evidence. When they did venture into claims that could be checked, the evidence went against them. And I’ve read hundreds of articles and books by creationists, and the pattern is clear: general statements, quotes, scorn, vague suggestions, no data, no observations, no quantitative predictions. No science.

            You can say ‘the science shows it is true’ as much as you like. You can say ‘I know plenty enough science’. But saying so doesn’t make it true.

            You have no more expertise to assess whether you’re being lied to, than you do of figuring out if a brain surgeon is making the right moves with her scalpel. And the only way to rectify that is to study. Something you’re very keen to tell others to do, but curiously unwilling to do yourself!

            So why not admit it. Say so, and be confident in your faith. Be clear that your faith overrides any other concerns.

            If the world happened to look like it was created (as you think it does), that would be cool, but even if it didn’t, you’d trust God first. No, so called scientific evidence would shake your faith, would it?

            I’m struggling to see why you won’t claim that position. Is it pride in your intellectual ability? Are you known in your friends and family as someone who knows stuff? Would admitting that knowledge is irrelevant to faith be a problem?

          • Greg Allison

            I have studied all the required High School and College courses including anatomy & physiology etc. Everyone has the same set of empirical facts; they just all approach those facts with different beginning axioms or beliefs. I understand plenty of that body of information and so I can certainly evaluate and understand what I am reading for myself; my experience is that by far the YEC’s are more reasonable with the facts when I compare the two interpretations. You need to engage them at then. Tell me your field of expertise and I will go and find where they have taken some facts and interpreted them. You can then critique/offer the alternative.

          • Ian

            Was that in response to the brain surgery? You’ve taken anatomy and physiology at college, so you have enough knowledge to determine if a brain surgeon was correct in their approach?

            Or was it only applying to evolution? Because anatomy and physiology are more applicable to medicine, than evolution, certainly the evolutionary topics you’ve been engaging with in these comments.

            And again, I understand that you think YECs are more reasonable. You’ve admitted why: because they tell you what you want to hear. That’s hardly the point.

            My research was in systemic bias in models of genetic evolution. More broadly my field was in mathematical modelling of large scale genetic evolutionary dynamics. Sanford’s work mentioned elsewhere on this post is roughly in the correct area. And there is a lot of detailed criticism of his book on this comment thread and elsewhere. You can read in detail.

            But given that you’ve already decided that Sanford is telling you what you want to hear, and that is an important criteria for you, why bother?

            The fact that you’re going to go and find some ‘alternative interpretations’ of some facts demonstrates how much you lack any clue on what science actually is and how it is done. Science isn’t about taking some facts and figuring out how to interpret them so that you don’t have to change your existing beliefs.

            So once more I ask, why? Why your pride in this area? Why can’t you bring yourself to just acknowledge that it is God, not science, that is the source and target of your faith?

          • Ian

            In case I’m coming across as a jerk again. I’m not, at this point, trying to convince you that you are wrong. Though I’m also not withdrawing the claim that you are. 🙂

            Given what you’ve said about how you came to your position, there’s little point.

            Let’s leave aside for a while the question of whether you or I are right about the science. Or at least take that somewhere else, because otherwise we’ll spend the rest of our lives on here going “no it isn’t”, “yes it is”, “no it isn’t”, “yes it is”, which is silly.

            I am genuinely trying to understand why you think that science is important in determining your beliefs. Why did creationism make you feel better about your faith? Why you felt the need to find reassurance that the science supports creationism at all, given what you’ve said about the foolishness of knowledge in comparison with God.

          • Greg Allison

            If the Bible is true then we should expect everything to line up with it (of course sometimes either translation or God being deliberately incomplete for His own purposes make that almost impossible to affirm with some facts outside of the Bible). As you know, with science, one discovery can totally turn today’s “fact” on it’s end (I got this from Dr. Sir Ernst Chain) and so I don’t believe we should get too wound up with hypotheses and theories until they are as proven as water boiling at a certain temperature at a certain altitude. The problem with many of the things we have discussed here is that they can’t be replicated in a lab because they already occurred in history and so we can only infer from data-which involves everyone’s personal bias’ etc. From my perspective (obviously not from yours), the YEC folks are far more reasonable with the data. I find it “fun” that a person’s rib, if properly removed from the pereosteum (sac; bone surgeons will get reconstruction bone material this way), will regenerate inside that “sac”; lines up (in a cool sense) with Adam’s rib being used to form Eve-like that is a huge coincidence! I also find it wonderfully reaffirming that a Millions of Years believing scientist (Dr. Mary Schweitzer and some scientists at Harvard) have found bone and muscle tissue (even collagen) of 2 T Rex’s and a Hadrasaur; it is far more reasonable to believe those animals were laid in the ground a few thousand years ago (Noah’s flood) rather than 130 M.years ago (DNA starts to break down in a couple of days). I don’t need the reassurance; I just expect it to be that way and I find that certainly it is-I have no idea why you don’t have the same reaction to the above two facts. Mankind has a tendency to misuse/mishandle knowledge/wisdom (Group Think-Brain washing-Intimidation). I know a young lady that was told, relative to procreation-boys etc, to get protection rather than “don’t go that far-be married”. I told her the wisdom of this world will tell you “get protection etc” but the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (she is not stupid; she already knew about protection-that type of behavior should never be reaffirmed in any way); I told her don’t try this one and don’t try that one; be married else you will have a baby, be in an accident and in a wheelchair for life and the man leave her. That is the proper use of that scripture; not to take leave of our logic (Come now let us reason together sayeth the Lord).

          • Ian

            Lots more claims there, but all you’re really saying is that you believe you are right, which isn’t what I asked.

            Mankind has a tendency to misuse/mishandle knowledge/wisdom (Group Think-Brain washing-Intimidation)


            I have no idea why you don’t have the same reaction to the above two facts

            Because they aren’t facts, as you could verify if you a) read the actual papers (not creationist news-sites on them, and not headlines on news websites, but the actual science) and b) understood what you read.

            I have read the paper, and the paper where ‘red blood cells’ were found in dino bones. Have you? In fact, how many actual research papers have you ever read?

          • Greg Allison

            Good luck Ian.

          • Greg Allison

            It was the highest level I took in College (Anatomy/Physiology). Pride is at the Center of all contention-I believe your pride is what is causing you to talk so negative to me. It may not be a fair question (as your work may not lend itself to discovery), but relative to Sanford-do you hold 30 Patents to your name? Or the Biologic Gun discovery? Doesn’t mean, of course, that you are unable to critique the man’s work-but Patents used by industries are indisputable proof of ability with experimental science. Have you engaged Sanford? Let’s you and I break off-you will never gain anything from me. But I challenge you to engage him directly-I doubt he will be as fussy with you as you have been with me-you may even make a friend.

          • Ian

            You’re right, this conversation is pointless, since I’ve addressed the other points already and you’re just repeating them.

            So let’s get back to the question you’re refusing to answer. Why do you struggle to admit that your views are based on your faith in God first and foremost?

          • Greg Allison

            My only struggle is why you look at the last two facts I presented and don’t have the same reaction as I do-pretty plain that the YEC interpretation is more reasonable. My views are certainly based upon my Faith in God but I don’t have to have them at the expense of proven facts-I refer back to the previous two facts.

          • Ian

            Maybe you should read the papers in which those facts were published… We can go round in circles all day, but there’s really no point if you aren’t willing to go and find out stuff. Besides, I’m enjoying the conversation above about the firmament at the moment, so I’m loathe to embark on another duck hunt with you.

            Thanks for answering the final question, btw.

          • Greg Allison

            Quack Quack Ian.

          • Ian


          • David Evans

            That would be Kurt Wise


            “As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate”

          • Ian

            thanks, for both

          • David Evans

            Ability with experimental science is one thing. Inventing a purely speculative theory of planetary magnetic fields, and then, when the results go against mountains of contrary evidence, insisting that everybody else is wrong, is another.

            As I understand it, Humphreys thinks that God created everything in the universe initially as water, and then transmuted it into the other elements. This is (to say the least) not observable or testable (or experimental!) science:


            I don’t know Austin’s response. Do you?

          • Greg Allison

            Speculative? He made a number of the predictions about “planetary magnetic fields” in 1984. Voyager II confirmed some of them in 1990. Then the Mars Global Surveyor in 1999 and more recently the Messenger Spacecraft and the Planet Mercury ( Why don’t you see if you know any Astro Physicist that would say Humphreys didn’t successfully make those predictions? I don’t recall him saying what you said about water/creation. Quasars and water, though, are fascinating-see I would love it if you would send some specific criticisms of Austin’s work on Mt. St. Helens directly to him-I bet he responds.

          • David Evans

            I don’t have time to wade through all of Humphreys’ predictions. I note that about Jupiter he says:

            “If we use our arbitrary value of k = 0.25 in equation (1) to calculate Jupiter’s magnetic moment at creation, we get a value less than this”


            “So it looks as if God pulled out nearly all the organ stops when He orchestrated Jupiter. Not only did He create a larger mass of water, but He lined up more than 90 percent of the water’s hydrogen nuclei”

            In other words, his theory contains an arbitrary parameter which he can make 0.25 or 0.90 to get the result he wants.

            I admit I don’t know how he got roughly the right values for the magnetic fields of two planets before they were observed. For the other planets he didn’t predict the fields in advance. He is merely trying to explain them.

            Quasars and water – really? The waters above the firmament are really beyond the farthest stars? And God pushed them out there at millions of times the speed of light, but then slowed them down so we could observe them? No. Just no.

          • Greg Allison

            I don’t think he was trying “cook” his books to force a result-and then publishing it for the world to critique (C’mon!). You speak of the speed of light (and perhaps Physics etc) as if our boundaries of knowledge are pretty well filled and we know all. Good luck kid.

          • David Evans

            I’m not sure I believe in your sincerity any more. Have you read the paper in which he assumes that k=0.25 except when that doesn’t work, and then changes it to 0.90? I doubt it, or you would have recognised where he says everything was created as water.

            “You speak of the speed of light (and perhaps Physics etc) as if our boundaries of knowledge are pretty well filled”

            We are pushing the boundaries all the time. We keep looking for evidence of new phenomena. If there were significant changes in c we would have found them. It’s those who want to straitjacket their science with Genesis who have to stop looking when the facts get inconvenient.

            By the way, have you explained why the uranium ores didn’t melt yet?

          • Greg Allison

            I have read a great deal of what Humphreys has written. And of course I am sincere (why else would I take all this abuse! especially from Ian!). I will post their response on that.

          • Greg Allison

            Here was the response; please go to page 70 of the Humphreys (2nd link) PDF for the heat item: “What RATE has done is demonstrate the fact of decay acceleration, e.g. the example shown of helium still in the zircons, and backed up independently by rates of argon diffusion The RATE Group are well aware of this (Heat), and have proposed answers in their technical books on their research. The original Humphreys paper suggests one possibility involving the expansion of space time.” Humphreys starts out: “In my feasibility study, I pointed out [Humphreys, 2000, pp. 370–373] a littleknown and less-understood phenomenon in standard General Relativity theory that seems quite relevant. The
            mechanism causes photons and moving material particles in an expanding cosmos to lose energy [Robertson and Noonan, 1968, pp. 343–344, 354–356; Landau and
            Lifshitz, 1983, pp. 374–375; Ohanian and Ruffini, 1994, pp. 582–583; Rindler, 2001, p. 369]. The equations clearly show the loss of energy, but where and how
            the energy goes is less clear. From the similarity of one of the equations to the thermodynamic conservation of energy in an expanding gas, Robertson and Noonan conclude (speaking of photons): Therefore, the
            radiation energy which is lost in an expanding universe is used up as work in aiding the expansion. But they do not specify how. Other writers say even less, leaving even relativity experts in considerable confusion about whether the lost energy goes somewhere or simply disappears.”

          • David Evans

            The mind boggles. He is seriously proposing that the expansion of the universe provides a means of getting rid of huge quantities of heat, from rocks inside the Earth?

            Point 1. The Earth is not expanding.

            Point 2. The expansion rate of the universe hasn’t changed much in the last 6,000 years. If that cooling mechanism exists it should still be operating now. Since the exaggerated decay rates are no longer happening, the Earth’s rocks should be cooling as fast as I calculated they would be heating – 1 degree in a few minutes. Clearly they are not. In fact the Earth’s heat balance is exactly what we would expect from known sources, with no added cooling.

            And that section of his paper contains no numbers at all. I wonder why?

          • Greg Allison


          • David Evans

            “I don’t recall him saying what you said about water/creation”

            Here it is, in his 1984 paper:

            “In the previous article I presented Scriptural evidence that God originally created the Earth as a sphere of pure water. One of the Scriptures is the last part of 2 Peter 3:5 (NASB): “. . . and the earth was formed out of water and by water.” Shortly after that, God must have transformed much of the water into other matter, such as iron, silicon, minerals, and rock.”

          • Greg Allison

            So what. Henry Morris wrote about 2 Peter 3:5: “In the first stage of creation, after the second day, the primeval earth material was surrounded by vast “waters above the firmament” and suspended in other “waters under the firmament” (Genesis 1:7). The waters beneath the “firmament” (the “expanse” of the troposphere) later were either formed into seas or confined in a “great deep” beneath the earth’s crust. This regime apparently continued until the time of the great Flood when they all came together again. Until then the earth was “standing” (Greek sunistemi—that is, being “sustained”) in and by the waters. The earth is, in fact, uniquely the “water planet.” Pretty bright boys if you ask me.

          • You might want to read more about the dome/firmament in Genesis 1, while you are at it:

          • Greg Allison

            Seely apparently believes that rather than God inspiring His Bible writers to write the truth about His “firmament”/Heavens (Hebrew raquia), that the Bible was instead written under the inspiration of the various cultures who did believe the Heavens were a solid dome. Seely writes “…the voice of the patriarchs and Abraham in particular, men who most likely held the Babylonian view of the sky as solid.”. Humphreys (again!) actually wrote about the “firmament”. Scripture itself gives a
            clue: it looks like the expanse (firmament, heavens, space) is an actual material that we cannot perceive as we move through it and it moves through us. For example, it can be stretched out (Job 9:8 and 16 other Old Testament verses as discussed in reference 1), torn (Isaiah 64:1), worn out like a garment (Psalm 102:26), shaken (Hebrews 12:26, Haggai 2:6, Isaiah 13:13), burnt
            up (2 Peter 3:12), split apart like a scroll (Revelation 6:14), and rolled up like a mantle (Hebrews 1:12) or a scroll (Isaiah 34:4), see Figure 1. Many physics theories
            and experiments seem to require that space be a real material: 1. The observed “displacement” electric current of James Clerk Maxwell, the greatest theoretical physicist (and a fine creationist) of the 19th century. (Maxwell based his theory on the experimental work of another great creationist scientist, Michael Faraday.) With that idea he was able to predict the existence of radio waves, and to lay the foundations of all 20th-century devices using electricity and magnetism. 2. Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity not only stem from Maxwell’s work, but at bottom they only make sense if space (and
            time) is some kind of “stuff,” as Einstein finally acknowledged in a little-known speech in 1920.2 The
            famous limit for the speeds of light and particles, c,
            could only work if there were a real material to enforce the speed limit. (Why should there be a limit if space were completely empty?) Space could be “warped” or “bent” only if it were actual solid matter. Einstein’s theories…only make sense if space (and time) is some kind of ‘stuff,’ as Einstein finally acknowledged 3. The esoteric but well-verified quantum field theory starts with
            the premise that space is filled with the particles of a non-perceivable material (the “quantum vacuum”) that is very dense. According to the theory, this material exists in and around all visible-matter particles and transmits
            the forces between them, thus enabling visible matter to exist. Experiments stemming from quantum field theory show that electrons in atoms influence the space around them and in turn are influenced by it (“vacuum polarization”). In the 1930s, quantum theorist P.A.M. Dirac correctly predicted the existence of antimatter on the basis of his theory that required all space to be filled with
            a “sea” of electrons. The quantum theory of solids offers a way to understand how space could be very dense but not felt or seen, in the same way that free electrons can move through a perfect crystal without any hindrance.
            These and other physics clues suggest that the material, which from the biblical clues I call the “fabric” of space, is an elastic solid, like a very rigid and enormously
            massive crystal. That could be why the Hebrew word for the expanse (raqia), and the Greek and Latin translations of it (stereoma and firmamentum) all have some connection with solidity and firmness, as does the English word, “firmament” used (coined?) by the King James translators.3

          • David Evans

            “That could be why the Hebrew word for the expanse (raqia), and the Greek and Latin translations of it (stereoma and firmamentum) all have some connection with solidity and firmness,”

            So is your hypothesis that God inspired the author of Genesis with this one esoteric part of modern physics, ignoring all the other bits of science that might actually have been useful?

            And if the firmament is the entire fabric of space, how can there be waters “above” and “below” it?

            James’s link points out that early Jewish scholars (who probably understood their language better than we do) speculated what material the firmament was made of (clay, copper or iron!), distinguished it from the space below it, and even tried to calculate its thickness! They clearly thought of it as something material, solid and relatively thin.

          • Greg Allisn

            Sounds like water, just like dirt, moves through this “fabric of space” too. I doubt God ignored any of it since He inspired the Bible’s writing.

          • David Evans

            So, can I have a straight answer from you?

            Is the firmament:

            1 The troposphere, i.e. the Earth’s atmosphere up to about 20 km depending on latitude (as said explicitly by Henry Morris)


            2. the entire fabric of space (as you and Humphreys seem to think)


            3. A thin solid shell (as the Jewish commentators I referred to seem to think)?

          • Greg Allison

            Since God said it separated the waters above from the waters below, I would say space; the fabric thereof.

          • David Evans

            So you disagree radically with Morris. Why are you still quoting him as an authority?

          • Greg Allison

            Don’t forget that Quasars show evidence of water (way way out there).

          • David Evans

            So when the authors of Genesis wrote that God “divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament” they were thinking of two very different things:

            #1. Waters which were under the firmament – seas, lakes, rivers. Things you can touch, things that would make your hand wet.

            #2. Waters which were above the firmament – very large, very tenuous clouds of water vapor, billions of light years away. Things you couldn’t even feel by touch.

            Those clouds of water vapor were, of course, never very near the Earth to be divided from it. And they are all still INSIDE the fabric of space which you call the firmament. Not above it.

            Do you think any of those ideas were in the writers’ minds?

          • Greg Allison

            The Bible states that God divided the waters when He created the firmament (Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.) To divide something is to separate it into
            two or more parts; you assumed those waters were never very near the Earth. Seems God stretched out the heavens in the beginning. Isaiah 40:22 – “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:” Morris writes: circle of the earth. Hebrew khug, translated “compassed” in Job 26:10 and “-compass” in Proverbs 8:27. All three, in context, clearly refer to the sphericity of the earth. And Morris also writes: stretcheth out the heavens. This phrase is possibly a reference to the expanding universe, as envisioned by modern astronomers. There are numerous references in Scripture to the “stretching-out,” or “spreading-out” of the heavens (space), when God created the universe. See,
            for example, Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 42:5; 44:24; 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12. Alternatively the “heavens” referred to here may refer simply to the atmospheric heavens, spread out like a curtain, or “tent to dwell in,” around the circle of the earth. This atmospheric “tent,” refracting and spreading light over the hemisphere, is sharply distinct from the darkness outside.

          • David Evans

            I repeat my question.

            Do you think any of those ideas were in the writers’ minds?

            Meaning: the ideas of huge clouds of very tenuous water vapor, billions of light years away.

          • Greg Allison

            Toledoth; I believe it is likely that Adam wrote out much of the first parts of Genesis up to Noah-who then took over. Seems possible Moses edited (under the inspiration of God) what came down to him. I don’t know what they specifically had in their minds; but believe that God inspired them and thus the words we have received down through the Millenia. Why does that mater?

          • David Evans

            In a sense it doesn’t matter. What was behind my question was this: If I wanted to convey the information that there is water (mostly in the form of gas clouds) at various points throughout a very large universe, I don’t think I would have used the words written in Genesis. Especially since some modern YECs are taking it quite differently and talking about a vapor canopy around the Earth. And Jewish commentators take it differently again, talking about a thin solid dome. If God wanted to convey information unambiguously in Genesis I have to say he (or his human collaborators) did a very poor job.

            That being so, why struggle against the scientific evidence to maintain a literal reading of that book?

            (Yes, I maintain that the scientific evidence is very much against YEC. I haven’t yet seen an adequate refutation even of my own little radioactive heat argument)

          • Greg Allison

            It is man that causes most confusion-I would not lay that blame at God’s feet (The Cross! But God did lay it at His feet; look up and see your Savior). Satan said to Eve “did God really say?”. She and Adam operated by Satan’s words over God’s Word (God is really focused on His Word; Gospel of John – In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God). While some Biblical concepts are, I believe, challenging due to God’s allowing it to be that way, I believe in the overall perspicuity of the Bible. It is man that fouls it up; perhaps God is calling you today (using a simple guy like myself) to trust His Word. Remember the parable of the wheat and the tare. The owner said let everything in the field grow up into what it is and at the end of the age we shall separate the wheat and the tares. Life is all about demonstrating/developing in our Faith. Cain believed in God-but the Bible says he was of the devil. This is a heart thing; God sees the heart. Regarding the heat: That RATE project does amply demonstrate the fact of decay acceleration, e.g. the example shown of helium still in the zircons. And it was subsequently backed up independently by rates of argon diffusion as well To be fair, you must also deal with that evidence (just as they certainly
            need to deal with the heat problem to your satisfaction).

          • David Evans

            That doesn’t seem like an answer to my question about Morris.

          • Greg Allison

            see below.

          • So when the authors of the Hebrew Bible use the same sort of language as their ancient neighbors, does that mean that they thought the same things that other ancient people did and which were incorrect, or does it mean that they all received revelation and somehow Einstein’s discoveries still seemed like discoveries and something new to later people even though apparently all the ancients knew these things?

            Those seem like the only two valid options. To say that, when all ancient peoples were using the same ways of speaking, one of them meant something completely different by it – and no one before modern times noticed – is not at all plausible. And I am confident that you can see why.

          • Greg Allison

            What ancient neighbors’ words were similar to the Hebrew word Raquia?

          • Those Jews and Christians who wrote about the firmament understood it to be a solid object, and neighbors such as the Phoenicians used the same root, just as Hebrew also does, to refer to stretching metal, and so you get a cognate word that means “tin dish.”

          • Greg Allisoon

            What Phoenician word?

          • I got the reference from von Rad’s commentary, which didn’t specify, so I checked Harris’ grammar of Phoenician and presume he was referring to mrq’ from the same root, rq’.

          • Greg Allison

            Pretty cool. Wonder if the Phoenicians developed their word from the Ancient Hebrews’ rq’ and mis-understood/changed the meaning over time since separate cultures/societies. Did he deal with that possibility? It seems fair to say (since so ancient-what direct evidence etc such as a Rosetta stone) that the Hebrews could have had the meaning correct/aligned with God (The Bible says, after all, that God inspired the writers) and those cultures afterward changed it over time.

          • So basically your views are unfalsifiable, since no matter what evidence is presented, you can always offer a “but what if” and dismiss it. You don’t even need to know what language the Rosetta stone relates to – just make something up and you’re content, even if it is nonsense.

            How will you ever discover if you are wrong?

          • Greg Allison

            I saw no evidence other than “they lived near each other” to support the hypothesis: “The Hebrews’ word raqia came from a Phonecian word including its meaning within that culture.” No Rosetta stone with both scripts together etc-no direct evidence; he seems to just believe it is that way because they lived close to each other. But our evidence in the Bible suggests (at the very least-see my Toledoth comments above) Hebrew came first. So it is possible the Hebrews could have had the same view as the Phoenicians but no one could be dogmatic about such a hypothesis. There are tribes in New Guinea living next to each other that don’t speak the same language. And I have been taught that Koine Greek is a world of difference from modern Greek.

          • Given your comments and spelling, it seems clear that you don’t know that these are related languages (both on the Canaanite branch of the Semitic language tree), and don’t know that throughout the history of Jewish literature the “firmament” was spoken of as a solid object, confirming the impression that comparative linguistics also provides.

            Is there any point at which you stop dismissing evidence and adjust your views to fit the evidence?

          • Greg Allison

            Did the Pharisees and Sadducees invent rules and etc for everyone to follow? Is this what you mean by Jewish literature? You write things about the Bible that I completely disagree with-if i am correct then could your writings be an example of errant Jewish literature? Everything is related James (Acts 17:26-27)-you don’t defeat the point that different cultures certainly use words/related words differently.

          • Ian

            (In case you wonder, Greg is copy and pasting from here: )

          • Greg Allison
          • Ian

            Thanks 🙂 Blumin’ bracket at the end. Yep, that was the page, I’ve corrected my link now.

          • Greg Allison

            Yea. Humphreys is cool-guy talks like a Nerd. Love him though.

          • David Evans

            Where to start?

            1 According to Genesis 1:16-17 the Sun, Moon and stars are “in the firmament”. If the firmament is the troposphere that makes for a pretty weird and totally false cosmology. (Perhaps I’m taking Genesis too literally. But I’m not the one claiming that it contains inerrant truth, you are.)

            2 Alternatively if the waters above the firmament are “outside all the stars” (Russell Humphreys, quoted in the ICR article you linked to

            then how on Earth can they “come together again” at the time of the Flood, as Morris says?

            I wonder if Humphreys and Morris ever compared ideas? It seems to me that you, and YECs in general, are not presenting a coherent view at all.

            If you don’t know much about the Earth it’s easy to stand on a beach and think the land is sustained by the waters. In fact, though, the oceans, rivers, lakes etc amount to less than 1/4000 of the mass of the planet. It seems likely that there is much more water on Europa (a moon of Jupiter) than on Earth.

          • Greg Allison

            Morris wrote: “The “waters which were above the firmament” are clearly not the clouds or the vapor which now float in the atmosphere. The Hebrew word al, definitely requires the meaning “above.” Furthermore, the absence of rain (Genesis 2:5) and the rainbow (Genesis 9:13) is not only explained but required by a vapor canopy, not by an atmosphere like that of the present. Furthermore, these waters extending far out into space eventually condensed and fell back to the earth at the time of the Great Deluge, providing the source of the worldwide rainstorm that contributed to the Flood. Although the exact extent and structure of this canopy is still being researched by computer simulations, there are no insuperable scientific problems with the concept.

          • David Evans

            I can see at least one insuperable problem.

            We are talking about a significant fraction of the water in the oceans. It would have to be enough to cover the Earth to a depth of 200m, considering that the flood covered all the mountains. Probably much more.

            Now, was all that water part of the atmosphere? If so, the pressure at the Earth’s surface would be equivalent to that at 200m depth in the sea (or more). At that pressure, human beings die quickly from nitrogen narcosis. At slightly lower pressure, they suffer hallucinations and other mental disorders. (Like hearing the voice of God? An unworthy thought.)

            So it wasn’t part of the atmosphere.

            Was it in orbit? We know what happens to things falling from orbit. They get very, very hot. Water falling from orbit would reach the Earth as superheated steam. That’s not mentioned in Genesis. God does not say “Make your ark heatproof”.

            Was it far out in space? It would get even hotter than if falling from orbit. Gravitational potential energy has to go somewhere.

            So, I wonder what assumptions those computer simulations are making. Do you have a reference for them?

          • Greg Allison

            Remember too the fountains of the deep, subduction of land masses (Andes Mountains) and the rising of mountains (Marine fossils high in the Himalayas). If all land mass today were smoothed out into the oceans then there would be 9,000 feet of water on top of everything. Larry Vardiman PhD has a PDF that I expect provides some answers. His abstract states: Calculations of equilibrium temperatures under a water vapor canopy which minimizes the greenhouse effect show that if the solar constant was less than 25% of today’s value the surface temperature would be livable. In fact, for a solar constant approaching 1% of today’s value it appears that a dense water vapor canopy would be necessary to avoid the entire atmosphere, including the oxygen and nitrogen, from precipitating to the surface as snow. If appropriate conditions can be demonstrated which justify the assumption of a much lower solar constant than typically studied, these calculations could revive consideration of an early Earth covered by a water vapor canopy.

          • David Evans

            (Laughs hysterically). You are promoting a theory which requires the Sun to have been 1/100 as bright as today, in recorded history? What would have happened to Earth’s climate when the vapor canopy went away at the time of the flood? I know, God turned up the Sun by just the required amount to compensate. (Actually you can’t change the light output of a star that quickly without destabilising it, but let’s not quibble)

            Whatever this is, it isn’t science. Nor do I see how you can computer-simulate the action of God.

          • David Evans

            Now I’m really angry. That ICR paper is the most dishonest thing I’ve seen for some time. Let me quote just one thing. He wants to argue that the Sun was much less bright before the Flood (so that the greenhouse effect of the vapor canopy won’t cook us), so he says:

            “Nuclear models of the Sun call for it to have had a reduced intensity early in its life (Sagan & Chyba, 1997, pp. 1217–1219). Of course, early in its life means millions or even billions of years ago according to the conventional scientific community, but if nuclear processes were slower in
            the past and then accelerated, as some now suggest
            (Humphreys, 2000), then reduced solar output could
            have been present as well.”

            So he accepts the conclusion of Sagan et al. that the early Sun was less bright (because it suits him) but not their view that the Sun is billions of years old (because it doesn’t). Not a problem, he says, if nuclear processes went faster then the Sun would evolve faster.

            NO. A stable star is in a balance between radiation pressure (which wants to blow it apart) and gravitation (which wants to make it contract). Increase the speed of nuclear processes that much and it won’t evolve, IT WILL EXPLODE.

            If the author knows this he is dishonest. If not, he shouldn’t be writing on the subject.

          • Greg Allisoon

            I will send it t him-see his reaction.

          • Ian

            So, fusion needs to go much slower, and atomic decay 75,000 times faster in the past?

            Can anyone say epicycles?

          • Ian

            I love that quote. I’m definitely going to repeat that. It’s perfect!

          • David Evans

            PS Also (I just noticed) his model assumes that the vapor canopy contains the equivalent of 10 cm of water. 10 cm, that’s four inches. If that fell in 24 hours in the UK it would officially be described as “moderate rain”. And the whole “waters above the firmament” thing provides no more rain than that?

            I know why, of course. Much more and the whole model would cease to work.

    • Using a satellite phone is incompatible with Genesis 1, since it should not be able to get a satellite up past the dome and have it work. But that’s life.

      The fact that someone has proposed something does not make it so. Surely you must know that, since you are citing a fringe view while most biologists, geneticists, and other relevant experts do not find the fringe view you cite persuasive. Just picking and choosing people to listen to who say what you want to hear is ill advised, especially if you listen to the Bible’s warnings about seeking teachers who say what you want to hear.

      Evolution is clearly a theory in the scientific sense of the term: an explanatory framework that is supported by and makes sense of a wide array of data.

      • Greg Allison

        Hey James. The young earth creationists are more reasonable with the facts than the other. I encourage you to take a closer look.

        • I used to be a young-earth creationist. Taking a closer look is the reason that I am no longer one.

          • Greg Allison

            Well almost all of the YEC scientists were formerly Evolutionists and they are highly trained scientists-many holding Patents. If your training has been in Religion and Greek (rather than science) then you might take that to account and try one more time.

          • David Evans

            So what is James to do? Go back to college and get a science degree?

            Or look at the credentials of those scientists who support the old-earth view (at least as good as the YECs), at the amount of ongoing research they are doing (far more), at the testability of their ideas (far greater) and how much established science each side is simply ignoring (see below), then decide accordingly.

            One thing YECs are ignoring:

            There are thousands of large impact craters on the Moon, and hundreds on the Earth (partial lists at and ). Most of these would have caused major disasters on an inhabited Earth. So

            (i) why is there no record of these impacts anywhere?
            (ii) The Moon is a small target. For every object that hit the Moon there must have been many more that missed, and are still in Earth-crossing orbits now. Why don’t we see them? (Yes, we see a few, not the many thousands that should be there). Why aren’t they still hitting the Moon and the Earth? (two small ones in a century, as in Siberia, isn’t nearly enough)

            The only consistent interpretation of those craters is that they happened over a long period before humans were there to see them.

          • Returning to charlatans even after they have been exposed seems like really bad advice, Greg Allison. But at any rate, if I were to go pursue degrees in biology or genetics or another relevant field, the detailed knowledge obtained would surely have the same impact as it has on most mainstream scientists. Indeed, the reason young-earth creationists have created their own programs is because exposure to the actual evidencekept leading students with a YEC background to reject YEC.

          • Greg Allison

            James: You should not name-call; it is unbecoming. And it is false; Dr. Raymond Damadian (YEC) is a PhD Physicist and MD. He and one other fellow are the reason we have MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) today-hardly a Charlatan.

          • If he invented lifesaving medical equipment but denied the existence of Jesus, or that the Holocaust happened, would he be excused for the latter because of the former? There is no point of view for which one cannot find a person of otherwise upright character to appeal to. And when someone uses their credentials or achievements to try to spread falsehoods, what does that make them?

          • Greg Allison

            Gee whiz James. I hope you see things better as time moves on.

          • And I hope you stop promoting nonsense and in the process demeaning Christians and others who have pursued careers in the natural sciences, and associating Christianity with the garbage and lies promoted by young-earth creationists.

          • Greg Allison

            I have not demeaned anyone; I did take Ian to task. But his language is as unbecoming as yours has become (worse actually). You boys have really worked up into a tizzy! Your first statement a few weeks back was kind when I asked where you find NT authors correcting each other. You were quite Professorial and nice.

          • Greg Allison

            Maybe another degree would help-don’t know. James also believes there are errors in the Bible; it probably has more to do with his beginning axioms with both. The way he approaches each body of information. Hard to know the heart of a King.

          • David Evans

            Do you, then, believe that there are no errors in the Bible? If so, which version is inerrant?. And (silly question, but I have to ask it) how do you know?

          • Greg Allison

            Oh yes-in its original Autograph certainly. And I believe we have received a copy of that Autograph vis-a-vis the Masoretetic text for the Old Testament and the Majority/Byzantine text for the New Testament. I trust the KJV and especially like the NKJV since it shows where the Alexandrian and also the Majority/Byzantine text types differ from the Textus Receptus (TR is what KJV is based upon). I have heard of a couple of scribe’s errors (words not sentences). Relative to translations, I trust the historical grammatical approach most. I am sure it is best to read everything in a couple of translations though. There is an element of Faith of course-but there are verses of self authentication. It is a heart thing I reckon; Cain believed in God (God spoke to him and he answered and vis-versa) and yet the Bible teaches us that Cain was of the devil. So to be a Christian is more than merely believing He exists.

          • David Evans

            “There is an element of Faith of course-but there are verses of self authentication”

            As there are in the Qur’an.

          • Greg Allison

            So you equate the Qur’an with the Bible. I don’t.

          • David Evans

            Well, of course you don’t, you’re a Christian. If you were a Muslim you would probably be saying the same thing in reverse.

            My point is that the existence of a book that says “This is the word of God” is no guarantee that the book is, in fact, the word of God. There are several such books. They can’t all be right. My question remains, how do you know that yours is the right one?

          • Greg Allison

            It is what it is brother; and it either is or it is not. Over time, if it continues to unfold as Truth (and I believe it will) as I move through life and search it for answers to questions/problems then I will grow to trust it more and more. I have seen some excruciating pain in my life that I could never share here-but those experiences never caused what is in His Word to fail to make sense to me-painful as they were.

          • David Evans

            I perhaps shouldn’t have taken the argument in this direction. I don’t share your faith but many of those who do agree with me about the age of the Earth (as we see here).

          • Greg Allison

            It is a fascinating question-I know that the planets in our solar system (and including our moon) have drawn asteroids to them due to their gravitational potential; wonder if that is one of the purposes God has had for the moon-for it to be a filter for most asteroids that would have struck the Earth? By your reckoning, it sounds like you think the Earth is far younger than the moon (huge divergence in how many craters each has).

          • Why are you disputing a topic about which you clearly know so very little? Why not spend your time learning about meteors and their impact (pun intended) on a moon without an atmosphere and a planet with one, instead of engaging in debates in public before you have even learned the basics?

          • Greg Allison

            The give and take of questions and answers is quite natural to conversation.

          • David Evans

            No, the Earth has fewer craters because it has an
            atmosphere, oceans and plate tectonics which do a good job of erasing the older ones. The Moon has none of those things.

            The Moon’s gravity is weak, it would intercept only a fraction of asteroids that would otherwise have hit the Earth. And on the other hand, it might deflect towards us an asteroid that would have just missed! Anyway we don’t have to guess, we know about some of the ones that got past the Moon (maybe sneaking up from the other direction) and hit the Earth.

            Let’s just think about the Earth. Look at the list of craters I linked to before, here:


            It shows 170 craters with diameters from 1 km up to 160 km. For your information, the largest nuclear weapons ever exploded on the Earth’s surface produced craters of less than 1km diameter.

            Now, if YEC is true, humanity has been around and keeping records for all but 6 days of the Earth’s existence. Do you think it credible that we have no record of those 170 impacts, the larger of which would have showered the whole Earth with red-hot burning debris?

            And how has a 160 km crater been eroded so flat that we need instruments to see it, in 6000 years?

          • Ian

            Perhaps the mass of the moon wasn’t constant over time too. Perhaps it was once the mass of Jupiter. It is only your *assumption* that planets don’t suddenly get 75,000 times heavier or lighter within a few years,.

          • Greg Allison


          • Greg Allison

            Very good questions. I will see what I can find out.

          • Greg Allison
          • David Evans

            They seem to say that all the Earth impacts happened during the Flood. All I can say is, Noah must have been a skilled navigator to dodge the resulting tsunamis and/or showers of red-hot lava. Also their model doesn’t account for intense cratering on Mercury and many of the moons in the outer solar system.

          • Greg Allison

            I recall he leans toward two cratering episodes.

          • Ian

            Given that you were claiming that, armed with Strong’s concordance, you knew more about the meaning of the Greek than professional scholars such as James, this comment seems incredibly disingenuous.

            Those of us who’ve actually done real foundational science you don’t believe either.

          • Greg Allison

            I don’t need James or you to think for me (but if you point at a source material and I can examine it for myself and agree well then you have done well); seems to me you guys have yourselves pretty well wound up as it is. But I hope you do believe in Jesus Christ. You three fellows are endeared to my heart.

      • TomS

        And by those same standards, ID is not a theory. It does not even make an attempt at explaining anything and does not make sense of anything. All it says is that an agency with no known limits could have done anything, so it could have done this. Meyer’s book, for example, gives no alternate scenario as to what happened in the Cambrian. (And, btw, there is nothing in any of the Abrahamic faiths that shows any concern about trilobites, anomalocariids, or anything else from the Cambrian, so why should we worry about what modern science has to say about them?)

        • David L. Hagen

          Tom S
          Re ID theory
          Try Dembski’s “Law of conservation of information.”
          Quantified through papers at evolutionary informatics lab:

          LIFE’S CONSERVATION LAW: Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological InformationWilliam A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II

          Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success [with Erratum] William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II

          Bernoulli’s Principle of Insufficient Reason and Conservation of Information in Computer Search William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II

          Evolutionary Synthesis of Nand Logic: Dissecting a Digital Organism Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II

          Efficient Per Query Information Extraction from a Hamming Oracle [with Erratum] Winston Ewert, George Montañez, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II

          The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher Level Search William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II

          • TomS

            What happened? When? Where? Why? How? And, in the case of “Intelligent Design” Who did it?
            I know that Dembski produces lots of stuff which, he claims, shows that there is something wrong with evolutionary biology. But saying that something is wrong with X is not an account of what did happen.
            If I wonder “why is there a smile on the Mona Lisa”, it is not responsive to say “because it was intelligently designed”. If I wonder why there is an Infield Fly Rule in baseball (or Leg Before Wicket in cricket), telling me that the rule was intelligently designed does not help.
            I know that centaurs, flying carpets and a “Penrose triangle” are intelligently designed, yet they don’t exist. So I know that being intelligently designed is not enough to account for the existence of something.
            What are the limitations on “Intelligent Design” that led to the realization of only some of the infinite possibilities?
            And on and on, there are so many obvious questions that nobody in the ID movement shows any interest in addressing.

          • David Evans

            Dembski’s work has been contested. Here’s just one example:


            Also consider this. If Dembski was right it would be incredible that a bacterium would evolve a new useful ability without being supplied with information from outside. But it’s been seen to happen many times – in the experiments of Lenski, in the evolution of nylon-eating bacteria and, of course, in the evolution of antibiotic resistance. Of course the bacteria have, in a sense, been supplied with information – the information that “here is a new possible food source” or “this stuff will kill you”. But that sort of information is always present in the environment, it doesn’t need a Designer to supply it.

          • GubbaBumpkin

            So now you’re going to reference Dembski? Dembski and Sanford cannot even agree on the age of the Earth. The only thing that young earth creationists like Sanford, old earth creationists like Dembski, progressive creationists like Behe can agree on is that evolution must be wrong. Other than that, their views on the history of the earth are wildly incompatible. This makes it very very hard to maintain the posture that their criticisms of evolution are based on science.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Most young earth creationists were formerly evolutionists and have
      scientific reasons not faith reasons for doubts about evolution.

      I doubt that very much. It does not jibe either with my personal experience, or my reading of The Creationists by Ronald L. Numbers (1992).

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Dr. John Sanford, Young Earth Creationist, Geneticist, Professor
      Emeritus Cornell University, developer of the “Biologic Gun” and holder
      of 30 other Patents disagrees…

      I believe you meant gene gun. Your attempt to appear knowledgeable falls flat.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      There are many scientists that have faith in evolution but there are a great many very accomplished ones who do not;

      How many of them are names Steve?

  • Bravo!
    I applaud Michael Ruse for having said that!

    But this raised a very difficult question: can people who joyfully proclaim that God predetermined a huge part of the human race to sin and be eternally punished be called “Christian”?

    The same could probably be said even without predestination.

    Friendly greetings from Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

  • Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

  • ccaffrey

    Both my parents were ministers, and progressives. My father believed in God the Creator, but was not threatened at all by science–to the contrary,it increased his sense of wonder at the beauty and of complexity of God’s creation. And there are certainly scientists who believe in God as well. I have had discussions, particularly with older people, who grew up with a more literal interpretation of the Bible and, although learned in many ways, still found it hard to totally shed that–sometimes out of respect to their parents. I have found a few ways to help them out of that dilemma. Re: the 7 day Creation story. I have often suggested that it seems we rather try and make God human-size by assuming God’s day equals 24-hrs! One of God’s days could have been a billion years! (I have literally gotten some sighs of relief for that one!) Re: the Garden of Eden. I sometimes mention that if Jesus found that parables were the best way to communicate the deep concepts of God’s nature; is it not possible that the Creation Story was given because we could not begin to comprehend the complexity of creation–and maybe we are supposed to pay attention to the part that speaks to our relationship with God out of that story. And last, re the inclusion of Creationism in science classes, it’s really quite simple. Science classes teach facts and theories based on scientific methodology. period. Pythagorean theorem is usually taught in mathematics classes, Piaget’s theory of child development is best taught in a psychology or child development class. If they want to make a case for a class on alternative theories of Creation that is one thing. But it does not belong in a class teaching scientific theory. Hope some of these work for you. I’ve actually had some looks of relief when I gave some people an “out”. I also like to refer some Christian friends to Leslie Weatherhead’s book The Christian Agnostic, where a minister of 25 years works through his struggles with parts of the Bible which are problematic for him, whether he believes they are central to his faith and where, sometimes, he admits he just puts them on the back burner “for further enlightenment”. Thanks for the opportunity to share!

  • billwald

    Both sides make errors of logic and good sense.

    First, there is no logical historical or scientific way to differentiate between “God” and “always was” . . . or if our entire universe only exists in a computer memory.

    Second, there is a world of difference between abiogenesis and evolution. maybe God only got the ball rolling.

    Third, the meaning of “science” has been expanded beyond reason. People think that any investigation which uses expensive technical equipment is “scientific” “Science” should only be applied to situations that are repeatable and/or observable and ideas that can be falsified. If an idea can’t be demonstrated as false then neither can it be proven to be true.

    Fourth, the above eliminates historical studies and observations if they can’t be duplicated. And if not conclusions of history, then surely pre-history.

    Fifth, both sides forget their statistics and probability 101. “Statistics only applies to historical data. Note that the word is plural. One datum does not make for a statistical study. “Probability” only applies to future events. If something happened, then the odds of it happening must have been 100%. Probability only applies to sets of data and never to a single datum.

    • arcseconds

      You make some good points, but when they are good, they don’t apply to the mainstream scientific community. Other points are either red-herrings or wrong.

      1) Of course the world could be other than how the evidence suggests it is. Are there any scientists who deny this? Anyway this is a red herring — science deals with how the evidence suggests it is.

      2) There is indeed a big difference between abiogenesis and evolution. There’s not very much direct evidence for how life came into being, so as a result any theory of biogenesis ends up being somewhat speculative.

      We don’t know for sure that our very distant ancestors weren’t engineered by super-aliens.

      Whereas there are mountains of evidence for evolution.

      However, the people who conflate abiogenesis and evolution are creationists and IDers, not scientists.

      3) I’m not really sure what your point is here. Is investigating an aircraft accident science, in your view, or scientific?

      4) Oh, I see what your point is now. Science can’t study the past. That’s always seemed quite absurd to me. When does ‘the past’ begin? 10 years ago? Last week? Scientists are always using data from the past to confirm their theories. They have to! We don’t have access to future data.

      But, OK, whatever, you don’t want to call ‘historical sciences’ science. Do you think therefore that past events can’t be rationally investigated? What shall we call the rational investigation of past events, if not ‘science’?

      5) When do scientists forget statistics and probability?

    • David Evans

      “If an idea can’t be demonstrated as false then neither can it be proven to be true.”

      That’s true, but it applies much more to Intelligent Design than to evolution. How would one go about disproving that the Designer triggered some part of the evolution from pre-human to human (maybe using a black monolith)? Whereas any number of possible observations (famously, fossil rabbits in the Cambrian) could falsify evolution (one could be a hoax or a geological anomaly, but if they kept turning up…).

    • Ian

      1. No, but you can test whether the universe is consistent with a particular concept of God, particularly when such a concept comes with a putative history of life.

      3. You seem like an essentialist when it comes to language. Language means whatever it is used to mean. Maybe you need linguistics 101.

      4. Perhaps, if it was you and your favourite dictionary who got to decide what words mean. For the actual professional scientists who are paid to do science, however, they’ll carry on regardless of whether you think they’re doing science right.

      5. Maybe if you’d taken probability 101 you’d have learned about different interpretations of the meaning of probability, and therefore why your claim that all historic events have odds of 100% is at best tendentious, and at worst wrong.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Second, there is a world of difference between abiogenesis and evolution. maybe God only got the ball rolling.

      Current best scientific answer to the age of the universe: ~ 13.7 billion years.

      Current best scientific answer to the age of the Earth: ~ 4.6 billion years. This complicates any attempt to mark out abiogenesis for special consideration.

  • Clifford Michael

    If only there were any science behind Darwinism, i.e., lab experiments that validated natural selection. If only there were mathematical proofs that the developmental pathways could realistically have developed within the known time span of the cosmos. Unfortunately, not.
    ID 2, Darwinism, 0

    • Ian

      If only creationists knew how to use google.

    • Ian

      And, you really have LRH as your avatar? Wow.

    • David Evans

      “If only there were any science behind Darwinism, i.e., lab experiments that validated natural selection.”

      If only new commenters would read what’s already been written in the thread. I posted this link, which describes just such an experiment, 3 days ago

  • I’ve often wondered how someone who believes that God designed everything goes about distinguishing the characteristics of a thing that is designed from those of a thing that isn’t. If there are no undesigned things, how do you determine that any criteria can successfully make the distinction?

  • GubbaBumpkin

    I see a fairly consistent pattern throughout this thread. A creationist shows up, dumps a bunch of the usual arguments, then is unable to defend them scientifically, and is never able to admit to an error even after being called out directly on it (such as the claim that the 2011 YEC symposium papers were “released by Cornell University.”) This does not indicate any depth, nor any commitment to scientific truth.

    • vowels

      This creationist is something of a specialist in Junk DNA functionality:

      • Ian

        One interesting feature of his contribution here and elsewhere is that he seems to consistently avoid making any positive claims about what his point is. He is very good at pouring scorn on topics enough to get people to engage with him, and he spouts plenty enough nonsense to fuel long discussions. But it isn’t actually clear what he is saying, at least not to me.

        So he trumpets ENCODE, and people assume that is is advocating some kind of no-junk-in-DNA-because-God-made-it position. So they launch into a defence of ENCODE, an attack of its hyperbole, and a schooling on the history of genetics which he is so clueless of. And the comment thread on that post ended with trading semantics of quote-mines. So what function is his argument?

        Similarly below, when I asked him to be clear about why he was interested in ‘problems’ with the neo-Darwinian synthesis, and to be clear about what use he wants to put those arguments to. Silence, despite asking three times.

        I wonder if we’re not dealing with a bona fide troll. Someone who wants the argument rather than to actually argue something. He seems to spend a lot of passion debating, but manages never to actually be clear the position he thinks his arguments support.

        • arcseconds

          His position at the moment seems to be ID has made predictions that worked out, whereas NDS made different predictions on the same issues that didn’t:

          I never said it proved creation. i said that these were failed prediction of neo Darwinist and the accurate predictions of ID theorist.

          I’d be interested in knowing what you had to say about this, even if you’ve given up interacting with the mayan.

          I’m not terribly worried about the slips of the classic NDS. As you (and for that matter, our friend) pointed out, plenty of perfectly respectable researchers think it missed out on a whole bunch of stuff. A genetics lecturer of my acquaintance, just as an example, thought that horizontal gene inheritance was much more important than the synthesis recognised, and I think that the mainstream has cottoned on to this now Perhaps in a world of perfect reasoners NDS wouldn’t have been put forward in quite the manner it was, but the way science often works in the real world is bold research programmes being proclaimed which go on to be nuanced considerably, modified to the point where they’re scarcely recognisable, or dropped altogether.

          It’s also obviously not the case that just because classic NDS doesn’t work out in its original form we’re left with ID.

          But ID actually making predictions that work out would be interesting.

          The one the mayan seems to be most enthusiastic about is junk DNA, or the non-existence thereof. While (as I’ve said) my impression is that ID is not sufficiently forthcoming with what we’d expect from a designer, junk DNA is certainly not what we’d expect from any competent intelligence designing things. So given that people are not so sure about junk DNA any more, this does kind of look like something that worked out in ID’s favour and not in NDS’s.

          I’ve been up and down the page a couple of times, but
          I’m unclear about what the other alleged successful claims are. This likely isn’t entirely his fault: I’m a bit distracted at the moment and Disqus’s layout is useless and the threads are now long and confusing.

          • Ian

            I wonder what point he’s actually pushing though. Commenting on a failed prediction seems a poor motivator. Is ‘pure ID’ what he wants to argue for. Still seems a negative rather than a positive position to me.

            i said that these were failed prediction of neo Darwinist and the accurate predictions of ID theorist.

            There’s a whole bunch of stuff to unpack there.

            First off what does NDS mean to him. The NDS was a population genetics model of evolution. It was a HUGE vindication of Darwin’s theory. It shows that evolution results naturally from genetics, two totally different theoretical domains up to that point.

            So at its narrowest, the ‘classical NDS’ is the mathematical model of genetics of the mid C20. And as such misses out masses of important dynamics. It is still central to evolutionary biology, because that simple model of genetics is still correct, it is just very simplified. Kindof like treating planets as point-masses, say. You don’t need to bring in anything beyond NDS to explain all kinds of biological phenomena, in the same way you don’t need to factor the radius of planets into all kinds of physics calculations. That’s not to say that the point masses aren’t hopelessly naive, just that point masses capture the important essence of a lot of dynamics.

            But the modern synthesis is also often used to refer to the evolutionary properties of any population genetics model. And in that context, the NDS is still state of the art, because nothing we’ve learned about genetics since has changed the fundamental fact that, when modelled on a population level, evolution is a natural side-effect of the math. Horizontal gene inheritance included. Also epistasis, transposons, gene regulation, introns etc. All these things can be factored into a mathematical genetic model, and the math demonstrates recognizable evolutionary dynamics.

            And at the extreme, the modern synthesis can just be a rather loose synonym for ‘evolutionary biology’.

            So onto ‘Junk DNA’. It is a bit difficult to fathom the ‘failed prediction of the neo-Darwinist’. Because Junk DNA itself was not a prediction of the NDS. In fact, it took a while for biologists to believe that most of the genome was non-coding. It didn’t make sense under the NDS math. Why on earth carry that much extra DNA? There is a cost to replication, natural selection should remove it, surely? At least under Wright/Haldane models, ‘Junk DNA’ is bizarre. The prediction of NDS is that it shouldn’t be there. The observations show it is.

            So some forms of ID predict that there should be *no* ‘junk DNA’, because God wouldn’t have put that in. Everything has a purpose. But that is not a prediction that has been shown to be true. ENCODE certainly didn’t show that (for reasons I can go into, if needed)

            So the claim seems bizarre to me. Junk DNA was an observation, not a prediction. An observation that you could remove chunks of DNA completely and have no effect on the phenotype. An observation that the size of the non-coding regions of DNA were not correlated with biochemical function or complexity. If IDers deny this observation, then it is just a denial of reality. The experiments have been done.

            There is a separate issue of inferring what is ‘Junk DNA’ from the DNA itself (because we can’t go editing human genomes so see what effects it has!). We can find the non-protein-coding regions, but there are lots and lots of non-coding regions that are very definitely not junk. And I would expect we’ll find more different kinds of functional non-coding region.

            Now, it is certainly true that, junk DNA being observed, it was used by some as a stick to beat IDers over the head with, because it was clear they didn’t like it being there. And I suspect plenty of internet debates with creationists have dramatically over-egged the pudding. But associating that with a prediction of the NDS demonstrates plain misunderstanding.

            One interesting issue around junk DNA and mathematical prediction. There’s a mathematical model of *executable genetics*, known as Genetic Programming (GP), where we use computer programs as genetic material to simulate that genomes code for functions (it has some engineering applications too). GPs show a very strong tendency to ‘bloat’: to accumulate large amounts of content that has no effect on the output of the program. And the bloat is analogous in form to some non-functional DNA we observe. Bloat in GPs is often a majority, it accumulates mutations, often consists of broken copies of former functional units, or many repeats of useless sequences.

            Explaining why GPs bloat is a rather tricky and open question, though there are lots of good papers on it for anyone interested. But, the reason I bring it up is that it demonstrates, for one significant model of evolution, ‘junk DNA’ is a natural byproduct of the math. But that model is a *long* way from the NDS models of Wright, Haldane and Fisher!

            So it really is a crucial question what Mayan’s concept of what the NDS is and how it fits into evolutionary science. Because his characterisation of the science might be based on quote-mines, but is unrecognisable to me, and his assertions about what ‘predictions’ were made and/or came true are nonsense, as far as I can tell.

            [sorry about the length, wanted to give a proper answer]

          • arcseconds

            Thanks a lot for your long and detailed reply.

            It confirms my vague suspicions on the matter. I was a bit nonplussed by the notion that NDS predicted junk DNA (and apparently as a central tenet, what’s more!), too. I had a whole paragraph devoted to voicing that, which I deleted because I figured I might not know what I’m talking about, whereas you clearly do!

            The idea that NDS gets a major portion of the important interactions right is basically what I thought, too. I do get the impression (largely from my acquaintance) that for a while there the mainstream tended to be a bit overly dogmatic, and ideas that were a bit outside the box of vertical inheritence/coding DNA mapping onto proteins kind of thing tended to not get a look in.

          • Ian

            Yes, I think your impression is right. There is a distinct conservativeness around the field, which isn’t unique to biology, I think. If someone is suggesting a new dynamic, then they have to show it is significant, and where.

            And, in my opinion, part of the reason other dynamics are distrusted by some is that they are inherently much more difficult to do the math for. Horizontal gene transfer, for example, takes the math out of the simple Markov models of the synthesis and requires specific simulation. The results of that aren’t very easy to interpret. As a result, such dynamics are often more amenable to descriptive statistics and genomic approaches. Which is a shame. To extend the physics analogy, it is kindof like moving from two body to three body problems. The nice math just goes, and your only solutions are simulation (with all the initial value sensitivity that entails) or inference of general properties.

            There is also a thread of evolutionary biology that goes right back (and, confusingly was called neo-Darwinism, before the NDS), which really did claim that natural selection was the only significant force. We’d call that ‘panselectionism’ now (or at least the scholars I studied and collaborated with would), and Neo-Darwinism would refer to the synthesis. I suspect Mayan is using neo-Darwinism sometimes in that sense, and others in the sense of the modern synthesis, and yet others as a synonym for any evolutionary biology.

            I don’t know if any biologist would claim to be a Panselectionist now. The term is rather one of those slightly derogatory terms used to indicate that someone is emphasising natural selection or minimising another mechanism. I’ve heard Richard Dawkins described as a panselectionist, for example. Which I think is slightly unkind, but it is clear he does put natural selection in a more dominant role than I would or the folks I worked with.

          • GubbaBumpkin

            I am in general agreement with everything Ian said about junk DNA. In addition, I think its useful to get quantitative about it. ENCODE aside, which set a very very low bar for function; how much of our DNA has known function, vs. how much is extremely unlikely to have significant function, vs. unknown? Larry Moran adds it up:

            What’s in Your Genome?
            To summarise: the human genome has 44% transposable elements and 9% remnant viruses. These are known junk.
            Protein coding regions: 9.6% overall, but only 1.8% if you don’t count introns. … and so on.
            Essential 8.7%
            Junky junk: 65%
            Unknown: 26.3%

          • arcseconds

            Well, science needs both conservatism and radicalism, and it’s hard to get the ideal balance, I guess. You don’t want people abandoning productive research programmes willy-nilly as soon as there’s a couple of results that look slightly problematic, but of course people need to be open to new ideas.

  • Sophia Sadek

    There is a very strict definition of Christianity that was established in the fourth century. Those who espouse the Big Lie are legitimate Christians and those who seek the truth are heretics who cannot be considered Christians. There was a time when scientists had to keep their speculations on the age of the Earth to themselves for fear of being attacked for failing to kowtow to Church doctrine on the subject. Some folks would like to bring back those halcyon days.

  • David Evans

    I’ve spent some time on this debate now. There have been YEC arguments that took a bit of effort and scientific knowledge to refute, but every so often you find one that’s simply silly, in a way that any non-scientist can understand. Here’s my favourite:

    Thanks to Greg Allison for the link.

    This puts a lot of calculation into proving that a vapor canopy need not overheat the Earth, if we assume that the Sun was less bright. So far, so obvious. But this vapor canopy, which has to supply all the rain for 40 days and nights of the Flood, how much water do you think is in it? Enough for 10 cm (4 inches) of rain. The paper says so explicitly. 4 inches, spread over 40 days and nights. In the UK we wouldn’t even call that a light rain, more of a drizzle. We certainly wouldn’t be issuing flood warnings.

    Reading Genesis 7 and 8, I get the impression that the rain was a major contributor to the flood. The flood starts when the rain starts, and begins to recede when the rain stops. That’s a big flood, with a lot of water. It covers the highest mountains to a depth of at least 15 cubits (270 inches). How high would the mountains have to be, to be called mountains? I don’t know, but surely 4 inches extra wouldn’t even be noticed.
    Why did no-one say, when they started running their computer models about 4 inches of rain, or at least before the paper was published, “This is silly”?

    • David Evans

      PS I’ve just realised why they think it worthwhile to investigate a water canopy that only gives them 4 inches of rain.

      It’s because there were no rainbows (and therefore no rain) before God invented them in Genesis 9:13. So the rain in the Flood was not ordinary rain, it has to be something else.

      Silly me.

  • Richard Low

    A critical reading of Jiro Nakasato’s book “Order-increasing evolution of life” will reveal a potentially fatal flaw in the evolutionary process.

    • Ian

      A careful reading of the bible will reveal a potentially fatal flaw in the possibility of God’s existence. I’m not going to say what it is, but if you read it carefully enough you’ll see it.

      Such statements: “if you only knew what I knew, you’d see how wrong you are” are cheap to make. If there is a complexity and order based argument against evolutionary theory, make it.

      Otherwise you’re just slinging mud around.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    A substantive review of Dr. J.C. Sanford’s* 2005 book Genomic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome just recently appeared on, by Gerard Jellison.

    *This is the way he is identified on the book cover. Srsly.